Should You Age Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough?

Aged Chocolate Chip Cookies
Aged chocolate chip cookies…?

What is this, cheese or something???

For months now, I’ve heard over and over again that aging chocolate chip cookie dough before baking makes a big difference in the resulting cookie.

My first judgement was that this was a gimmick.

I mean, how on earth was I even supposed to find out if it wasn’t?

I can’t leave chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge for 3 days.

It’s too tempting. Me want cookie.

Me want cookie now.

Not in 3 days.

But the time came when I finally had to test this out for myself.

This all started when I came across an article David Leite published in the New York Times in 2008.

Read the article for the nitty gritty details, but in a nutshell, chilling the dough in the fridge for a few days allows the dry ingredients to fully soak up the wet ingredients, which results in a better texture when you bake the cookie, and not to mention, better flavor.

Aged Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

So what’s my conclusion?

I went into this as a complete skeptic.

Mainly because like I said, I don’t want there to be a reason to wait 36 hours for cookies.

But I have to say, I think they’re right. Aging makes a difference.

And in hindsight, I shouldn’t be surprised.

I put pasta salad in the fridge to let the flavors meld, and I let yeasted bread doughs age in the fridge to develop a good texture and good flavor.

These cookies are just one more example where a little time makes a big difference in both flavor and texture.

I really didn’t make many changes from the recipe on Leite’s Culinaria, but will say that baking time makes a big difference in the resulting cookie.

This is what the 15 minute cookie looked like (the one my husband prefers) :

Aged Chocolate Chip Cookies

And this is what the 20 minute cookie looked like (the one I prefer):

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Big difference, you see?

The “underbaked” 15 minute cookie doesn’t allow enough time to set the full texture of the cookie, resulting in a flatter but chewier, denser, and softer cookie.

The 20 minute cookie baked for long enough to set the texture of the cookie and is about twice as thick as the 15 minute cookie. It’s more crumbly, with a crisp exterior but a soft interior, and is much thicker.

The choice is yours! Have fun baking your cookies and share your thoughts with us in the comments section. How do you like your chocolate chip cookies baked? Do you age the dough?

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  • avatar Matt August 7, 2013, 11:27 am

    Think this works with cookies other than choc chip? Thinking of trying with a batch of snickerdoodles.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug August 7, 2013, 9:31 pm

      Hi Matt, I think it works with all sorts of doughs, so absolutely. It’s the same deal with bread, aged doughs are more flavorful. It’s certainly worth an experiment.

      • avatar Matt August 9, 2013, 11:33 am

        So yikes, 3 days in the fridge was tough, but I baked the snickerdoodles this morning and they came out great. Thanks for the tip.

        • avatar Joanne Ozug August 10, 2013, 2:33 pm

          Haha, I know, it’s so hard to be patient! Usually I end up baking off half the dough right there, then “aging” the other half.

  • avatar Diane October 4, 2013, 8:26 pm

    I was reading an article on Wally Amos, and he believes in keeping his ingredients very cold and he chills the dough as well. I find that the texture of the cookies is better if it is chilled, and it prevents it from spreading too much while baking for a softer cookie. I will have to also try aging the dough! Your recipes look so good! I am going to try making the dark chocolate cake ( with sunflower seed butter buttercream frosting ( I’m basing it on the PB version, but I have allergies. This will be perfect because I don’t like to bake sunflower seed butter into recipes because it reacts to baking powder and turns green, making it look unappetizing, though the flavor is always great. This gives the chocolate/”SB” combination and no green! ;) Great blog, keep up the great work!

  • avatar Ida Sulaiman October 11, 2013, 12:41 am

    I am new to fifteen spatulas and really love your website.

    I love baking Oatmeal Raisin cookies and my friends in the office like it so much. I want to check with you whetgher this will also be fine to age the oatmeal cookies dough? as the basic ingredient is rolled oats. Thanks.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 11, 2013, 10:19 am

      Hi Ida, wonderful! Welcome. Hope you enjoy the recipes!

      I think aging the oatmeal raisin cookie dough would be interesting. You could even divide a batch in two, and age one half to see if you think it makes a difference.

  • avatar Alley @ Alley's Recipe Book October 17, 2013, 11:43 pm

    Once you start refrigerating your dough, you can’t stop… because you know how much better it could be in 24 hours. I’m not sure how much more melding of ingredients could happen after the first 24 hours. I haven’t waited that long to find out. I just know even an hour of refrigeration makes a difference!

  • avatar zim October 27, 2013, 10:25 am

    With a 4 and 5 year old, there is no way I can age the dough, however if I double the batch, and age half…
    I do wonder about the leavener though. The initial lift would be dead and gone after 72 hours in the fridge, however since most leaveners are double acting I’d still get the benefit of the second lift when the cookie hits 170 degrees in the oven. Is that single lift enough to get the job done?

  • avatar Lisa January 14, 2014, 4:29 am

    I let them sit overnight and they come out great. The last batch of chocolate chip I did sat longer because other things interfered with the baking and I didn’t really care for the way they turned out. The were a little flatter and didn’t have that chewy consistency that leaving them overnight gives me.


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