How to Freeze Cookies and Dough

Created January 10, 2017
Use these helpful tips for storing and freezing cookies and dough to make your holiday-baking schedule as stress-free as possible. MORE+ LESS-

Amidst traveling, hosting, buying and wrapping, we know you don’t always have time on your side around the holidays to bake cookies. Luckily, you can still spread cookie cheer with a little help from your freezer!

Freezing Cookie Dough

Freeze cookie dough to bake later on; it’s easier than you might think. Dough for cutout cookies, drop cookies and slice-and-bake cookies works best.


Cutout Cookies: Cutout cookie dough can be frozen two ways. To freeze uncut dough, shape it into two or three flattened disks, about one-inch thick. Cover each disk in plastic wrap, then place in a resealable gallon freezer bag. Freeze the wrapped dough on a flat surface to help hold its shape (this makes it easier to roll out later). 

To freeze dough cutouts, place them in a single layer on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Cover and freeze for 20 to 30 minutes or until firm. Then quickly transfer to an airtight container and line each layer of raw cookies with waxed paper. 

Drop Cookies:
Drop cookies and ball cookies can be shaped and frozen before being baked. Portion balls of the raw dough on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Don’t worry about crowding them, but try not to let them touch. Cover and freeze until solid, anywhere from six hours to overnight. Once solid, transfer frozen balls to an airtight container and return to the freezer.

Slice-and-Bake Cookies:
Freeze icebox-cookie dough in two stages. First, roll the dough into a log-like form, then wrap it in waxed paper. Place the wrapped dough inside an empty paper towel roll slit down the side. This will help the dough keep its cylindrical shape. Freeze until firm. Then remove the frozen roll of dough from the cardboard, twist the ends of the waxed paper, and wrap it in plastic wrap before placing back in the freezer.

Freezing Baked Cookies

Once you’ve baked your cookies, learn how to safely store and freeze them to enjoy later on.


Start by transferring baked cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. When completely cool, place them in a single layer to avoid breakage. Store in flat-bottomed, square or rectangular plastic containers with airtight lids. (Round or shaped containers can cause cookies to bend and break.) Line the bottom of each container with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Repeat between each layer of cookies, ending with the paper/wrap. Label with cookie type and date frozen.

Frequently Asked Cookie Freezing Questions

How long can I freeze cookie dough?
Cookie dough can be frozen up to three months if stored correctly. Make sure you label each package of frozen dough with cookie type and date frozen. 

How should I thaw frozen cookie dough?
Disks: For cookie-dough disks, unwrap one and place on a lightly floured surface to start rolling out. Let stand 30 minutes to soften. Put remaining batches of dough in refrigerator until ready to use.

Cutout Cookie Dough: For raw cookie cutouts, immediately transfer frozen shapes to baking sheet. Let stand 15 minutes to thaw. Then bake as the recipe directs.

Drop Cookie Dough: For raw drop cookies, immediately transfer frozen balls to a baking sheet. Let stand 15 minutes to thaw. Then bake as the recipe directs.

Slice-and-Bake Rolls: Cut into cookie slices while frozen for best results in keeping a round edge. Place on cookie sheet 1-to 2-inches apart and let stand five minutes, then bake.

How long should I thaw frozen cookies before decorating?
Wait until the cookies are completely thawed (meaning they have reached room temperature). Otherwise, the difference in temperature between the cold cookie frosting may cause condensation and prevent the icing from staying on the cookie.

How long can I freeze baked cookies?
Cookies can be frozen up to two months.

Can I freeze decorated cookies?
Although freezing decorated cookies won’t change the way they taste, it could alter the way they look. Frosting may cause cookies to stick together and condensation while thawing will cause colored icings to bleed into each other and onto the cookies themselves. Also beware of freezing cookies that are coating chocolate; they’ll have a fine taste after thawing, but may develop a white-colored haze (known as bloom.) 

Get a head start on your holiday baking with these easy, freezer-friendly favorites: