Crumbly cookies are an unwelcome, and unfortunately common, result when making a batch of cookies. It is usually caused by dry and crumbly cookie dough.
The primary reason for dry and crumbly cookie dough is that the ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients is off, and the dough contains too much of the dry ingredients.
Dry and crumbly dough can be corrected with 6 different ways:
- Add more butter (or whatever kind of fat you are using)
- Add a little olive oil
- Work the dough a little more
- Add a little water
- Add a small amount of milk
- Add an egg
Why Is My Cookie Dough Dry and Crumbly?
Dry and crumbly cookie dough is a result of having too much of the dry ingredients for the amount of wet ingredients. This can be caused by a number of different reasons:
- The recipe can be off. If you are using a new recipe or at least one that you have never tried before, the recipe could have an error in it, making the ratio of wet to dry ingredients off. If this is the case, correct the recipe or at least make a note to yourself that there is an issue with the recipe so that this doesn’t happen again.
- Something was mismeasured when putting the ingredients together, again making the ratio of wet to dry ingredients incorrectly.
- The dough could have dried out too much while sitting in the refrigerator.
- One of the liquid ingredients, such as vanilla extract or some other liquid flavoring, could have been left out.
How To Make Cookie Dough Less Dry and Crumbly?
If your cookie dough appears to be too dry and crumbly, there are six easy fixes that will ensure that your cookies do not turn out dry and crumbly after they are baked.
1. Add more butter
One of the best ways to fix dry and crumbly cookie dough that will even give your cookies a flavor boost is to add a little butter to the dough. Whether or not you have used butter as the fat in your cookie dough, if you add a small amount to your dough, the taste and the texture will both be improved. Here are the steps to follow to add butter to your dough:
- Melt a small amount of butter either on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Add a teaspoon of butter to the dough and mix it into the dough by hand or with a mixer. (I prefer to mix the dough by hand, but that is just my personal preference.)
- Continue adding a teaspoon of butter at a time and mixing it into the dough by hand or with a mixer until the texture of the dough is perfect and no longer dry and crumbly.
2. Add a little olive oil
Add a little olive oil to your cookie dough. There are many cooks who would prefer adding olive oil over butter to a recipe because of the fat and calorie difference. Here are the steps to follow to add olive oil to your dough:
- Add a teaspoon of olive oil, preferably extra virgin olive oil, to the dough and mix it into the dough by hand or with a mixer.
- Continue adding a teaspoon of olive oil at a time and mixing it into the dough by hand or with a mixer until the texture of the dough is perfect and no longer dry and crumbly.
3. Work the dough a little more
While the cookie dough is chilling in the refrigerator before baking, it will, on occasion, dry out a bit and make the dough appear dry and crumbly. Or, it is possible that the dough just hasn’t been worked enough to completely blend all the ingredients together. This can be fixed by working the dough a little to liven it up.
4. Add a little water
Add a little water to the dough. This is better done if you just wet your hands a bit and work the dough with wet hands rather than running the risk of adding too much water. If you would prefer just to add a little water, add just a teaspoon at a time until the right consistency is achieved.
5. Add a small amount of milk
Add a small amount of milk to the dough. Whether milk was the liquid that you added to the dough originally, adding a small amount of milk will give the cookies a richer flavor. Follow these steps to add milk to the cookie dough:
- Add a teaspoon of milk to the dough and mix it into the dough by hand or with a mixer.
- Continue adding a teaspoon of milk at a time and mixing it into the dough by hand or with a mixer until the texture of the dough is perfect and no longer dry and crumbly.
6. Add an egg
Add an egg to the dough. This could be the original issue. If the recipe called for a large egg and the egg you added was a small or medium-sized egg, then the difference in the amount of moisture provided by the egg could account for the dry and crumbly condition of the dough. Just add another egg to the dough and mix it in either by hand or with a mixer.
How To Prevent Dry And Crumbly Cookie Dough?
Sometimes things just happen, and occasionally a batch of cookie dough is going to be dry, but there are a few things you can do as preventive measures.
- Try to make sure you are using a good recipe. If the recipe you are going to use is new to you, take a look at the ingredients, and the amounts called for and make sure nothing seems off.
- Measure the ingredients precisely. I always use the same measuring cup and spoons for all the ingredients to try to get measurements that are as precise as possible.
- Pre-measure ingredients and check them when adding to the dough to make sure you haven’t left something out. Do I sound like a voice of authority? That’s right, I have many times left ingredients out when baking.
- Avoid underworking the dough because not combining the ingredients sufficiently will result in dry and crumbly cookie dough.
- Also, avoid overworking the dough because that can also cause cookie dough to be dry and crumbly.
When making a batch of cookies from scratch and the dough turns out dry and crumbly so that you know the cookies are not going to be perfect, don’t give up because all is not lost. Just use a few of the tips found in this article to diagnose and fix the problem.
And then be sure you don’t overbake the cookie dough because even perfect cookie dough will turn into dry and crumbly cookies if baked too long.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss The 5 Best Substitutes for Brown Sugar in Cookies.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.