In this guide, we’re covering one of my favorite adulting tricks: freezing cookie dough and baked cookies. With detailed instructions and tips, this guide will give you everything you need to stock your freezer full of cookies.
Whether you want to be the hostess who effortlessly pulls a tray of fresh baked cookies out of the oven for guests, or you just need a single cookie at 10 PM, I’ve got you covered!
Freezing Cookies: The Ultimate Life Hack
I learned how to freeze cookies early on in my blogging journey, and it remains one of my favorite life hacks. There are millions of reasons why you might want to freeze cookies, but here are a few of mine:
- I’m impatient, particularly when it comes to a cookie craving. Who wants to mix up chocolate chip cookie dough and then have to wait two whole hours for it to chill?? Freezing cookie dough means you’re never more than 15 minutes away from warm chocolate chip cookies.
- I love serving warm cookies to guests without any extra stress or work. Even if the house is a hot mess, I’ve got a freezer full of cookies to make me look like the hostess with the mostest.
- I often make more cookies than I can eat in a reasonable amount of time.
- Freezing cookies makes it easy to bake a large variety of cookies for parties or gift boxes.
- Freezing cookies allows me to bake the exact number of cookies I want at any given time (see #3), even if that’s just one cookie!
Freezing cookie dough and baked cookies is actually quite easy, and it works for almost any type of cookie–from classic chocolate chip to cut out sugar cookies! In this guide, we’ll cover how to freeze each type of cookie, and share our favorite freezer cookie recipes along the way!
Basic Tools for Freezing Cookies
You don’t need anything fancy to freeze cookies, but I find these things incredibly helpful.
- Basic sheet pan, (these are my favorite) for flash freezing
- Plastic wrap and foil for protecting frozen dough
- Freezer gallon plastic bags for holding frozen cookie dough
- Parchment paper for stacking cookies
- A permanent marker for marking the date, type of cookies, and baking instructions
How to Freeze Drop Cookies
Drop cookies refer to any cookies made with a soft dough that’s scooped and dropped on the pan in mounds or balls to bake. This includes classics like Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, and a whole slew of other varieties. Drop cookies are great candidates for freezing.
Many drop cookie recipes require chilling time to prevent over-spreading, but freezing them takes care of this part for you, allowing you to go straight from dough to freezer to oven. Wahoo!
Freezing Drop Cookie Dough
- Prepare the dough as usual, then scoop mounds of dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. They can be placed close together, but not touching.
- Flash freeze the dough by placing the pan in the freezer for 1-2 hours. This prevents them from sticking together.
- Remove the dough balls from the sheet pan and place them in a freezer plastic bag. Write the name of the cookie on the bag, along with the baking temperature and time. Freeze for up to 3 months. (Confession: I’ve pushed this to 6 months+, and they’ve still been fine. There’s no way I’m throwing away a rogue bag of cookies that managed to hide under the broccoli for 5 months).
- To bake frozen cookie dough: Remove frozen dough balls from the bag and space them out on a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven, adding a few minutes to the usual baking time.
Freezing Baked Cookies
- Bake the cookies as usual and allow to cool completely.
- Layer the cookies in an airtight, freezer-safe container or in a gallon size freezer plastic bag, placing parchment paper between each layer.
- To thaw frozen cookies, place the container at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
Favorite Drop Cookie Recipes for Freezing:
- Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies (pictured above)
- Monster Cookies
- Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Take 5 Candy Bar Cookies
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chip
- Salted Milk Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
- Double Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Flavor Bender
- Best Oatmeal Cookies from Joy Food Sunshine
Freezing Sugar Cookie Dough, Cut-Out Cookies, and Shortbreads
Here, we’re discussing how to freeze cookie dough that is rolled out and cut. This includes how to freeze Christmas cookies, both the dough and the decorated cookies.
To Freeze Sugar Cookie Dough:
- Prepare the dough as usual, then divide it into balls. Flatten the balls into a thick disk then double wrap them with plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil or ziplock freezer bag.
- Freeze the dough for up to 3 months.
- To thaw, place the disks on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 hours. When the dough is pliable, roll it out, cut, and bake as usual.
To Freeze Baked Cut Out Cookies:
- Bake the cookies as usual and allow them to cool completely.
- Layer the baked cookies between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight, freezer safe container. For extra protection, you can stack them in a gallon ziplock then put them in the airtight container.
- To thaw, place the entire container on the counter and thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
How to Freeze Decorated Cookies:
- I have had luck freezing cookies decorated with royal icing, but I have not tested this method with buttercream.
- To freeze cookies with royal icing, first decorate and allow the icing to dry completely.
- Individually wrap each cookie or place each one in a plastic bag. Layer them in an airtight, freezer safe container.
- Thaw cookies in the plastic bags at room temperature, NOT in the fridge, to prevent condensation.
- Note: I recommend waiting to decorate chocolate dipped, sprinkled, or powdered sugar cookies until after they’ve been thawed.
TIP: Cut Out Cookies are generally more fragile than drop cookies, which is why I always recommend placing them in a container rather than keeping them in a plastic bag, where they can easily be jostled by other things (looking at you, bag of frozen nuggets).
Favorite Cut Out Cookie Recipes to Freeze
- Canestrelli (Italian Egg Yolk Shortbread Cookies)– Pictured above
- Lemon Rosemary Butter Cookies
- Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
- Best Sugar Cookies Recipe from In Katrina’s Kitchen
- Funfetti Cookies from The Flavor Bender
- Brown Sugar Shortbread from Hey Nutrition Lady
- Vanilla Kiferl Cookies from Baking Sense
- Biscochitos (Cinnamon Shortbread) from Itsy Bitsy Kitchen
- Soft Gingerbread Cookies from Savory Nothings
How to Freeze Icebox and Slice and Bake Cookies
Icebox or Slice and Bake Cookies are perfect for freezing! These types of cookies are typically shaped into a log and chilled, then sliced into even rounds before baking.
- Prepare the dough as usual, then shape into a log according to the recipe instructions. Double wrap the log in saran wrap followed by foil. Write the name, baking instructions, and date on the foil.
- Freeze the dough for up to 6 months.
- To thaw, remove the dough from the freezer and thaw at room temperature until sliceable (usually 10-20 minutes). Alternatively, thaw completely in the fridge overnight.
- Slice and bake the cookies according to the recipe instructions.
Favorite Freezer Friendly Slice and Bake Cookies
Pecan Icebox Cookies from Beyond the Chicken Coop
Rainbow Sparkling Sugar Butter Cookies from Oh My Sugar High
Melt In Your Mouth Butter Cookies from Pinch and Swirl
How to Freeze Brownies and Bars
Yes, you can freeze brownie and bar cookies too! I recommend freezing brownies and bar cookies after they’ve been baked.
- To freeze an entire pan of brownies:
- Before baking, line the baking dish with parchment paper that goes up the sides to create a sling. After baking, remove the brownies from the pan and allow to cool completely.
- Double wrap with plastic wrap then foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw at room temperature for 3-4 hours before slicing and serving.
- To freeze individual slices of brownies:
- Bake the brownies as usual, cool, and slice.
- Wrap individual slices in a double layer of plastic wrap then place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours.