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A Baker’s Guide to Cookie Scoops

Make your drop cookies the best they can be with cookie scoops! Once you see how much easier and better your baking can be with them, you’ll wonder how you ever baked without them.

Baker's Guide to Cookie Scoops

Cookie scoops are among my most recommended baking tools and kitchen gadgets. I have several in different sizes, and they get used quite frequently. They’re by far the simplest, easiest way to get batches of uniform cookies. That size uniformity is what helps cookies bake thoroughly and evenly.

For those of you unfamiliar with cookie scoops, they are spring-loaded scoops that help you scoop and measure batters and dough. They’re usually made of stainless steel with handles of the same material or a nonslip material for a soft grip. The spring mechanism is used to help the dough release easily from the scoop.

You may see them called ice cream scoops. (More on that below.) Just don’t confuse them with the types of ice cream scoops that don’t have a spring-loaded mechanism.

There are so many advantages to using cookie scoops. Here are some of the main reasons to use them:

  • Uniform size and shape: Ensures consistent sizes for cookies, muffins, and more, leading to even baking.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Uniformly sized baked goods are visually pleasing. This really satisfies the perfectionist in me.
  • Reduced mess: Less messy than using spoons or hands, especially for sticky dough.
  • Time-saving: Speeds up the process of portioning dough.
  • Versatility: Can be used for a variety of baking needs, not just cookies.
  • Consistent baking results: Uniform size helps in achieving evenly baked goods.
  • Easy release of dough: The spring mechanism in the scoops makes releasing dough effortless.
Balls of chocolate chip cookie dough spread out on a baking sheet.

Despite referring to them as cookie scoops, they aren’t just for cookies! You can use them for portioning muffins, cupcakes, and other times you need to portion dough evenly. You can even use them for transferring cake batter to Bundt pans with less mess.

They’re also great for scooping ice cream (of course) and whipped cream. Try using them for making truffles. Don’t forget them for cooking, too. They’re so helpful for making things like meatballs!

Cookie scoops come in a variety of sizes to suit whatever you need. They are available in tablespoon sizes, but you may also find them available in disher sizes. (Look for the size on the inside of the scoop.) Those sizes are a reference for ice cream scooping. For instance, a #20 scoop would give you 20 scoops from a quart of ice cream. So, the bigger the number, the more scoops you’ll get and the smaller they’ll be.

Those numbers aren’t necessarily all that helpful if you’re scooping cookie dough, though. So, here is a guide that shows those disher sizes in tablespoons as well as their volume in ounces.

A guide to cookie scoop sizes

There are other sizes, too, but these are the most likely to be helpful in baking. I have a range of sizes to fit lots of uses. As you can see, most of the sizes don’t fit a perfect tablespoon size, so just choose something that’s close. If you need 2 tablespoons of cookie dough, then a #30 scoop is just fine. These are the cookie scoops that I use most:

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You’ve likely seen recipes that instruct you to make balls of cookie dough that are a specific diameter. It may say something along the lines of forming the dough into 1-inch balls. To achieve that, you’ll need to use a scoop that’s a bit bigger than the size ball you want to make. That’s because a cookie scoop makes a dome, not a sphere.

For example, to get a 1-inch ball of cookie dough, try using a #60 scoop. It measures about 1 & 1/3 inches, so you’ll be close to an inch in diameter after scooping and rolling the dough into a ball.

To check the diameter of your cookie scoops, use a ruler to measure across the widest part.

Overhead view of M&M cookie dough balls on parchment-lined sheet

How Big Will the Baked Cookies Be?

What all of this wonderful data can’t tell you is how big your baked cookies will be. There are just too many factors involved to make that kind of prediction for all cookies. Different doughs spread differently due to ingredients, temperature, pans, and many other things.

A specific recipe should reliably give you a consistent finished size when using a scoop, but there’s just no way to make a blanket prediction for all cookie recipes.

You can have a rough idea, though, with some common sense. A tablespoon of dough isn’t likely to give you a huge 4-inch cookie, right?

Many cookie scoops will be labeled with either the scoop size or the tablespoon capacity right on the scooping mechanism. For those, use the chart above to determine their volume. After you’ve used them for a while, you’ll well know the ones you use the most just by that number.

Unfortunately, some cookie scoops are only labeled as small, medium, and large cookie scoops. For those and for any you have that aren’t labeled with their size, it’s easy to determine their capacity. Simply fill the scoop to the top with water and then pour the water into a small measuring cup. (A 1/4-cup angled measuring cup works well.) Then you’ll know exactly what volume that scoop can hold.

Overhead view of muffin batter in mini muffin pan
  • Fill the scoop consistently. Try to fill the scoop the same way each time. The easiest method is to scoop down into the dough, over-filling the scoop. Use the side of the mixing bowl to scrape off the excess.
  • Don’t make a rounded scoop. You want to make a dome shape that’s flat on the bottom to make sure you’re using the correct amount of dough. If your recipe directs you to make balls of the dough, I recommend scooping first and then forming a ball.
  • Use a high-quality scoop. There are some not so great ones out there that won’t hold up to a lot of cookie baking. The ones I recommend above have all been quite sturdy and reliable for me. There are many good brands available, and I’ve had good luck with several like OXO and Norpro.
  • Keep them clean. Check the details for your specific scoops for how to clean them. Most will be dishwasher-safe, but some may suggest hand-washing.
Overhead view of Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on baking sheet before baking

Now that you’re armed with all this knowledge of cookie scoops, I hope you’re inspired to bake a batch of cookies! Once you’ve used a cookie scoop for making cookies or muffins or whatever else you’re scooping, I think you’ll come to find them indispensable!

Drop Cookies

You’re likely to use your cookie scoops most often for making drop cookies, which are made from cookie dough that’s designed to be dropped onto a baking sheet without the need for rolling, slicing, or other shaping. You can find lots of drop cookies in my recipe index, but here are a few popular ones to get you started:


Besides cookies, I most often use cookie scoops for portioning muffin batter. It makes such quick work and eliminates the guesswork of how much batter to put in each muffin cup! Try a 3- or 4-tablespoon scoop in these recipes:


Like muffin batter, cupcakes batter is another great use of cookie scoops. If the recipe you’re using specifies an amount of batter per cup, use a properly-sized scoop. For recipes that say to fill each cup 3/4 full, try a 3-tablespoon scoop.

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    45 Comments on “A Baker’s Guide to Cookie Scoops”

  1. THANK YOU!!!!! You have NO idea how many times I have to look up various cookie scoop sizes!! You’d think by now I’d have it all memorized but I definitely don’t!! NOW I have the definitive guide!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  2. What size is recommended for cupcakes (level top)? I have one and want to order another 2, but don’t know what size. Thanks!

  3. What brand of scoops have you found that are the strongest/last the longest? I’ve gone through quite a few!

  4. Thanks for the info. I use the very smallest of mine for so many things. It’s 2 tsp and the largest one I use is 1 1/2 tbsp. I guess a bigger one might be used but those are all pretty good size. I might order the 3 tbsp and see if I could use it. I love my scoops!!

    • The person asked for the brand name of scoops you recommend, not the size.  I’m interested to know as well since I’ve also gone through so many. They’ve broken with little use or don’t work that great. I want to order some and I’m thinking you know best

  5. I make Peanut Butter Balls and Martha Washington candies at Christmas time. What size scoop would you recommend?

    • Hi, Darlene. It depends on how big you like to make those. I’ve seen them from small to fairly large. Depending on your preference, I’d probably pick one in the 1 to 2 tablespoon range.

  6. Hi Where do you buy it #20 cookie scoop?

  7. Do you happen to have the diameters for these?  In China they have 4cm, 5cm, and 6cm, but no info on volume.  I’m trying to figure out how big those are.

  8. Please help! I have several cookie recipes that call for making a ball of dough in inches… (for instance, one says make a 1 inch ball of dough & another says make a 1 1/2 inch ball). How do you figure out what size scoop will make a 1 inch ball – and/or a 1 1/2 inch ball??
    What size scoops do you recommend to make those size balls?

    • Hi, Sherry. If the recipe is asking for that diameter for a ball of dough, then you’d probably want to go with a scoop with a little wider width because scoops give you a flat bottom. After you scoop, you can roll the dough into a ball. For instance, the 1-tablespoon scoop linked above is about 1 & 1/3 inches wide. That’s probably what I’d try for a 1-inch ball of dough.

  9. We’ve got one disher—it is 1/4 cup, so it’s a #16—and it’s the perfect size for my drop biscuits. I know I wish I had at least one more, but I’m not sure what size[s] to get. The muffins I made yesterday, for instance, called for 3 Tbsp, but I don’t know that I’ve seen that measurement before. Of the six you have, which do you use most?

    • Hi, Laurie. I use them all quite a bit. I use the 1- and 2-tablespoon scoops frequently for cookies. The 3-tablespoon scoop is usually perfect for filling muffin cups. The rest I use less frequently.

  10. Thanks so much for this information, very helpful.

  11. Thank you so much for this info! I finally figured out how much dough I need to make my peanut cup cookies the size I like but when I use a measuring spoon they tend to grow. LOL Now I know that I need a #70 scoop.

  12. I have scoops that are marked on the release inside the scoop of 60, 30, 12 and 10. I am at a loss which to use for 1/4 c, 1/2 c , etc of cookie dough or muffins. I did not find your list helpful to me. Can you help?
    Thank you.

    • Hi, Lynne. The equivalents for #30 and #60 are on the list above. #10 and #12 are about 6 and 5 tablespoons, respectively. 1/4 cup is 4 tablespoons, so the #16 scoop on the list works for that. For 1/2 cup, you’d need a #8 scoop.

  13. Hi. Once you’ve made the dough, when is the perfect time to scoop?

  14. These scoops, also called. ” dishers” in the restaurant trade are almost always available in their full range of sizes at any restaurant supply store or wholesale food outlets such as Cash and Carry.

  15. I wish your posts like this were set up to print properly. These types of things really come in handy and I would really like to get them to print properly. When I try to print, everything is off and some things are missing. Any suggestions?

    • Hi, Laurie. Are you trying to print the entire post or just the scoop sizes graphic? You should be able to print just the graphic from my desktop by right-clicking the graphic, opening in a new tab, and then printing.

  16. I have 2 OXO scoops I bought a few years ago, but I don’t really know what size they are. Do you know the asiest way to figure that out?

  17. Sorry if you’ve already answered this. My recipes call for 1 tsp scoops and 1 tbsp scoops. Have you talked about the tsp scoop and where I could buy one? My tbsps called for heaping tbsps so I’m not as worried about that one. Also, do you know if they make silicone scoops? After just a few scoops the dough starts sticking to the scoop. Very annoying. Or if you know of one where the dough will not stick, I’d appreciate hearing about it. Thanks.

    • Hi, Trisha. I have a #110 scoop that’s about 1 & 1/2 teaspoons. I’m not sure I’ve seen one smaller. I got mine through Amazon. I generally don’t have trouble with cookie dough sticking to the scoops. You could try spraying them lightly with cooking spray periodically while you’re scooping. I’ve used a silicone scoop previously, but the lack of solid structure didn’t work well for me.

  18. I need to make a dozen 4″ cookies.  What size scoop would that be?  A 16?

    • Hi, Jan. The finished size will depend on how much the cookie spreads while baking. If you’re flattening the cookie before baking, that will increase their diameter, too. A #16 scoop is about 2.25 inches in diameter, but it holds 1/4 cup of dough. Taking the recipe you’re using into consideration, I hope that helps you decide if that’s the right size.

  19. I have a cookie recipe I’d like to try. It says to use a 3 oz. scoop. My cookie scoops are marked in Tablespoon sizes/ How many Tablespoons in a 3 oz. scoop? Thank you!!

  20. Love your site…very helpful!

    My OXO scoop measurement is marked on on the release, Kelly.   Just squeeze the handles until the “release” is halfway in the bowl and you’ll see the number and the measurement. 
    Sorry this is so late, but I just found this site. 

  21. This is great! Thank you so much for posting this! I recently ran into an issue where the recipe used a larger scooper than the one I had. I however, did not change the baking time, so my cookies were slightly dry (still delicious though, and people enjoyed them, so it wasn’t too bad). But now that I have this information, I can adjust my baking time accordingly.

    Thank you again!!!

  22. I always make a test bake of cookies making just two or three to see if adjustments are needed. I also use a scoop in the recommended size plus the next larger scoop and the next smaller scoop. 

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