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:
- the mysterious differences between natural and dutch-process cocoa
- the head-scratcher that is baking soda vs baking powder
- how to make a seriously bangarang buttery pie crust
- 10 Guaranteed Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading
- Salted vs Unsalted Butter in Baking
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!
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.
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.
- After the homemade cookie dough has chilled in the refrigerator (if the cookie recipe requires chilling), roll the cookie dough into balls.
- Chill the cookie dough balls in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Place the solid and cold cookie dough balls into a labeled zipped-top bag– large or small depending on how much dough you have.
- Label the bag with the month and the baking temperature and place the bag in the freezer.
- 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.
- When it’s time to bake the cookies, remove them from the freezer. Preheat the oven according to the recipe’s instructions.
- 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. 🙂
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 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.
Freezing Baked Cookies
After your baked cookies have cooled completely:
- Place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid (this way they won’t stick to each other in the freezer).
- Then, place in a tupperware or container with parchment between each layer. Or into zipped-top bags.
- Freeze up to 3 months.
- 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.
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 Cookies, Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies (but with chocolate chips, not white chocolate chips!), and Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook.