How to Soften Hard Cookies (Easy Hacks)

If your homemade or store-bought cookies have gotten hard, dry or stale, there are some quick and easy tricks to soften hard cookies.

Cookies in a bowl.

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I suppose there are some people who really prefer those hard, crispy cookies. Everyone has their preferences. Personally, I really prefer a soft, moist and chewy cookie.

Even when you bake them perfectly though, sometimes they just don’t stay that way. Once they’re put into containers, they start losing moisture.

Don’t panic though if your cookies start to harden up on you. If you prefer eating soft cookies instead of crispy or crunchy ones, there are ways to make hard cookies soft again and get that fresh taste back.

Stacked cookies with text overlay pin 1

Store them properly:

Chocolate chip cookies in a jar with a hand.

The easiest and best way to make sure cookies stay moist and soft is to make sure and store them properly. Many recipes will tell you the best way to store them, but usually, it’s in an airtight container.

You could also add the cookies to a plastic bag with a zip top, like a ziplock bag, push the air out as best you can and zip up the bag. This method works as well, however, I’ve found, depending on the brand of plastic bags I use, some can have a weird smell to them that then permeates the cookies, so be aware of that.

I’ve had the best luck just putting the cookies in a plastic container with a snap lid. It does seem to keep them from drying out a bit better than the freezer bags or zip bags.

Doing this will help tremendously, but for some cookies, you need to go the extra mile and add some of the other steps we’ll cover next.

Soften hard cookies in the microwave:

Microwave with hand.

You can wrap the hardened cookie in a damp paper towel, then microwave it for about 10-15 seconds. The warm moisture from the paper towel and the heat from the microwave will help soften the cookie. Just make sure the paper towel isn’t soaking wet, it just needs to be damp.

Quick tip: This works on store-bought cookies too. It makes them such a yummy treat.

Make hard cookies soft again with bread:

Hard vanilla cookies in a bowl.

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You can either do this at the beginning to keep cookies soft, or to help them become soft again after they’ve hardened.

Just add the cookies to an airtight container and lay a slice of bread in the container. This will help to soften the cookies. It works like magic.

If the cookies have already hardened, it may take about half a day for them to soak up the moisture from the bread.

Ways to help prevent cookies from getting hard:

Chocolate chip cookies in a tin.

Store them properly:

From the get-go, make sure when the cookies are baked, to store them in an airtight container.

Add bread from the get-go:

Go ahead and set a piece of bread in the container with the cookies. Try to set the bread on the side of the container because if you lay it directly over the cookies, sometimes the cookies you laid it on can get a little mushy.

Choose the right type of recipe:

Recipe book with whisk and baking ingredients.

Go for soft cookie recipes. Some cookie recipes are meant to make crispy, crunchy cookies. Make sure you’re picking a recipe that says it makes soft cookies. Sometimes those recipes will include vegetable shortening instead of butter. Shortening makes soft and fluffy cookies.

Try making cookies from a cake mix:

Yes, you can actually make cookies out of cake mix and they’re really soft that way.

Watch how long you bake them:

Ginger cookies on a cookie sheet.

Try not to overbake cookies. Overbaking cookies can pull all of the moisture out of them and make them dry and brittle. If it’s safe to do so, you can ever so slightly underbake them, but don’t do this by more than a minute or two because you still want to be food safe.

Get them off the cookie sheet:

Chocolate cookies on a wire rack.

Don’t leave the cookies on the baking sheet the entire time they’re cooling.

Although you’ve pulled the cookies out of the oven, they’re still on a hot baking sheet that will continue to bake them, so it’s a good idea to only let them sit on the baking sheet for about two minutes to firm up, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool further without additional baking from the sheet.

Know the nature of cookies:

The longer cookies are kept, the more they’ll dry out. That’s the nature of cookies. It’s really the same with cupcakes. They’re just best when eaten within a few days.

How to soften hard cookies quickly:

The best way to do this is to heat them in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. Wrapping them in a moist paper towel before microwaving really helps.

Can I soften hard cookies in the oven?

That’s not recommended. The dry heat will just bake them more and dry them out further.

Try the microwave method, but make sure to use the damp paper towel as you need to add more moisture, not just heat the cookies.

Stacked cookies and crumbs with text overlay pin 2.


2 thoughts on “How to Soften Hard Cookies (Easy Hacks)”

  1. My husband loves crunchy cookies. He says he likes them to explode “cookie powder” in his mouth. So I almost char his cookies. Yuck. Me, I’m like you. Love soft chewy cookies. We have to stick together. Great tips here. Enjoy this Blog.


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