When you’re whipping up a batch of cookies, it’s tempting to taste some of that delicious dough raw.
Still, you may wonder whether eating raw cookie dough is safe, or whether the risks of bacterial contamination and food poisoning outweigh the joy of the simple treat.
This article reviews the safety of eating raw cookie dough and provides a recipe for a safe-to-eat variety.
Most cookie dough contains raw eggs. Although eggs are typically heat-sterilized, some bacteria can remain on the outer shell.
When the egg is cracked, the bacteria from the shell can contaminate the food the eggs are added to. Eggs are commonly contaminated with Salmonella bacteria (
However, severe cases may require hospitalization and can even develop into sepsis — a widespread bacterial infection (2).
Luckily, the odds of contracting a Salmonella infection are relatively small. Still, in the United States, there are about 79,000 reports of illness and 30 deaths per year from Salmonella infections related to eating raw or under-cooked eggs (
Pregnant women, older adults, children, and those with compromised immune systems should not consume raw cookie dough or uncooked eggs. For these people, Salmonella infections can be more severe and life threatening (
Most cookie dough contains raw eggs, which may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. These bacteria cause fever, diarrhea, and vomiting, which can last for up to 1 week.
Raw cookie dough also contains uncooked flour, which can present a health risk of its own.
E. coli can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea that persist for 5–7 days (
For raw flour to be safe without cooking it, you need to heat-sterilize it at home.
You can do this by spreading the flour on a cookie sheet and baking it at 350°F (175°C) for 5 minutes, or until the flour reaches 160°F (70°C).
Raw cookie dough also contains uncooked flour, which can be contaminated with E. coli — a bacteria that causes cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you get cravings for raw cookie dough, there are safer options. For example, edible cookie dough is now available at most grocery stores or online.
If you want to make your own safe-to-eat cookie dough, here’s a recipe that includes no eggs and heat-sterilized flour.
- 3/4 cup (96 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) of butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) of packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of milk or plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup (75 grams) of semisweet chocolate chips
The steps are:
- Heat-sterilize the flour by spreading it out on a large cookie sheet and baking it at 350°F (175°C) for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix the softened butter and brown sugar, then add the vanilla extract and milk.
- Slowly stir in the flour and chocolate chips, until all ingredients are well incorporated.
This edible cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Keep in mind that although this edible cookie dough is safe to eat, it’s full of sugar and should be eaten in moderation as an occasional treat.
You can buy edible cookie dough made with no eggs and heat-sterilized flour, or make it at home.
Raw cookie dough is not safe to eat because it contains uncooked eggs and flour, which can cause food poisoning if they are contaminated with harmful bacteria.
Pregnant women, children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems should not eat raw cookie dough because of these risks.
Luckily, plenty of safe, edible cookie dough products are available. Alternatively, you can easily make one using only a few ingredients.
Although it’s tempting to eat raw cookie dough, it contains uncooked eggs and flour and is not worth the risk.