How to Freeze Cookie Dough and Bake It From Frozen
Make a big batch of dough and freeze it as a gift to future you.
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By Regan Cafiso for Food Network Kitchen
Warm, freshly baked cookies — 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 warm homemade cookies whenever the need (or craving) strikes. Simply make a big batch of dough and freeze it, so you'll always be ready. 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. This type of dough freezes beautifully, requires no thawing and bakes up just right. It's also pre-portioned, so you can make a single cookie or two dozen with no extra work.
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. Take note that once the slice-and-bake dough is defrosted, however, it cannot be refrozen.
Dough for cutouts, aka sugar cookies, can also be frozen. In this case, the dough should be frozen un-portioned and wrapped tightly in plastic. To use it, the dough must then be moved to the refrigerator to completely thaw overnight. Then roll it out, cut and bake it. This doesn’t save a lot of time, but it can be nice to nix the dough-making step if it's a busy time of year like the holidays, or if you know you want to bake with kids, but don't wait to deal with a messy kitchen in the moment. Just like slice-and-bake dough, cutout dough cannot be refrozen once thawed.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
For convenient cookies anytime you want them, start by making a big batch of your favorite drop cookie dough. Once you have the dough ready, 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 — you can really pack them onto your baking sheet. 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 and stash them in the freezer. They'll keep well for up to 4 months.
How to Bake Frozen Cooke 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 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: