Hi everyone! So I’ve been meaning to do this for some time now, but I’m going to start working on a series of high-altitude baking blogs to help those of you with altitude issues.

The Struggle Is Real

I live in Denver, CO, and we’re above 5,000 ft from sea level here, which has presented an entirely new set of baking challenges. Many of my recipes are actually written and baked at a high altitude. I’ve lived here for most of my life, so it’s something I’m used to at this point- I make adjustments to nearly every single recipe that I bake. 

Homemade Brownies

We’re starting off with some misconceptions that I’ve heard, and that I’ve fallen for myself.

If you share this struggle, you’ve probably run into these issues while baking: 

  • Cakes that look perfect while baking, but immediately sink in the center after they come out of the oven. This applies to cupcakes as well. 
  • Dense batters take forever to bake through, causing an over-cooked exterior and a raw center.
  • Baked goods have less flavor overall, even though you add salt, and vanilla, and other should-be-delicious things to flippin’ everything.
  • Yeast breads are nearly impossible for like, every single reason.

High Altitude Baking Misconceptions

Basically, when I first got into baking, I spent a ton of time and money making recipes that sounded awesome, and having them fail miserably. I can’t even count how many chocolate cupcake recipes I made before I realized that writing my own, high-altitude-friendly recipes was the only solution. 

Honey Banana Cupcakes

When you go online and search for a recipe, it’s an almost certainty that it was written and tested in a sea-level part of the world. That makes things tough for all of us up higher. Common high altitude baking misconceptions for solutions include:

  1. Adding flour solves everything: Adding flour is my go-to fix to help with cake issues, and it certainly does help with certain recipes. However, liquid actually evaporates more quickly in higher altitudes, which means in some cases adding flour will simply dry out your dish. Depending on what you’re baking, additional eggs, reduced sugar, or reduced leavening could be your solution, not extra flour.
  2. Cookies are affected as much as anything else:  This is not an all encompassing statement, but for the most part, cookies are least affected by altitude when it comes to baking. I actually try most cookie recipes without any modifications first, or I will reduce the leavening as a first step. If you reduce leavening in any recipe, start with a reduction of 1/8 teaspoon for every 1 teaspoon of your leavening agent. 
  3. More baking powder/soda fixes sinking cakes: In fact, the reason that cakes sink in higher altitudes is because the leavening agent rises much faster, raising your cake much too quickly. Then, it proceeds to fall and ruin people’s days. Because of this, it can actually be helpful to reduce your baking powder or baking soda slightly. 
  4. Adding more salt will help with the lack of flavor: Of course, you should add at least a pinch of salt to any baked item, but at a high altitude, lack of salt is likely not the issue. Since liquids evaporate during baking faster up here, you’ll want to actually add more liquid to your recipe if flavor is an issue. Of course, you don’t want to add too much more as this may change the entire texture of your dough or batter, but usually a couple of teaspoons extra of your oil, milk, or other liquid helps. 
  5. Letting yeast dough rise longer helps: Yeast breads are the bane of my existence. It’s definitely the hardest type of high altitude recipe to work with for me. Again, your leavening is going to rise much faster here, so you’ll actually want to let your yeast dough rise less than normal. It’s also common for folks to use cold water instead of warm, or to punch down the dough more frequently to help slow down the rise. 



Alright guys- expect more in this series in the coming months! I’ll be delving into cakes, yeast breads, and quick breads so all of us high-altitude-bakers can get some relief! If you’ve heard other misconceptions, I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Tami

    October 13, 2016 at 12:43 am

    Bless you! I just moved to Colorado 2 years ago and my cakes are killing me. I do custom decorated cakes and have struggled BIG TIME! I'm going to scour your blog for more info. ?

    • nmespinosa12@gmail.com

      January 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Oh! I'm so glad to hear from you- I hope my recipes are helpful!!

  2. Mathew T

    February 16, 2017 at 2:03 am

    This is excellent. While I haven't struggled too much (yet) with the agony of high-altitude baking, I have started my own cooking/baking journeys. I am glad that I came across your blog, as I recently made some vegan biscuits that came out denser than I'd like. Now that I understand a little better about the leavening agents, I can try and adapt the recipe for a fluffier and flakier biscuit. I went old school and did it by hand without any biscuit cutters.

    • nmespinosa12@gmail.com

      February 16, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Oh I'm so glad to hear it! I hope it's helpful in your future baking!

  3. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    October 15, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I'm also a blogger in Colorado although I do a wide variety of dishes and cocktails and only occasionally include a baked good. I've lived here for 3 decades and yet can still have a snafu. One of the best tips EVER came about when I met a professional dessert chef who owns a restaurant downtown. His tip for success? Raise the oven temp 10 degrees and shorten the cooking time. That will circumvent the problem with the dough not being cooked enough while it's risen too quickly and I did indeed have success with that method; I often only kept the heat higher for the first half of the bake if I was making cookies or muffins.

    Then I moved to Castle Rock from Greenwood Village and it was a full year before I realized that the problems I began to have were because I was up another thousand feet! Back to fiddling with flour, liquid and leaving again!

    My recipes are produced for sea level baking because I have a national audience so the flops when I have them are mine alone. I have long said, I may not be the best baker but I am a pro at punting…I can fix anything!

    Looking forward to delving into your site; I have friends who struggle with baking here too; they'll enjoy finding your recipes!

    • Dough-Eyed

      October 15, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      That's a great tip Barbara, I'm so glad you found my blog!! Yours is beautiful too, I can't wait to spend more time checking it out!

  4. Joanne

    February 14, 2018 at 7:24 am

    You should join "Forrager" on FB. You will reach the entire country!

    • Dough-Eyed

      February 14, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Joanne! I'm not sure what Forrager is- I'll look into this though, thanks for the information!!

  5. Christy

    September 27, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    The struggle is real. I live at 4100’ on the Big Island of Hawaii and the humidity also messes with my bread making. Thanks for a great post. ?⭐️

    • Dough-Eyed

      September 27, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Christy! Oh, I bet the humidity does have a big effect too! Luckily I don't have to deal with that one. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Arica

    November 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I'm so thrilled to have found your blog! I just moved to Colorado 4 months ago and LOVE to bake, however I have been failing miserably and it's been really discouraging. I am so excited to start trying your recipes and learning your tips and tricks!

    • Dough-Eyed

      November 9, 2018 at 1:29 am

      Hi Arica!! I'm so excited to hear from you- I hear stories like yours all the time!! I really hope you'll find more success through here!! Thank you so much for stopping by!!

  7. Ann

    November 16, 2018 at 12:39 am

    You have a recipe for salted caramel blondies in the latest issue of Colorado Life. Currently, we are living in Nebraska but will be moving to Colorado in the spring. Do I need to adjust your recipe for lower altitude now? They look too good to wait until we are “higher”! Thanks!

    • Dough-Eyed

      November 19, 2018 at 1:05 am

      Hi Ann! So yes, you'd want to adjust it just slightly. I would reduce the flour by 2 tablespoons and increase the leavener by 1/4 tsp. I think that should help, though of course I'm unable to test those recipes since I'm always here in Colorado! Also, pre-welcome to Colorado!! 🙂

  8. Michellle Hansen

    May 23, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    I am so excited to have found your blog, I am a frequent traveler to Lake Tahoe and the elevation is roughly 6,225 feet do you have any recommendations for adjustments at that altitude? Thanks so much!!

    • Dough-Eyed

      May 23, 2019 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Michelle!! I'm glad you found me too!! So I usually find that my recipes tend to work in the range of 4-7 thousand ft. If anything, you may need to add a touch more flour to cakes, but I'm at about 5,000 feet so it should be fairly comparable!

  9. Anna

    September 23, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Hello from Medellin, Colombia! Used to be an Ibio girl, so high altitude baking is ALL new to me! Looking forward to browsing your blog. 🙂

    • Anna

      September 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      *Ohio, not Ibio

    • Dough-Eyed

      October 11, 2019 at 12:34 am

      Hi Anna!! Thanks so much!!

  10. Colleen Pitts

    January 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Hi Nicole,
    I met you in Denver last November at your book signing. I just want to confirm that the Boston Cream Pie recipe on your blog is already formulated for high altitude. My family is going to meet in Joseph OR for a 60th anniversary party. We are going to make my Mom her favorite cake, Boston Cream Pie. My sisters and I want to make sure it comes out right.(I have enough trouble baking at sea level. Ha)
    Thank you,
    Colleen Pitts
    PS-I am buying your book for my Mom on Amazon.

    • Dough-Eyed

      January 28, 2020 at 12:08 am

      Hi Colleen!! Thank you so much for the kind words! Yes, the Boston Cream Pie recipe will be good to go for you up there- it looks like Joseph is at a very similar altitude to what I develop all my recipes at!

  11. Misty

    February 7, 2020 at 5:53 am

    Hi Nicole,
    I’m glad I found your page, I live at almost 9000 ft elevation in southeast NM. I moved here almost 3 years ago from Houston TX and boy am I having a hard time with baking. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

    • Dough-Eyed

      February 11, 2020 at 6:31 pm

      Oh good!! I'm at about 5000 feet so you might have to make further adjustments but maybe not!

  12. Laura

    February 11, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Nicole! I stumbled across your site today thanks to an Amazon search for high-altitude baking. I found your cookbook, headed to your mentioned site (from your author page) and was pleased to find out that you're in Denver! Which means, for me in Westminster, that I won't have to tinker with anything besides making dairy/egg/oil replacements (we eat whole food plant based, which is a whole separate journey of its own). Thanks for this great site… now to start making plans for trying recipes!

    • Dough-Eyed

      February 11, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Laura!! Thank you so much for all the kind words!! I hope my recipes make it easier for ya!

  13. Sara Jane

    March 27, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Nicole!

    I love all of your recipes and I love your writing! So excited that I found your blog, I live in Breckenridge and am doing a lot of baking with all of this unexpected free time. Really excited to try your cinnamon roll recipe out today 🙂


    • Dough-Eyed

      March 29, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Hi there!! Thanks so much, I'm glad you found me too!! I hope they turned out great for you!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never Miss a recipe