We have a whole post on how to store and freeze sugar cookies in our Facebook group. This question is asked so much so I figured it’s a great post to have to look back on and even add to! I hope these tips and tricks help.
Freezing Unbaked Dough
When you have unbaked dough or you just need to make it ahead of time, you can absolutely freeze it! There are a few ways you can do this:
- Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and place into a large zip up bag. Freeze.
- Cut your dough into the shapes you need, place into zip up bags between pieces of parchment paper, and freeze. One tip here is to make sure that the dough is lying flat. If you stack bigger shapes onto little shapes, it will misshapen your dough. By adding a few minutes onto your bake time you can bake from frozen! This method is a huge timesaver for me!
- Make sure your dough isn’t with a bunch of really strong smelling foods! Cookie dough will easily absorb smells and it will make it taste very strange so be aware of that.
- How long can I freeze this way? I’ve frozen dough for roughly 6 months and not had a single problem with it. I haven’t had a chance to go longer than that, but even having dough ready that far in advance is a huge help!
Freezing Baked Undecorated Sugar Cookies
Freezing baked undecorated cookies is pretty simple.
- Place your cooled cookies into zip up bags between pieces of parchment paper and freeze.
- I keep shapes and sizes together, just like when freezing unbaked dough.
- Again, don’t place near super smelly foods!
- To thaw: Place your bag on the counter and let it come to room temp before opening or removing the cookies. Any condensation will collect on the bag instead of the cookies.
- You can also thaw for a few hours (2-3) in the fridge.
- How long can I freeze this way? I’ve frozen baked undecorated sugar cookies for roughly 8 months and haven’t had a complaint. I’m still testing the max length of time, but they do handle the freezing very well.
Freezing Fully Decorated Sugar Cookies
When freezing fully decorated sugar cookies heat sealing is a must. If you don’t have a heat sealer, this is the one I use and it works great! Once you’ve heat sealed your cookies they’re ready to freeze. I know most people place them into containers, but I’ve also frozen them just in their sealed bags and got the same results.
- Whether the cookies are placed into a airtight container, or just placed into the freezer I do it the same way. I prefer to sit them up on their ends (like you’re filing papers). I have a whole side of my deep freezer just lined with cookies in their heat sealed bags. That’s it.
- Make sure you’re not placing them by a bunch of strong smelling foods!
- To thaw:
- If you froze in a container- Place the whole container on the counter and do not remove the cookies until everything has come to room temp.
- If you froze only in heat sealed bags- Place the cookies (in their bags) onto the counter. Do not shake the cookies around, remove them from the bags, or box them up until they’ve completely thawed. If they need to stay in the bag for an order, just leave them. You don’t need to change the bag.
- How long can I freeze this way? I have cookies in my freezer that I’m still doing testing on. They’re going on roughly 11 months and they taste just as fresh as the day they were baked!
Why don’t you just refrigerate your dough or cookies?
- I never refrigerate my dough unless I know I’ll use it within 3 days. I tried several times and any amount of time over 3 days, and the dough will start to dry out and give you all kinds of problems when they bake.
- The same goes for baked cookies. The fridge will absolutely dry them out.
Storing Baked Decorated & Undecorated Sugar Cookies
- For undecorated cookies: These are easily stored in lidded containers or zip up bags. I prefer to not use air-tight containers simply because I live in a humid environment and it tends to keep the cookies too warm. Also, I use these containers during my decorating process and if you put a cookie into an air-tight container before the royal is fully dry, it will produce waves in the icing because there’s not enough air circulation.
- For decorated cookies: Again, I prefer to store fully decorated cookies in heat sealed bags because it will keep them fresher for much longer. You can use just a container if you prefer.
- How long will these last? I know of people who test for months and said they were just fine. But to be completely honest, after roughly 2 weeks I’m not a fan of them. I like my cookies on the softer side. Anything over 2 weeks and they tend to have more of a bite.
- You will get a bit more time out of the heat sealed cookies simply because with a container you’re constantly opening it and exposing all of the cookies.
Freezing Royal Icing
Bonus: Here’s a few little royal icing tips! I haven’t tried these tips with glaze or royal made with egg whites. I’ve only tested my recipe.
- If you refrigerate your royal icing when you’re not using it, it won’t separate as quickly as when it’s just setting on the counter. During the decorating process I always put the royal in the fridge during the evenings. The next day I just make sure to take it out of the fridge an hour or so before I need it. If there is any separation just massage the bag and it will come back together.
- You can freeze your royal icing! I’ve frozen my royal for up to a year without an issues. When I know I’m going to need it, I just put it into the fridge the night before. It will thaw overnight in the fridge and you can use it just like freshly made royal.