Raw Flour and Dough

At a glance

  • Uncooked flour and raw eggs can contain germs that can make you sick.
  • Tasting or eating raw (unbaked) dough or batter can put you at risk for food poisoning.
  • Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking.
  • Wash your hands, bowls, utensils, and countertops after handling raw flour, eggs, or dough.
raw cookie dough in bowl

Risks of raw dough

Flour doesn't look like a raw food, but most flour is raw. That means it hasn't been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella. These harmful germs can contaminate grain while it's still in the field or flour while it's being made. Steps like grinding grain and bleaching flour don't kill harmful germs—and these germs can end up in flour or baking mixes you buy at the store. You can get sick if you eat unbaked dough or batter made with flour containing germs. Germs are killed only when flour is baked or cooked.

CDC investigated outbreaks linked to raw flour or cake mix in 2016, 2019, 2021, and 2023. Some of these investigations led to recalls. Flour and baking mixes containing flour have long shelf lives, meaning they do not go bad quickly. It's a good idea to check your pantry to see if you have any flour or baking mixes that have been recalled in recent years (search FDA's recall list). Throw away any recalled flour or baking mixes you have.

Raw eggs are another ingredient in dough and batter that can make you or your loved ones sick. Raw and lightly cooked eggs can contain Salmonella.

Some companies make edible cookie dough and brownie batter that you can find in stores. These products are made with heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs or no eggs. Before enjoying, read the label carefully to make sure the dough is meant to be eaten without baking or cooking.

Read Harlee's story to find out what happened when she got an E. coli infection from eating raw batter.

Safely handling raw flour and eggs

Follow these practices to prevent food poisoning when you are baking and cooking with flour and eggs.

  • Avoid tasting any raw dough or batter. This includes dough or batter for cookies, brownies, cakes, pie crusts, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments.
  • Do not let children play with or eat dough made with raw flour, including dough for crafts.
  • Bake raw dough (such as cookie dough) and batter (such as cake mix) before eating.
  • Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking. Use the temperature and cooking time given in the recipe or directions.
  • Do not make milkshakes with products that contain raw flour, such as cake mix.
  • Do not use raw homemade cookie dough in ice cream.
    • Cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful germs.
  • Keep raw foods, such as flour and eggs, separate from ready-to-eat foods. Because flour is a powder, it can spread easily.
  • Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they are baked or cooked (for example, store-bought cookie dough).
  • Clean up after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water after handling flour, raw eggs, or any surfaces they have touched.
    • Wash bowls, utensils, countertops, and other surfaces with hot, soapy water.