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Is It Dangerous to Eat Raw Cookie Dough?

By Devon Pryor
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The act of eating raw cookie dough itself is not necessarily dangerous. A number of sources warn against eating it, however, specifically that which is homemade. The reason for this has to do with a difference in one key ingredient included in homemade cookie dough, which is not usually found in store-bought cookie dough nor in the cookie dough used to make ice creams and other desserts. This ingredient is raw egg. While eating an excessive amount of any raw dough may cause a stomachache, it is not potentially dangerous unless it contains raw eggs.

Cookie dough is the mix of dry and wet ingredients that is divided into portions and baked into cookies. Aside from being an unfinished stage in the cookie-making process, one might say that the dough has an identity all its own. Raw cookie dough is an ingredient in a variety of other foods, such as ice creams, cakes, and candies. It's even eaten alone at times, either as a sample before baking a batch of cookies, or straight out of a pre-made cookie dough package.

Raw eggs may contain salmonella, a species of bacterium that can causes serious illness. It is the risk of salmonella that makes raw eggs and raw cookie dough potentially dangerous. When heated to a certain point, the bacteria are killed, rendering them harmless if they happened to have been present in the egg. This means that, during the baking process, the potentially dangerous homemade dough becomes a completely harmless, and often delicious, homemade cookie.

Pre-made raw cookie dough that can be bought at the store usually does not contain uncooked eggs, although it often does contain pasteurized eggs. These are, in effect, uncooked, but they have usually been heated or “flash cooked” to a temperature that is sufficient to kill any bacteria that can be dangerous to consumers. Uncooked egg is included in cookie dough as an emulsifier that is important in the baking process. The raw cookie dough found in ice cream, cake, or candy is not meant to be baked, and for this reason, it usually does not contain any egg.

Pasteurized egg can be bought separately in stores and used instead of raw eggs in a homemade cookie dough recipe. Raw cookie dough made at home with pasteurized eggs can be eaten raw without the risk of salmonella poisoning.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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Discussion Comments

By anon974757 — On Oct 20, 2014

Firstly, the issue of the eggs being dangerous is very slim. As stated, if you're cautious, they have pasteurized eggs that are assured to contain none of the bacteria that causes salmonella.

Secondly, the flour excuse is pretty stupid. There was a case of infected raw flour, yes. In all likelihood, the reason the flour managed to cause E. Coli was because someone handling the flour was not careful. Since then, however, this super neat act of zapping it with heat before packaging and selling the flour makes the possibility of E. Coli present zero percent, making it safe to consume raw.

So, especially when it concerns prepackaged cookie dough, the chance of you coming down with E. Coli or salmonella because of the ingredients is very slim.

However E. Coli comes from feces and salmonella is most prevalent in raw poultry and if you fail to wash your hands while dealing with either one, anything you touch and consume could certainly carry the bacteria to your body.

By anon952010 — On May 19, 2014

I've eaten cookie dough since I was two and I haven't died yet!

By anon948731 — On May 01, 2014

To those who think this is a "nanny state", grow up. There are 48,000,000 cases of food poisoning every year in this country. That costs taxpayers billions of dollars in medical costs, investigating outbreaks, and lost wages, not to mention human suffering. If you think this is "funny" or "nonsense" I invite you to visit the bedside of a child who has lost kidney function and has had strokes because of an E. coli infection that became hemolytic uremic syndrome. Those are big words. Look it up.

And by the way, this article is incomplete. Raw flour is a source of E. coli bacteria too, and should always be cooked before you eat it.

By anon350347 — On Oct 04, 2013

Stupid nanny state crap. Butter is bad, margarine is good. No, margarine is bad, butter is good. Ditto with lard, chocolate and coffee. When I was nine, I used to drink chocolate Ovaltine with a raw egg in it. Those six people who got sick or died (I doubt that) from raw eggs probably had a compromised immune system or AIDS. This label should go on a Stossel segment on "Stupid Warning Labels"

I just ate some Pillsbury Hershey Kisses packaged cookie dough raw, despite the Obamaiske label saying, "Don't eat raw cookie dough." I guess the CDC will soon raid my home.

Some Democrat lawmaker probably ordered the warning label which started to appear in the early 90's (before Newt Gingrich took over the House).

By anon342151 — On Jul 17, 2013

The article is incomplete as to health effects. The flour in it can also make you sick if it is contaminated. Cooking takes care of that.

By anon334304 — On May 11, 2013

Six out of 300 million die from salmonella? I'll eat my raw cookie dough and also play Powerball tonight. The odds are roughly the same.

By anon332528 — On Apr 29, 2013

The problem is not just the possibility of salmonella from the eggs. It is also from the e.coli that can be found in flour. Both are destroyed with cooking. You can check the FDA site for more information or search for e.coli in flour to learn about this.

By anon302868 — On Nov 12, 2012

I've been eating raw cookie dough (homemade!) since I was at the age where I needed to stand on a kitchen chair to "help" make cookies. I have never had a problem. I have quite the good immune system (often not catching colds that others around me have), so I don't worry either.

I agree with the one anon post here as well about most people just not eating that much! I lick the beaters like I have since I was about three (twenty six years ago). I might have one cookie's worth of raw dough. I'm not sure how someone could eat much more than that; it's quite filling!

By anon299509 — On Oct 25, 2012

I live in Oakland, so I'm probably more likely to get a fatal gunshot wound or die in a car accident than I am to suffer some dangerous side effect of eating a bit of raw cookie dough. I think the statistics are probably similar for anyone living in an American city.

While it's no doubt not a good idea to eat the stuff on a regular basis, that's more because it's high in calories and fat than it is because it's especially dangerous.

By anon292025 — On Sep 17, 2012

It's not just the eggs that can make you sick -- it is the flour. It can contain e coli. Some cookie manufacturers have moved to a heat processed flour, which is safer but in general you should simply avoid eating it, as yummy as is may taste.

By anon289549 — On Sep 04, 2012

Look at the list of ingredients on a container of ice cream. There are raw eggs in every one I have read. I don't think they cook ice cream.

By anon272247 — On May 31, 2012

According to the FDA, only one in thirty thousand (1/30,000) eggs contains salmonella. Unless you're an infant, elderly, or pregnant, the illness isn't life-threatening. I'll take my chances.

By anon255944 — On Mar 20, 2012

I just read a report about how you should not eat raw cookie dough and/or brownie batter because of the raw eggs. It stated that six out of 300 million people in the U.S. die each year from eating raw eggs. So yes, your chances are extremely slim. Still, it's not impossible that you could become one of the six people that it does kill.

I have never eaten raw cookie dough. I do sometimes eat a little brownie batter, but only before adding the eggs to the batter mix. Also, it's printed on all cake and brownie mix boxes, "So not eat raw cookie dough, cake and/or brownie batter."

So, consumer beware, because you can't file a lawsuit if and when it does become fatal, and it will to six people, in the U.S.

By anon222829 — On Oct 16, 2011

I've eat raw cookie dough and tasty so good. Plus I do not feel sickness from stomach. This article is overprotective.

By anon205249 — On Aug 11, 2011

Whoever wrote this article is obviously over protective, un-American and a grandmother hater. He should be taken out behind the outhouse and paddled with the spoon that his grandmother used to make that cookie dough utilizing nature's perfect food, the raw egg!

By anon167991 — On Apr 14, 2011

Raw eggs are one of nature's most perfect foods. The salmonella risk is infinitesimal unless the eggs are very old and/or contaminated with dirt etc. The raw flour in the cookie dough is the dangerous substance. All raw grain product contain a number of toxic elements that should never be eaten.

By anon148008 — On Jan 31, 2011

cook the egg before adding it as an ingredient. problem solved, and you have a cookie omelette.

By anon144684 — On Jan 20, 2011

I just want to know why they don't sell cookie dough without eggs just for eating if they are so worried about it. I love eating cookie dough, though I dislike cookies. I could eat it all day. Won't. But could. And I used to do it all the time, but I had to stop because everyone was complaining about this disease.

I have a somewhat weak immune system, but even I have survived years and years of eating store bought cookie dough -- yes, with raw eggs.

By anon131189 — On Dec 01, 2010

It must be wonderful that we live in a nation when one of our major concerns is whether to eat raw cookie dough or not.

My wife saw a warning on a package of store bought cookie dough and requested I check the internet, ergo this comment. Sorry to have bothered you. By the by, I have sampled raw dough, cake mix and the like since I was a child and am a relatively healthy 70 year old former Marine. Thank you.

By anon131039 — On Nov 30, 2010

Don't buy cheap eggs. Salmonella is on the rise only because of the unspeakably unsanitary conditions at some factory farms where the eggs are produced. Read the package. Research the producer. Make informed food decisions!

By amypollick — On Nov 10, 2010

Jeez. As much raw cookie dough, brownie and cake batter I consumed as a child (and an adult) with no problems, I should be dead long since of salmonella.

If someone has a seriously compromised immune system, of course they should avoid eating raw dough or batter. They should also take many other precautions to protect themselves. That's just common sense. A healthy adult with a normal immune system, in my humble opinion, is probably not at high risk. I don't claim to speak for others, though -- only for myself.

By anon125213 — On Nov 08, 2010

I've seen many body builders crack an egg or two and put in a shake, drinking it right from the blender. I've never heard of anyone getting sick from it, so I suppose the risk is like getting bit by the wrong mosquito, and getting Triple EEE.

I myself think the occasional treat of a spoonful of raw cookie dough is worth the tiny risk.

By cierra — On Nov 08, 2010

I use pasteurized egg whites, thus no problem with eating cookie dough, or licking the beaters from mixing a cake, or anything else that calls for raw eggs. I always use pasteurized egg whites. I love eating raw cookie dough and I don't worry so much about our grandson eating the dough or licking the beaters. Something is kind of like a rite of passage.

3 tbsp pasteurized egg whites = 1 whole egg

By anon124148 — On Nov 04, 2010

I'd like to ask: are there many survivors of salmonella poisoning? is it always dangerous? we believe that i have had salmonella poisoning for the past week or so. Ive had all the symptoms except one or two and it's going away now. Will I get sicker and possibly face death? Or is it just a rare instance that it has gone away? Please help.


By anon119561 — On Oct 18, 2010

I would like to point out to the people who say that salmonella is mainly on the outside that the outside does meet the inside, like when we get shell in the bowl or when we crack the egg.(It has to pass the shell to get out).

By anon95539 — On Jul 13, 2010

If you want to make your own homemade cookie dough to eat raw, just don't use eggs. Eggs don't really do anything to the flavor, they just make everything stick together in the end, instead of crumbling apart.

By anon58629 — On Jan 03, 2010

yes we all have immune systems, but if those systems were completely perfect in blocking out illness then we would all be healthy 100 percent of the time.

The truth is our immune systems are not perfect and bacteria in elderly, young children and adults with less than perfect immune systems can be affected by the smallest amount of bacteria i.e., the common cold.

By anon34486 — On Jun 23, 2009

If a chicken had salmonella, wouldn't it be logical to assume the egg it produced could have salmonella too? I think it makes perfect sense that an egg could possibly have salmonella in it.

By anon34422 — On Jun 22, 2009

If an egg is contaminated, salmonella can sometimes be found *inside* the egg, not just on the shell.

However, salmonella contamination of eggs doesn't happen much. 1 or 2 eggs out of every 40,000, according to the CDC and FDA. At that rate, on average you would have to eat an egg every day for 100 years before you would be likely to meet a contaminated one.

I had salmonella one time from eating undercooked chicken breast at a chain restaurant. It's not fun, but in healthy adults and older children it's usually a mild illness. Most people who get salmonella poisoning don't even realize they have it. They think, oh, stomach bug, and in a few days it's over.

As an adult, I feel the risk of salmonella from eggs for me is low enough that I will continue eating soft-boiled eggs, and raw cookie dough that I make myself at home.

By anon34407 — On Jun 22, 2009

I agree with anon34262. Can someone chime in on the strength of the evidence that salmonella is routinely (or occasionally or at least perhaps 1% of the time) found *inside* an egg? Offhand, I only know of *one* report of salmonella inside an egg, and I don't trust that one.

Also, there is good evidence (and good reason to believe it) that avoiding modest challenges to your immune system (by overuse of hand sanitizer and constant disinfection, for example) leads to problems such as allergies.

That said, I wouldn't feed raw eggs or raw cookie dough to infants or others with weak or compromised immune systems.

By anon34262 — On Jun 19, 2009

Raw cookie dough is "potentially dangerous." Just as slicing a cucumber with a sharp knife is dangerous. The vast majority of people possess working immune systems, which will neutralize any threat of illness from eggs even if they do have some pathogenic strains of bacteria on them (the inside of the egg is usually completely sterile, it is only the outside that is contaminated). The other factor to consider is the dilution of the eggs in the dough. Perhaps if one were to make a meal of it, and eat an entire batch of cookie dough containing two eggs, they would consume a large enough dose of pathogens to get sick, but chances are, most people would only eat a few ounces of dough. I really hate it when people propagate this kind of hand sanitizer soccer mom crowd nonsense. We have *immune systems.*

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