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.

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!

235 Comments

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  1. 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 says:

    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. 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.

      1. 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. Can we freeze gingersnaps?

    1. Absolutely!

  5. 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!

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

    1. If it’s a firm dough, flatten with the palm of your hand. If it’s a soft dough, just place the balls on the baking sheet a little apart, because they’ll flatten and spread out as they bake.

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

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

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

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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 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.

  11. Barbara Barclay says:

    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!

    1. 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 says:

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

    1. Absolutely!

  13. 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?

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

  14. Joyce Cockerill says:

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

    1. Absolutely!

      1. Joyce Cockerill says:

        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. Can I freeze kiffle cookie dough to make later?

  16. 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.

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

  17. 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

  18. Can Lemon Bars be frozen after baking?

    1. Yes, definitely! I usually thaw them in the refrigerator before serving.

  19. Does this work with gluten free dough?
    florless dough?

    1. I can’t see why not!

  20. I want to make lactation cookies since I’m due soon. Is there a quality/flavour difference between freezing the dough vs baked cookies?

    1. None that I’ve noticed, though I find it more convenient to just freeze the baked cookies especially if it’s something like lactation cookies. So all you have to do is thaw them before eating. 🙂

  21. Can I freeze kiffle cookie dough before rolling into balls? Can the cream cheese cookie dough be frozen at all without changing the dough for rolling?

  22. Davena Rivera says:

    Thank you so much!!!! I made enough peanut butter cookie dough to feed a Boy Scout Troup and didn’t know if I could freeze it or not. I learned so much from your page!!!
    Thanks again!!!

  23. Can you bake ahead and freeze crescent and snowball cookies? Any tips?

  24. I need to know if it’s better to freeze date pinwheels either as just dough that will need rolled out, filled and rolled up or if it should be rolled into logs, cut and then individual cuts frozen like cookie dough

  25. Can choc chip cookie dough that has food coloring added to it be frozen?

    1. I can’t see why not.

  26. 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!!! 😉

  27. I defrosted sugar cookie dough; can it be refrozen?

    1. Absolutely!

  28. Why is it that I rarely can find the ‘share buttons’ (Pinterest, twitter, ect) on your pages?? Why can’t you just put them AT THE TOP of the recipe pages? It’s highly annoying to have to search for the Pinterest ‘button’ and half of the time I can’t find one.

    1. Hi Dawnie, the social share buttons, including Pinterest, are under the blog post title. Thank you so much!

      1. Hmmmm…….they aren’t showing up, for some reason. Oh well. Thanks.

  29. Stéphanie Giguère says:

    Hi Sally!
    I was wondering if you would recommend low level vacuum seeling cookie dough balls since they’re kind of solid after refrigerating or if you think they would squash?

    Also does freezing already baked cookies alter the taste in any way? I’m kind of skeptical and obviously curious!
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Stéphanie! After the cookie dough balls are solid after refrigerating, they should be OK with the vacuum seal (low level, of course). Freezing and thawing baked cookies is perfectly fine. I do it ALL THE TIME and no one ever notices or complains. 😉 For best taste and texture, I recommend only freezing up to 3 months.

      1. Stéphanie Giguère says:

        Great I will have to try! Thank you!

  30. Thank you so much I can get a head start just bake a week before so they are not gone in advance.

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