The Best Cookies to Freeze and How to Do It

The Best Cookies to Freeze and How to Do It

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

The ability to freeze cookies and cookie dough is a such a lifesaver when I don't have time to spend the whole day baking. It also means that there isn't a temptation to eat up the entire batch of cookies; the cookie dough is ready-to-go in the freezer for unexpected guests or when I need a comfort food fix; and if I get my act together and freeze a variety of cookies, a cookie plate is at my fingertips.

Here's a guide on which cookies freeze well, which ones don't, and tips on the whole freezing process!

The Cookies You Shouldn't Freeze

While most cookies and cookie doughs freeze beautifully, there are a few that you should shy away from. The basic rule is that cookies with a liquidy batter don't hold up well in the freezer — these are usually thin, delicate cookies like tuiles, florentines and pizzelles. Very cakey "cookies" like madeleines also do not freeze well.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Freezing Cookie Dough

Most other cookies, however, freeze just fine. If given the choice to freeze cookie dough or baked cookies, I would go with cookie dough: they take up less room, aren't delicate, and who can resist the smell and taste of just-baked cookies?

In general, any cookie doughs with a lot of butter or fat freeze well, including:

  • Shortbread
  • Gingerbread
  • Drop cookies, like oatmeal, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies
  • Icebox cookies (aka slice-and-bake)
  • Sugar cookies

Tips for Freezing Cookie Dough

  • For drop cookies, form dough balls onto a baking sheet as close together as you can but make sure they don't touch. Freeze and transfer to freezer bags.
  • For icebox cookies, wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap, then place the logs in freezer bags and freeze. Let sit out for a few minutes before slicing the logs.
  • For sugar or rolled-out gingerbread cookies, wrap the piece of dough tightly in plastic wrap and freezer. Better yet, roll out the dough between parchment or wax paper and freeze solid. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let thaw for a few minutes before using cookie cutters.
  • For cookies dipped in powdered sugar, freeze the cookie balls without powdered sugar. When it's time to bake, let the balls defrost while you preheat the oven, then roll them in sugar right before baking.
  • Keep in mind that while most of these cookies can be baked straight from the freezer, they will probably need a minute or two more of baking time.

Freezing Baked Cookies

There are times when freezing cookie dough isn't an option. You may need to just get that cookie dough baked off ahead of time or find yourself with extra baked cookies — just throw them in the freezer, they'll be fine!

Although most baked cookies freeze with no problems, here are some that hold up especially well:

  • Bar cookies
  • Sugar cookies, plain or decorated with icing or chocolate
  • Drop cookies, like oatmeal, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies
  • Biscotti

Tips for Freezing Baked Cookies

  • All cookies should be frozen individually after they've cooled completely, meaning they should be placed on a baking sheet, not touching, until frozen solid (they can be frozen like this in layers separated by parchment, wax, or freezer paper).
  • All cookies should be stored in airtight containers (shallow is best so they don't get crushed) or bags.
  • Freeze bar cookies in whole or large slabs, then just thaw and cut when serving.
  • Iced or decorated cookies should be stored in layers, with parchment, wax, or freezer paper between the layers so that the decorations stay intact. If you can, however, freeze the baked cookies and ice them as needed.
  • When thawing baked cookies, take them out of the containers and let sit at room temperature so that condensation doesn't form and make them soggy.
  • You can gently reheat frozen or thawed cookies to mimic that fresh-baked taste and texture: place them in a 275F oven and check on them after 10 to 15 minutes.
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