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chocolate butterscotch cookies and butterscotch pretzel chocolate chip cookies

In our deeply divided country, this month may go down in history. Regardless of who you stand behind, I sincerely hope and pray that you can lift up the good in our nation as a whole and, most importantly, within each other. This is not a space for politics or hate, but a place for compassion… and cookies. Cookies are what we can all agree on!

Here is the #1 question I am asked during the holiday season: what is the best way to ship cookies? Without breaking? And remaining fresh? First of all, there you are demonstrating compassion. I love it. There’s no better way to spread love than with homemade food. Plus, who doesn’t want to receive a box of goodies on their doorstep? After a couple years of trial and error (and broken cookies), I’ve found that there’s actually a very simple way to successfully ship cookies to loved ones. The cookies won’t bounce around or break and will arrive as fresh as can be.

The secret is… a sandwich.

stacks of two cooled cookies placed together back to back

But not your typical turkey club or roast beef sandwich– a cookie sandwich without the filling. Two cookies, back-to-back.

What now?

cookies wrapped in plastic wrap for shipping

How to Ship Cookies

Place two cooled cookies together back to back. Wrap each sandwich up individually and tightly. I know this uses a little extra plastic wrap but you really don’t need much per cookie sandwich. Wrapping the cookies up, back to back, will keep them sturdy and confined, safe and strong. Unless the cookies are very soft and falling apart in your hands, they shouldn’t break or tear during the shipping process because they are confined and have the support from the cookie beneath it.

Place all of the wrapped sandwiches into a tin or Tupperware container. Stuff the tin or container with tissue paper (I’ve purchased this set of Christmas colored tissue paper– it’s great), crumbled newspaper, or packing peanuts to keep the cookies snug. Place the tin or container into a shipping box and use more crumbled newspaper or other shipping materials if needed. Then send off!

cookies packaged for shipping in plastic wrap with tissue paper in a tin box

What Are the Best Cookies to Ship?

I find that cookies without chocolate drizzles and/or frosting are best to ship year-round. Stick to drop style cookies such as:

Decorated Cookies: If you’re sending decorated sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies, make sure your royal icing is completely set before sandwiching and wrapping. If you’re shipping cookies during the cooler months, chocolate dipped or drizzled would be just fine. Be careful with these in the heat of summer, though.

Here are all of my cookie recipes. I have hundreds to browse!

Which cookies don’t ship well? Use your best judgement here. Any delicate cookies or cookies that require immediate refrigeration aren’t ideal for shipping. (French macarons, lace cookies, etc) Stick with sturdier cookies.

What About Blondies, Brownies, and Bars?

Bars/brownies are another wonderful homemade treat to ship. I suggest wrapping each bar individually to preserve freshness, softness, and chew. Remember, pack them into the tin or tupperware container tightly. Some suggestions:

Some Favorite Cookie Tins

Here are some of my favorite cookie tins you can use for shipment. These are also great options for storing holiday cookies or gifting to neighbors and nearby friends and family.

It’s all pretty simple, right? Go send some love!

Cookies pictured above: butterscotch pretzel chocolate chip cookies and butterscotch toffee chocolate fudge cookies.

More Baking Tips

Q: How do you usually ship goodies?

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I sometimes think you are in my head Sally. Just yesterday I was thinking about baking cookies for the holidays and sending them to my family.  Now I know how to ship my goodies safely. Thank you for this post.

  2. Hi, Sally. Great post. Can I add a few comments? As the mom of an active-duty Air Force airman, I have had some experience with shipping homemade goodies. There are lots of good ideas about how to ship cookies so they don’t get broken, but through some trial-and-error, I have found a pretty good solution. I sent cookies to my son in Europe last year…long story short, they got sent back to me after a global tour and about two months after shipping, we got them back. When we opened them, they were still fresh and VERY FEW were broken.

    I layer the cookies in a gallon-sized ziploc FREEZER bag (they are thicker/stronger than storage bags)–2 or 3 layers works well, depending on the cookies. You can put waxed paper between layers, too. Push as much air out as you can and press it closed. Then, I put that gallon ziploc bag inside a vacuum-sealer bag and seal the whole thing with the vacuum sealer. You end up with “flats” of cookies that are vacuum-sealed and fairly stable. You can then stack these bags, with bubble wrap between the bags, into a shipping box. Just pack it well–pack it tight enough that the bags don’t slide around inside the box–and voila! Cookies safely packaged and fresh when they arrive. Some of the moms use Pringles cans; others use the sandwich method you describe….the trick, I’ve learned, is to pack them so there is as little movement as possible while shipping so they don’t get slammed around and broken. My boxes went to Germany…..and back, with very little breakage. I had several different kinds–snickerdoodles, ginger snaps, Jello cookies, chocolate chip, etc.,–and they all shipped well this way. I also made candy–fudge, etc–and instead of cutting it, just wrapped the “slabs” in foil, then in bags as described. And I did the same for some snack mixes.

    I realize this isn’t as “pretty” as some may desire, but it is effective. (You could use pretty tissue to help make it more festive.) Hope this helps! Now………….I better go see about making some goodies to send off! At least this year, my son is stateside, so things won’t have to go so far! 🙂

    1. I love that idea! I was just thinking of sending cookies to my mom for holiday from Hawaii to Washington state. Three days shipping, at least. Was wondering if I should freeze first, but if yours went to Germany and back I’m sure mine will be fine.

  3. This is perfect and so timely! I always want to send homemade care packages to my friends abroad, and now I know how! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  4. Sally!!! This was so needed today! Thank you for this, it is honestly something I always want to do but rarely do it because of the shipping aspect. Thank you! My family will love this

  5. Thank you for these great tips! My son just moved into college and I want to send cookies to him and his new friends! I knew I could count on you Sally…

  6. Thanks for these tips!!! I used to send cookies to my brother when he was a Marine stationed in Afghanistan. Needless to say, my cookies went on quite a journey! They traveled for approximately 2 weeks before arriving! One of the tips I used was to take old Pringle’s cans (washed, of course. They can go right in the dishwasher!), and stack the cookies inside, freeze overnight, and then send. My brother said they always arrived perfect and fresh. 🙂

  7. How many days will cookies stay fresh? Do we need to ship overnight?

    I’m new to baking – love your recipes – and I want to send some cookies to friends but want to be sure they will be fresh. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kathy, Most cookies stay fresh at room temperature for about 5 days but each of our recipes will specify in either the end of the directions or in the recipe notes for that specific recipe 🙂

  8. My eldest granddaughter went off to college this year and I decided to send her cookies every few weeks. I looked at your site back then to see if you had any directions on how to ship them. Sure enough there they were and I’ve been shipping them this way since, with not a broken cookie reported! Thanks for the wonderful recipes, Sally’s Cookie Addiction Book and for thinking of everything cookie related that a novice like me requires!

  9. Sally, I love you recipes. They always turn out perfect! My 9 year old daughter and I have made most of everything in the 2 cookbooks we have of your’s. This week in my blog’s newsletter, I shared a link to parents that may need to plan ahead and ship cookies to their adult kids they may not be with during this season. Thanks for all you do!

  10. Hi Sally,

    I know I should not send soft cookies (ie: sugar, crinkles, etc) with crispier cookies (shortbread, etc), but do you think it would be okay if I seal them in cellophane bags with oxygen absorbers? Just wondering if it will work. My family likes a variety of different cookies. Thanks!!

  11. Would your rugulach recipe ship well? Thinking of fun Chanukah care packages to ship out!

    1. Hi Juliet, Yes I have shipped it before with great success!

  12. Thank you so much for all the assistance with packing/shipping tips snd those from your loyal readers! Looking forward to busy baking and shipping! Happy Holidays!

  13. Hi Sally,

    Is it okay to freeze the cookies before mailing? And if so, should i let them thaw before mailing or just wrap them in plastic and send them off? I was hoping to work in batches so freezing beforehand would be better for me! Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel! I would recommend thawing them before mailing, so that they’re not thawing out while in the package. Hope this helps!

      1. What’s wrong with them thawing in the package as to already being thawed? Shipping cookies at Christmas time may take far too many days for cookies to arrive fresh. Thanks, lori

  14. My Mom used to send care packages with brownies and cookies, to my uncle when he was in Vietnam. She used a can (Charlie Chip can or popcorn can), add the baked goods between layers of mini marshmallows. Put can in box and stuff the corners with other wrapped treats.

  15. I usually ship a sour cream chocolate cake w/chocolate butter cream frosting priority mail to family. Usually they receive it in three days and pronounce the cake delicious. This year one of my cakes did not arrive until nine days after I shipped it. I checked online and was advised that a butter cream frosted cake would not be safe to eat after 4 to 5 days. So I thought I should change my baking gifts to cookies and found your site. If shipping goes awry again, however, when might cookies be considered unsafe to eat?

    1. Hi Pat, Most cookies that are not frosted (or that are frosted with royal icing instead of buttercream) usually stay fresh for up to a week at room temperature. You can check each specific recipe you wish to make and either in the last step of the recipe directions, or in the recipe notes, we will give you storage instructions. Let us know which recipes you try!

  16. If you are shipping just a state or two away, order regional priority boxes from the post office. The shipping is usually half the price of flat rate shipping. Two things on the downside – you have to weigh the box, and most local post offices aren’t given the regional boxes to have on hand. You also need to use click and ship – scroll all the way to the bottom of the priority mail pricing and choose which of the 2 boxes you have. ( they are different than any other boxes and are marked regional priority mail. ( I have one guy at the post office who orders them for himself and tries to have a small stash for those of us who know the ins and outs of priority mail pricing. It may be a little late this year but order the boxes from the post office ( online ) the boxes are free are delivered free can order a few boxes or dozens of each.. That way you have them on hand whenever you need to ship something to a friend or family member a few states away….I actually find it’s cheaper no matter how far I’m shipping in the continental United States but I live in the middle of the USA so that may not be true for everyone.

    1. That is awesome to learn! Thank you for sharing such a hot tip! Good info for sure!

  17. I think scones and or muffins would ship well too, right? Have you tried it?

    1. Hi Sarah, definitely! Just make sure they are well cushioned so they don’t get squished along the journey. You could individually wrap the muffins, and place the bottom of two scones together and wrap just like we do with cookies.

  18. Hi Sally. I have been making cookies for quite some time now but the challenge for me is making the chocolate chips hard again and not smudge so I can pack them neatly. When cooling cookies, I use cooling rack and even use fan to make them cool faster. I’m cooling my cookies at room temp for 3-4hours uncovered. Am I making this correct?

    1. Hi Cath, it sounds like you’re doing everything right. Some chocolate chips simply stay softer than others for a certain amount of time after baking. You could also try placing them in the fridge for a while to help harden the chips again. Hope this helps!

  19. Hello! I was thinking about baking the jalapeno bread and mailing. Do you think it would stay fresh and not go stale in the mail? Thanks!

  20. I used to take a short flight at Christmas and I would fill in space in my cookie tins with tiny pasta. After all the cookies were gone there was pasta to eat! It was heavy but it worked.

  21. Hi Sally..I am just wondering are there goods that we can shipped that has longer shelf-life while in transit? I am in the MiddleEast and would like to shipped my homemade goods to my mom and the rest of the family back home to the Philippines but it trakes 45-60 days for packages to arrive. Any suggestion? I am wondering is there are any preservatives that can be used or recipe itself that is safe from spoiling. Please help!

    1. Hi Mitzie, We wish we could help but we have no experience adding preservatives to our baked goods to make them last that long without being frozen.

  22. What’s the best way to ship there? Can regular mail from USPS work? Does it have to be overnighted?
    Also should the cookies be slightly under baked to stay soft? Thank you.

  23. Here I am in 2022, looking for instructions to send my college freshman some 19th birthday cookies. In my Google search results, I saw an entry from one of my all-time favorite cooking (and especially baking!) websites, Sally’s Baking Addiction.

    Sally has never steered me wrong, and in fact, she has added so much joy and light to my life with her many delicious recipes (blueberry muffins, chocolate lava cake and flatbread, to name just a few). So of course my first choice was to click on Sally’s article about mailing cookies.

    As I started reading, the words “deeply divided country” caught my eye. Oh, she must have written this recently, my 2022-oriented brain thought. But I looked at the article’s date and realized, no, this was written in mid-November 2016, when so many of us, of whatever political persuasion, realized that our country was, in fact, deeply divided.

    What a thing to think about! How far we have come since 2016. It feels like forever ago. At that time, my now-college freshman was an innocent 13-year-old. My oldest two children, now graduated from college and launched into careers, were carefree teens.

    Since 2016, we’ve been through so much in our world and in the USA. Much divides us, but I think we can all agree on one thing — Sally continues to nurture our souls and spirits with her recipes and her prose.

    With that in mind, I will mail not only my youngest, but all my children, and perhaps some other loved ones, some of Sally’s finest cookies, using her packaging instructions. Unity through cookies!

    1. Thank you so much for trusting my recipes and I’m glad you found this post helpful, in many ways!