I haven't scooped cookie dough with a spoon for so long, I'd almost forgotten how to do it.

For nearly 20 years, ever since we started carrying cookie scoops in our Baker's Catalogue, I've been a huge fan of these versatile kitchen tools.

I bake a lot, providing treats for community gatherings ranging from church bake sales to library book talks to coffee break for the volunteers at our local Audubon sanctuary.

And I wouldn't think of baking batch after batch after double batch of cookies the old-fashioned way, using a spoon to drop dough onto the pan.

What's so special about cookie scoops? C'mon, I'll show you.

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Make a batch of your favorite drop cookie dough.

What's a drop cookie, you ask? Simply one you shape by dropping balls of dough onto a baking sheet – as opposed to rolling out and cutting with a cutter, or baking in an iron (e.g., pizzelle).

Drop cookies include peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles, oatmeal cookies – really, all the best-known, favorite cookies.

I've made a batch of dough for my favorite chocolate chip cookies here.

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Next, scoop the dough onto a pan.

I scoop 15 cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, using a regular spoon.

As you can see by the timer, it takes me 1 minute, 38 seconds. And I end up with very sticky fingers, from scraping the dough off the spoon.

Yes, I could have used two spoons; and I tried that. But then the dough stuck to both spoons instead of just one. Not a real time-saver.

Notice the finished cookies; they're basically round (some more than others), but some are a bit uneven.

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Here's the same test, using a teaspoon cookie scoop. My fingers stay clean, out of the dough. And scooping 15 cookies takes 54 seconds – a 31.9% reduction in time compared to using a spoon.

The finished cookies include some that aren't perfectly round; but as you can see, they look pretty good.

Also, unlike my spoon-scooped cookies, the cookies are all basically the same size, within 1/4" or so. Since the scoop lets you portion out the same amount of dough each time – no guesswork – your cookies will be very consistent, size-wise.

Cookie scoops come in a range of sizes.

The nice thing about cookie scoops is their variety of sizes: teaspoon, tablespoon, and BIG (1/4 cup). But the teaspoon and tablespoon scoops don't measure out an exact teaspoon or tablespoon of dough.

Let me explain: these scoops portion out the amount of dough called for in old-fashioned recipes. You know how your Joy of Cooking might say "Drop dough by the teaspoonful"? Or tablespoonful?

These weren't referring to measuring-spoon spoons, but rather common kitchen spoons. To give an example, you'd use a teaspoon to stir your coffee; a tablespoon to sip your soup.

We can't know for sure exactly what those old-time bakers had in mind for "teaspoon" and "tablespoon." But here's what we've came up with –

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  • Teaspoon scoop: 1 3/4 measuring teaspoons dough, to make a 2" to 2 1/4" cookie.
  • Tablespoon scoop: 4 measuring teaspoons dough, to make a a 3" to 3 1/4" cookie.
  • Big scoop (a.k.a. muffin scoop): 1/4 cup dough, to make a 4" to 4 1/4" cookie.

We also offer a jumbo scoop, which holds 2 tablespoons of dough, and makes a cookie somewhere in size between the tablespoon and big scoops.

Which size cookie scoop should you choose?

I use the teaspoon scoop for groups of kid, potlucks, church refreshments, family gatherings, and other occasions when you want a lot of cookies. I'll get about 7 dozen cookies out of my chocolate chip cookie recipe, using a teaspoon scoop. And 2 1/4" isn't a small cookie, by any means; it's about the size of a typical chocolate chip cookie you'd find in the cookie aisle at the grocery store.

The tablespoon scoop is perfect when you want a more impressive cookie, one more dessert-like in size, rather than snack-like. It's large enough that you'll be satisfied with just one.

The biggest scoop I use strictly for bake sales, where you want to sell individual cookies. The big, 4"+ cookies made from this 1/4-cup scoop slip nicely into waxed bags, ready to label and price.

To sum it up, here's how a cookie scoop helps you:

  • Saves time.
  • Makes uniform-sized, round cookies.
  • Keeps your hands clean.
  • Allows you to choose your favorite size cookie, from kid-sized small to bake-sale large.

Now it's true, this post has been all about the journey...

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...but oh, that delicious destination!

Psst ... we've got plenty more cookie skills posts where this came from! 

PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, three dogs, and really good food!

View all posts by PJ Hamel