Why won’t my Spritz cookies come out and stick to the pan?

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I sometimes wonder how people continue to come up with new cooking tools that can actually be useful.

When I first tried to recreate one of my grandmother’s traditional recipes, I thought my spritz cookies wouldn’t come out because my press wasn’t working.

After trying to troubleshoot it for what seemed like an eternity, I decided my sanity was more precious than a batch of cookies so I threw it in the garage.

A few months later, full of Christmas spirit, I felt it was time to give my cookie press another go.

This time however I had tweaked some of the original ingredients so my cookies came out perfectly.

As it turned out, there were a few easy-to-overlook steps that can turn spritz cookies into a nightmare.

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spritz cookies troubleshooting Pinterest poster

4 Reasons why your spritz cookies won’t come out of the press

Spritz cookies are a delightful treat that’s suitable for all kinds of occasions, from birthday parties and holidays all the way to simple family gatherings.

They require simple ingredients and can be quite easy to make once you get the hang of your cookie press.

And despite their notoriety, cookie presses are actually quite easy to use.

When a cookie press doesn’t release dough, it’s because the dough hasn’t been handled properly. Poorly handled dough has an improper consistency so it sticks to the bottom of the press instead of the cookie sheet.

You can try to fix this and make your spritz cookies stick to the pan by adjusting some of the ingredients in your recipe.

This however won’t necessarily put an end to your cookie press problems.

So does this mean you’ll have to start making your favorite spritz cookies without a cookie press?

Not if you take care of the other possible causes.

Your cookies can’t stick to the cookie sheet or pan

spritz cookies spread on a light cooking sheet

by blondephotographer

One of the most common reasons that causes cookie dough to get stuck inside a press is the use of parchment paper.

Parchment paper is coated with silicone which prevents cookie dough from sticking to metal surfaces.

As a result of this, the dough spreads underneath the press instead of forming a cookie.

This could also happen if you lubricate your cookie sheet or baking pan with vegetable oil.

Similarly to parchment paper, vegetable oil prevents the dough from sticking and can jam your cookie press.

What you can do, however, is to lightly oil the bottom of your cookie press disc with your finger.

This will have the opposite effect and help the dough come out in case it is too sticky.

The dough is still warm

mixing cookie dough in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment

by hollyvalero

The first step in every spritz cookie recipe is to cream unsalted butter and sugar together.

This requires the butter to be at room temperature so it can easily mix with the sugar.

Creaming butter creates a network of air pockets that get expanded by the leavener which in the case of spritz cookies is the fresh egg. And a quick reminder – sometimes the role of the leavener can also be fulfilled by something like applesauce. Anyway…

When you stuff your cookie dough into the press right after you’ve mixed it, the butter is still warm and pliable. As a result, it can’t retain a proper structure when it’s pressed out.

This leaves you with a piece of mushy dough, instead of an intricately shaped cookie.

So to make your spritz cookies stick to the pan, simply chill your cookie sheets in the fridge.

Chilling them will let the butter solidify which in turn will help the cookies retain their structure.

If you want to go a step further and enhance the flavor of your spritz cookies, you can refrigerate them for 24 hours once they’ve been pressed out.

This will dry the dough and concentrate its overall flavor.

In case there’s any leftover dough, you can simply store it in the freezer.

The discs are placed incorrectly

a cookie spritz gun alongside some dog-related cookie discs and shapes

by bombalicious

When you use a cookie press, the dough gets pushed out through the tiny jagged slits of the disc.

If the disc is placed incorrectly, the dough can’t work its way through and gets stuck in the barrel.

Unfortunately, most cookie presses come without a detailed manual so it’s easy to misplace their discs.

If you’re having trouble using yours, check to see whether the disc is placed with its smooth part facing out.

This is the side you want to be facing out:

cookie press disc with its smooth side facing out next to two other discs placed on a kitchen counter

by ejchristian86

In case your discs are numbered, you’ll want the digits to be facing away from the cookie dough.

You have used too much flour

adding flour to the cookie dough in the mixing bowl

by Chefokcuhc111

If you’re not using a digital scale to measure your flour, it’s easy to overshoot and add more than it’s necessary.

This can disturb the delicate ingredient balance and make the cookie dough more firm than it needs to be. As a result, it won’t be pressed out and will get stuck inside the cookie press barrel.

Just like with pancake batter, your dough might also become firm when you overwork it.

The dough should have a soft, even texture so it can be easily pushed out of the press.

All-purpose flour is your best bet to make a more elastic cookie dough, as opposed to bread flour.

If you suspect it doesn’t have the right consistency, you can add some water until it softens up a bit.

Spritz cookie troubleshooting tips

а cookie press behind a plate of spritz cookies, and a plastic box with press discs besides the plate

by ZenLizard

Sometimes spritz cookies don’t come out not because of the dough, but because the cookie press isn’t used properly.

So if you’re still having troubles, you can try troubleshooting them with some of the following tips:

  • Hold the lever for a few seconds. Some cookie disc shapes require more dough so you need to hold the lever for a few seconds.

    If your spritz cookies won’t come out, press the lever and count to three.

  • Give the screw an additional 1/4 turn. If you’re using an old-fashioned cookie press model, give the screw an additional 1/4 turn.

    This should push out more dough.

  • Fill only half of the cookie barrel. Fill the barrel of your cookie gun only halfway through.

    This will make it easier to work with.

  • Let baking stone cool off. Using the cookie press on a hot baking stone will result in a mushy cookie dough.

    Wait until the baking stone has cooled down before you start pressing out a new batch of spritz cookies.

  • Always hold the cookie gun perpendicular to the cookie sheet. The cookie press should always be held perpendicular.

    If it’s held sideways, the dough won’t stick to the sheet.

My Summary

Using a cookie press doesn’t need to be a nightmare.

In fact, it can be a joyful procedure if you carefully follow your recipe’s instructions.

And how can it not.

There’s nothing more triumphant than seeing those tasty spritz cookies finally coming out of the press.

If you’re still reserching cookie ideas for the holidays or just like to bake sweets in general I recommend having a look at my Peach Cookies Recipe. Essentially, these are jam-packed cookies made to look like real peaches.

Finally, if you’re reading this and preparing a full holiday menu, I recommend checking out my Banitsa recipe, which in essence is a feta cheese pie made with phyllo dough sheets. A great holiday dish for the whole family.

If you've tried my recipes and cooking tips, please tag me on social media - I would love to see your creations! 

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3 thoughts on “Why won’t my Spritz cookies come out and stick to the pan?”

  1. I had the same problem. I thought the sheet was some how too slick. I even bought new cookie sheets. What I finally figured out was, it wasn’t a problem of the cookie dough not sticking to the pan, but the cookie dough sticking to the cookie press disk so it wouldn’t release from the cookie press. I lightly greased the cookie press disk by oiling my finger and spreading the oil on the cookie press disk. I’m having a great time with my cookie press again. Hope you do too. Happy baking.

  2. I’ve made these spritz cookies for over 50 years & always good. Haven’t made for past 5 years and they did not work today 🙁 I looked over your tips but only thing is I SIFTED the flour. All else the same. Disappointed but might try again 🤷🏻‍♀️


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