How to Freeze Cookie Dough

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, 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 raiain 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

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

53 Comments

  1. I have always LOVED that you give guidelines for freezing cookie dough in your recipes!  We were recently selling our house, and I had a batch of your white chocolate cranberry cookie dough frozen in balls.  Right before a showing, I would pop a few in the oven, bake 10 minutes, and have treats for the potential homebuyers, plus a wonderful cookie smell!  Worked like a charm!

  2. THANK YOU for this! I made your chocolate crinkles this week, and read the note you wrote about freezing them and it blew my mind. This year I have gotten the hang of freezing soups and chills and such, but never desserts. I am so excited for the weekend to fill my freezer with your cookies! 🙂

  3. When you take your cookies out of the freezer, do you just bake them in ball shape or do you flatten them?

    Thanks

    Jan

    1. In ball shape– do not flatten

  4. Hi Sally! Love your recipes. I have a question about chilling the dough. Is there a reason to chill the batch as a whole before forming into balls, or could you form the cookies into balls while the dough is soft, and then chill them for the 2+ hours, and then just let them sit out for a bit before baking? I have had great success forming my cookies into balls while the dough is soft and then putting them right into the freezer. I’m wondering if the same would be true for recipes that simply require the dough to chill. It seems you could really cut down on time since forming them when the dough is soft is easier (especially with a cookie scoop). Then you could just pull them out of the fridge, put on cookie sheets and go. Your thoughts?

    1. Hey Emma! Usually cookie dough (my recipes at least!) are much too soft to get into neat ball shapes before being chilled. So that’s why I recommend chilling before rolling. If you find rolling the dough to be easy right after the dough is made– by all means, go ahead! 🙂

  5. Your cookie recipes just made my daughters 1st birthday party a huge success! I had made your oatmeal raisin cookies several times before so when I decided to do a cookie buffet at the party, I turned to your website and went with the oatmeal plus m&m, snickerdoodle, m&m, inside out chocolate and cake batter. Thank you so much for having so many flawless recipes and tips. 

  6. How do you make the perfect rounded cookies? I measure them out evenly and roll in balls but when I put them in the oven after they have been chilled they are small and super thick. Should I flatten the dough just a little before baking them?

    1. Hi Casey, you can try flattening them out before baking. That should help.

  7. I finally got around to reading this, after you suggested it from another comment I made. So helpful! I do have a question… the only recipe I’ve tried freezing cookie dough balls with is your butterscotch oatmeal cookies from your cookbook and they didn’t spread very much, even though I made them bigger than usual like you suggested in your cookbook. Just wondering if it’s a cookie that doesn’t spread much, or if I did something wrong? Thanks so much! 🙂

    1. How about leaving them out for about 30 minutes before baking? That will help them spread a little more. Thanks for asking Holly!

  8. This post is saving me this holiday season! I have to bake seven trays of brownies, a pie, a crumb cake, and cookies for next week so I’m relieved to find out I can make the cookie dough now! Thank you!!!

  9. 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!

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

  10. 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.

    1. 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!

  11. Sharon Chaffino says:

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

    1. 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.

  12. There is never a time when I don’t have frozen cookie balls in my freezer! My family teases me about my emergency cookies, but they don’t mind eating them!!! 😉

  13. Juanita Seguin says:

    I have always been leery of freezing cookies, for fear of a change of texture. Do they really ”feel” the same as fresh-baked cookies?

    1. Thawed cookies certainly don’t taste like they just came out of the oven, but most thaw wonderfully and tasters shouldn’t notice a difference.

  14. Hi Sally,

    You’re such an amazing baker! I have baked so many of your recipes. I am preparing my cookie fest also for Christmas time. I make about 1,000 cookies mostly chocolate chip and peanut butter blossoms. After reading this post I am going to start my cookie baking this weekend and freeze the chocolate cookie dough, but I do have a question about the dough for peanut butter blossoms, would you happen to know if the dough can be frozen as well? Thank you for all your help!

    1. Hi Audrey! Such a great plan to get ahead on your baking. Especially 1,000 cookies. That’s seriously impressive!!! Yes, you can freeze the peanut butter blossoms cookie dough. 🙂

  15. Thanks for this post! I bake a TON of cookies for Christmas and was thinking of making the doughs this week and freezing them so I can bake them off over the weekend.

    Can you freeze biscotti dough? I was going to make it, form it into the biscotti log, and then freeze it to then bake as the full log after. Will this work?

    1. Yes, you can definitely freeze the biscotti dough!

  16. Kathleen Wilton says:

    If I make shortbread dough, can I freeze it and when ready thaw it, roll it out and cut the biscuits. You seem to suggest you should cook the biscuits whilst frozen. Thanks

    1. Hi Kathleen! Happy to help. Yes, you can freeze shortbread dough, thaw it out, and shape as needed for your recipe. I only suggest not thawing out to save a step with already shaped cookie dough balls.

  17. Arleen Delgado says:

    Hi, Sally, I’m looking to save some time this Christmas by freezing my cookie dough, mostly drop cookies like Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal. I was looking at your steps on how to freeze and would like your thoughts on Step 2 which talks about freezing the cookie dough balls for another hour before going into the freezer. I’m worried about not having enough space in my fridge and food odors. Would placing the balls on a cookie sheet in my chest freezer for a short period of time before bagging them work as well? And if so, how much time – 15 minutes? Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Arleen, You can definitely try a quick freeze on a cookie sheet before bagging them! Just keep them in there long enough that they won’t stick together once placed in your freezer bags.

  18. This post is so helpful, Sally! I am gearing up for a huge cookie sale this month and I am so happy that I can work on the batches a little at a time and freeze them for when I’m ready. It will be such a time saver!
    Thanks again!

  19. For sugar and gingerbread cookie dough, do you have to chill it first and then freeze? Or can you just wrap the two disc in plastic wrap and put directly into the freezer?

    1. You can put them directly into the freezer as you mention! No chilling needed prior.

  20. Hi Sally 🙂 after freezing the dough, would you recommend to let it out of the freezer for a few hours for it to cool down befor going into the oven? Or is it better for the texture of the cookie to directly put it in the oven (adding of course some minutes)? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marianne, We always bake them directly from the freezer and simply add a minute or two to the bake time. You can let them sit out while your oven preheats if you wish, just make sure they are still cold going in the oven so that they don’t over-spread.

  21. Jessica Salazar says:

    I forgot to wrap my sugar cookie dough in plastic wrap and just put it in a ziploc freezer bag. Can I still use it or will the flavor/texture be ruined?

    1. Not at all– it will still be just fine!

  22. Can you freeze dough or cookies that contain nuts?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can, Karen!

  23. My problem with frozen cookie dough is that it doesn’t spread like it does with “fresh” cookie dough. It seems to bake in a “mound.” How is this overcome? Maybe it’s because mine are gluten free?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, We don’t have much experience baking with gluten free flour but it is often more dry than regular all purpose. Typically, when cookies aren’t spreading, it means that there’s too much dry ingredient (flour) soaking up all the liquid. Make sure you are properly measuring your flour. When measuring flour, use the spoon & level method. Do not scoop the flour out of the container/bag. Doing so leaves you with excess flour in the cookie dough. If you’re in the middle of baking a batch and the cookies still aren’t spreading, remove them from the oven, and use a spoon to slightly flatten them out before returning them to the oven. You can see more details in the post 5 Cookie Baking Tips to Improve Your Next Batch.

  24. Instead of rolling cookies ahead of time, can I just freeze the dough in plastic wrap and then partially thaw before baking?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sabina, Yes you could freeze the entire bowl of cookie dough but it will be difficult to scoop after its frozen. If you thaw, just make sure your cookies are not too warm going in the oven so that they over-spread!

  25. I’ve never frozen any dough to use later but I did for the first time today with some cookie dough. Have you tested frozen vs ready made cookie dough? Do they tend to taste the same? I know something like chocolate chip tends to benefit from chilling so does freezing and using later leave a similar benefit ? It would definitely be convenient to spend a day making different cookie doughs to bake later !

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marea! We’ve had great success baking frozen cookie dough, so much so that we include freezing instructions with all our cookie recipes. I love to have a stash of frozen cookie dough ready to go in my freezer – so convenient for fresh baked cookies in a snap!

  26. Brittany Wright says:

    Hi Sally, I’m making chocolate chip cookies (jumbo size) for my wedding favors. I want to get as much done ahead of time so I’m not baking for hours the day before. Would you recommend freezing the dough in balls, or freezing the already baked cookies — especially for this type of dough?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brittany, What fun wedding favors! You can see all of our tips and tricks for these in our Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie post. While normally you can bake frozen cookie dough balls straight from the freezer, we recommend thawing giant cookie dough balls prior to baking. Given that you don’t wish to be baking right up to your wedding day, the baked cookies also freeze well for up to 3 months!

  27. Hi Sally, I freeze cookie dough all the time, I love it and recommend it all the time. You mention chilling in the fridge for one hour once you roll into balls. I put them directly into the freezer at this point so just wondering what putting them in the fridge first then freezer does?

    Thanks for your response 🙂

    Dawn

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dawn! We prefer to put them in the fridge first because it helps the cookie dough balls to harden and then they are easier for stacking / packing and won’t stick together as much. If you prefer to put them right in the freezer, that’s okay too!

  28. Hi… I would like to bake butter cookie cut outs, for my granddaughters, sweet sixteen. Could they be frozen, then decorated. Or would I be better off, making sugar cookie cutouts instead? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Millie, I’m unsure of the recipe you are using but most cookies can be frozen after they are baked. Then after they have thawed you can decorate them. If you want to use one of our recipes, we freeze these cut out sugar cookies with great results.

  29. thank you for your reply. I am making a butter cookie cut out, for my grand daughters 16th birthday. I plan to cut, bake and freeze, in layers, in advance. Thaw then decorate, and wrap. I need to make 100, for thank yous! I didn’t know, which cookie dough, would have been better to freeze….butter or sugar!

  30. Hi Sally! I am a huge fan of your recipes and get a ton of compliments every time I bake one of them for friends and family. I am wondering if you have any thoughts on freezing using a vacuum sealer. Is it possible for drop cookies? have you tried it? Would you pre-freeze the balls and then vacuum seal? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina! We haven’t tested freezing cookies with a vacuum sealer, but think it would be best to freeze dough balls prior to vacuum sealing. Let us know if you try it!

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