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How to make any recipe "No Spread"

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Have you been searching online for the best no spread sugar cookie recipe?

Look no further- because I'm about to tell you how to make ANY recipe no spread!

Okay, let's back up. What is a no spread recipe? Here's my definition:

No Spread: cookies that are baked with a sharp edge and do not come out of the oven larger than your put them in.

You'll notice above that the edges of the cookies are sharp with clean crisp edges. This would be considered a "no spread" cookie recipe.

But what makes a cookie spread?

One reason is your recipe calls for an uneven ratio of butter vs sugar. Too much butter OR sugar in a recipe can lead to your cookies being flat, crunchy and spreading larger than you started.

If your recipe calls for a half a cup of butter, make sure there is a half a cup of sugar to balance it out. If your recipe needs 4 cups of butter, make sure there is 4 cups of sugar. Keep that equal ratio of 1:1 to prevent spread.

Kaci, my recipe calls for even amounts of butter and sugar and my cookies still spread...

Another reason your cookies spread is not having enough flour. Your cookie dough should not be sticking to the sides of your bowl.

For this, I recommend a electric mixer. Add your flour, as directed by your recipe. After it is fully incorporated, watch your dough. Does it stick together or spread along the sides of your mixing bowl?

Here you can see what I look for to know I've added enough flour.

And no, adding more flour does NOT make your cookies taste like flour.

But yesterday I only had to addd 4 cups of flour, and today I had to add 7 cups...

There are a few reasons why you would need to add more or less flour day to day. Your eggs may be slightly larger or smaller. You may have had a heavy hand when adding your flavoring. Or it could be raining, or higher humidity in your home. All of these contribute to the wetness of your dough and adding enough flour is essential to getting no spread.

Kaci, is there ANYTHING else I can try?

Of course! Chilled dough is known to spread less, so pop those cookies in the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking to prevent spread.

Even baking is essential as well, so be sure not to over or under crowd your tray. Next chance I get I'll add a picture of what my trays look like before going into the oven, but typically I get 12-15 cookies on a tray. If they are larger cookies, I like to poke them with a fork to help get them evenly baked.

Lastly, I would recommend looking at the amount of baking powder in your recipe. Baking powder is a leavening agent and will make your cookies bigger, but can also make them spread so I never use more than 1/4th tsp per dozen cookies.

So Kaci, how do I fix my recipe?

It's easy! Try these tips one by one with your recipe. Maybe changing just one thing will makes your cookies no spread, or maybe changing everything.

Each person, kitchen and cookie is different.

Let me know how the cookies turn out :)


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