How to Freeze Cookie Dough

Instructions for freezing cookie dough! Great make-ahead tips for the busy holiday season!

Did this photo catch your attention? I sure hope so.

Welcome back to my baking basics series! Where we can geek out about all things baking. The how’s, why’s, and what’s of the baking world. Hopefully you’ve learned a few things the past several months since I launched the series. Like the mysterious differences between natural and dutch-process cocoa, the head-scratcher that is baking soda vs baking powder, and how to make one seriously bangarang (yeah I said it) buttery pie crust. I’m having so much fun with this series.

baking-basics

So, let’s add a new post to the baking basics series today. We’re digging deep into the cookie world. I’m going to teach you exactly how I freeze cookie dough. Doesn’t sound revolutionary, but you won’t believe the amount of questions I get about this. And since the holidays are right around the corner, I know you’ll want to begin making Christmas cookies ahead of time. Let’s get started!

Instructions for freezing cookie dough! Great make-ahead tips for the busy holiday season!

Why I Freeze Cookie Dough

I’m so crazed running my blog during the holidays because it’s when my website receives the most traffic. Not only this, there’s holiday decorating and shopping to do. And between all this, I always need homemade desserts for gatherings, events, gifts, and parties I host. Having homemade cookie dough prepped in the freezer saves me time, sanity, and effort during these busy couple of months. And I usually get started on things right around now.

I freeze cookie dough all the time, actually. Not just this time of year! If I’m in a pinch or need dessert on the fly, I can open the freezer and I have cookie dough ready to be placed in the oven.

If there is one thing you prep ahead of time for the holidays, let it be cookie dough. You will not believe the amount of headaches I am saved by having it on hand. 10 minutes later, I have fresh baked cookies.

Instructions for freezing cookie dough! Great make-ahead tips for the busy holiday season!

How I Freeze Cookie Dough

Freezing cookie dough could not be any easier. I’m sure everyone has their own way, but here is what I do because it’s the easiest and most convenient. After my homemade cookie dough has chilled in the refrigerator (if the cookie recipe requires chilling), I roll the cookie dough into balls. Then, I chill the cookie dough balls for 1 hour. Then, I place the solid and cold cookie dough balls into a labeled zipped-top bag– large or small depending on how much dough I’m working with. I label the bag with the month and the baking temperature. Then, I place the bag in the freezer. I only freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months. So, the date helps me determine when the cookie dough will still be fresh and yield the freshest tasting cookies. And the temperature is written for obvious reasons. Really, you can write whatever is helpful to you. The date, temperature, time, recipe name, etc.

When it’s time to bake the cookies, I remove them from the freezer. Then I preheat the oven according to the recipe’s instructions. Then, bake the cookies for a minute or two longer since the dough is frozen. That’s it!

Here is everything listed for you:

  1. Prepare cookie dough according to recipe directions.
  2. After chilling the cookie dough (if the recipe calls for chilling), roll the cookie dough into balls.
  3. Chill the balls on a baking sheet for 1 hour. This helps get them nice and solid so they do not stick to each other in the freezer.
  4. Label a zipped-top bag (large or small) with the date, baking temperature for the cookies, recipe name, and/or how long the cookies need to bake for. I always list the date and baking temperature.
  5. Place the cookie dough balls inside the bag. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  6. Remove from the freezer, then preheat the oven.
  7. Bake the cookies for a minute or two longer than what the recipe instructs.
  8. Enjoy fresh-baked cookies in minutes!

Instructions for freezing cookie dough! Great make-ahead tips for the busy holiday season!

What Cookie Dough is Best to Freeze?

  • Any cookie dough with a lot of butter or fat.
  • Drop cookies are best. What I mean is cookies like chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, etc.
  • Shortbread also freezes beautifully.
  • Icebox cookie dough is great. And very easy to freeze. Just tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap, then into freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months, then let it thaw in the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing.
  • Delicate doughs don’t hold up well in the freezer– avoid freezing French macaron, pizzelle, or madeleine cookie doughs.

Freezing Cookie Cutter Cookie Dough

Cookie cutter cookies, like sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies, also freeze well though the process is a little different from above. Wrap the cookie dough tightly in plastic wrap, then freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll out, cut into shapes, and bake according to the recipe’s instructions.

Freezing Cookie Dough Rolled in Cinnamon or Sugar

For cookies rolled into cinnamon or sugar, like snickerdoodles or peanut butter blossoms, freeze the cookie dough balls without the topping. When you are ready to bake, remove the balls from the freezer, let sit for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll into topping. No need to bake for an extra minute or two since the cookies have defrosted a little.

Freezing Cookie Cake Cookie Dough

You can freeze cookie cake cookie dough. If making a funfetti cookie cake, chocolate chip cookie cake, or even a skillet chocolate chip cookie— you can freeze the prepared cookie dough. Simply prepare the cookie dough according to the recipe’s instructions. Then, chill for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Then, wrap up the cold dough tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped ball of dough into a zipped-top bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Press dough into prepared cake pan and bake according to recipe’s instructions.

The BEST Snickerdoodle Cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Freezing Baked Cookies

Instead of freezing cookie dough, you can also freeze baked cookies like biscotti, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and cookie cutter cookies (before decorating).

After your baked cookies have cooled completely:

  1. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid (this way they won’t stick to each other in the freezer).
  2. Then, place in a tupperware with parchment between each layer. Or into zipped-top bags.
  3. Freeze up to 3 months.
  4. Then, take the cookies out of the containers and thaw overnight in the refrigerator or simply on the counter.

You can also freeze baked bar cookies like blondies or brownies. I usually wait until the tray has cooled completely, then I cut into squares and freeze the squares in layers between parchment in a tupperware.

Instructions for freezing cookie dough! Great make-ahead tips for the busy holiday season!

Start getting prepped NOW for the busy holiday season. Or simply hold onto this post for future reference when you need to prep goodies ahead of time. I hope all of this helps. Here are all my cookie recipes. I usually note freezing instructions in each recipe as well. So make sure you check!

Cookie dough and cookies pictured in this post: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies, THE Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Cookies, Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles, Chewy Chocolate Chunk CookiesInside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies (but with chocolate chips, not white chocolate chips!), and Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook.

See you tonight, NYC. I’m selling and signing books at Whisk in Manhattan (933 Broadway between 21st & 22nd streets) from 5-7pm. I have a ton of candy and blog recipe samples for you!

Instructions for freezing cookie dough! Great make-ahead tips for the busy holiday season!
Instructions for freezing cookie dough! Great make-ahead tips for the busy holiday season!

128 Comments

Comments

  1. Sandra Gokey on November 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. I’m going to try this because I’m not just baking Christmas cookies for my family but for others too. They just can’t do it anymore for there family anymore so I said I would do it. I will let you know how it works for me.

  2. carolyn burkhalter on November 15, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I rolled my pumpkin snickerdoodles in the sugar and froze them-what difference will that make when I go to bake them-also I usually thaw my cookies-is this wrong? also can I not just put my dough in freezer containers and freeze that way?

  3. Colleen on November 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Do you have any suggestions for thumbprint cookies? Would that be similar to the cinnamon sugar rolled cookies where you have the dough in normal balls, then let it thaw, and then do the thumbprint and add the filling? Let me know your thoughts. Thank you!

    • Sally on November 17, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Hi Colleen. You’re exactly right– that is what I’d suggest. Freeze as dough balls then thaw and assemble.

      • Colleen on November 17, 2017 at 8:54 am

        Wonderful, thank you so much! And I love your website! I love baking cupcakes and your site is always the first I go to when I’m looking for a new recipe! I appreciate the time you take with detailing the chemistry of the baking and what each ingredient does and why it’s so important to have it a certain way (room temperature, not over mixing, etc.). So thank you!



  4. Rebecca on November 18, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Can we freeze gingersnaps?

    • Sally on November 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Absolutely!

  5. Sandy on November 18, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    For Peanut Butter cookies, do you press them with the fork before freezing? Or do you just thaw the balls a bit first and then fork press them before putting in the oven? Thank you.

    • Sally on November 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      You can do it either way. I usually criss-cross them after freezing and before baking. I let them sit out on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly before I do it!

      • Sandy on November 19, 2017 at 4:48 pm

        Thanks.



  6. Jofi on November 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    For m&m oats cookies  do you press down the cookie dough before you put it in the oven?

  7. Marilou on November 30, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    This is another reason why I love your blog Sally. The tips and tricks are very helpful in my everyday baking. Thanks for sharing. 

  8. Janet on December 5, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Question: Can I freeze Lofthouse dough with sour cream in it?

    • Sally on December 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      I’m unsure. I haven’t made a cookie dough like that before. But I can’t see why not?!

      • Janet on December 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm

        I’ll let you know if there’s any problems with it!



  9. Ker-Yng Pang on December 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    In some recipes you roll your cookie dough, in some you scoop and drop. Is there a reason for each method? Thanks! 

    • Sally on December 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      There is no right or wrong way… scooping or rolling into a ball. But I prefer to scoop oatmeal cookie dough because it is very textured (difficult to roll in a smooth ball) and tends to be very sticky, even after chilling. I roll mostly all other doughs because they are easier to handle.

      • Ker-Yng Pang on December 5, 2017 at 6:08 pm

        Thanks for your quick response. I see your cookies come out in even rounds, probably due to baking balls instead of baking mounds! I’m going to try scoop and roll 🙂 



  10. Sharon Chaffino on December 5, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Why would you need to chill the cookie dough if you are just going to freeze it?

    • Sally on December 6, 2017 at 6:52 am

      If the cookie dough is particularly sticky, it would be difficult to roll into balls AND roll into balls that wouldn’t stick together in the freezer. I always suggest chilling as per the recipe, then scooping and rolling into neat balls to freeze.

  11. Barbara Barclay on December 8, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I just made your maraschino cherry almond chocolate cookies DELISH! how do i store them. Alot of cookies i make i put a piece of white frozen bread in for moisture to keep them soft. What suggestions do you have. THANKS!

    • Sally on December 9, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Hi Barbara! That’s exactly what I do. But I never freeze the slice of bread first. I’ll have to try that!

  12. Jacque Zannini on December 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Help, , can you freeze spritz cookie dough or spritz cooked cookies with sprinkles after being baked? Thank you,

    • Sally on December 15, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Absolutely!

  13. dottie huene on December 19, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Hi. I made monster cookie dough and froze in balls. Just figured out I didn’t put in enough peanut butter. Can I thaw when ready to bake. stir all together and add the extra peanut butter?

    • Sally on December 20, 2017 at 7:17 am

      It may be too late to add the peanut butter, but I think the cookies should be OK without it.

  14. Joyce Cockerill on December 20, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I did not get an answer to my question. Can you freeze cookies made with butter and cream cheese?

    • Sally on December 20, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Absolutely!

      • Joyce Cockerill on December 20, 2017 at 9:14 am

        You roll out the butter,cream cheese,flour mixture and then add a small teaspoon of raspberry Jam and fold over pressing edges together and bake. after baking you can sprinkle powdered sugar while hot. Could you freeze the cookies without baking until ready to use ?
        Could you bake and freeze?



  15. Sharon Hahn on December 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Can I freeze kiffle cookie dough to make later?

  16. Jessica on June 6, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    This is not a freezing question, it’s more about chilling. Will it be safe to do your method of taking the dough out of the fridge after chilling for 24 hours, rolling it into balls once it’s soft enough, and then putting the balls back in the fridge again to bake a few hours later, rather than freezing them? I always worry about food poisoning.

    • Sally on June 7, 2018 at 11:50 am

      That’s perfectly fine. I do it that way all the time!

  17. Mara on August 11, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Hi
    Thankyou so much for your blog, shares an tips everything is very useful..for myself i like making batches or varietys so in the summer i can satisfy a sweet tooth by popping a few in toaster oven w/o heating up the house
    Again Thankyou

Reviews

Questions

  1. Jessica on June 6, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    This is not a freezing question, it’s more about chilling. Will it be safe to do your method of taking the dough out of the fridge after chilling for 24 hours, rolling it into balls once it’s soft enough, and then putting the balls back in the fridge again to bake a few hours later, rather than freezing them? I always worry about food poisoning.

    • Sally on June 7, 2018 at 11:50 am

      That’s perfectly fine. I do it that way all the time!

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