The BEST Cookie Scoops (Plus How and Why to Use One!)
Filed Under: Baking Science | Cookies

The BEST Cookie Scoops (Plus How and Why to Use One!)

November 10th, 2022

Is using a cookie scoop really worth it? I’m answering why and how you should be using a cookie scoop when baking cookies, explaining the different scoop sizes, plus sharing the BEST cookie scoops to use!

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After writing an entire cookbook dedicated to cookies and baking thousands of cookies in my career, there’s a LOT I’ve learned about everything that goes into baking the perfect cookie.

One of my biggest insights? Use a cookie scoop when baking cookies!

Using a stainless steel cookie scoop when portioning out cookie dough is one of the KEYS to beautiful, uniform, evenly shaped cookies. My cookie scoop is one of my most frequently used kitchen gadgets.

I’m sharing everything you need to know about how and why to use a cookie scoop in this article!

Why to Use A Cookie Scoop?

A spring-loaded scoop saves you *so much time* in forming the balls of dough. When using a scoop, you ensure each ball is evenly shaped so the cookies bake evenly. Meaning you don’t have any small overbaked cookies and large underbaked cookies.

Plus, the resulting cookies will all be similar in size, so no fighting over the bigger cookie. AND there’s less chance for weird misshapen cookies. If you want to learn more, check out my article for How to Make Picture Perfect Cookies here.

Lastly, using scoopers makes freezing and baking cookies directly from frozen so simple!

How to Use A Cookie Scoop

  1. To use a scoop, press it into your bowl of dough and fill up.
  2. Use your fingers to press the dough completely into the scoop so it forms into a compact ball.
  3. Use one finger or the edge of the bowl to smooth off the top for an even scoop. This will help ensure each ball of dough is the same size not just to avoid fighting, but so that you end up with the same yield the recipe specifies, and every cookie bakes evenly.
  4. Scoop out cookie dough balls onto a prepared baking sheet.

When using a cookie scoop, avoid cold dough!

Your dough should be warm enough to be pliable, but not so warm you run the risk of baking up flat cookies. If you plan to chill your dough, as I highly recommend for chocolate chip cookies, then you’ll either want to scoop your dough before chilling (make sure to cover well with plastic) or allow the dough to sit at room temperature after chilling until it’s malleable enough to safely scoop, which can take over an hour depending on your kitchen environment.

If your dough is too cold, you run the risk of breaking your scoop or even straining your hand or wrist!

What’s the best scoop for cookie dough?

The best cookie scoop is one that is functional, durable, high-quality, and in the correct size as specified by the recipe. I personally like the Oxo brand of cookie scoops. They’re comfortable to use, durable, and dishwasher safe. Check them out here:

What size scoop for cookies?

There are many different scoop sizes available on the market to bakers. I find the numeric sizing to be a little bit confusing since it doesn’t translate over to imperial measurements directly (oh the joys of living in the U.S.). Instead, I rely on the tablespoon sizes.

It’s impossible to say how big a cookie will be from each size scoop, since every cookie recipe will spread to varying levels. Generally, the smaller the cookie, the more crisp or crunchy it’ll be. The larger the cookie, the more likely you’ll get crisp edges but a soft, gooey, or more chewy interior.

I use the medium and large scoops most often for cookies. My most popular cookie recipe, my Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies, uses the large scoop size.

How to keep cookie dough from sticking to scoop:

A small amount of dough sticking to the scoop is totally normal and not preventable. As long as the gear-driven ‘arm’ inside the scoop sits relatively flush with the interior, it should effectively scoop out most of the dough each time.

If you’re working with an extremely sticky dough that doesn’t want to fully release, try running your scoop under very hot water, then drying before scooping. Or, lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray before using.

Baking Time for Cookie Scoop Sizes

Always follow the recommended baking time given in the recipe you’re using. Generally, these are the baking times for each scoop size:

  • Small scoop: 1 tablespoon – 8 to 10 minutes
  • Medium scoop: 1 ½ tablespoons – 10 to 12 minutes
  • Large scoop: 3 tablespoons – 11 to 13 minutes

How to Clean Cookie Scoops

I typically hand wash my cookie scoops with soap and warm water, dry, and return to their drawer to extend the life of them. Avoid allowing it to soak in water for an extended period of time to prevent rusting or other damage.

Washing in the dishwasher can degrade the metal and spring mechanism over time, especially if you use a hard water rinse aid, such as Lemishine, so I like to avoid the dishwasher most of the time – but it’s totally fine to run them through the dishwasher occasionally.

What else can I use a cookie dough scoop for?

  • Shaping candies or truffles (generally the small size)
  • Shaping energy balls
  • Portioning out cupcake batter or muffin batter
  • Portioning out biscuit dough
  • Spooning an equal amount of frosting on cupcakes before smoothing
  • As a melon baller substitute
  • Scooping ice cream
  • Scooping out pancake or waffle batter
  • Spooning out the mixture for fritters or latkes
  • Shaping falafel before frying
  • Scooping out meatballs

My favorite cookie recipes:

Photos by Joanie Simon.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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  1. #
    Jeannie Aldridge — October 2, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    I’m new & I love the special input you share. The chocolate chip cookies were loved by all.
    I made the pumpkin bars this weekend & really boosted my confidence that maybe I can bake
    After all. !

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 3, 2023 at 1:47 pm

      Woohoo! That’s so amazing to hear, Jeannie! I’ll be sure to pass your message on to Tessa – you’ll make her day 🙂

  2. #
    Justyna — February 5, 2023 at 7:27 am

    Are these not available?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — February 6, 2023 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Justyna! Unfortunately we are sold out of HTH Perfect Cookie Kits for now, and we don’t know if/when we will restock. We’ll announce it in the future if we do 🙂

  3. #
    sylvia — January 23, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    can I just buy the 3 cookie scoops?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — January 24, 2023 at 10:44 am

      Hi Sylvia! We are actually now sold out of The Perfect Cookie Kit, and we and don’t know if/when we’ll restock. In the meantime, this post has been updated with Tessa’s other favorite cookie scoops, the Oxo brand cookie scoops, with links above to shop those on Amazon. Let us know if you have any questions 🙂

  4. #
    Donna — December 26, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    I already have scoops, but don’t know what size they are. How do I determine the TBLS size of each scoop?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — January 4, 2023 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Donna! You could try measuring out tablespoons of water and carefully pour each tablespoon of water into the scoop cavity, and continue to fill this way until the water is level with the top of the scoop. This will give you your size 🙂

  5. #
    Teresa — December 20, 2022 at 7:30 am

    I’d like just the medium scoop and I don’t want/need the other items in the kit.
    Is it possible the purchase the scoops individually?

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes and cooking tips and research.


    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — December 20, 2022 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Teresa! No, at this time, we are only able to sell the kit as a whole. Sorry about that!

  6. #
    Dee Dee — November 16, 2022 at 10:26 am

    Do you know where a person can procure a left-handed cookie scoop?

    Thank you for this wonderful resource.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 16, 2022 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Dee Dee! Our Handle the Heat scoops that come as part of our Perfect Cookie Kit should work perfectly fine for anyone! They are designed to be perfectly centered, so they should work at any angle. You can find more information about each part of the Cookie Kit here 🙂

      • #
        Dee Dee — November 16, 2022 at 1:01 pm

        Thank you for your quick reply, Kiersten. Maybe you all can post a video of a left-handed person easily using the scoops? Because my scoops (while I am sure a much lower quality than the ones in the kit), are basically the same design and definitely designed to be used with the right hand. You see the problem for lefties like myself is the little blade inside the bowl of the scoop. The blade is at rest at the right edge. That is great for right handed people because righties tend to scoop with the left edge leading. But trying to scoop with the right edge leading doesn’t work so well for a southpaw, especially if the dough is the least bit stiff/cool.
        So basically a left-hand scoop would have the extractor blade begin on the left side of the scoop and the arm that is squeezed to operate the scoop would be squeezed from left to right as well. The spatulas in the kit are also right-oriented but that is not as critical as the scoop.
        Dee Dee

        • #
          Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 16, 2022 at 1:28 pm

          Hi Dee Dee! That makes sense! Thanks so much for the feedback – we’ll definitely take that into consideration 🙂

        • #
          Tony — November 29, 2022 at 3:37 pm

          Wow, DeeDee, now I think I understand why dough always sticks in scoops for me! I am left handed, so as you described I must be dragging that extractor blade through the dough first, and the dough must get under the blade and cause the extractor blade to not completely release the dough from the scoop. This causes messy scoops and constant cleaning of the scoop … and eventually me just resorting to a spoon and forming it by hand.

  7. #
    Suzanne Gmirek — November 13, 2022 at 5:13 am

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! or 10 out of 10 stars! 🙂

    I found the Handle the Heat website a few months ago when these were not available. I became convinced scoops would help me, so I researched and ordered several Vollrath scoops. Vollrath seemed to be the ones that the restaurants use and I liked the different colors, so that I could choose a size quickly. Still, I ordered the Cookie Kit for various reasons. These scoops are fantastic! There are 3 sizes…. so easy to choose AND remember! Small, medium, large. 1T, 1.5T, 3T… The markings on the back serve as a double check! With Vollrath, I have a chart in the drawer with the color, amount of scoop and size. I have to keep checking with a recipe: what amount does the recipe call for? Where is that on the Vollrath chart? What color is it? I was even adding that information into the notes of a recipe. Now it’s so easy… small, med, large – 1, 1.5, 3. Simple, easy. Just grab a scoop out of the drawer.
    Further, now I’m seeing your “starting” bake times for each scoop. 8, 10, 12 minutes… Tessa Arias, you are amazing!!!! Thanks!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 14, 2022 at 11:57 am

      We are so thrilled that you love your Perfect Cookie Kit so much, Suzanne!! Thanks so much for the review 🙂

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