“When your dough is refrigerated, the butter hardens. So when you bake them, they spread less and hold their shape better,” adds Epperson. “Which means a better likelihood of a soft, chewy cookie in the center.” So chilling the dough before baking means fluffier cookies with better consistency.
As a general rule of thumb, you should refrigerate cookie dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. More than that and you won’t see a noticeable difference in the final product, says Haught Brown.
Frozen or chilled dough will take longer than room temperature dough to bake. Just keep an eye on the cookies as they bake and remove them when they start to color around the edges and lose their raw shine in the middle.
Chilling cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies spread.
Popping your dough in the fridge allows the fats to cool. As a result, the cookies will expand more slowly, holding onto their texture. If you skip the chilling step, you’re more likely to wind up with flat, sad disks instead of lovely, chewy cookies. Cookies made from chilled dough are also much more flavorful.
Many cookie recipes call for long refrigeration times, but a finicky dough or a little extra chilling time can result in dough that’s as hard as a rock, and nearly impossible to work with. Merrill recommends putting dough near a warm stove, and pounding it with a rolling pin once it starts to soften.
We recommend storing your cookie dough in a small airtight container in your fridge or freezer, depending on when you want to bake it. As a general rule, any cookie dough left on the counter at room temperature will be good for 2-4 hours but then may risk going bad, especially if it is already past its “best by” date.
Homemade cookie dough should be stored in small containers in the refrigerator for two to four days or freeze for two months. Alternatively, small quantities of dough can be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator as needed.
Store dough in an air tight container for 24 hours in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a medium cookie scoop place cookie dough on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Generally, cookies are baked in a moderate oven — 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) — for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. For chewy cookies, allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
How long does it take to bake cookies at 350? Place one baking sheet at a time onto center rack of preheated 350 degree F oven. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, still have pale tops, and are soft in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes. ( Do not overbake!