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The Importance of Letting Cookie Sheets Cool

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2017

We baked sugar cookies on three cookie sheets of different temperatures to determine if it makes a difference.

If you’re baking a lot of cookies but have a limited number of cookie sheets, it can be tempting to load more batches onto the sheets before they’ve fully cooled. We ran a test to see the degree to which placing dough on a hot or merely warm cookie sheet would impact the cookies’ spread. We made the dough for our Chewy Sugar Cookies (November/December 2010) and baked three batches. We arranged the first batch on a room-temperature cookie sheet (72 degrees), the second on a sheet that we let cool for 5 minutes (110 degrees), and the third on a hot sheet (172 degrees) that we did not allow to cool at all after removing the previous batch. What did we learn? Cookies baked on the warm sheet spread more than those started on the cool sheet; while not ideal, the cookies did not run into each other. But the cookies baked on the hot sheet spread so much that the cookies fused together. The takeaway: For the best results, let your cookie sheet cool completely before reusing it. If time is tight, you can get away with letting it cool for as little as 5 minutes. Never reuse a sheet straight from the oven, as its high heat will cause the dough to spread and the cookies to fuse together.

COOL SHEET: Best results

WARM SHEET: Not ideal

HOT SHEET: Too much spread