How to Freeze Cookie Dough for Later

Kitchen Knowledge Lifestyle | Published February 23, 2024 by Mimi Council

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Freezing cookie dough for later use is a convenient and practical way to enjoy freshly baked cookies anytime you crave them! Whether you want to prepare ahead for a party or simply indulge in warm, homemade cookies at your leisure, freezing cookie dough allows you to have delicious cookies on hand whenever the mood strikes. In this guide, we'll explore the step-by-step process so you can learn how to freeze cookie dough for later, the best practices to ensure optimal results, and some helpful tips for maximizing flavor and texture.

Firstly, let's consider the types of cookie dough that freeze well. Most classic cookie doughs like chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal, and peanut butter, can be frozen successfully. Think soft and chewy cookies or shortbreads, these are okay to freeze! However, delicate doughs or liquid batter should not be frozen. Cookies like French macarons, Florentines, or meringue cookies are best baked off right when you make the dough.

healthy chocolate chip cookies with coconut sugar

Step 1

To freeze cookie dough, start by preparing your favorite cookie recipe according to the instructions. Once the dough is mixed and ready, portion it into individual cookie-sized balls per the instructions using a cookie scoop, spoon, or just your hands! If the instructions say to form into balls, then do that. But if they say to form into disks, then do that. Place the dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other. This step prevents the dough balls from sticking together during freezing and makes it easier to pull out just what you want later.

Step 2

Next, transfer the baking sheet with the dough balls to the freezer and let them freeze until firm, usually for about 1 to 2 hours. Once the dough balls are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe Tupperware or zip bag. Make sure to label the container or bag with the type of cookie dough and the date it was frozen to keep track of freshness. Proper labeling also ensures that you can identify the dough easily when it's time to bake!

Step 3

When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to the temperature called for in the original recipe. There's no need to thaw the cookie dough before baking. Simply place the frozen dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving enough space between each cookie to allow for spreading during baking. Bake the cookies according to the original recipe instructions, adding a couple of extra minutes to the baking time to account for the dough being frozen. If you thaw the dough to room temperature, then do not bake for extra minutes.

balls of chocolate chip cookie dough on a sheet pan

One of the key benefits of freezing cookie dough is the ability to enjoy freshly baked cookies whenever you want with minimal effort! It's a time-saving strategy that allows you to have warm, homemade cookies on demand. Whether you're entertaining guests, hosting a bake sale, or simply craving something sweet – freezing cookie dough for later is a great trick to have up your sleeve!

Another advantage is that you don’t feel obligated to eat an entire batch of cookies in a week. By freezing the dough in individual balls, you can bake off as many or as few cookies as you want at a time, reducing waste and ensuring that every cookie is as fresh as the first!

Moreover, freezing cookie dough is a great way to extend the shelf life of your favorite recipes. While freshly made cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days before baking, freezing extends its storage life for several weeks or even months. This means you can make a big batch of dough ahead of time and have it ready to go whenever you need it, without worrying about it going bad.

In addition to convenience and flexibility, freezing cookie dough can also result in cookies with better flavor and texture! Freezing the dough allows the flavors to meld and intensify over time, resulting in cookies that are more flavorful and delicious. It also helps to develop a chewier texture in certain types of cookies, enhancing their overall appeal.

The best kinds of cookie dough to freeze are simple cookie recipes like classic chocolate chip, sugar cookies, peanut butter, or oatmeal cookies. You can also freeze shortbread cookie dough as well. You can also freeze cookies like biscotti, if you want to freeze the whole log, that would be just fine!

cream cheese chocolate chip cookies

You should not freeze cookie dough that is very delicate, have liquid batters, or that can’t be portioned out easily. For example, cookies like French macarons, madalines, Florentines, or any kind of meringue cookie like coconut macaroons. These kinds of cookies are a make and bake right away type cookie!

When freezing cookie dough, it's important to consider the type of container or packaging you use. Opt for freezer-safe Tupperware or zip plastic bags that are specifically designed for freezing food. These containers help to protect the dough from freezer burn and maintain its freshness and quality over time.

When you’re ready to bake off your frozen cookie dough, be sure to preheat your oven to the temperature specified for the original recipe of the cookie dough. You can bake off cookie dough completely frozen, but if you do this, the cookies will most likely need to bake for a few minutes longer. Keep an eye on the cookies as they bake and adjust the baking time as needed to achieve the desired level of doneness. Or, you can thaw the frozen cookie dough to room temperature and then bake them per the instructions specified in the recipe. But, who wants to wait for that? Haha!

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