Get a jump on the holidays, bake sales, and parties with this sweet little how-to. Here’s how to freeze cookie dough correctly, to get amazing, freshly baked homemade cookies in an instant.
Perfect cookie candidates for freezing: Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Red Velvet Cookies, or slice-and-bake Fruitcake Cookies. Bake a double batch, and freeze one to make later on.
No two ways about it; there’s nothing like a still-warm, gooey, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie. And when you freeze your cookie dough, that means you can bite into that kind of perfection any time you want.
When I can, I almost always prefer to freeze raw cookie dough and bake later, instead of baking the cookies and then freezing them. A thawed-out cookie almost never tastes as fresh as a freshly baked cookie made from frozen dough. The difference is night and day.
Best of all, you usually don’t have to thaw out the frozen cookies. As long as they’re portioned, they can go straight from freezer to oven, with just a minute or two of extra baking time.
Why freeze cookie dough?
Freezing cookie dough is super simple, and it works like a dream for last minute desserts, pick-me-ups, housewarming gifts, selling a house, treats… the list goes on. Plus nothing feels quite as good as when you find a hidden away stash of cookie dough in the freezer, just waiting to be baked. I ask you, is there anything better than a surprise cookie?
Plus making cookie dough ahead of time to freeze is the perfect way to get all your ducks in a row before Christmas, a wedding, or a cookie fundraiser. Knock out all the dough, and then just bake everything off when you’re ready to party.
What kind of cookie dough freezes best?
Basically, any dough with a higher fat or butter content—the richer the better. This means drop cookies, chunky cookies, slice-and bake (refrigerator) cookies, shortbread, peanut butter cookies, etc.
Not absolutely every cookie dough is meant to freeze, though. Delicate cookie dough, or cookie dough batters, such as pizzelle, madeleines, and the fluffy dough of French macarons do not freeze well at all.
How to freeze cookie dough:
This technique works best for cookies like oatmeal raisin cookies, peanut butter cookies, or chocolate chip cookies—any cookie that gets rolled or scooped before baking. Try the Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, Double Ginger Cookies, or White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.
- Roll or scoop the cookies into balls. If your recipe calls for chilling the dough beforehand, do that. It will make the dough easier to handle.
- Next, arrange the cookies on a sheet tray that will fit horizontally in your freezer. They can be close, but not touching. You don’t want them to stick together as they freeze.
- Freeze the cookies until solid, (6-8 hours) then transfer them from the tray to a zipper-top plastic bag. Press the extra air out of the bag as you seal it. Label and date the bag, adding the baking temperature and time, if you want to be extra efficient (and you do).
- Bake the frozen cookies straight from the freezer into a preheated oven, increasing the baking time, 12 to 17 minutes.
Freezing slice and bake cookies:
Use this technique for icebox or refrigerator cookie dough that you form into a log and chill before slicing up and baking. My Fruitcake Cookies are a perfect example.
- First, shape the dough into a log, or several logs, as directed by your recipe. Make sure they will fit into the freezer bag.
- Next, wrap the logs in waxed paper. Wax paper works better than parchment, because the wax protects the dough from drying out.
- Then just slide the wrapped logs of dough into a freezer bag and press out any extra air as you seal it shut. Don’t forget to label the bag! What it is, how to bake, what temperature, and when.
- To bake frozen slice and bake cookies, remove the log from the freezer and let it warm up for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Then cut the cookies into slices using a sharp chef’s knife, or a serrated knife, it that works better.
- Space out the discs of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake as directed. Because they’re semi-frozen, they’ll likely need a minute or two extra in the oven to bake.
How to freeze sugar cookie dough:
This technique is perfect for rolled out cookies like my Circus Animal Cookies or Frosted Valentine Cookies. Also, it works for just about cookie cutter dough, skillet cookies, or the buttery bottom crust of many bar cookie recipes. It’s a little different, but just as easy.
- First, form the dough into a 1” thick disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. You can place the dough in a freezer bag for extra protection, if you like. That will make it easier to date and label, too.
- Before you bake the cookies, you need to let the dough completely thaw out. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll out, cut, and bake following the recipe’s instructions.
If you’ve made dough for a skillet cookie or bar cookie, just press the thawed dough into the pan and continue with the recipe. That’s it!
Tips for freezing cookie dough:
Label, label, label. The most important tip I can give you is to label the freezer package. This will make your life infinitely easier, and the future you will thank you for it.
Be sure to include:
- What kind of cookie
- Baking temperature and cooking time in the recipe
- The date you made the dough
Preheat the oven. The best part about baking frozen cookies is that you can pop them into the oven and have a delicious cookie in about 10 minutes. Just make sure the oven is hot enough before you do, so the cookies bake consistently.
Freezing sugar rolled cookies. Any cookie that gets rolled in sugar or cinnamon before baking (hello, Snickerdoodles and Molasses cookies) should be frozen without the outer coating. Let the frozen cookies sit out at room temperature just long enough to get sticky on the outside (about 30 minutes) and roll them in the sugar just before baking.
How long does frozen cookie dough last?
Always refer to your recipe, but properly stored, most unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Ha, like they’ll last that long!
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
- Cookie dough balls, logs, or discs
To freeze balls of cookie dough:
- Portion the dough into balls and freeze by arranging the balls in a single layer on a tray or plate that can fit into the freezer.
- Once frozen solid, transfer into a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the kind of cookie dough, baking temperature and cooking time in the recipe, and the date you made the dough.
- Bake the frozen cookies straight from the freezer in a preheated oven according to the recipe instructions.
To freeze logs of cookie dough:
- Shape the dough into a log, or several logs, as directed by your recipe. Make sure they will fit into the freezer bag.
- Wrap the logs in waxed paper, then slide the wrapped logs of dough into a freezer bag and press out any extra air as you seal it shut. Label with the kind of cookie dough, baking temperature and cooking time in the recipe, and the date you made the dough.
- To bake frozen slice and bake cookies, remove the log from the freezer and let it warm up for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Then cut the cookies into slices. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven according to the recipe instructions.
To freeze blocks of cookie dough:
- Form the dough into a 1” thick disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. You can place the dough in a freezer bag for extra protection, if you like. Label with the kind of cookie dough, baking temperature and cooking time in the recipe, and the date you made the dough.
- Before baking, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll out, cut, and bake following the recipe’s instructions.