Does Resting Your Cookie Dough Make Better Cookies?

We all have opinions where cookies are concerned—but here are the facts.

Searching for the best chocolate chip cookie is like trying to find the best cup of coffee in New York City—there are so many options that it's impossible to ever declare a real winner. Just like Buddy the Elf was lured in by the promise of "the world's best cup of coffee," we often get our hopes up, only to be left disappointed. Plus, everyone has an opinion. Some might prefer a classic diner-style brew, while others will have a particular favorite blend from the high-end coffee shop that sources its beans from around the world. One person's "best" cup of coffee might not suit their neighbor.

cookie dough on a sheet pan
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Just like with coffee, there is lots of debate on what makes a great cookie. Countless publications, bloggers, and home bakers all claim to have cracked the code, offering up their recipe for chocolate chip cookies as the definitive best. But the formula for the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie is completely subjective. Some like their cookies thin and crispy, with caramelized edges and a nice snap; others like a soft mound of dough, just baked through and chock full of chocolate. While we are not here to declare any one chocolate chip cookie recipe the ultimate best (though we could make a case for our Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies), we do have our fair share of insight on what makes a great cookie—no matter what type you prefer.

Understanding certain foundational baking techniques will give you more consistent results, so you can create your dream plate of cookies every time. Today, we're here to answer one of your most common cookie questions: Does resting your cookie dough make better cookies?

The short answer is that resting your cookie dough will almost always yield better results. Chilling your cookie dough in the fridge after mixing allows the flour to hydrate and gives all the ingredients time to come together, resulting in a more nuanced, well-rounded flavor profile. Resting your cookie dough before baking also helps the cookies keep their shape in the oven, preventing spreading (if you like a thin cookie, we have a technique for that).

Jacques Torres's famous Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, adapted by David Leite for NYTCooking, calls for at least a full day's rest in the fridge. "After assembling the dough, you must chill it for at least 24 hours before baking it, and preferably up to 36," writes Leite. "This allows the dry ingredients time to soak up the wet ones, which results in a firmer dough. It leads to a marvelously chewy, chocolate-rich cookie."

So yes, resting your cookie dough makes better cookies. If you can't swing an overnight rest, we recommend chilling your cookie dough in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours before scooping and baking. If you really don't want to wait, shape your dough into balls and freeze them for 15 minutes, then pop them in the oven.

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