10 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Cookie Doughs To Avoid
When you're craving cookies fresh out of the oven, the easiest solution is to buy premade packaged cookie dough at the grocery store. Sure, it's nicer to whip up homemade cookies from scratch, but you may not always have the time, energy, or ingredients in your kitchen. So, when you need something quick and affordable, dough that you can just pop in the oven just makes sense, right? But if you're trying to eat healthy, it's a little more complicated.
Many store-bought doughs are considered unhealthy because they're generally higher in calories, fat (saturated and sometimes trans fat), sodium, added sugar, and preservatives to make them more shelf-stable. When you make your own cookie recipe, it's much easier to control the ingredients that go inside. With dough you buy at the store, your best bet is to know what to look out for when it comes to nutrition, and being mindful of serving sizes, because there's a chance you'll consume more than one serving. Here are some things to look for on the nutrition label of your store-bought cookie dough:
Saturated fat: Many cookie doughs contain saturated fat. While this fat—which is found in meat, dairy, and certain oils—is not always considered bad, it's definitely best to consume it in moderation. The American Heart Association suggests no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day. So when you're looking for better cookie doughs at the store, look for those that are lower in this type of fat.
Sodium: Packaged foods typically contain higher levels of sodium to preserve them longer. The FDA suggests a limit of no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, so you can use this as a guideline for when you're thinking of which cookies to make and how many you'll want to eat.
Added sugars: Of course, you can't easily avoid cookie doughs with added sugar—that's part of the treat! But you can look for options that have lower amounts of sugar so that you can indulge without worry. The American Heart Association suggests that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and men no more than 36. You'll find that some cookie doughs can get you past these numbers faster than you might think.
Read on to learn which brands of store-bought cookie dough our dietitians recommend you steer clear of or at least limit to a once-in-a-while indulgence. Then, for more healthy grocery tips, check out the 9 Best Healthy Cereals on Grocery Store Shelves.
Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
It's tough to think of cookie dough without thinking of the adorable Pillsbury Dough Boy, but this classic company is delivering products with some not-so-cute nutritional facts. For example, Lisa Young, PhD, RDN says that the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is one of the worst when it comes to your health.
"This cookie dough is high in added sugar and saturated fats, which can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease, and added sugars can increase cravings and lead to overeating," says Young. "It also includes many artificial ingredients, which can be harmful to health and offer no nutritional value. Opt for cookie dough brands with less added sugars to prevent excess calories stored in the body."
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Getting the tub of Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is tempting for obvious reasons; after all, who doesn't enjoy a late-night spoonful of cookie dough right out of the container? Unfortunately, Young warns that this product's calories, sugar, fat, and ingredients make it worth leaving on the grocery store shelf.
"The Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough contains a large amount of added sugars, which can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes, as well as potential dental issues," she says. "Saturated fats are present, which can raise bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease." Young adds, "This cookie dough is calorie dense, and the processed ingredients present provide no nutritional value."
You may also want to think twice before grabbing Nestle's "break and bake" cookie dough as a replacement. Not only are the nutritional values similar, but the company actually recalled their Chocolate Chip bars on August 10, 2023, after finding the "potential presence of wood fragments."
Betty Crocker Birthday Cake Cookie Dough
Similar to many of the cookie doughs on our list, these No-Bake Bites from Betty Crocker are high in added sugars and contain saturated fat, and "they contain artificial flavorings, which provide no nutritional value and may pose harmful effects, and overall they are low in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients," says Young.
Pillsbury Cookie Dough Poppins Birthday Cake
Pillsbury now sells a line of Cookie Dough Poppins, which are safe to eat totally raw and small enough to just pop in your mouth. However, the small poppable size is part of the problem when it comes to nutrition, because a serving size of just five pieces is easy to exceed when you're craving something sugary.
According to Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements, the Birthday Cake flavor of Pillsbury Cookie Dough Poppins is one of the worst for you nutrition-wise. "The 10 grams of added sugar will contribute to excessive calorie intake and potential blood sugar spikes, and these cookies are also made using palm oil, a high saturated fat oil, which can contribute to elevated LDL ('bad') cholesterol levels when consumed in excess," says Best.
Cappello's Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
At first glance, this chocolate chip cookie dough from Cappello's seems like a dream product for those looking for healthier cookie options, but one look at the nutrition label is sure to burst your bubble.
In just one serving (which is about 1 ounce, or 1/12 of the package), you're getting 4.5 grams of saturated fat. When you consider that the American Heart Association suggests limiting your daily consumption of this fat to around 13 grams, you can see that it would be easy to go overboard with these cookies.
Young adds that even though this dough is lower in added sugars than some of the other brands on our list, "It still includes added sugars, which are considered empty calories and provide no nutritional value to our bodies."
Pillsbury Big Deluxe Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Buying a break-and-bake cookie dough is easy since all you have to do is preheat the oven, grab a baking sheet, and break off the dough. But if you go this route, our experts suggest you avoid the varieties with "big" or "giant" in the name, like these Pillsbury Big Deluxe Chocolate Chip Cookies. Limiting yourself to only a few cookies is hard enough, but when the cookies are made in a larger size, it becomes even more difficult not to go overboard.
Nestle Toll House Pecan Turtle Delight Cookie Dough
Who wouldn't love a classic pecan turtle (aka, pecans dipped in caramel and chocolate) in the form of a freshly baked cookie? You'll get just that with these Pecan Turtle Delight cookies from Nestle Toll House. But you'll also get 12 grams of added sugars, 180 milligrams of sodium, and 4 grams of saturated fat in just one cookie. And unless you have superhuman strength and can actually limit yourself to just one, chances are you'll be doubling or tripling these numbers as you snack away.
Ben & Jerry's S'mores Frozen Cookie Dough Mix
The very first ingredient in these edible cookie dough chunks that you can grab and eat straight from the freezer is sugar, and you'll get plenty of it with 13 grams per 2-tablespoon serving. Considering the small serving size (and the addition of marshmallow truffles), it's easy to keep on snacking and quickly surpass the 13 grams of added sugar, not to mention the 4.5 grams of saturated fat.
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Edible Cookie Dough
Edible cookie dough has become all the rage because it has the same satisfying taste of raw cookie dough, without having to worry about eating too many raw eggs. Unfortunately, buying a tub of edible dough like the Chocolate Chip from Nestle Toll House will make it hard to exercise portion control, and all too easy to just eat the whole container in one sitting. It's considered to be an unhealthy cookie dough because, in just a single 2-tablespoon serving, you're getting 15 grams of added sugar, 140 calories, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, and 115 milligrams of sodium.
Private Selection Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough
The Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough from Private Selection is a cookie lover's dream, but they come at a bit of a nutritional cost. In just one serving these cookies provide 160 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 240 milligrams of sodium, and 14 grams of sugar. These numbers aren't so bad if you stick to one serving, but when you indulge a bit more (and who wouldn't?), these numbers can double faster than you may expect.
- Source: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet#:~:text=Americans%20eat%20on%20average%20about,recommended%20limits%20are%20even%20lower.
- Source: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much#:~:text=Men%20should%20consume%20no%20more,day%27s%20allotment%20in%20one%20slurp.
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/nestle-usa-announces-voluntary-recall-limited-quantity-nestler-toll-houser-chocolate-chip-cookie
- Source: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats