Scientists determine how long an Oreo should be dipped in milk

Posted at 10:09 AM, Aug 22, 2017

There's a science behind dipping cookies in milk, and researchers at Utah State University say they've figured it out. They spent two weeks in search of the ideal dipping time.

Scientists from the university's splash lab study liquids. This time, the liquid was milk, and cookies were involved.

"We've always had, like, these crazy ideas, I guess you'd say," said Dr. Tadd Truscott. "We were always saying, 'We should be always curious, asking as many questions as we can.'"

Truscott and some colleagues got the idea while eating cookies and milk.

"That question kept coming up, like, 'What is the best dunking time?' And everybody kind of argued about it," he explained.

They tried dipping a variety of cookies — everything from graham crackers to Nutter Butters and, of course, Oreos — several hours a day, for two weeks.

They wanted to understand how cookies absorb liquids and how long it takes to get to maximum capacity.

"Basically, every cookie, it draws in milk at roughly the same rate," Truscott said.

After just one second, the Oreo had absorbed 50 percent of the fluids possible. At about four seconds, the cookie reached maximum absorption and was best eaten then. Timing does vary a bit by cookie, though.

"What it means for you and me is that if you have a graham cracker, you've got to hurry and shove it in your mouth. If you have an Oreo, you can finish your sentence," he said.

While four seconds may be the ideal dipping time, Truscott said he and his team found that beyond five seconds, cookie consumers may get less than desirable results.

"What's happened is the sugars are starting to break down as well as proteins and the more complicated structure within."

And that can get pretty messy.

Truscott points out that the splash lab has conducted more serious studies over the years, but the cookie study had a lighter focus.

"I guess for the serious cookie dunker, they really want to know," he said.