Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Lori Walker
Whether you’re a beginner baker or experienced in the art of sugar cookies, this is something that can often baffle the most experienced bakers.
The reason for the crumbly dough is pretty straightforward to understand once you’ve got your head around it.
So in this article, we’ll go over the possible reasons and solutions to your question – why is my cookie dough crumbly?
5 Possible Reasons Why My Sugar Cookie Dough Is Crumbly
One of the reasons your cookie dough is too dry and crumbly is overmixing.
This is because the flour creates more gluten when combined with the other ingredients, making the dough more rigid.
Additionally, if you add air to the dough, the cookies will rise and then fall, leaving flat cookies behind. 
2. Wrong Measurement of Ingredients
You can get dry cookie dough if an ingredient is measured incorrectly in the cookie recipe.
For instance, because each type of flour has unique properties, changing all-purpose flour with a different kind will alter the cookie dough’s overall consistency.
The easiest way to ensure flawless cookie dough is to stick to a recipe strictly, use precise measuring cups, or choose another that adheres to the formula if one ingredient runs out.
3. Not Enough Liquid or Fat
The lack of sufficient fat in the dough is also a frequent cause of crumbly cookie dough. It might have been measured improperly, or there wasn’t enough fat in the recipe. 
In cookie dough, the fat acts as a lubricant to ensure that the dry ingredients adhere to one another effectively.
4. Too Much Dry Ingredients
Using excessive amounts of dry ingredients will result in dry, crumbly cookie dough. These are sugar, flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and protein powder.
If you make a typical chocolate cookie recipe but add more baking powder, you may have a dry and crumbly cookie dough because the dry to wet component ratio is incorrect.
But is sugar a dry or liquid ingredient?
5. Dried Inside the Fridge
Making cookie dough in advance or purchasing readymade dough may cause it to dry in the refrigerator.
“If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed down from generation to generation.”– Regina Brett, American Author
Due to its constant air circulation to maintain its frigid temperature, the fridge is a particularly drying environment.
Any humidity in your cookie dough will quickly be dried by the air, dramatically altering the dough’s texture.
Also Read: How Long Does Homemade Cookie Dough Stay Good For?
How To Fix Crumbly Sugar Cookie Dough
If there is insufficient liquid, increase the amount of liquid specified in the recipe. If the recipe calls for milk, add 1 tbsp of milk.
Until the dough softens, continue adding. Note: You shouldn’t require more liquid than 4 tablespoons.
Add 1 tsp of butter if your cookie dough is lacking in fat. Add more until the dough softens, but not until it gets too soft and oily.
Mix It With Your Hands
Use your hands to stir the dough instead of the paddle attached to a stand mixer if it appears crumbly after mixing.
Your hands may aid in gently combining a dough without over-mixing it.
Alternatively, you can scoop and roll the cookie dough into balls with your hands, squeezing the dough firmly together.
Let It Rest
Leaving the dough to rest is the best option if you think you overmixed it. You must wait for the gluten to melt if the flour acquires too much gluten during mixing.
A minimum of an hour should pass while the dough is covered and left out in the kitchen at room temperature.
Next, without remixing it, scoop and bake the dough. Once it has sat, the dough ought to be somewhat softer.
Fix The Recipe
To correct the dryness brought on by using too many dry components, you need to recalculate the recipe’s contents and increase the amount of the other ingredients.
But how can you fix a runny cookie dough?
Tips & Tricks When Making Sugar Cookie Dough
- Using eggs at room temperature provides an even distribution throughout the dough.
- To give the flour air and fluffiness, whisk it with the other dry ingredients.
- Avoid over-mixing. After combining thoroughly, stop the mixer.
- Avoid overbaking your sugar cookies. When golden, remove.
Check out these quick ways to save cookie dough with too much flour here.
Why does my sugar cookie dough keep breaking?
Your sugar cookie dough keeps breaking mainly because there’s not enough liquid or fat. Consider adding water or milk, or butter.
Why is my sugar cookie dough not sticking together?
If your cookie dough is not sticking together, it might still need liquid such as egg whites or milk. Add 1 tsp and mix again.
What consistency should sugar cookie dough be?
The ideal consistency of sugar cookie dough is soft and pliable. It shouldn’t be dry or hard to flip with a paddle.
How do you know if you overmix cookie dough?
If you overmix cookie dough, it will result in dense cookies or crumbly sugar cookies. It is because of too much air that the dough absorbed while mixing.
Sugar cookie dough gets crumbly for many reasons, but mainly because of not enough liquid or fat added to the dough.
Over-mixing is also one of the most common reasons a cookie dough gets crumbly, so refrain from over-mixing while baking.
It is crucial to follow the steps to get the best results when making cookies.
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