Learn how to freeze cookie dough, no matter the type or style! I’m sharing my favorite technique for preserving that fresh-baked cookie flavor months after preparation. Includes instructions for drop cookies, cut-out cookies, and slice & bake cookies!
Freshly Baked Cookies On-Demand
If you’re part of a cookie exchange, bake sale, or just plan on making LOTS of cookies this month, you’re going to want to bookmark this post! Today I’m sharing how to freeze cookie dough so it stays just as fresh and tasty as the day you made it, even if you’re baking it three months later! This is a total game changer.
The photo above may look a bit curious to you if you’ve frozen cookie dough before…notice the plastic wrap? Many tutorials call for you to simply scoop the dough, flash freeze it, and then freeze all the dough together. That method works for some people and that’s great; however it’s never worked well for me.
I typically run into issues of frostbite and (devastatingly!) cookies that just do not taste fresh. Despite the airtight container, they still absorb the odors of the freezer or dry out, and it’s just always been disappointing. Luckily I’ve found that individually wrapping each cookie in plastic wrap does the trick!
Making a recipe that needs to be cut-out or sliced? I’m including instructions for freezing all types of cookies, from drop cookies and cut-outs to slice-and-bake and sugar-coated.
What You Need
Knowing how to freeze cookie dough will save you so much time and effort later. Here’s what you need:
- Cookie dough. Most cookie doughs freeze well, whether they’re drop cookies, roll-out cookies, or slice and bake cookies. Each type requires a different prep method before freezing; I go over this in more detail below.
- Plastic wrap. Wrapping each individual cookie in plastic is extra work, extra effort, and, yes, extra waste. BUT it is what works best and most consistently for me when freezing cookie dough. And it’s not as wasteful as freezing an entire batch of cookies just to find them freezer-burnt a week later, so it’s a worthwhile step.
- Freezer ziploc bags. We’re trying our best to protect our dough from any freezer smells or flavors, so use a storage bag that’s designed for the freezer! They’re a bit more expensive but are a worthwhile investment if you’re going through the trouble of freezing your dough.
SAM’S TIP: Freezing your cookie dough this way allows you to choose how many cookies you want to bake at a time. Want to make just two freshly baked cookies for yourself? Now you can!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
Cookie Doughs that Freeze Well
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Oatmeal cookies
- Brown butter chocolate chip cookies
- Icebox cookies
- Thumbprint cookies
- Gingerbread men cookies
- Sugar cookies
- Funfetti cookies
- Crinkle cookies
- Gooey butter cookies
- Russian tea cakes
SAM’S TIP: I don’t recommend freezing meringues, lace cookies, pizzelle or any other cookie dough that is primarily egg-based, sugar-based, or very fragile.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
- Prepare the dough – If the dough is firm enough, roll it into balls. If the dough is too soft, portion it onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.
- Wrap it up – Wrap each dough ball in plastic, transfer to a freezer ziploc, and freeze for up to 6 months.
- Roll into balls – Depending on the texture of your dough, either roll into balls immediately or after freezing for 30 minutes (just like the drop cookies above!).
- Wrap and freeze – Wrap each dough ball in plastic, transfer to a ziploc, and freeze for up to 6 months.
- Thaw it out – Let the dough thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Sugar and bake! Roll the dough balls in sugar before baking.
- Chill the cookies – Place cut cookies on a wax paper lined-baking sheet and freeze until firm.
- Stack ’em up – Stack layers of cookies between parchment in an airtight container.
- Seal and freeze – Place plastic wrap over the cookies and seal the container firmly. Freeze for up to 1 month.
Slice and bake cookies:
- Roll into a log – Prepare the dough as instructed and roll into a log.
- Wrap it up – Wrap the log in plastic wrap, place in a ziploc, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw it out – Let the dough thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Slice and bake! Slice the cookies and bake as the recipe instructs.
SAM’S TIP: If you are making cookies that are rolled in sugar before baking (like peanut butter blossoms), add the sugar after thawing the dough overnight. Adding it before will cause it to totally disappear.
Frequently Asked Questions
While it can vary from recipe to recipe, the general timeframe is 3-6 months. Remember to use the proper storage and wrap your dough well to prevent any smells or flavors from seeping into your dough during this time.
I personally much prefer to freeze cookie dough vs. baked cookies. Freezing the dough allows you to bake your cookies and achieve that freshly baked flavor, which you’ll lose if you freeze after baking.
Dough that is frozen can be baked straight from frozen, but it will need several minutes longer in the oven. I recommend prepping a half-sheet of cookies and testing how long it takes to bake them before baking any additional cookies.
Note that some cookies don’t spread as well when baked from frozen. If you’re worried about this, simply thaw the dough overnight in the freezer first. If the first batch still doesn’t spread as much as you’d like, use the clean bottom of a glass to gently flatten cookies before baking.
Don’t forget to include instructions and the freeze date on the outside of your ziploc!
I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe below! If you try this, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
- Plastic wrap
- Gallon freezer bags
For All Cookies, Before Freezing:
- Follow all instructions on recipe for preparation through chilling. If the dough requires chilling in the refrigerator, chill as instructed then remove from the refrigerator and proceed.
For Drop Cookies (Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, etc.)
- If dough is firm enough to roll into a ball, roll into a ball between your palms and place on a baking sheet until all dough has been rolled. Wrap each ball of cookie dough in a small piece of plastic wrap (I like to cut out my strips of plastic wrap in advance and lay them out over the counter to streamline the process) and then place in a single layer in an airtight container or airtight Ziploc bag. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for up to 6 months. Bake straight from frozen (you will need approximately 3+ minutes longer in the oven if baked this way) or thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking according to recipe instructions.
- If dough is too sticky to roll into a ball, drop cookie dough by amount specified in recipe onto a wax paper lined baking sheet (spacing cookies just enough so they don’t stick together). Transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes, or until firm enough to be picked up. Remove cookie dough from freezer and wrap each ball in a small piece of plastic wrap (I like to cut out my strips of plastic wrap while the dough chills and lay them out over the counter to streamline the process) and then place in a single layer in an airtight container or airtight Ziploc bag. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for up to 6 months. Bake straight from frozen (you will need approximately 3+ minutes longer in the oven than your recipe indicates, do a small tray first to test how long it takes).
For Sugar-Coated Cookies (Snickerdoodles, Crinkle Cookies, Thumbprints, etc.)
- Do not roll your cookies in sugar before freezing. Prepare the dough (without sugar coating) as instructed above in the firm drop cookie section and freeze as instructed above. When ready to bake, thaw cookie dough overnight (still wrapped and in airtight container) in the refrigerator. Roll in sugar (and indent, in the case of thumbprint cookies) just before baking.
For Roll-Out Cookies (Sugar Cookie, Gingerbread, etc.)
- To freeze before cutting cookies, Prepare cookie dough according to recipe. If chilling is called for, chill as indicated. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in a Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw overnight in refrigerator then allow to sit at room temperature until it can be rolled.
- To freeze after cutting cookies: Place cookies on a wax paper lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the freezer to chill for at least one hour or until firm. Meanwhile, line a large airtight container with plastic wrap. Once cookies have chilled, remove from freezer and place in a single layer in airtight container. You can stack multiple layers, but place sheets of wax paper or parchment paper between layers so cookies do not stick together. Once all cookies have been placed, cover tightly with plastic wrap, close the container, and freeze for up to a month. Bake cookies from frozen and note that cookies may take longer in the oven than your recipe indicates, do a small tray first to test how long it takes.
For Slice & Bake Cookies
- Prepare cookie dough as indicated in your recipe, including any refrigerator chilling time. Wrap logs tightly in plastic wrap and then place in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and baking according to recipe instructions.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Why would you wrap them individually? Scoop onto cookie sheet, place in freezer, then put all frozen portioned dough into large zip top bag and leave in freezer. They will not stick together. I’ve been doing it for years and it always works well. I even double bag by putting the bag of portioned dough inside another bag just in case. Never fails.
I cover this in detail in the blog post. I’m so glad you have a method that works for you, though! 🙂
Hi Sam, I’ve been freezing cookie dough (both in logs for slice and bake and for drop cookies) for many years and it is a game changer for sure. One thing I do differently is when I make any scoopable cookie dough (such as for chocolate chip cookies), I place them very close together (not touching) on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer until they’re firm. Then I just place them in layers in a good, airtight container with wax paper between the layers and return them to the freezer until I need them. When ready to bake, I get the container out and pop as few or many as I need onto my baking sheet and bake after allowing to them to thaw. They’ve never freezer burned nor tasted like anything but freshly baked cookies. I don’t have the time to wrap each ball individually and in my experience I haven’t seen a need to do so. Sam, you’re amazing and I read all your posts even when they’re not for a recipe I plan to use (I learn so much!).
That’s a great tip, Jenny! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad you enjoy everything so much! 🙂
This is a brilliant post, Sam!
I have done this during the year with batches of cookies since we can’t eat them all at once and its nice to be able to pop in an impromptu pan of cookies on demand, but it makes so much sense for Christmas cookies too. Thank You for making this a separate post. I think it will help a lot of people, especially if they want to have freshly baked cookies at different times. This will save time and money.
Thank you, Stefanie! I’m so glad you found it to be helpful 🙂