Your future self will thank you.

Attention, cookie bakers! Did you know your freezer is your best friend come cookie-baking season? Here's why freezing cookies and cookie dough ahead of the holidays is such a good idea:

  • You'll free up more of your time to enjoy the holidays.
  • You'll always have a stash of ready-to-bake cookies on hand in case guests show up unexpectedly.
  • You'll save cookies from going stale by freezing them if they don't all get eaten right away.

You can freeze most cookies whether they're baked or unbaked; both are great ways to preserve freshness. Here's how to do it right:

How to Freeze Baked Cookies

Baked cookies will keep in the freezer for up to 3 or 4 weeks.

Freezing Baked Cookies
Credit: Meredith
  • After baking, allow cookies to cool completely. Place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet to freeze them, then store them in a freezer-safe zip-top storage bag labeled with the name and date. Squeeze out extra air and place flat in the freezer. To save space, you can flat-stack freezer bags.
  • Most cookies can be frozen as-is, while decorated cookies may need to be individually wrapped or separated with waxed paper or parchment.
  • When you want to eat one, take it out and let it sit at room temperature or warm it in the oven for a few minutes. Or, if you are in a hurry, you can microwave it in 10 second intervals. Don't heat or microwave decorated cookies.

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

Most cookie doughs freeze well for up to 3 months. Remember to write the date, type of cookie, and baking instructions on the outside of the package.

Freezing Cookie Dough Balls
Credit: Meredith
  • Drop Cookies: Shape the cookie dough into balls as you would when preparing to bake them. Place them on a silicone- or parchment-lined sheet. Freeze for an hour (or until solid) and transfer to a freezer zip-top bag. Squeeze out the air and freeze.
  • Slice-and-Bake Cookies: Shape dough into one or two logs, double-wrap with plastic to prevent freezer burn and odor absorption from your freezer.
  • Cut-Out Cookies: Shape dough into one or two flat disks. Double-wrap in plastic and freeze flat.
Valentine heart-shaped cookies decorated with white and red icing and intricate piped designs
Credit: Lisa

How to Bake Frozen Cookie Dough

  • Drop Cookies: Set frozen cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet and let the dough defrost in the refrigerator. This will take several hours, so plan ahead. Or place frozen cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet and bake following recipe directions. Give the cookies a couple of extra minutes in the oven to make up for their frozen start.
  • Slice-and Bake Cookies: Frozen cookie logs are easier to slice after they've defrosted for a few minutes. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake following recipe directions. Give the cookies a couple of extra minutes in the oven if necessary.
  • Cut-Out Cookies: Defrost the dough in the fridge before rolling out, cutting shapes, and baking as usual.

Best Cookies and Doughs for Freezing

Avoid freezing cake-like cookies and cookies with a very liquidy batter, such as madeleines and tuiles.

a close up view of a pile of best ever chocolate chip cookies with one broken in half
Credit: Dotdash Meredith Food Studios