No, For Real—Don’t Eat Raw Cookie Dough

Put down the raw gingerbread dough. ‘Tis the season for joy and good cheer—not food poisoning.

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raw cookie dough shaped in balls

Photo, Anthony DeRosa / Pexels.

It’s holiday cookie season. And while it may be tempting to dip in to all that buttery batter even before you bake it, this joy-stealing Grinch is here to explain why stealing from the cookie dough bowl is a bad idea. (In the U.S., the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention even releases an annual reminder to steer clear of raw dough.)

Why Shouldn’t I Eat Raw Cookie Dough?

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs can carry salmonella. This is something most people are aware of (and often choose to casually ignore—witness the deliciousness that is Caesar salad). According to Health Canada, salmonella is typically found on the shell, but it’s also known to develop in the egg before it’s laid. So eating any egg raw comes with an element of risk. (Salmonella is not very common in Canadian eggs, and most people recover after a few days, but children, the elderly or the pregnant, as well as those with weak or compromised immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness, so being cautious is wise.)

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Raw Flour

To many, raw flour is a lesser-known risk. Officially, flour is considered a raw food that can carry bacteria until it’s cooked; as a grain product, it can come in contact with contaminants from soil, water and waste before making it onto store shelves. (Remember the flour recall from last year28 people got sick in Canada after an E.coli outbreak that was linked to flour and flour products.)

What about cookie dough ice cream?

Relax, no one is coming for your ice cream. Cookie dough ice creams that are made with pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour are safe to eat, so enjoy with abandon!

Editor’s note: I know the disappointment is real, so try this edible raw cookie dough recipe—it’s an amazing substitute.

Originally published in December 2018; Updated November 2019