Don’t be afraid to freeze!

Holiday baking season is almost upon us! That means it’s time to make room in your stomach and your freezer. Here’s what you need to know about freezing and thawing cookies (and cookie dough) perfectly every time:

Baked Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies Getty 9/30/20
Credit: sorendls/Getty Images

sorendls/Getty Images

Not so fast! Before you freeze your cookies, there are some things to consider:

  • Not all cookies freeze well. Cookies are like snowflakes (sometimes literally). No two are exactly alike. Certain types—like chocolate chip, oatmeal, or plain sugar—freeze quite well. Others don’t. For instance, delicate cookies (like these meringues or these pizzelles) will probably not hold up in the freezer.
  • Save icing until after the cookies are thawed. We’re not saying you can’t freeze decorated cookies, because you most certainly can. But, since the ingredients in icing aren’t really meant to be frozen, the quality will be negatively affected.

How to Freeze Baked Cookies

  1. Allow the cookies to cool completely. This is important! Skipping this step will result in freezer-burned cookies.
  2. Arrange the cookies in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or reusable food wrap. Place in the freezer overnight.
  3. Once cookies are completely frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag and label with the date. Freeze up to three months.

How to Thaw Frozen Baked Cookies

Remove the cookies from their container and arrange them in a single layer on a paper towel- or dish towel-lined baking sheet.

  • Don’t try to thaw them in the container they were frozen in, as the condensation will make them soggy.
  • Do allow them to come to room temperature before decorating. If the cookies and the icing are different temperatures, they won’t stick together.

Cookie Dough

Cookie dough Getty 9/30/20
Credit: Ryan Cutler / EyeEm/Getty Images

Ryan Cutler / EyeEm/Getty Images

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: Every freezer should be permanently stocked with cookie dough. It’s the absolute best way to ensure freshly baked homemade cookies are available at a moment’s notice. That said, some doughs fare a lot better in the freezer than others. Drop cookie doughs (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, etc.) freeze really well, while delicate doughs (like macarons) don’t.

Heart cookies Getty 9/30/20
Credit: istetiana/Getty Images

istetiana/Getty Images

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

To freeze drop cookie dough: Scoop the dough into balls onto a lined cookie sheet, just as you would if you were about to bake them. Instead of baking them, though, cover them with plastic wrap or reusable food wrap and freeze overnight. Transfer the frozen balls to a freezer-safe bag and label with the date. Freeze up to three months.

To freeze cutout cookie dough: If you’ve already cut the dough into shapes, use the freezing method described above. If you haven’t, shape the dough into flattened discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap or reusable food wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag labeled with the date. Freeze up to three months.

How to Thaw Frozen Cookie Dough

There’s no need to spend extra time thawing frozen drop cookie dough or cutout shapes. Just bake for 1-3 minutes longer than the recipe calls for.

To thaw frozen cookie dough discs, remove them from their wrapping and let stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface and proceed with your recipe.