Tips and Tricks for Freezing Cookie Dough
Cookie dough in the freezer means warm, gooey, homemade cookies are minutes away. Treat your future self with our hacks for freezing dough, plus freezer-friendly cookie recipes.
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Featured cookie dough photographs by Sher Castellano
Prep once, eat twice. It's a common strategy for meal planning, and one that can reap sweet rewards for dessert, too. Consider cookie dough. With a little upfront work, the freezer is your key to having warm, fragrant, freshly baked cookies at a future date without dirtying bowls or measuring cups.
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Can you freeze cookie dough?
Yes! But why would you? Easy! First, who doesn’t love freshly baked cookies? Frozen dough means warm and gooey cookies can be yours merely by preheating the oven.
Flexibility is another factor. You can maximize your time mixing dough by doing a double batch and freezing a portion to have on hand for special occasions or cravings. When it’s your turn to bring a snack for Scouts or soccer but you’re slammed, that trusty frozen cookie dough rushes to the rescue.
Sure, you can freeze baked cookies, but cookie dough holds up longer in the freezer without succumbing to freezer burn. And once baked, delicate cookies are prone to breaking, which is no issue with dough.
How long does cookie dough last in the freezer?
You can freeze cookie dough for three months at least, often longer. Logs and blocks of dough hold up longer than cookie dough balls. After that time, frozen cookie dough doesn’t go bad but it can dry out or take on other flavors in the freezer.
What cookie dough freezes well?
Luckily, most cookie dough recipes freeze well, especially these:
· Drop cookies like chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, and snickerdoodle
· Cut-out cookies like sugar cookies and gingerbread
· Slice and bake cookies, also known as refrigerator cookies
In the mood to make an investment in future cookie baking? Read on for how to freeze cookie dough (the techniques are a little different depending on the cookies you’re making). Then get some freezer-friendly favorite cookie recipes.
Dropped and shaped cookies to freeze
Cookies you roll into balls or just drop on sheets are perfect for freezing because you can bake them without thawing.
How to freeze cookie dough: Shape the cookies (a cookie scoop makes quick work of this step) and drop them onto lined baking sheets. Freeze until firm, then seal in a zip-top bag labeled with the date, plus baking temp and time. Freezer bags work better for storing than rigid airtight containers because they keep out more air.
You can bake frozen cookie dough balls — no need to defrost; just pop them right on the baking sheets. They usually take a few extra minutes to bake compared to unfrozen.
These coconut-packed cookies bridge the gap between coconut macaroons and chocolate chip. Unsweetened coconut makes for bigger, bolder coconut flavor.
The classic cookie jar cookie! Freeze the dough balls with the cinnamon sugar, or wait until right before baking to roll them in it.
Love chewy cookies? Molasses cookies are especially good that way, and baking them from frozen balls is one of the best ways to ensure soft molasses cookies with pretty crinkly tops. For a little taste of heaven, use them for an ice-cream sandwich with vanilla ice cream.
These big and bold cookies are far from health food. Made with 100% whole-wheat flour, they’re still packed with butter and sugar — and all the better for it. Big chunks of chocolate and nutty whole wheat are a perfect foil for each other.
Rolled and cut-out cookie recipes
Roll and bake some cookies now, and freeze more dough to have on deck for a special occasion.
How to freeze cookie dough: This works with dough for both drop cookies and cut-out cookies. Flatten the dough into a rectangle (not a circle — rectangles take up less room in the freezer). Wrap it well in plastic wrap, then seal in a zip-top bag to prevent freezer burn. Label and date. For bonus points, write the baking temperature and baking time on the bag, too.
Thaw overnight in the fridge, or a few hours on the counter. Shape and bake as you normally would.
These sophisticated sandwich cookies make Oreos look like kid stuff. The baked chocolate sugar cookies are great on their own, but when filled with vanilla bean crème and a dab or orange marmalade, they’re downright sensational.
Crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, these sugar cookies have it all! Freeze half or all of the uncut dough. Thaw it in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (about an hour on the counter) before rolling and cutting.
Hailing from the Austrian city of Linz, Linzer torte features red current or raspberry filling in a crust made with ground hazelnuts, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Think of these cookie adaptations as single-serving tarts you can nibble with tea or coffee. Enchanting!
Slice and bake cookie recipes
Sometimes called refrigerator cookies, these logs of dough slice into perfect coins.
How to freeze cookie dough: Form the dough into logs (the thickness will depend on the recipe). Wrap in parchment paper or waxed paper and stash in a zip-top bag for extra protection.
Thaw overnight in the fridge, or a few hours on the counter. If the dough’s too cold, it will crack when you slice it. If it’s too soft, the cookies will be misshapen. Experiment to find the happy medium. Bake as you normally would.
All the cinnamon goodness of cinnamon rolls, baked into cookies. There’s even a finishing drizzle of glaze!
Sprinkles and food coloring make a big splash here. Switch up the colors for whatever holiday or occasion suits your needs. Team colors? Why not?
These buttery shortbread cookies take to swaps. Try other nuts for the pecans, white chocolate for dark, and raisins or other dried fruit for the cranberries.
More easy baking projects to satisfy your sweet tooth
Baking a special treat doesn't have to mean a big investment in time or clean-up, as you'll discover with these additional articles.