Does It Make a Difference If I Mix Cookie Dough with a Mixer Instead of By Hand?
I was recently chatting with a few blogging friends about my flourless peanut butter chocolate cookies and it led to a conversation about how we mix our cookie dough.
We shared thoughts on mixing by hand, or with a mixer, and if it makes a difference.
I have a few of my grandmother’s cookie recipes that must be mixed by hand or they turn out totally different.
This is true of many old-fashioned type recipes. Many of our grandmas and great-grandmas never used a mixer. Mixers were less common so they always mixed things by hand.
My gluten free death by chocolate cookies are another recipe that seems to turn out better by hand, but besides that, I pretty much use a mixer for all my cookies.
After this conversation about cookies turning out differently when you mix them by hand, it got me thinking though about how much difference it does make to mix the cookie dough by hand.
I have been experimenting with it and with some recipes, it does make a big difference. If the recipe says to mix by hand I always mix it by hand.
This is the case with both regular and gluten-free cookie dough. It really does make a difference with some recipes.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Does It Make a Difference If I Mix Cookie Dough with a Mixer Instead of By Hand
What do you think? Do cookies turn out differently when mixed with a mixer instead of by hand? Leave a comment letting us know what you think?
Need some cookie recipes? Here are a few of our favorite:
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Flourless Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Flourless Chocolate Cookies
- Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Candy Cane Cookies
I wouldn’t know, I NEVER mix by hand, always the Kitchen Aid. So, if they don’t turn out, I assume it is the recipe.
I only mix cookies by hand. I think it makes a huge difference and it is my secret to perfect cookies.
sarah k @ the pajama chef
most of the time i use my kitchenaid, but i can’t keep it on the counter all the time so for little things i don’t want to drag it out… but i do think that if the butter is melted it is much easier to mix by hand. if you need to cream it, a mixer works so much better. on that note, i do have an antique non-electric handmixer of my grandma’s. i should do an experiment sometime using that as a helper!
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts
I always mix my cookies (and most other baking recipes) by hand, using a wooden spoon. In my opinion, cookies made with a mixer are too uniform in texture and lose that perfect texture whether it’s chewiness or crispiness or a mixture of both. I gave up using a mixer for cookies eons ago for that reason.
Another reader mentioned it making a difference with gluten free too, so this is interesting. I am loving all the thoughts on this one.
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts
Lynn, for me, this is something I’ve almost always done, even long before going gluten free. I think that it goes back to the advice on baking recipes like brownies and muffins where we’re told not to overmix. Using a wooden spoon, I just “feel” when the dough is ready. Interestingly, the classic advice on gluten-free baking, particularly when mixing bread dough, is that you can’t overmix because you don’t have the gluten and the concern on it losing its elasticity.
Regular flour vs. gluten-free? Now, THERE’S a BIG difference. Wheat means gluten and cookies don’t need to be “all worked up” or it can bite you in the butt! So, I think mixing by hand often lends itself to more successes. GF though? It can probably make less of a difference…but I’m lazy and I think mixing by hand is easier anyway! Less to wash up afterward! I also like to “feel” the dough in case it feels too “thick” or “thin” and needs adjusted…..
I don’t own a mixer, so I do all my mixing by hand. Actually, my whipped shortbread is fantastic! I would never want to risk my tried n true recipes by using a mixer. I like to ‘feel’ when the mix is ready. If I ever got a mixer, I would only use it for new recipes, I think.
True! I’ve been making the same lb cake
And cookies since I was little, all by hand. I’m scared of a mixer, I’ve never used one in my life. I’m petrified of what it may do to my cake that I sell.
how do you do cakes by hand? Just a wooden spoon, not even a hand mixer? thank you
According to my husband, he can tell the difference in taste whether it was mixed by machine or hand. He always guesses correctly! And, always still eats them; he prefers hand mixed cookies.
That is interesting. I guess maybe there is a difference. I am loving all the thoughts on this one.
Yes, it does make a difference. Using a mixer tends to overmix, causing a flatter cookie. I’ve tried it both ways, and mixing by hand is the only way if you want a cookie that doesn’t resemble a flat hockey puck..Just sayin’
I prefer flatter cookies. Fat cookies tend to be cake-like in texture. So maybe I WILL use the kitchenaid today. Lol. Thanks for your post!
Hand mixing works much better with GF flours! I learned this the hard way….I used the mixer and my husband, also a baker, mixed by hand. There just is no comparison.
I am wondering the same thing on gf vs regular flour. I am going to experiment with recipes now both ways and see.
My husband, the cookie maker in the house, says, “YES IT DOES!” He says it doesn’t overwork the flour, and you can make sure it is mixed more thoroughly when you mix it by hand. I don’t know if that is the case, but he does make “to die for” cookies. So, I will have to concur… hand mixing! Oh, by the way, “hand mixing” to my husband is just that “hand mixing”, NOT stirring with a spoon by hand but using your hands to mix the dough. I wasn’t quite sure what your definition of hand mixing was.
Well by hand I meant a wooden spoon for this, but I do mix meatloaf, meatballs, etc by hand because I agree for somethings your hands just mix better. I might have to try it with cookie dough now and see.
Hmmm. I’ve always used my hand mixer, because I thought you needed to, to get everything incorporated. I may have to try it by hand once just to see the difference.
I use my hand mixer to cream the butter and sugars and mix everything else in with a wooden spoon. I’m going to try my next batch of cookies without the mixer in the first step.
Interesting comments. Most in our family are gf, so I will have to try this out and see. I use my Kitchenaid for almost everything. Maybe I’m overmixing and that’s why somethings are not turning out.
I have tried this experiment the last few times I’ve made cookies. They definitely turn out better hand mixed! When I use the mixer I end up either adding more flour, or having to put the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Using the mixer makes the butter softer, making it too soft to roll the cookies into a ball. Hence the need to refrigerate or add more flour. But adding more flour messes with the end product, so it’s easier to just mix by hand.
I have never thought of such a thing. Now I’m totally curious! I always use my kitchenaid! I don’t know if I’m patient enough to let the butter warm up enough to use a spoon and my own muscle! Got a cookie scoop and new cookie sheets for Christmas… Guess I will have to try it sometime soon!
I use my kitchenaid. I find “my cookies” come out better. However, I spent a year perfecting “my cookies” (chocolate chip and chocolate chip oatmeal. ) and can tell when mixing when they are done. We take our cookies very seriously around here! Hubby says he married me because of “my cookies”. I also finish mixing the flour by hand with any cookie recipe. However, I am now curious on if it would make a difference on other cookie recipes I use.
I own a Kithcen Aid Stand Mixer and a run of the mill hand mixer for quick things and for things that you need to take the mixer to- I do some cake decorating (used to do a lot more) and that is the reason I wanted a Kitchen Aid Stand – it is a big help on the icing. I also love it for when I do meat loaf and sausage cheese balls. You don’t want to work the meat too much but if you load all ingredients it mixes it well quickly and w/o all the mess – I have carpel tunnel and the cold meats make my hands and wrist hurt bad.
I find oatmeal cookies are more moist and chewy if I mix them by hand. Using a mizer they are flat and crisper.
I guess it’s a choice. I prefer the hand-mixed result.
I grew up mixing cookies by hand only, and using a mixer for cake batters and other recipes involving thinner consistency. A mixer will destroy the texture of some cookies, especially oatmeal cookies. They might as well be porridge gruel cookies.
I happened into this conversation when my God Son was using electric mixer to make cookies “😱”! That’s how his mother taught him “WHAT A MISTAKE”, NOW I KNOW THAT HER COOKIES COME OUT FLAT & SOFT.
HAND MIX PLEASE !!! GIVE THE COOKIE A CHANCE.
I typically will melt the butter a little so it’s soft, and use a metal fork. I feel it’s a satisfying way to get arm workout and they always turn out delicious!! 😋
Interesting time to find this. I am getting ready to make some chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies today. I have never heard of hand mixing cookie dough. I have always used a hand mixer on slow speed. My husband misses his mother’s PB cookies and I can’t seem to find the right recipe. Now I am wandering if it is hand mixing. I may have to try later, I had emergency surgery for a ruptured brain aneurysm and had a subachranoid hemorrhage/stroke and spent 3 weeks in ICU then went through rehab. Then I continued my antics, fell and broke my wrist. I just got released from that doctor after he put pins and plates in to rebuild my wrist. I don’t think I have the umpf to mix cookies. I can’t imagine how long it would take to cream butter. I read I can put the dough in the fridge 2 hours after mixing and that works like hand mixing. Doesn’t make a lot of sense and I really haven’t had any complaints about my cookies but this scon guessing is just my new normal. And I am still trying to find the difference in the PB cookies. She was German so it could have been something they use in Germany and I may never find out. I have tried EVERY brand of peanut butter except Peter Pan and that’s the PB of choice today.
I think in some older recipes hand mixing makes a big difference. In other recipes I don’t think it matters as much. Years ago they only mixed by hand, but many recipes today that have you creaming the ingredients for several minutes are meant to be made in a mixer. So I think this really does vary. I would guess on a peanut butter cookie that it might have to do with the peanut butter or the other ingredients. A different type of peanut butter could make a difference. I hope you get to feeling better soon! You have had a rough time of it the last few weeks. I hope you feel better and are back to baking soon!
I tried to hand mix and it is too soon so I grabbed my hand mixer and we have our first holiday batch of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. They taste pretty good to me. Thanks for the info. I am coming along s little further every day, I will be 100% if I can stay upright.
I have always mixed cookie dough by hand. My mother taught me to mix it with a fork, and a few years back I was given a Danish whisk (made in Poland) which is now my go-to. I think hand mixing gives me a better feel for how well things are blended and whether the dough is ready for the next ingredient.
It’s possible to over-cream butter, so I wonder if that is what makes food-processor cookies more likely to be flat?
Also, thanks for posting this! After a friend asked me if I mixed by hand, I got curious whether anyone had studied the difference and found your blog (after wading through the dozens of ads for blenders vs food processors vs stand mixers that google threw in my way first). Will be browsing through for gluten-free recipes for my celiac friends. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think on many recipes hand mixing the dough makes a big difference, so I love hearing what other people have experienced. The Danish whisk sounds very interesting. I am so glad that you found my site!
Ive been mixing by hand. Using my mums method and the results are far better than mixing by mixer. It leaves a better texture, melt in your mouth. Urghhh. I made 2 same cookies. To see the difference. 1 by hand and the other my mixer. I love the cookies turn out mixing by hand. It also saves time. Mostly, i will melt the butter and cool it. I always melt the butter since then. In a bowl. Add in the flour, icing sugar, salt, vanilla, melted butter and eggs. Half way tru, can add in whatever u want. Nuts or others. Mix by hand slowly but do not over mixed. Untl just combined. Its ready. Do not put too much flour tho. The softer the dough is the better. It will turn out nice, soft, melt in ur mouth. My mum have been selling her pineapple tarts and other cookies for 20yrs and this is the method she taught me.
Thank you for sharing how your mom taught you to make cookies by hand. I love hearing food and recipe stories like that!
My new mixer mixes cookies too flat!
I wanted a KitchenAid when I was younger and working but I didn’t have counter space for one. Now I have a new house and counter space but I have retired and can’t seem to justify the cost for one.
Get a hand mixer, they cost like $10-$20.