How to Freeze Cookies and Cookie Dough
Plus precisely how to thaw and bake them.
By Regan Cafiso and Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen
Warm, freshly baked cookies are one of life's great pleasures. Too bad that you have to pull out the mixer, measure ingredients and portion the dough before enjoying them. Or do you? With a little prep, you can have homemade cookies whenever the need (or craving) strikes. All you need is a little prep and your freezer. Here, we walk you through how to freeze baked cookies and cookie dough, so you can simply reheat (or bake) at a moment's notice.
Can You Freeze Cookies?
We're talking about fully baked cookies. The answer is a resounding yes - read on for the full how-to.
To freeze a batch of cookies for snacking:
Allow the cookies to cool completely after baking. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, fill it with a single layer of cookies and freeze. Stack the cookies with small square pieces of wax paper to keep them separated, then transfer them to a freezer-safe zip-top bag. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible (bye-bye, freezer burn). Label the bag with the cookie name and the baking date.
- To thaw: Take a cookie or three out of the bag and thaw at room temperature or microwave for 10 seconds. (Don’t microwave decorated cookies.)
To freezing large quantities for cookies for gift giving:
Allow cookies to cool completely after baking. Line a sturdy container with wax paper. Fill the container with layers of cookies, placing a sheet of wax paper between each layer. Close container and double wrap it with plastic wrap. Label container with the cookie name, baking date and quantity.
- To thaw: Take the container out of the freezer and thaw at room temperature overnight to prevent condensation on ice-cold cookies. Pack in gift containers.
Best Cookies for Freezing
The best cookies for freezing are your favorite cookies - with a few exceptions. Steer clear of cookies made with a liquid batter, such as Florentines, tuiles and fortune cookies. Here are a few types of cookies we've frozen successfully, again and again - plus links to galleries filled with different options.
Best Containers for Freezing Baked Cookies
The best containers for freezing cookies have lids that shut securely, are lightweight and free. Yes, free. We save plastic carryout containers all year to use for freezing cookies and then we up-cycle them as the gift boxes when we give the cookies away. Are there other alternatives? Of course: use what you have or buy a big box of carry-out containers.
Best Way to Seal In Freshness
Cookie Freezing Tools
After struggling with small boxes of plastic wrap and huge restaurant-size rolls, we discovered this big roll of Stretch-Tite and we haven’t looked back. Seal boxes of cookies all the way around, then turn 90 degrees and seal again. In addition to being starchy, this wrap is sticky enough to stay wrapped on its own.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
Freeze cookie dough and then bake it off whenever you're craving a cookie straight from the oven. Here's how.
Which Cookie Dough Freezes Best?
The easiest and best cookies to freeze are definitely chunky drop cookies — these are cookies like chocolate chip or oatmeal-raisin that are scooped into balls and "dropped" right onto a baking sheet (or frozen first). This type of dough freezes beautifully and requires no thawing before baking.
Slice-and-bake cookies also freeze well — this type of dough gets rolled into a log and chilled before slicing into rounds and baking. Slice-and-bake dough can be a little hard and crumbly when you try to cut it straight from the freezer, so it needs to thaw bit first at room temperature to soften before slicing. Take note that once the slice-and-bake dough is defrosted, however, it cannot be refrozen.
Dough for cutouts, a.k.a sugar cookies, can also be frozen. You can roll out your dough and freeze it in sheets between parchment paper (stack the sheets in a rimmed baking sheet and double wrap it in plastic wrap). When you want to make cookies, remove one or more sheets, and punch out cookies with a cookie cutter. Bonus: cutting and baking frozen dough makes for extra-crisp edges. Alternatively, you can tightly wrap and freeze whole dough balls, then thaw them completely overnight in the fridge before rolling out, cutting and baking. Just like slice-and-bake dough, cutout dough cannot be refrozen once thawed.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
Start by making a big batch of your favorite drop cookie dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then scoop even balls of dough right onto the sheet. You should leave a little space between each ball, but not as much as if you were baking the cookies. A small ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop makes portioning a breeze.
Next, pop the entire sheet directly into the freezer — there's no need to cover it. Let the dough freeze until it is completely solid — at least 4 hours and up to overnight. It's crucial that the cookie dough freezes completely so the balls don't fuse together when you store them. Once the batch is completely frozen, transfer the dough balls into a freezer bag or other airtight container, label the container with the type of cookie and the date you made the dough and stash it in the freezer. The cookie dough freezes well for up to 4 months.
How to Bake Frozen Cookie Dough
There's no need to thaw frozen drop cookie dough in order to bake your cookies — in fact, we don't recommend it. Start by preheating the oven slightly lower than the temperature called for in your recipe — about 15 degrees F lower. Take the dough balls straight from the freezer and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Be sure to space them however your recipe indicates to allow for some spreading. Bake as usual, allowing a couple extra minutes to accommodate the colder dough and oven temperature. When the cookies are golden on the bottom and just turning color at the edges, they're ready!
Our Favorite Drop Cookie Recipes
Using only brown sugar is what gives these chocolate chip cookies their chewiness. Perfect for freezing because they're moist not crunchy.
These super-sized chewy cookies use M&M's in place of chocolate chips.
Super-Loaded is right! We've got 3 kinds of seeds, oatmeal, nuts, cranberries and...coconut!
These cookies bring double the chocolate and double the smiles.
Sugar and spice and everything nice is what these molasses cookies deliver in every bite. Freezing before or after baking makes no difference to these chewy cookies.
Chocolate covered cherry lovers will be thrilled to see (and smell) a batch of our Super Gooey Chocolate Drops come out of the oven.