How to Freeze Cookie Dough (Baked and Unbaked)

Cookie anytime you want it, isn’t that comforting?

RedVelt Cookie Dough

Because making 24 – 36 pieces of cookie is too much, it doesn’t mean that it should hold me back from making them especially during holiday season. Holiday season is the perfect season to bake as much cookies as I like, they are my favorite DIY holiday gifts. I couldn’t be happier that my favorite cookies to bake are great for freezing, bake or unbaked. Freezing cookie dough is one of the brilliant idea that I learned while I was crazy making cookies almost every day during the holidays.  I have always prefered freshly baked cookies, and if I have a luxury of time to do that, I will always go to the route of freshly made and freshly baked cookies. But in reality, that is not how it is. I have plenty of crazy busy days, and those days are the days that I crave to most of sweets. You know the stress eating? Yeah, I have those days too. That’s when I run to my freezer to grab a cookie, and in just few minutes, I have my freshly baked cookie.


Why Freeze Cookie Dough?

Aside from the fact that 36 pieces is too much to consume in one day, there are other reasons why freezing cookie dough is a great idea. Freezing the cookie dough has a lot of advantages, and most of them boils down to convenience. Imagine craving for a cookie in the middle of the night. Isn’t it comforting to know that the cookie is just few steps away from you? How about one of those bad days?  Everyone has them, and sometimes few pieces of cookies can actually make a difference. Actually, for bad days, I don’t go for few pieces, I ate more than what I should and oh it felt so good to drown my sorrow with a jar of chocolate chip cookies. My simple pleasures in life. Let’s not forget about drop-in friends visit, or emergency invite for party and group gathering. I tell you, frozen cookie dough will be there to rescue you from situation like this. Convenience, convenience. It’s all about getting it now, when I want it now. Fast and easy. Life is complicated enough, so a little help and convenience won’t hurt from time to time. Sometimes few pieces are not enough, but a batch that yields 24-36 pieces is just something too much to finish in a day. If you are in this kind of dilemma every time you see a recipe that yields this much, worry no more. I say, let’s freeze it!

Basic Choclolate Vanilla Pinwheel Cookie Recipe

What Kind of Cookies Are Best For Freezing?

Sadly, not all cookies are meant for freezing. But the good news is, there are quite a lot of the cookies that are good candidate for freezing and they are to common one the most people  bake.

  • Drop Cookies: The top in my list and the most often that I make are the once categorized as drop cookies. Drop cookies are the likes of Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies. Basically, cookies that uses plenty of fats or butter are good for freezing.
  • Ice Box or Slice and Bake Cookies:  These are cookies that are rolled in log shaped and cut before baking, like the Pinwheel Cookie. It is best to freeze the cookie dough shape, but uncut. Wrap the cookie dough with plastic wrap and store in ziplock bag.
  • Shortbread Cookies:  If we are talking about cookies that uses plenty of fats or butter, that means Shortbread Cookies are in the list for freezing. It’s basically butter, sugar and flour.
  • Cookie Cutter Cookies: The likes of Sugar Cookies are also good for freezing. Cut and shape as desired before freezing.
  • Sugar Coated Cookies: The likes of Peanut Butter Cookies (shown in the photo) or Snicker Doodles or Cinnamon Cookies are also good for freezing. Freeze the individually shape cookie dough but do NOT roll it in sugar. When you are ready to bake, thaw for about 30 minutes then rolled in sugar.
Red Velvet Dough Recipe

Cookies to Avoid Freezing

You just have to have them fresh, no way around it unless you don’t mind eating a flat, thin and deflated cookie when baked. So which are these cookies? Here are some that I have tried so far.

  • Madeleine: Sadly, the cookie dough for my sweet beautiful Madeleine is not good for freezing. You cannot freeze it, but you can still make the dough ahead of time and keep it refrigerated for 2-3 days before baking.
  • French Macaron:  This delicate elegant cookie is also out from the list of dough for freezing.
How to freeze cookie dough

How Long Can You Freeze a Cookie Dough?

Normally, 2-3 months. I haven’t tried going beyond that. Just make sure to label the plastic bag with date so that you know how long it’s been in the freezer.

Cookie Platter

Holiday Baking Inspiration Video

Checkout my video collection of cookies and other treats that are great for holiday gift giving or for everyday baking. All the recipes can be found in my website. Enjoy!

Freezing Baked Cookies

If you can freeze cookie dough, you can also freeze baked cookies. I normally do this for drop cookies because they are the ones that I baked the most. This is what I do when I freeze them.

  1. Bake the cookies as per the recipe, set aside and let cool completely.
  2. Arrange the cooled cookies in a baking tray and put it in the freezer for about 1 hour.
  3. Remove from the freezer and transfer in a ziplock bag. I like to label the cookie with name and date, although they don’t last that long in the freezer anyway.
  4. Put the ziplock in a Tupperware and return in the freezer.
  5. Baked cookies can be frozen up to 2-3 months.
  6. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter when ready to serve.

How to Freeze Cookie Dough?

  1. Shape/Cover the cookies.
    • For drop cookies (Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies): Shape the cookie before freezing it. You can smootehn it by rolling it in your palm, or you can just freeze it as is. Sometimes I like the rustic and eneven look in my cookie so I don’t bother to roll it for smooth surface. When forming the cookie ball, aim for same size, this helps the cookie to bake at the same time in the oven. I have 3 methods when shaping my cookie:
      •  Small ice cream scooper: This is my preference. It’s fast, easy, less messy and the sizes are almost the same.
      • Kitchen weighing scale: My second favorite method. It’s also fast, easy and less messy like ice cream scooper method. Form a ball into a size you want. Weigh it and use the weight as the reference to make the remaining ones.
      • Measuring spoon, 1 tbsp or 1 tsp: Normally, a regular size cookie will be 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp size. A mini cookie will be 1 tsp (10g) each.
    • For Ice Box/Slice and Bake Cookies (the likes of Pinwheel Cookie): Shape the cookie dough into a log shape and double-wrap with plastic to prevent freezer burn and odor absorption from your freezer. Do not cut.
    • For Shortbread or Cookie Cutter Cookies: Tightly cover the dough with cling-wrap and freeze as is. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, roll and cut into desired shape. You can also cut and shape the dough before freezing it. Freeze for 1 hour before transferring into zilock bag. Put a parchment paper in between layers when arranging it in zip-top bag or Tuperware.
    • For Sugar Cookies:  Roll dough into a log and tightly wrap, or cut into desired shape. Do NOT roll into sugar.
  2. Freeze for an hour (or until solid to avoid from sticking together) and transfer to a freezer zip-top bag. Put it inside the Tupperware for extra protection.
  3. Properly label with cookie name, date, oven temperature and baking time, or whatever additional information you need when you bake  the cookie.
  4. Freeze the dough for 2 – 3 months.

Baking Frozen Cookie Dough

  • Drop Cookies: Set frozen cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet and let the dough defrost in the refrigerator, I normally leave it overnight for the following day baking. If I don’t have time to wait for it to thaw, the minimum wait is 15 minutes at room temperature while I pre-heat the oven then I add 1-2 minutes to baking time.
  • Ice Box/Slice and Bake Cookies: Defrost in the refrigerator just until easy to cut, but not too soft that the shape will get deformed. Cold dough will give a clean-cut than soft dough. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake following recipe directions. Give the cookies a couple of extra minutes in the oven if necessary, normally about 1-2 minutes more.
  • Cut-Out Cookies: Defrost the dough in the fridge before rolling out, cutting shapes. Return in the refrigerator after cutting and while waiting for the oven to heat-up. Do not leave in room temperature as solid cookie hold the shape better when baked. Give the cookies a couple of extra minutes in the oven if necessary, normally about 1-2 minutes more.
  • For Sugar Cookies: Take out from the freezer and roll into sugar. Frozen cookie logs are easier to slice after they’ve defrosted for a few minutes. Cut as desired. Give the cookies a couple of extra minutes in the oven if necessary, normally about 1-2 minutes more.
Freeze Shortbread Cookie Dough

Freezing Decorated Cookies – Do NOT Do It!

I would say, don’t do it. Although it may or may not alter the way it taste, it will definitely alter the way it looks. Designs could be destroyed, colors could bleed, cookie could stick together when frosting starts to defrost. Cookies that have sugar coating, or that have colored candies like M&M’s are also not advisable for freezing. For cookies like this, I say batch a small batch since they are not difficult to make anyway, or share it with your friends. For the case of chocolate coated cookies, it could turn whiter and faded. Basically, it boils down to not looking pleasing and inviting to eat, which you wouldn’t want to happen.

How to freeze cookie dough tips

Texture Will Slightly Change

One thing I noticed when baking frozen cookie dough is it has a tendency to have a slight change in texture and cookie spread. Frozen cookie dough even when thawed will not have the same spread as when you bake it right after you make the dough ( like the no chill cookie dough). It will have a tendency to be more puff-up and thick but it still taste good.

Good to Know:

  • I always suggest to do a test bake before doing the bulk one. Every oven is calibrated differently, it is best to know how long you need to bake the cookie. Start with the suggested time and adjust by 1 min (less/more) at a time. This will also give you an idea how much the cookie will spread and how much additional minutes you need to add especially if the dough was frozen.
  • Size matters. The bigger or thicker the size of your cookie, the more time you need to bake it. Adjust your baking time accordingly.

There you go! A very handy information to know for all of us cookie lover. Now,we can make as much cookie and enjoy it anytime we want to.


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2 replies »

    • Hi Grace, Yes you can freeze unbaked Ube Crinkle Dough. Form them into balls and arrange them in a parchment line tray, making sure they are not touching each other. Put it in the freezer for about 1 hour or until hard then transfer in a ziplock bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then roll in the sugar. You might need to add few minutes of baking time about 2 minutes. Heads-up though, the cookie may not spread as much once frozen. I don’t know how long you can freeze them as I had never counted the days. Normally cookie dough freezes about 2-3 months. As for the baked crinkles, I haven’t tried freezing. Let me know when you try it, I would like to know how it goes.


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