Milk. It’s a crucial part of the eating experience — for baking, cooking, coffee, cereal, smoothies. But it’s best use? For dunking cookies, of course! But why do milk and cookies make the world’s best duo? It’s culinary chemistry, Great Big Story reports. Here’s the actual science behind why the two are so tasty together.

A Brief History of Milk

10,000 B.C.: Animals are domesticated and milked.

1862: Louis Pasteur modernizes milk safety. The term “pasteurized” is born.

1884: Milk is bottled and the milkman came to be.

1994: The Got Milk campaign sweeps the nation.


What SCIENCE says about dunking

“When you dip cookies into milk you change a number of things about those cookies that completely alters your eating experience,” Matt Hartings, professor of chemistry at American University.

“Alters” means that not only does the texture and composition change, but the chemical composition does as well. There are specific ways such as an MS-nose that can help scientists can study and separate individual aromas and flavors of a food into their individual parts. It can help us understand how complexed molecules come together to make a flavor.

“You add a creaminess to your cookie, and that makes your cookie taste completely different. You will dampen some of the flavors that are naturally sharp in a chocolate chip cookie,” said Hartings.

So if you love to dunk those chewy, chocolate morsels in milk, you have science to thank for that one-of-a-kind flavor.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.