Place cookies in an airtight container.
After they are frozen solid, layer them in an airtight container. I like to use these plastic containers with a lid. I put wax paper in between the layers and place the cookies in a single layer. Use a more shallow container and only have 3-4 layers of cookies.
To thaw frozen cookies, take them out of the container in which they were stored and spread them out until they come to room temperature. From there, you can decorate them as needed, serve them, or, if necessary, refresh them in a 325º oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Water expands when it freezes and then contracts again when it is thawed. That expanding and contracting can ruin the texture of frozen food, but most cookie doughs will not have this problem. Follow the tips below for your specific type of cookie and feel confident that your frozen cookies will come out perfectly.
Freezing is the best way to store cookies long term. Freezing a freshly baked cookie preserves that fresh flavor and texture so you can enjoy it any time. For best results, let your cookies cool completely, and then freeze right away.
Make Ahead Tips
You can store the dough in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days before baking. When ready to bake, scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons and follow the recipe baking instructions.
Editor: Jen, we would probably vote for cookie dough, since nothing beats a truly fresh-baked cookie. But we would recommend scooping the dough and freezing it solid on cookie sheets, then sealing the frozen in lumps in bags for longer storage.
In general, any cookie doughs with a lot of butter or fat freeze well, including:
- Drop cookies, like oatmeal, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies.
- Icebox cookies (aka slice-and-bake)
- Sugar cookies.
When baking frozen cookie dough, you do not have to thaw the cookie dough. Simply place the frozen, pre-scooped cookie dough onto a baking sheet and bake for 2-3 minutes longer than the original recipe recommends. That’s it!
- Seal the cookies in cello bags with the heat sealer.
- Place the cookies into an airtight container.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- To thaw, keep the cookies in the airtight container at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
Storage and Packaging For Decorated Cookies
They will stay fresh for 3 to 4 weeks after that (depending on what cookie recipe you’re using). If you don’t have a heat sealer or cello bags, an airtight container will keep them fresh for a few days.
After your cookies are baked and iced with royal icing, they can be frozen. Once your iced cookies have completely dried, place them in an airtight container, like a plastic freezer bag or Tupperware, with sheets of waxed paper in between any layers, and pop them in your freezer.
Storing Fresh Sugar Cookies at Room Temperature
- Keep out of direct heat or sunlight.
- Store in layers separated by plastic wrap or wax paper.
- Store in small portions.
- Store in an airtight method.
- Don’t use a cookie jar.
If you’re trying to store decorated cookies, make sure to layer them between wax or parchment paper after the decorating icing has completely hardened. Bar cookies, like brownies or blondies, should always be baked before storing. They will freeze well, but should be frozen in the container they were baked in.
Dried or drying royal icing should not be refrigerated. How do I store royal icing? Royal icing made with meringue powder or powdered egg whites can be stored at room temperature. To keep the royal icing from crusting, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the royal icing.
A. To keep chewy cookies from turning dry and brittle, store them in a zipper-lock bag at room temperature with a small piece of bread (no more than half of a slice) placed inside.
A secret baker’s trick is to rest your cookie dough in the fridge. You can rest it for at least an hour, which will evaporate some of the water and increase the sugar content, helping to keep your cookies chewy. The longer you allow your dough to rest in the fridge, the chewier your cookies will be.
Bakery or homemade cookies can be stored at room temperature two to three weeks or two months in the refrigerator. Cookies retain their quality when stored in the freezer for eight to 12 months. Moist bars, such as cheesecake and lemon bars, can be refrigerated for seven days.
Overworking the dough.
The more you mix and work the dough after adding the flour, the more gluten is formed, which can result in cookies that are tough and hard.
So one way to get the best of both: Use half butter and half shortening. By the way “butter” here is butter. Real butter, not margarine.
Sugar: White sugar leads to crispier cookies than brown sugar or other sweeteners do. That’s because white sugar lets out a lot of water as it bakes, resulting in crispier cookies like these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. However, it’s the yolks that make cookies chewy, while the whites lead to crunchier cookies.