Nothing is better than freshly baked cookies. But during the holidays when fresh, homemade cookies matter most, we’re also needing to split our time between cooking, hosting, shopping, and celebrating the season, leaving little time to spend rolling out and filling dozens of dainty little cookies. This is when having a magical holiday depends on the magic of the freezer.
Freezing cookies or cookie dough now can save you later when you’re just too busy to bake. Just follow these tips and you’ll be good to go.
What types of cookies can I freeze?
Lots of cookies are great candidates for the freezer. Cutout cookies, slice and bake (icebox) cookies, drop cookies, and biscotti are all excellent choices. Any cookie with a lot of butter or fat will freeze well.
Try to avoid freezing cookies that are decorated, filled, or delicate — like meringues — since they would loose a lot of their texture. Also, don’t freeze cookies dipped in chocolate. Chocolate chips are fine, but a heavy coating of chocolate, once frozen and thawed, could leave an unappetizing white haze visible.
As a general rule of thumb, cookies with a thin batter don’t hold up well in the freezer.
Cookies that freeze well:
- Slice and bake cookies (icebox cookies)
- Bar cookies
- Oatmeal cookies
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Peanut butter cookies
- Sugar cookies, plain or decorated with icing
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Apricot cookies
- Gobs (Whoopie pies)
- Ladylocks (clothespin cookies)
- Molasses cookies
- Cannoli dough (though not once fried or filled)
Cookies that don’t freeze well:
- Fried and/or filled cannoli
How do I freeze cookies?
Bake cookie according to recipe, then let them cool completely on a cooling rack. A flat-bottomed, square or rectangular plastic container with an airtight lid will help protect cookies from breaking as well as freezer burn. Line your container with waxed paper or plastic wrap, then place a single layer of cookies on the bottom. Cover with another layer of wax paper or plastic wrap, then repeat layers of cookies and paper, finishing with a layer of paper or wrap. Don’t let your final layer hang outside the container as this could reduce the effectiveness of the container’s seal. Stretch a piece of masking tape across top of the container and label with cookie type of date frozen.
How long can cookies be frozen?
Cookies frozen correctly can stay fresh up to 2 months, though can often times make it as long as 6 months.
Can decorated cookies be frozen?
Freezing won’t change the taste of decorated cookies, but it may change their appearance. Frosted cookies may stick together or develop condensation when thawed, causing colored icings to bleed.
Can I freeze cookie dough?
Yes! Again, thin cookie doughs and batters like those used for pizzelle won’t hold up, but most cookie doughs do just fine. Freezing cookie dough instead of the actual cookies is actually a better option, since it takes up less room in your freezer, plus you’ll get to enjoy that just-baked smell later on.
How should I freeze cookie dough?
Keep in mind that cookies don’t need to be thawed completely before baking — most would do just fine frozen — but you’ll probably have to had a few minute onto your normal cook time.
For drop cookies
(Examples: chocolate chips, oatmeal, or peanut butter cookies.) Form dough balls and place closely together on wax paper-lined baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours then transfer to freezer bag.
When ready to bake: Place dough balls on baking sheet and let stand for 15 minute before baking per recipe directions.
For slice and bake (icebox) cookies
Form dough into a log shape then wrap super tightly in plastic wrap. Then, wrap those tightly in aluminum foil before playing in an airtight freezer bag and transferring to freezer.
When ready to bake: Let dough log sit out for about 10 minutes before slicing and arranging on cookie sheet for baking.
For sugar or roll-out cookies
Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil for protection. Freeze solid.
When ready to bake: Remove sheets from freeze and let thaw for a few minutes. Then use cookie cutters to stamp out shapes.
For powdered sugar coated cookies
Freeze cookie balls without powdered sugar.
When ready to bake: Let cookie balls defrost for a few minutes. Roll in sugar before baking.
How long can I freeze cookie dough?
Cookie dough, when frozen correctly, can stay fresh up to 2 months, though can often times make it as long as 6 months.
How should I thaw cookie dough?
The best way to thaw your cookie dough — be them balls, logs, or discs — is to move them to the refrigerator overnight. If you’ve frozen cookies in dough balls or pre-cut shapes, you can simply place them on a baking sheet, let them stand for about 15 minutes, and bake according to your instructions.
Also see, 10 delicious facts you never knew about Girl Scout Cookies. (Which also freeze well!)