While a freshly-baked cookie warm out of the oven is a classic dessert, cookie dough itself has become a treat of its own. The taste, texture, and nostalgia of a spoonful of cookie dough is hard to beat — just ask TikTok, where RDNs and food bloggers alike have racked up millions of views on videos tagged #cookie dough (1.7B views) and #ediblecookiedough (287.7M views). The craze spawned store-bought versions of edible cookie dough made without raw egg (and the accompanying salmonella risk), but you can easily make your own dough at home and craft it to suit your dietary preferences.
Note: This is a treat, and not a health food by any measure. But a healthy diet is one that is balanced and enjoyable — and this treat is a cinch to make because there’s no baking required. “It’s fun to make with kids but can be tailored to different dietary restrictions, which is a plus for parents,” says Alix Turoff, RDN, a virtual nutrition coach in New York City.
Depending on the recipe, edible cookie dough can fit in any diet plan. The nine recipes that follow cover keto, low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free, and dairy-free requirements.
Just be sure to watch portion size so you aren’t overdoing it with calories, fat, and sugar. “Since you’re not baking the cookie dough, the portion isn’t huge — cookies expand when you bake them,” Turoff says. When in doubt, stick to the serving size listed in the recipe.
The Importance of Heat-Treating Flour as a First Step
There’s a reason traditional cookie dough is unsafe to eat. Raw flour and eggs may contain bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), which causes food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While it’s impossible to avoid this risk when eating raw cookie dough with egg, you can enjoy recipes that call for raw flour by heat-treating the flour before mixing it into the dough.
Donald W. Schaffner, PhD, a professor of food microbiology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick, recommends following these steps for heat-treating all-purpose, oat, or coconut flour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- While the oven is heating, place all-purpose or oat flour for your recipe on a baking sheet. Spread flour evenly so it’s no deeper than ¾ inch.
- Once the oven is done preheating, cook flour for 5 minutes.
- Allow flour to cool completely before mixing it into your recipe. Note that heat-treating your flour may create a slightly nutty flavor, according to the flour manufacturer Honeyville.
- Refrigerate edible cookie dough and eat within three days, which is the time period it remains safe to eat. (If you choose to freeze your cookie dough, food site Kitchn recommends enjoying it within three months of freezing.)
Research on safely heat-treating other types of flour is slim to nonexistent. That said, there have been some instances where enjoying these flours raw could be dangerous. In March 2018, for example, King Arthur Flour Company recalled 6,300 cases of organic coconut flour after discovering that some of its products were contaminated with salmonella, according to a news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As with E. coli, salmonella exposure can cause foodborne illness.
None of the recipes here contain eggs, nor do they contain almond flour. Those that do contain flour use all-purpose wheat, oat, or coconut, and are described as such.
Now that you know how to indulge safely, here’s some recipe inspiration for this easy-to-make dessert.