How to Mail Cookies When You Can't Be There in Person

When you want to share the love with homemade cookies but you can't deliver them yourself, here's how to pack them up so they'll arrive fresh-tasting and in tip-top shape.

Cookie Tin in Box with Popcorn Packing Nuts
Photo: Meredith

Sending homemade cookies is a time-honored way to show someone you're thinking of them from afar. And just think of the smiles when your care package arrives at its destination and the treasure trove is revealed. This guide will show you what kinds of cookies are best for mailing and how to make sure they arrive safely, whether they're going across town or across the country.

Choose the Right Types of Cookies to Mail

Not all cookies travel well; certain cookies tend to ship better than others do. Don't mail cookies with custard or custard-like fillings or toppings, including cheesecake bars or Nanaimo bars. The custard could spoil, making a very unwelcome gift. For that matter, any cookie that requires refrigeration is not a good candidate for the mail. Another type of cookie that doesn't hold up well for mailing is one with a delicate, cake-like texture, such as Madeleines.

Good Things Come in Secure Packages

Once you've baked and cooled your cookies, you're ready for the next step: packing them. There are a few guidelines you should follow when it comes to preparing cookies to be mailed. Follow these and your cookies should arrive safely.

Top Tips: How to Mail Cookies

  1. Cool cookies thoroughly before packing.
  2. Package cookie types separately so crunchy stays crunchy and soft cookies keep their moisture to themselves. Wrap bar cookies individually in plastic wrap.
  3. Pack cookies in a sturdy tin or airtight container but don't overstuff your container; crowded cookies could damage each other. Likewise, don't under-pack your container so the cookies move around too much. If you have too much space, crumple up a bit of clean tissue paper to fill the gaps. Cupcake liners are useful for keeping cookies from bumping into each other.
  4. On the bottom of the container place a piece of bubble wrap or wadded tissue paper, then line the container with parchment paper or cellophane, leaving enough to tuck over the top once the container is fully packed. Place one layer of cookies in the container. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper cut out to fix the container. Arrange another layer of cookies, followed with more parchment paper, and continue this layering until the container is full. Tuck the cellophane or parchment paper over the top, then place another piece of bubble wrap or wadded tissue on top, and seal your container.
  5. Place your filled container inside a heavy-duty cardboard shipping box that's large enough to allow a two- to three-inch cushion between the inner container and the outer box. Place a layer of shipping peanuts, air-popped popcorn, or crumpled paper on the bottom of your shipping box. Set your cookie container on this bottom layer. Then fill in the sides and top with more shipping materials.
  6. Seal the shipping box with heavy-duty shipping tape. Place a mailing label on the box, and you're ready to send those treats on their way.
  7. And finally, let your recipient know that cookies are on the way so the package doesn't sit unopened for days.

And now, on to the kinds of cookies that are best for mailing.

These Cookies Are Going Places!

Citrus Shortbread Cookies

Recipe pictured above: Citrus Shortbread Cookies

Cookies that have a crunchy or hard texture such as biscotti, Mexican wedding cookies, Springerle, and shortbreads are sturdy enough to hold up for the long haul. And since they already have a fairly dry texture, drying out isn't much of an issue.

Cookies that have a slightly chewy texture, like chocolate chip, oatmeal, and snickerdoodles also ship well. These cookies tend to dry out if they are in the mail for more than a week, so if their destination is a long way off, you might want to ship them by express mail to ensure that they arrive just as tasty as when they were baked.

Cookies with decorative icing do best if you top them with a royal icing or sugar cookie glaze that dries to a hard finish. Soft frostings and icings will get smooshed in the shipping.

Dense bar cookies such as brownies, blondies, and peanut butter bars travel well, too, as long as they don't have cream cheese or custard layers. Be sure to wrap each one individually with plastic wrap to keep that moist, dense crumb from drying out.

Cookies with chewy, moist textures such as coconut macaroons and pignoli pack and travel well, and their texture only seem to improve after they've aged a few days.


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