There are so many different types of cookies to try, and they’re all so delicious. Cookie recipes can generally be grouped into cookie types based on how the dough is made, and it’s a great thing to know if you’re an avid home baker. Here are the 9 main cookie-making methods to know (dropped, pressed, rolled, and more)!
Cookies are one of the best and easiest desserts to make at home, and of course one of the most delicious too. Luckily there are so many different types of cookies to make, so you’ll never run out of recipe options.
If you’re going to be baking a lot of cookies at home, it’s good to know the different cookie types. This will help you understand the ideal baking process, what kind of tools you’ll need, and what to expect when your cookies come out of the oven!
All cookies are generally made with sugar, flour, eggs, and butter (or another fat) as the base. But beyond that, they are classified into different types based on how the dough is made, handled, and formed.
9 Types of Cookies
- Drop Cookies
- Rolled (Cut-Out) Cookies
- Cookie Bars
- Pressed Cookies
- Refrigerator/Icebox Cookies (Slice and Bake)
- Molded Cookies
- Filled/Stuffed Cookies
- Sandwich Cookies
- No Bake Cookies
Drop cookies are made by dropping a scoop of dough onto a baking sheet (rather than rolling, slicing, or molding, like the other types of cookies below). This is a more casual type of cookie to make, and probably what many of us think of first when it comes to baking at home. Classic chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies are both drop cookies.
The cookie dough here is soft and scoopable, and can contain a range of mix-in ingredients (like chocolate chips, coconut, candies, etc.). You scoop from a bowl of dough/batter, drop a small ball of dough onto the cookie sheet, and then it spreads out as it bakes. These tend to be softer, chewier cookies compared to the other types, although you can make them crispier as desired.
You’ll generally want to use a cookie sheet or rimmed baking sheet for these recipes, and you’ll need a cookie scoop or spoon to form the balls of dough.
Rolled and Cut-out Cookies
This type of cookie is referred to interchangeably as both rolled cookies or cut out cookies, but they are the same thing. Dense dough is rolled out with a rolling pin, then cut into shapes as desired. Traditional sugar cookies are a good example of this type.
The dough is much stiffer than drop cookies, and results in denser, more crumbly cookies. The dough can be cut out into various shapes using cookie cutters, a pastry wheel, or a knife.
Bar cookies are solid cookies that are cut into squares or rectangles to serve. Batter is poured or pressed into a pan with sides, baked, and then sliced into bars. They are quite dense and thick (denser than cake), and easy to eat by hand.
Brownies and other dessert bars are actually considered cookie bars too. This is because they are all made and served essentially the same way, even though you might not think of them as cookies.
These recipes are generally made in 9×9 or 9×13 inch baking pans. They can be made quite thin in rimmed baking sheets, or very thick in pans with taller sides.
Pressed cookies are made by pushing dough through a cookie press to create different shapes. These will have a more unique and full form than if you used a cookie cutter. Spritz cookies are one of the most popular examples of this type of cookie.
The dough is quite soft and pliable, so that it can be pressed into a shape. You will need a cookie press in order to make these recipes. A cookie press is a tube shaped tool that you fill with dough, and then you change out the disks that come with it to create different shapes.
Refrigerator Cookies (Slice and Bake)
The more old-fashioned name for this cookie type is refrigerator or ice box cookies. But you might also know them as sliced or slice-and-bake cookies. Like pinwheel cookies or the pre-made slice and bake dough you get at the store.
This type of cookie recipe is ideal for make ahead cookies and easy, quick baking. The dough is made and refrigerated (or frozen) in a cylindrical/log shape. Then you can grab it from the fridge and slice as many cookies as you want to bake.
This creates a more uniform circle shape compared to drop cookies, but leads to a softer, chewier cookie compared to rolled dough. You can also layer dough to create interesting designs when sliced.
Molded cookies are often made with a stiff, firm dough. It’s then molded by hand into different shapes, pressed into cookie molds, or piped through a piping bag. The dough is similar to rolled cookies, but those are typically shaped with cookie cutters instead.
Using cookie molds allows you to create intricate, delicate designs. There are all different kinds of molds you can get, so your options are wide! The dough for these recipes holds shapes and designs well, and stays firm after baking.
Filled and Stuffed Cookies
This type of cookie is any recipe in which the dough is filled or stuffed with other ingredients. This can be done in a lot of different ways.
Dough might be wrapped or folded around something else, filling might be piped into a pocket of dough, or something (like candy) might be pressed into the middle of the dough. They can be filled with chocolate, candy, fruit or jelly, or any number of things.
Thumbprint cookies, blossoms, and creme-filled cookies are all classic examples of filled cookies.
Sandwich cookies are two baked cookies that are then filled with something in between, like a sandwich! They are different from filled cookies because the filling is added after baking the cookies, so the two parts are noticeably separate.
You can technically make these with any type of cookie once they’re baked. But they tend to be best with drop cookies, or something else that’s soft and chewy (easy to bite into).
The filling might be cream, jam, chocolate, or even ice cream. Macarons, Oreos, and oatmeal cream pies are all classified as sandwich cookies.
No Bake Cookies
No bake cookies are any cookie recipe that doesn’t require baking. You might need to cook/heat some of the ingredients before combining, but the cookies themselves do not need to be cooked. Instead, you’ll usually refrigerate (or freeze) them to solidify the mixture in order to keep their shape.
These aren’t technically cookies since they often don’t use typical dough ingredients. Since they aren’t baked, these recipes will generally use ingredients that are safe to eat raw. So they often exclude things like flour or eggs.
No matter what types of cookies you make, they’re sure to be delicious. No one can resist a good cookie!