Science Knows How Long You Should Dunk Your Cookie

The magic number is...


Photo by: pjohnson1


Science may still have hard work ahead when it comes to curing a host of pernicious diseases and global ills, but it has just definitively cleared up one of the universe's great mysteries: the ideal amount of time to dunk an Oreo cookie.

Spoiler alert: Exactly four seconds.

Researchers at Utah State University's Splash Lab — where, according to its website, PhD students and profs "seek to unravel the physical mechanisms of fluid behaviors, through a novel 3D volumetric measurement method known as Synthetic Aperture Imaging and imbedded instrumentation (e.g., accelerometers, etc)” and "experimentally analyze fluid systems such as fluid-structure interactions, multi-phase flows and free surface phenomena” — became convinced that the world and they themselves needed to pinpoint the optimal cookie-dunking time one day while munching on cookies and milk.

"That question kept coming up, like, ‘What is the best dunking time?' And everybody kind of argued about it,” Tadd Truscott, a USU assistant professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, told Salt Lake City TV station KSL.

It took the scientists two weeks of punishing research, spending several grueling hours each day dunking and testing a range of cookies, including graham crackers and Nutter Butters, in addition to the aforementioned name-brand chocolate sandwich cookie. Their goal was to figure out how the cookies absorb the liquid and when they reach "maximum capacity.”

"Basically, every cookie, it draws in milk at roughly the same rate,” Truscott told KSL. And maximum capacity was reached in about four seconds.

The effect, in terms of eating, may differ from cookie to cookie. "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.

But make it a short sentence or be prepared to suffer the consequences. After five seconds of milk absorption, the sugars and proteins start to break down, which means you've got one soggy snack on your hands.

Bring your stopwatch to snack time — or beware the overdunk!

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Photo: Getty Images

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