Nothing smells quite as comforting as cookies baking away in the oven. Whether you’re a fan of the classic chocolate chip or prefer to dig into a shortbread or snickerdoodle, baking cookies is a soothing activity with a delicious end result.
If you’re new to baking cookies, you might have some questions about at what temperature and for long you should be placing them in oven.
Typically, we bake cookies at 350°F, as this allows the inside and the outside of the cookie to finish baking at the same time, leaving your cookies with a lovely crispy outside and a slightly soft but fully cooked inside.
So, how long do you bake cookies at 350°F? The answer depends on the type of cookie, the size, and whether you like a chewy or a crunchy cookie. If you are baking smaller cookies and you want them chewy, you can bake for 7-10 minutes. For larger or crunchy cookies, bake 10-15 minutes.
Read on to discover how long to bake cookies at 350°F, how to properly arrange your cookies for baking, how many cookies you can fit per baking sheet, and how to tell when your cookies are done baking.
Why Do We Bake Cookies At 350°F?
Most recipes for cookies call for you to preheat the oven to 350°F.
This temperature is a great one for baking because it allows the outside of the cookie to evenly brown and crisp, while properly cooking the inside through.
Essentially, this temperature allows the inside and the outside of the cookie to finish baking at the same time.
Make sure you preheat the oven before sliding your cookies in though, since the fluctuating temperature as it preheats could impact the final texture of your cookie.
How To Properly Arrange Your Cookies For Baking
When you’re baking cookies, it is important to leave enough space between each one so that they have room to spread as they cook.
Leaving space between each cookie also allows them to bake evenly so you don’t end up with some cookies that are over or under baked.
The space you will leave between your cookies depends on one major factor which is how much your cookies will expand as they bake.
Some cookies, like shortbread, don’t expand much while others, like chocolate chip cookies, expand as they bake. Figure out what kind of cookie you’re making and whether they typically expand as they bake.
Typically, for scoopable cookies like snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and other similar types, you will want to leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie. This spacing will allow the cookies to expand without running into one another and to bake evenly.
For cookies such as gingerbread, shortbread, sugar cookies, and other cookies where you tend to chill the batter, roll it out, cut shapes, and then bake, you don’t need to leave nearly as much space since they don’t expand much in the oven.
These roll out cookies need about 1/2 to 1 inch of space between each cookie. If you have several baking sheets and spacing isn’t an issue, aim for 1 inch.
If you’re like me and very impatient, then 1/2 an inch will allow them to expand a small amount while still baking evenly.
How Many Cookies Should You Put On A Baking Sheet?
When you’re baking cookies, there are a couple of things to consider aside from temperature, including spacing and how many cookies to fit on one baking sheet.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one single hard and fast rule for how many cookies to fit on a baking sheet since both cookies and baking sheets can come in different sizes.
Most standard baking sheets are about 13 x18 inches, so the amount of cookies per sheet will depend on a couple of things:
- How much batter you use for each cookie: the amount of batter you use for scoopable cookies such chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and oatmeal cookies will directly correspond to how much they expand and how many you can fit per baking sheet.
- The bigger the scoop of dough, the fewer cookies you can fit per sheet. You want to leave at least 2 inches between these types of cookies, so they can properly expand without running into one another, and so they can bake evenly.
- The type of cookie you’re baking: typically, you can put more roll out cookies per baking sheet than you can scoopable cookies since they don’t expand nearly as much as they bake. That means you can put less space between each one and still have them evenly baked.
- Roll out cookies include ginger bread, shortbread, sugar cookies, and any other cookie that you chill the dough, roll it out, then cut it into shapes.
How To Tell When Your Cookies Are Ready
While baking times can vary based on how large they are, how many cookies per tray, and the different types of ovens (some run hotter than others), there are some things that you can look out for physically to tell whether your cookies are baked.
Something to keep in mind is personal preference. Some of us love gooey, chewy centers to our cookies, which means we will want to err on the side of under-baked. Other folks enjoy a crispy, crunchy cookie, so you may push the baking time a little longer to get that snap.
Generally speaking, though, there are a couple of things to look out for when figuring out when your cookies are baked through.
When it comes to scoopable cookies such as chocolate chip, oatmeal, or snickerdoodles, you want to make sure that your cookie has fully expanded and that the edges are starting to turn a light golden brown color.
Some guidelines to follow:
- The darker the edges become, the crunchier your cookie will be. The lighter the edges, the softer the center.
- If you’re baking a double chocolate cookie or something that is already a dark brown, then you will want to make sure the cookie has expanded. There will also likely be little cracks along the top of the cookie. You don’t want the center to look jiggly or raw.
- You can pull them out of the oven and touch the sides. If they feel firm and don’t sink in when gently pressed, then they are baked. The longer you leave them, the crunchier they will be.
When it comes to baking roll out cookies such as gingerbread, shortbread, or sugar cookies, you don’t typically want the edges to darken, especially with shortbreads or sugar cookies (it’s harder to tell with gingerbread anyway).
To figure out when these cookies are ready, you mostly have to rely on baking time and instinct.
The edges might get a very light golden brown, but it won’t be much different from the color of the dough. Basically, you want to cook them for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size.
Pull them out before they turn brown. As they cool, the cookies will harden. If you want a softer shortbread or gingerbread, you can also cook them at a lower temperature for a longer time. Check your recipes if this is something you want to try.
How Long To Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies At 350°F
This classic cookie can range in baking time from about 7 minutes for smaller, chewier cookies up to 15-20 minutes for large, crispy crunchy cookies.
If you are using a small spoon sized scoop, I would place them in the oven and set the timer for 7 minutes.
Check to see whether they have finished expanding and to see if the edges have started turning golden brown. If they haven’t pop them back in for another 3-5 minutes.
Continue checking and adding a couple of minutes until your desired texture has been achieved.
How Long To Bake Shortbread Cookies At 350°F
Most shortbread cookies don’t change shape or color much as they bake, so it can be a little trickier to figure out baking time.
I like to set my timer for about 10 minutes to start. I check them and usually spin my baking sheet around. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Remember that these cookies will harden as they set once removed from the oven. Most shortbread will be completely cooked in about 15 minutes, though 20 may be required for larger cookies.
How Long To Bake Oatmeal Cookies At 350°F
Baking oatmeal cookies tends to take a little longer than chocolate chip cookies since the oatmeal is a little more robust.
I like to bake my oatmeal cookies for 10 minutes, then turn them and bake another 2-5 minutes. You want the middle to look a little soft, so they end up nice and chewy.
How Long To Bake Gingerbread Cookies At 350°F
If you’re using a cookie cutter that is under 4 inches, then you will want to bake your gingerbread cookies for about 8 minutes. If they are larger than 4 inches, then bake your cookies for about 10 to 12 minutes.
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