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How to Soften Cookies

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here are 3 simple tips for transforming hard cookies into soft and chewy goodness. Make your hard cookies soft again!

When I think of the words “sweet” and “treat”, I always think of warm, soft, and chewy cookies.

Whether it’s chocolate chip, oatmeal, or something unique like red velvet, I don’t think I’ll ever say no to a cookie, especially one that melts in your mouth! 

Enjoying a warm and gooey cookie is one of the simple pleasures in life that can bring a smile to both kids and adults alike.

But sometimes your soft cookies can become hard and tough. No one wants to bite into a rock.

If you’ve somehow found yourself with hard, overbaked, or stale cookies, don’t worry. You might still be able to save them!

Here are 3 simple tips and tricks that will soften hard cookies to their former glory. Plus a few tips to prevent them from becoming hard the next time you bake up a warm batch of cookies.

How to Make Your Hard Cookies Soft Again!

Nobody likes hard cookies, but nobody likes for them to go to waste either. Here are three of the best ways to salvage those stiff or stale cookies.

Slices of white bread

Slice of White Bread

For this method, all you need is a cookie jar and a piece of fresh white bread.

Place your bread at the bottom of the cookie jar and place the hard cookies on top. Keep the cookie jar closed for at least 24 hours. This allows the cookies to absorb moisture from the bread, turning hard cookies into soft and chewy goodness.

Generally, 24 hours is plenty of time for the bread to work its magic. But if they’re not soft enough, simply put them back in for another 6 hours with a fresh piece of bread.

If you don’t have bread, you can also use a damp paper towel wrapped in foil with holes poked through it. Place it at the bottom of the jar, pour the cookies on top, seal the jar, and open 24 hours later for soft cookies that melt in your mouth.


Reheating Hard Cookies

Reheating hard cookies can also help to soften them up. But read carefully because this isn’t as simple as just popping them back in the oven!

You will need a damp paper towel and a microwave.

Wrap each cookie individually with the paper towel. Make sure it is only damp and not soaking wet.

Reheat them in the microwave on medium setting for 15 to 20 seconds. This should be enough time for the cookies to soak in the moisture from the paper towel.

If you take them out and they haven’t softened enough yet, wrap them in another damp paper towel and microwave again for 10 more seconds.

Plastic Wrap

Wrap Immediately After Baking

You can use this method if you accidentally over-baked your cookies and they ended up too stiff.

It’s important to check your cookies right after taking them out of the oven. They should still be soft in the middle because they will have more time to solidify and cook thoroughly during the cooling process.

If they’re already hard straight from the oven, you’ll need to soften them!

Wrap each cookie individually in a plastic wrapper while they’re still warm. This keeps steam inside the cookie which then softens them.

You can also place all the wrapped cookies in a covered container to really keep the heat in. The longer you keep them there, the softer they’ll be!

What to Avoid When Trying to Soften Cookies

  • DON’T put them back in the oven. This is a common mistake made when trying to soften cookies. Re-baking them actually takes out more moisture from the cookies and makes them even harder.
  • DON’T put them in the microwave without wrapping in a damp paper towel. Similar to putting your cookies back in the oven, simply microwaving them without moisture will make them hard and stiff.
Cookies Fresh from the Oven

How to Make Soft Cookies that Melt in Your Mouth

Now that you know how to soften hard cookies, you don’t want to make the same mistake again right?

For soft, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, you might need to tweak your recipe a little bit. Follow these tips!

Add extra butter. If you find that your cookies end up too stiff after baking, there might be something wrong with your butter-to-sugar ratio. If there is significantly more sugar than butter, you will get a hard, flat cookie. More butter will make it a bit softer.

Add milk and adjust eggs. If your recipe calls for 2 eggs, try using 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Then, add two tablespoons of milk in place of the egg white. By doing this, you’re adding more moisture to the cookie dough.

Check your baking time. Cookies tend to harden if they are left in the oven for too long. On low heat, they will be stiff and on high heat, they will burn!

The general rule to follow is to take them out when only the edges are golden brown. They should still be slightly soft in the middle and eventually hold their shape (but not stiffen!) after they’ve cooled down.

Use brown sugar instead of white sugar. This might make the cookies taste slightly different but brown sugar is known to hold moisture better than white sugar. More moisture means more chewiness!

Move them to a cooling rack. After about five minutes on the baking tray, it’s time to move them to a cooling rack. This prevents the cookies from overcooking, especially on the bottom!

How to Store Cookies

Another reason why cookies get hard is because they become stale. You can avoid this by storing your cookies properly once they have cooled down to room temperature after baking. Here’s the best tips for storing your delicious cookies!

  • Keep them sealed. The most common way to store cookies is in a cookie jar, but I like to keep them extra fresh by placing them in a sealed plastic bag before putting them in the jar.
  • Store at room temperature. If you know you’ll be having all those cookies within the next couple days, keep them at room temperature.
  • Note their shelf life. Cookies are best eaten within three days after they’re baked. Any longer than that and they won’t taste as good. But I’m sure you and your family won’t mind eating an extra cookie or two so they don’t go to waste!

How to Soften Cookies


  • Cookies


  • Place a slice of white bread at the bottom of a cookie jar.
  • Microwave the cookies.
  • Wrap each cookie in plastic wrap right after baking.
How to Soften Cookies

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “How to Soften Cookies”

  1. I am desperate ! I have put tons of $$ into holiday cookies and tested each in 330 degree oven. They all puff up a bit, but the bottom browns fast, and the centers are raw’ish. As soon as they are cooled they have become like rocks, last year too. I blamed my oven, but a new oven hasn’t helped. The only other thing i can think of is ”bad” baking powder or soda. HELLLLPPPPP PLEASE

    • Hi Sandra! Oh no, there’s nothing worse than disappointing cookies.

      What kind are you making (sugar, shortbread, crinkle, spritz, rolled…)?

      330°F is a little low. I usually bake my cookies at 350 – though some recipes I bake them at 400! – and depending on the size, they only need about 10-12 minutes in the oven.

      If you’re rolling cookie dough, it could be that the dough is too thin. Or that it needs to chill in the fridge before baking.

      It’s also possible that you have too much fat in the mix.

      As for the brown bottoms, try switching to a light baking sheet (if you’re not already using one). Dark colored baking sheets can actually absorb more heat and make the cookies too brown on the bottom. And make sure you’re not baking on the bottom shelf.

      To check the potency of your leavening agents: add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a bowl and sprinkle some baking soda over the top. Or pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. In either case, they should bubble/fizz if they’re active. If nothing happens, you need to buy fresh.

      Hope this helps! And let me know if I can recommend a cookie recipe. We have a ton that are really great for the holidays 🙂


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