How to Freeze Cookie Dough

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

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!

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.

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

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. 🙂

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

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.

Snickerdoodles cookie recipe

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.

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!

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.

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!

218 Comments

  1. I freeze gingerbread cookie dough according to your instructions every year about this time. It requires so much time to chill in the fridge if you make it when you need it that it’s just much more convenient to make it in advance. PLUS, I always get so many dirty dishes making gingerbread, then rolling, then decorating, then baking, then cooling…by dividing the work into two parts, I don’t get overwhelmed by the number of dishes at any one time!

    1. SMART thinking!!

  2. Bernice @ Doughverload says:

    Such a great idea to chill them first so they don’t stick together!

  3. Some brilliant tips, thank you very much! 

  4. Carol Woosley says:

    Freezing unbaked balls or baked cookies in wide mouth canning jars keeps the butterfat from absorbing the “off” flavors in the freezer that plastic wrap, bags and Tupperware cannot block.  I keep all my nuts, seeds, whole grains, cocoa, coconut and coffee beans frozen in jars, and they keep almost indefinitely.

    1. Thanks, great suggestion!  I hate freezer smells.  

    2. That’s a great idea!! I never thought about using canning jars before!

  5. This is great, I seriously didnt know how to freeze cookie dough.

    Meg | Meghan Silva’s Blog
    MeghanSSilva on Instagram

  6. Fun tutorial! Freezing the dough is essential this time of year when cookies are being baked faster than we can keep up. But it always breaks my heart when people freeze the actual cookies instead of the dough. They dry out so fast!

  7. Leah @ Grain Changer says:

    WONDERFUL tips, Sally! Every year my sister-in-law, her sister, and I get together to do a BIG holiday cookie bake, but due to crazy holiday schedules, we usually have to get together a few weeks before Christmas. These tips will be so handy for all of our different varieties!

  8. Great tutorial. We’re a family of four and freezing helps with portion control. I have no need to bake a full batch of cookies!

    Why do you freeze snickerdoodles and the like with no topping? I’ve frozen snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies hundreds of times and rolling in cinnamon sugar (or whatever topping) before freezing works great. Very minimal loss of topping in the bag.

    1. I find the topping loses its texture and becomes saturated in the outer layer of the cookie. So, I roll after freezing so the cookies taste and appear like they are fresh-baked.

  9. Sally you are psychic!! I’m expecting my first baby in 3 weeks so my mum and I have been stocking the freezer with healthy meals and some treats. So far we’ve made and frozen your chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel apple pie bars, and I’m going to make a batch of cake batter cookies with butterscotch and peanut butter chips for my non-chocolate loving mum (she’s crazy!! ;-))
    Loving all the book tour updates, still keeping my fingers crossed you’ll come to Scotland at some point 🙂
    Lx

  10. Layla @Gimme Delicious says:

    Great guide! It’s always a good idea to have a batch of frozen cookie dough because you never know when those sugar cravings will kick in!

  11. Ramona @ The Merchant Baker says:

    I am a huge fan of freezing and cookies are no exception. I usually freeze baked cookies, especially during Christmas cookie baking season, but I’ve always wanted to freeze cookie dough so that at any time, we could have fresh baked cookies right out of the oven. Great post!

  12. You inspired me to start freezing cookie dough months ago and I’m obsessed! My freezer always has a batch of your chocolate chip cookies and a batch of your funfetti supreme cookies ready to be baked- and it’s a total life saver. I even give my baking-challenged brother a batch of frozen dough with directions to keep in his freezer. Love these posts, Sally! 

  13. Sally thanks for another wonderful tutorial!! I love posts like these and this could not be more timely!!

  14. I have always frozen things individually on a cookie sheet and then tossed them in freezer bags.  It saves so much time when you want large quantities for the future.  Besides cookie dough, I freeze raw meatballs, raw breaded chicken cutlets and cooked matza balls.  I freeze the cooked and drained matza balls on a disposable broiler pan as there is always a little liquid still draining and on a broiler pan, the liquid doesn’t pool around the matza ball, but drips into the grooves of the pan.  My married daughters always want to know what’s in the freezer that they can count on for dinner so I pull out the bags and then they can cook the meatballs or chicken cutlets and have freshly made dinners.  It’s much better than freezing cooked food.  I love your baking and cooking tips.  Hopefully I will see you in NYC tonight!

  15. Speaking of cookie dough…. This past weekend I finally made your recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes! Oh, yum! They definitely got a thumbs-up from my teen daughter and my adult children who enjoyed these for dessert (with coffee!) after Sunday dinner. Why did I wait so long to try that recipe? Thanks, Sally!

  16. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your cookie recipes! The best ever!!
    Looking forward to meeting you in Austin!

  17. Ahhh, thank you for this!  I’ve only frozen cookie dough once or twice before so I can definitely use these tips and tricks.  I literally just started a list in my phone last night of all the people I will want to bake treats for gifts, so I might get started this weekend and freeze the dough.  Last year I think I had to make and bake about 12 different batches of cookies/treats in two days and I almost lost. my. mind.  Hoping to be better prepared this year!

  18. Great tips!! Just joined a cookie exchange for the holiday. I will definitely start now and freeze, freeze, freeze! any tips for shipping cookies? My son has gotten his own apartment in another state and I wanted to send him cookies. any suggestions appreciated!
    Thank you! Love your books and blog!

    1. Cindy, when shipping baked cookies– wrap up two cookies back to back in plastic wrap. Place all the wrapped pairs into a tupperware to ship. Works like a charm.

  19. You really got me at the picture at the top! 🙂 This series has been so helpful, especially the cocoa powder one. This is perfect for the holidays!

  20. Great, now I need cookies. ;))

  21. 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!

  22. …now I’m craving cookies!

    Thank you for the awesome freezing tips. Going to have to try them out.

  23. Dee @ The Kitchen Snob says:

    Thanks, Sally! This was very clear and helpful. I hope I can squeeze in the time to make cookies this year!

  24. Oh Sally! I haven’t commented in a long time…. I’m still here…. still baking, maybe not quite as often… but you read my mind. I already have 3 batches of chocolate chip cookies in the freezer  for Christmas. My question is…. how can I make that work for the cookie cakes? I’d love to give some as presents, but there’s no way I could make all that I’d need. Do you think the cookie cake would be best frozen AFTER baking?? Please let me know your thoughts!!

    1. Hi Meredith, you can freeze cookie cake dough in bulk wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Then thaw overnight in the fridge and press into the pan to bake. Or you can freeze the baked cookie cake in plastic wrap, tupperware, etc.

      1. You are the best!! Thank you!
        If I wanted to make a chocolate, chocolate chip cookie cake… how much cocoa powder would you suggest?

  25. Great tips.Thank you.I made triple chocolate layer cake for my son’s 2nd bday and it was a major hit.Thanks for the recipe.Please clarify one thing,when the cookies are shaped into balls and chilled according to the recipe;when exactly to take it out for baking? During preheating the oven or even before that?? I know this might be the silliest question but i have just started bakin cookies.Also do we need to flatten the balls just before baking to get the shapes like in the above photo
    Please help,Thanku you

    1. See step 6– take out then preheat. Do not flatten.

  26. Robynn - Robynn's Road To Real Food says:

    I’m literally drooling over the first picture! Chocolate chip cookie dough is my true love 😉 Similar to your love for peanut butter XD
    Great tips, I think I should get to making my christmas cookies now too, it seems so convenient! Thanks for the article!

  27. Such a helpful and timely post!  Thanks for taking all of the guess work out for us, Sally!

  28. I absolutely adore your baking basics series!! These are my favorite posts that you do, because there is always something new that I learn.

    I can’t wait to meet you in Houston! 

  29. I loved reading your tutorial. I often bake cookes but I do one of the early steps differently. Once the dough is made, I scoop it /roll it, place the balls close together on a cookie sheet and refrigerate until solid. I then put  the balls in freezer bags and label. I find that making the balls is much easier when the dough id soft. I have developed the habit if refrigerating  dough befor baking…it seems to deepen the flavors and I like that the cookies seldom spread too much.

  30. One of my favorite gifts to myself last Christmas was freezing cookie cut outs ahead of time so all I had to do during Insanity Week was bake and decorate.

    After the dough was rolled and cut, I transferred to cookie sheet, flash froze, then stored in bags or containers. I found there was less stop-gap waiting between rolling and baking that way. I got half the time-intensive work for these cookies done in November, but they were still baked just days before Christmas.

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