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TRENDING SCIENCE: Why does the Oreo cookie cream stick to one side? MIT has the answer

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reveal why the cream never separates evenly.

Fundamental Research

Maybe you’ve never had the divine pleasure of eating the world’s favourite cookie with milk. But admit it, the thought of the perfect way to eat one has at least crossed your mind. Science has successfully split the atom, but it struggles to discover the secret behind splitting an Oreo. What makes it so hard? “Videos of the manufacturing process show that they put the first wafer down, then dispense a ball of cream onto that wafer before putting the second wafer on top,” explained lead author Crystal Owens, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at MIT in a news release. “Apparently that little time delay may make the cream stick better to the first wafer.”

Oreo tech

To come up with the best way to open the iconic cream-filled cookie, science has a new field known as oreology that’s dedicated to this pursuit. The team at MIT created a 3D-printed device called Oreometer to better understand the science behind what happens to the cream filling when two sides of an Oreo cookie are split. Findings were published in the journal ‘Physics of Fluids’. “When I was little, I tried twisting wafers to split the cream evenly between wafers so there’s some on both halves -- which in my opinion tastes much better than having one wafer with a lot of creme and one with almost none. This was hard to do when I was trying it by hand,” Owens told ‘CNN’. “We learned, sadly, that even if you twist an Oreo perfectly, the cream will almost always end up mostly on one of the two wafers, with a delamination of the cream, and there’s no easy way to get it to split between wafers.” Owens added: “We didn’t even begin to answer all of the questions someone could ask about Oreos or cookies, which is why we made our Oreometer, so anyone with access to a 3D printer can make other measurements.” The MIT researchers twisted the cookie apart with the Oreometer and examined the cream-to-cookie ratio on each side. There’s a video available of the procedure. They also experimented with various parameters, such as dipping the cookie in milk and using different flavours and filling amounts from about 20 boxes of Oreos.

Getting to the creamy centre of the debate

The results showed that there’s no definitive solution to twisting that would split the cream evenly. In addition, if the inside of Oreo wafers was more textured, the cream might grip better onto both sides and split more evenly when twisted. “If you try to twist the Oreos faster, it will actually take more strain and more stress to break them,” stated Owens in an article on ‘AIP Publishing’. “So, maybe this is a lesson for people who are stressed and desperate to open their cookies. It’ll be easier if you do it a little bit slower.” Why not try the experiment at home? Simply download the 3D printer files. And if you’ve never dunked an Oreo in milk, do it for science.


cookie, Oreo, cream, oreology, Oreometer, wafer