Cookie dough freezes beautifully, and this is a great way to plan ahead for the holiday baking season, or so you can have warm, fresh cookies whenever that craving hits. Learn how to freeze cookie dough from this comprehensive post, which includes a video tutorial. I’ll show you the best ways to freeze different types of cookie dough, from drop cookies to cut-out cookies to slice-and-bake style.
I also include instructions for freezing baked cookies, as well as cookie bars.
Have you ever made cookie dough just to freeze it for later? Or freeze some cookie dough instead of baking the whole batch? I do both all the time, especially with these chocolate chip cookies.
It’s so convenient to have a stash of ready-to-bake homemade cookie dough on hand, in case you find yourself in need of a quick dessert at the last minute. Maybe new neighbors just moved in, a friend had a baby, or you forgot about the school bake sale until the morning of… frozen cookie dough comes to the rescue.
Make the dough when you have the time, and simply bake the cookies when you don’t!
This post is part of my Baking Tips category. Over the years, I’ve published dozens of articles and videos that aren’t only recipes, but baking success tips to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.
4 Reasons Why You Should Freeze Cookie Dough
- Cookie dough freezes well for up to 3 months, so it’s a great way to get ahead for the holidays or other busy times.
- For drop cookies, you don’t need to wait for the dough to thaw—bake from frozen.
- You don’t have to bake the whole batch at once—you can bake just 1 or 2 when you’re craving a freshly baked, warm cookie.
- Having a stash of cookie dough in the freezer means you are always prepared for a dessert emergency. 😉
Today I’m sharing with you my best tips for how to freeze, thaw, and bake cookie dough. Doesn’t sound revolutionary, but you won’t believe the confusion and mistakes one can make when it comes to freezing and baking cookie dough. I originally published this post back in 2015, and have learned a few more tricks since. Happy to share them today, along with a new video tutorial.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough: Video Tutorial
Supplies You Need:
- Freezer-friendly containers or zip-top bags (I use and love these containers)
- Permanent marker
- Plastic wrap if making cut-out or slice-and-bake dough
- Labels or masking tape
How to Freeze & Bake Drop Cookie Dough
“Drop cookies” refers to cookie doughs that you scoop and drop onto the baking sheet, like oatmeal raisin cookies. I include dough that you roll into balls in this category, because it, too, requires very little shaping—like double chocolate chip cookies and cake batter chocolate chip cookies.
Drop-style cookies take a few extra steps before freezing, but it’s worth it because the cookie dough can go straight from the freezer to the preheated oven for a treat that’s ready in about 10–15 minutes. Here’s how to do it:
- Chill the dough: If the cookie recipe you’re using says to chill the dough before scooping and rolling, you still need to take that step.
- Shape the cookies: After the cookie dough has chilled in the refrigerator, scoop and roll the cookie dough into balls (or shape into tall columns, like I recommend for these chewy chocolate chip cookies). Place them on a lined baking sheet or plate, making sure to keep them from touching each other.
- Chill the cookie dough balls: Cover the tray or plate and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This will set the cookie dough balls’ shape, and prevent them from sticking together in the freezer container.
- Transfer the cookie dough balls to a container or bag: Place the cold cookie dough balls into a freezer-friendly container. It’s OK if they’re touching each other now (since the shape has set).
- Label the bag or container with the recipe name, the date, baking temperature, and bake time (add an extra minute or two if baking from frozen), and place in the freezer.
- Freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months: Labeling with the date will help you determine by when the cookie dough should be baked.
- Bake the cookies: When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven. Place the frozen cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet, per your recipe’s instructions. Add an extra minute or two to the bake time, because the dough is frozen.
In photos: Make and refrigerate the dough, if the recipe calls for chilling the cookie dough. Then shape into balls per your recipe’s instructions. Refrigerate the shaped dough balls to set their shape:
Then place into a labeled bag, and freeze for up to 3 months:
Freezing Cookie Dough Coated in Sugar or Cinnamon-Sugar
Why? I find the coating tends to melt and disappear during the freezing and thawing process, so it’s best to roll the cookies in the coating just before baking.
Follow the same steps as above, except when you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the cookie dough balls from the freezer and let sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Let them thaw just a little bit so that the coating will stick. After 30 minutes, roll the dough balls into the sugar or whatever coating your recipe calls for. No need to bake for an extra minute or two here, because the cookies will have defrosted slightly.
How to Freeze Cut-Out Cookie Dough (Like Sugar Cookies)
- Divide the dough in half: After you’ve made your dough, divide it in half. Smaller pieces are simply easier to work with.
- Flatten each half into a disc about 1 inch thick. I do the same thing when I make and freeze pie dough.
- Wrap and label: Tightly wrap each disc of dough in plastic wrap, and label with the recipe name and date. I just use a piece of tape as a label, nothing fancy.
- Freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months.
- Thaw the dough: Transfer the wrapped disc or discs of cookie dough to the refrigerator the day before you intend to bake the cookies, and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Roll out the cold thawed dough, cut into shapes, and bake according to your recipe’s instructions.
Freezing this dough is helpful if you’re planning to host a cookie decorating day.
How to Freeze Icebox or Slice-and-Bake Cookie Dough
Icebox cookies, also known as slice-and-bake cookies—like these sprinkle slice’n’bake cookies and cranberry orange icebox cookies—are similar to cut-out cookie dough in that they are quick to prep to freeze, but then need a little thaw time before you can slice and bake them. Here’s what to do:
- Divide the dough in half: Just like with the cut-out cookie dough, this makes the dough more manageable.
- Roll into logs: Roll each half into a log shape, per your recipe’s instructions.
- Roll logs into coating: If your recipe calls for rolling the cookie dough logs into a coating like coarse sugar or sprinkles, you can go ahead and do that now.
- Wrap and label: Tightly wrap each log in plastic wrap, and label with the name and date.
- Freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months.
- Thaw the dough: Transfer the wrapped log or logs of cookie dough to the refrigerator the day before, or at least a couple of hours before you intend to bake the cookies.
- Slice and bake: Once the dough has thawed enough for you to cut with a knife, slice the cookies and bake according to your recipe’s instructions.
This is a great question. If the cookie dough is particularly sticky, it would be difficult to roll into balls AND also roll into balls that won’t stick together in the freezer. I always suggest chilling if your cookie dough recipe calls for it, and then scooping and rolling into balls to freeze.
Want to make M&M cookie bars or even chocolate chip cookie cake? You can freeze that dough, too. Prepare the cookie dough according to the recipe’s instructions. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes, and then wrap the cold dough tightly in plastic wrap and add a label with the name of the recipe and the date. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then press the dough into the baking dish and bake per the recipe’s instructions.
Delicate cookie doughs/batters don’t hold up well in the freezer. For example, I avoid freezing French macarons batter, madeleine batter, lace cookies batter, and chocolate-swirled meringue batter. Even if you let the doughs/batter thaw first, the results will not be the same. See each individual recipe for detailed make-ahead instructions.
Freezing Baked Cookies & Bars
After your baked cookies have cooled completely:
- Place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid (this way they won’t stick to each other in the freezer).
- Then, layer in a freezer container with parchment between each layer, or carefully place in zip-top bags. Label the container if desired.
- Freeze up to 3 months.
- Thaw the cookies (still covered) in the refrigerator, or at room temperature.
You can also freeze baked bar cookies like peanut butter blondies or homemade brownies. Cool them completely, cut into squares, then layer between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer container or zip-top bag. Again, freeze for up to 3 months.
I hope all of this helps. As always, let my team and me know if you have any questions. Here are all my cookie recipes. I usually note freezing instructions in each recipe as well—always check the Notes section of the recipe card.