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image of cookies with How to Freeze Cookie Dough text

Welcome to a new baking tips article! My Baking Tips section is a place where both beginner and advanced bakers can learn the how’s, why’s, and what’s of baking. Hopefully you’ve learned a lot from my previous posts like:

Today we’re digging deep into the cookie world where I teach you exactly how I freeze cookie dough. Doesn’t sound revolutionary, but you won’t believe the confusion and mistakes one can make when it comes to freezing cookie dough. 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!

brown butter chocolate chip cookie dough

Why Freeze Cookie Dough?

I know you’ve run into a situation where you needed fresh-baked cookies.

  • Cousin have a baby?
  • Kids want a special after school snack?
  • New neighbors move in?
  • Homemade teacher gift?
  • Hosting an impromptu girls night?

There is ALWAYS a welcomed opportunity for homemade cookies and now you can always be prepared with cookie dough in the freezer. Simply remove from the freezer and bake.

I freeze cookie dough all the time. If I’m in a pinch or need dessert on the fly, I open the freezer and I have cookie dough ready to be placed in the oven. You will not believe the amount of headaches I’m saved by having it on hand. 10 minutes later, I have fresh baked cookies.

cookie dough balls ready to be frozen

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

Freezing cookie dough is easy. I’m sure everyone has their own way, but here’s the easiest and most convenient.

  1. After the homemade cookie dough has chilled in the refrigerator (if the cookie recipe requires chilling), roll the cookie dough into balls.
  2. Chill the cookie dough balls in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Place the solid and cold cookie dough balls into a labeled zipped-top bag– large or small depending on how much dough you have.
  4. Label the bag with the month and the baking temperature and place the bag in the freezer.
  5. Freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months. The date will help you determine when the cookie dough is fresh and the temperature is written for obvious reasons. Really, you can write whatever is helpful to you. The date, temperature, time, recipe name, etc.
  6. When it’s time to bake the cookies, remove them from the freezer. Preheat the oven according to the recipe’s instructions.
  7. Bake the cookies for a minute or two longer since the dough is frozen.

Pardon the date, I took this photo in 2015 when I originally published this blog post. 🙂

cookie dough balls in a zip top bag ready to be frozen

Which 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, double chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, etc.
  • Shortbread also freezes beautifully.
  • Icebox cookie dough is great. (I’m referring to slice and bake cookies.) 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 or Cookie Bar Dough

You can freeze cookie cake cookie dough. If making a funfetti cookie cake, chocolate chip cookie cake, chocolate chip cookie bars, 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.

Snickerdoodle cookies

Freezing Baked Cookies

Instead of freezing cookie dough, you can also freeze baked cookies like almond biscotti, oatmeal raisin cookies, and sugar 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 or container 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 butterscotch blondies or homemade brownies. I usually wait until the tray has cooled completely, then I cut into squares and freeze the squares in layers between parchment paper in a tupperware.

chocolate chip, M&M, and chocolate cookies

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!

See also: How to Freeze Cakes & My 10 Best Cookie Baking Tools

Cookie dough and cookies pictured in this post: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip CookiesDouble Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook.

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally, I want to freeze some cookies for the holidays and wanted to know if I could freeze the cookie balls on a tray until firm then vacuum seal them and would they last longer in the freezer that way? Thanks
    Another cookie lover

    1. Hi Esta, you can certainly do that. We still recommend using within 3 months, but vacuum sealing is a wonderful way to keep them fresh.

  2. I tried youare White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies and I can’t believe how good they were! I’m going to make some now for my freezer so that I have some to give away at Christmas time….easy peasy! Thanks so much!!

  3. I have found that I come to your site the most for hints and recipes. We are currently in LOVE with brown butter oatmeal pumpkin cookies. More in love than we should be haha. I have family coming for Thanksgiving and want to indulge in these, probably more than turkey. We used to make oatmeal cookies and cook in individual cooking bowls and then top with ice cream, like a restaurant would. I would like to do this with your recipe. The bowls are about 5 inches wide, 2+ in deep. They look like mini corningware. How deep would you suggest putting the dough, cook temp and cook time? I will be adding choc chips also. Can i freeze these bowls with the dough inside? They won’t be airtight which causes me concern since i don’t want the ice crystals. It might be easier to freeze dough, thaw, put in bowls and cook???? thank you so much.

    1. Hi DeAnna, we’re so glad to hear you’ve been enjoying the brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies! We haven’t tried baking them in the method you mention, so it’s tough to give specific baking times. You can fill the bowls to your desired thickness (we’d recommend no more than half way) and cook at the same temperature. Perhaps try baking one first to get a better gage of the time before baking them all. You can freeze the dough in the individual bowls or freeze separately and then thaw as you mention. Let us know how it goes!

  4. Hi Sally, long time fan here. Is it ok if I leave the cookie dough at room temperature, covered in foil, before refrigerating it, for 3 hours or so? I want to transfer the dough to my fiance’s place, who lives out of town, and pick up the recipe from there. She does not have many kitchen appliances where she lives (i.e. mixer, etc.), just an oven. Thanks!

    1. Hi Argyris, that should be fine, but if you have the chance to give the dough some time in the refrigerator or freezer before traveling and can then transport in a cooler, that would be even better! Then you can finish refrigerating once you arrive.

  5. Hi there

    Just wanted to know how long cookie dough can be kept in the fridge before baking. Btw love your recipes.

    1. Hi Shirley, up to 3-4 days is usually best. I’ve stretched it to 5 days with some doughs and it’s typically still fine.

  6. A friend of mine told me about your site ! I have learned so many things in a day … I am just beginning on my baking journey !!! Love all the tips !!

  7. Can you just freeze the cookie dough in a mass, thaw in the fridge, then scoop out balls to bake rather than scooping and freezing individual balls?

    1. Hi Shari! Absolutely. But we find it much easier to freeze the cookie dough balls because you can bake them from frozen.

  8. Love your Site! And I love making cookies!! I have a question about freezing Mexican Wedding Cake cookies, sometime call Snowballs. If I make the dough balls and freeze them before baking, will the cookies hold their shape while baking? I’m concerned I might have flat cookies after baking…
    Thanks so much!!

  9. Hi Sally, I love your website. I have a question – not sure if you have made the Italian Almond Cookies, Ricciarelli. I was wondering if that dough could be frozen once rolled into balls. I’m thinking of making your salted chocolate cookies. I have made the Chocolate Crinkles before and it’s the same dough I believe.
    Thanks, Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon! We don’t see why you couldn’t, but haven’t tested freezing and baking that dough ourselves. Let us know if you do!

  10. If I bake the cookie balls frozen do I need to flatten them a bit in between baking time or will they spread out during the cooking process?

  11. hi sally
    i froze my crispy chocolate chip cookies in the freezer by mistake instead of the refrigerator and now it is solid and i am not able to scoop it out with a scooper what should i do

    1. Hi Shruti, you can place the frozen dough out on the counter or in the refrigerator to help soften it up so that it is scoopable.

  12. Hey, love your tips. I have a very important question, I freeze my chocolate chip cookies, and when I bake my first batch it’s flat ! But my second one is good, but I face another problem , it’s so greasy and so much butter comes out of my cookies! Butter used is 115 g of brown butter – 195 g flour

  13. Hi Sally, I am making over 100 sugar cookies for an event. I know you mentioned it is best to freeze the dough before rolling and cutting. Is it possible to prepare the cookie dough, roll, and cut the dough before freezing? I would like to take them out of the freezer and immediately bake without having to roll and cut on the morning of the event. Thank you for your time and your wonderful recipes.

    1. Hi Angelica, you can certainly do that. Hope the cookies are a hit for your event!

  14. Hi Sally! I’ve been using several of your recipes and it’s always a hit! Anyway it was my first time to freeze cookie dough then bake it. I followed your instructions. I baked it straight out from the freezer. I noticed that the outer layer of the cookie started to bake quicker? It was turning brown quicker so I burnt some of the edges. It still tasted great but I’m wondering why it was turning brown quicker. I’m using a convection oven.

    1. Hi Anna! The convection setting could be the culprit here. We always recommend conventional settings for baking (not convection/fan). The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection/fan settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake.

  15. I LOVE all your baking recipes. I have a question. Is it possible to make the dry ingredients ahead of time? If so, how long would it last? I would use my foodsaver to get most of the air out. I’m thinking it should work because of the cookies in a jar.

    1. Hi Laraine, yes, you could certainly make and store the dry ingredients ahead of time. We’re unsure of an exact expiration date for the dry mix (as it will depend on the freshness of your dry ingredients), but we recommend no longer than a few months for our cookie jars. Hope this helps!

  16. I just froze some cookie dough in balls and baked from frozen-they spread a lot and were very thin. Should I try thawing before baking to see if that helps?

    1. Hi Susan, the cooler dough is, the less likely it is to spread so we wouldn’t recommending thawing it — the cookies would spread more that way. It sounds like there may not be enough flour in your cookie dough to help soak up the wet ingredients. This post on how to prevent cookies from spreading will be helpful to review. In the meantime for your frozen batch, you can use a spoon to gently shape the cookie part way through bake time if they continue to spread too much. You can watch Sally demonstrate this in the video for chewy chocolate chip cookies. Hope this is helpful!

  17. I want to freeze a cookie dough that has crushed up candy canes in it, do you think they would freeze well? I’m concerned about the color bleeding upon thawing or some such issue. Thanks!

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