Using Cookie Cutters

by Stefani Anderson
(last updated October 30, 2015)

A few simple tips can improve the quality of your cut-out cookies and make the process of holiday baking more enjoyable:

Refrigerate your dough first (30–60 minutes) and put your cookie cutters in the freezer for a few minutes before you're ready to use them.

Roll your dough in small chunks directly on silicon mat or piece of parchment paper that can go into the oven on the baking sheet. (That way you won't have to pull delicate cookies off the tray with a spatula when they're done. You can just lift the whole thing onto a cooking rack.)

Roll out your dough evenly at the right thickness. Most dough works best at 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch. You can buy spacers for you rolling pin that will help you get the dough to a certain thickness, but you can also use regular rubber bands. Just put them on either end of the rolling pin to leave that much room between the pin and the surface you're rolling on.

If your dough will expand a lot in the oven and you're using detailed shapes, roll thinner. If your dough doesn't expand much and/or you're using shapes without much detail, roll thicker.

Be careful with thin dough. If you roll dough too thin, the cookies will burn and be brittle and break easily when you take them out of the oven.

Use cutters with softer corners with expanding dough. Dough generally expands outward as well as upward, so it doesn't keep exactly the same shape as it cooks.

Large, thick cookies need to bake longer at a lower temperature than other cookies so they aren't doughy in the middle and burnt on the edges.

For angels, gingerbread men, and other shapes that need all their limbs intact, dip cookie cutters in flour or oil before using.

Place your cutter and press straight down (don't wiggle or twist). If you have your dough on the surface it will bake on, you can just remove the excess and leave the cookies where they are. If not, use a thin metal spatula to move cookies to the baking sheet.

After you've cut out your cookies and put them on the tray, refrigerate the whole tray for about 10 minutes. This will help keep your cookies the same shape they should be.

A note about washing and storing your cookie cutters:

  • Wash plastic cutters with regular dish soap and water.
  • Plastic cutters can go into a box or other storage container without breaking.
  • Don't get metal cutters wet; they'll rust. Instead, rub them clean with a towel and some oil if they need it after you've used them.
  • Metal cutters will likely bend if you store them in a box, so one solution is to loop a string through all your metal cutters and hang them up high in your pantry somewhere they won't get bumped and jostled much.

Author Bio

Stefani Anderson

Stefani is an assessment developer for an online university. She earned a degree in language, editing, and anthropology from Brigham Young University. Her favorite thing is to travel the world, chronicle her adventures, and help others celebrate memories. ...


Alternatives to Common Baking Ingredients

Are you out of eggs? Find out what you can use instead of ingredients you don't have on hand.

Discover More

Making Personalized Cookbooks

Have you ever wanted to publish your own cookbook? At the very least, you can make an awesome collection to share with your ...

Discover More

Heart-Shaped Cakes

Make a heart-shaped cake without a heart tin. Decorate hearts to fit all sorts of party themes.

Discover More

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's face it, chocolate chip cookies are perhaps one of the most popular types of cookies in existence. This also means that ...

Discover More

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies make a delicious treat and are fairly easy to make. But what can you do when they come out hard ...

Discover More

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

Whether it's due to the rising temperatures of spring and summer or you don't like how hot it can get when you bake, there ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

Links and Sharing