How to Freeze Sugar Cookies (baked and cookie dough)
Are you a baking enthusiast looking to bake your favorite sugar cookies a few days before a special occasion? Maybe you’re simply looking to extend the shelf life of your freshly baked homemade cookies, freezing cookies can be so convenient and practical. Freezing sugar cookies helps you preserve its deliciousness, gives you a head start preparing your annual Christmas cookies or just gives you the flexibility to enjoy cookies on one of those rainy days. In this blog post, we’re going to break down how to freeze sugar cookies. Freezing cookies is a total game changer, it doesn’t hurt to try!
Benefits to knowing how to freeze your sugar cookies include:
Freezing allows you to preserve sugar cookies for an extended period, making it convenient to have homemade treats on hand whenever you need them. This is especially useful during busy times or when you need them at a moment’s notice, like having unexpected guests arrive.
By freezing sugar cookies, you can bake a bunch of cookies of in advance and store them for later use. This saves time in the future, since you won’t have to go through the entire baking process every time you want fresh cookies. This is my favorite reason why knowing how to freeze sugar cookies is useful.
Freezing helps maintain the freshness and quality of sugar cookies. It prevents staleness and keeps the texture and taste intact for an extended period.
Frozen sugar cookies offer flexibility in terms of serving. You can thaw and decorate them as needed, making them convenient for special occasions, parties, or holiday gatherings (without all the busy prep work).
Variety and Versatility:
Freezing sugar cookies allows you to have a variety of flavors and designs ready at the drop of a hat. You can prepare different cookie doughs, freeze them individually, and bake them as desired, allowing a range of options for your cookie selection.
Freezing uneaten or leftover sugar cookies reduces food waste. Instead of discarding excess cookies, you can freeze them for later enjoyment.
Overview of the step-by-step guide
Basically, you’re going to gather your supplies, bake your cookies and allow them to cool completely. Next, you’re going to choose your storage/packaging, layer the cookies and seal your container. Label & date, then pop them in the freezer. Read on to find the details of those steps, but I wanted to give a brief overview before starting.
Now if you haven’t made your cookies yet, it’s important to talk about the importance of quality of ingredients. When you make sugar cookies, using high-quality ingredients is huge for both the texture and the taste (especially when it comes to freezing them).
Better ingredients usually have better flavors which can be preserved more effectively during freezing. High quality ingredients help prevent the sugar cookies from becoming overly dry or crumbly. Therefore, freezing ‘high quality’ sugar cookies helps preserve just that, the high quality of the ingredients.
Think about these options and see what you can upgrade the next time you make sugar cookies;
Unsalted, high-quality butter will give you a rich flavor and creamy texture. You can thank butter for giving you that melt-in-your-mouth consistency and tenderness of the cookies.
Go for granulated sugar or even a combo of granulated and powdered sugar. When you use high-quality sugar, it gives your cookies the best sweetness and texture.
Select pure vanilla extract rather than artificial or imitation versions. Pure vanilla extract gives the flavor of the cookie a lift as well as the smell. Mmm!
Look for a reputable brand of all-purpose flour. This is the structure/foundation for the cookies.
Baking powder and/or baking soda:
Just do yourself a favor and double check the expiration dates on your leavening agents. Sure you could use them, but it is especially important that your powders are unexpired because they help give the cookies rise and give them that light and fluffy texture.
Choose fine sea salt or kosher salt to enhance the flavor balance in the cookies. Even just a small amount of salt helps take the sweetness level up (weird, right?) and adds to the overall taste.
Using fresh, high-quality eggs help to moisturize the cookies, give it structure, and adds richness the cookies. Remember, eggs act as a binder.
Follow directions for your favorite sugar cookie recipe, if want some inspo you can check out these cookie recipes;
Prepare your dough, roll it out and cut shapes and once they’re done cooking, allow them to cool thoroughly.
Gather your supplies
- Your baked Sugar Cookies
- Freezer-safe airtight container or freezer storage bags
- Parchment Paper/wax paper
- Sturdy cardboard or freezer safe tray (optional)
- Labels and/or markers
- Saran wrap/aluminum foil (optional)
If you don’t have a rolling pin to roll out your cookies, check out this list of what you can use instead.
Preparing to freeze your cookies
Preparing baked sugar cookies for the freezer, follow these easy steps.
- Allow your cookies to cool (I feel like a broken record, but you get the point)
- Find a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag like a Ziplock. Be sure they’re meant for the freezer.
- Layer the cookies in a single layer: Place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper between each later of cookies to prevent them from sticking together. This is especially important if you plan to stack multiple layers in one container.
- Arrange your cookies in a single layer and avoid overcrowding or squishing the cookies. This way, they will keep its shape.
- Seal the container. This is hugely important in preventing freezer burn because it prevents air and moisture from entering.
- Label and date your container. You won’t have to think twice about the date!
- This step is optional, but if you wanted to, you can wrap individual cookies or small stacks of cookies with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Just another check point in preventing freezer burn.
- Place sugar cookies in freezer. Be sure to put them on a flat surface.
2 main methods to freeze your sugar cookies
You have flash freezing and traditional freezing.
Flash freezing is freezing the cookies at very low temperatures for a short period of time. Usually, it’s done either individually or in a single layer.
How to flash freeze:
After your sugar cookies are completely cooled, put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet or freezer safe tray in a single layer of cookies. Be sure they are not touching.
From there, you place the tray in the freezer for a short time period, around 1-2 hours. Be sure they’re frozen solid when you check them.
Why flash freeze?
This method is the best way to keep the original shape and integrity of your sugar cookie. This way also makes it easier if you only wanted to grab a specific amount thawed.
In addition, flash freezing is particularly useful when you want to freeze cookies decorated with royal icing or delicate cookies that might easily smudge or lose their shape.
Traditional freezing is more straight forward. This method includes placing the cookies in a container or a freezer-safe bag and freezing them without any individual freezing process.
How to traditionally freeze:
Take your cooled cookies, stack them with parchment paper/wax paper in between to prevent from sticking. Then, place them in a tightly sealed air-tight containers or baggies.
Why traditional freezing?
This method is so much easier and requires far less effort than flash freezing. This is a good idea for regular undecorated cookies that don’t have any delicate decorations. This method for freezing cookies is also ideal for large batches.
Either way works, but knowing you have options for how to freeze sugar cookies is really helpful.
Thawing sugar cookies
Knowing how to thaw your cookies is just as important as how to freeze your sugar cookies. To thaw, follow these steps:
- Take the amount of sugar cookies you want to thaw out of the freezer. If they were in a container or bag, take them out and place them onto either a plate or a cookie sheet.
- Refrigerate thawing (the preferred method): For best results, thaw your sugar cookies in the fridge. You can place the cookies on a plate or in a covered container and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight OR for several hours. This slow thawing process helps keep the cookies’ texture and flavor as close to the day it was baked.
- Room temperature thawing: So, if you forgot to take out your cookies for the party, this short on time technique is for you. You can thaw your sugar cookies at room temperature. Just take the cookies out of the freezer and place onto a plate or a baking sheet. Allow them to thaw for about 1-2 hours or until they’re thawed enough for you.
- Individual cookie thawing: So if you only need a few cookies at a time, you can thaw them individually. Just take the number of cookies you want and place them onto a plate or baking sheet. The best thing is that this thawing process will only take about 20-30 minutes.
- Check for readiness: Once you have your cookies thawed, gently press the center of a cookie to make sure it’s soft. Ideally, your cookies should be moist and have a text similar to freshly baked cookies.
- Option to reheat: Now that you finally have thawed your sugar cookies, you can enjoy them as is OR warm them up. Place them into a preheated oven for a few minutes to bring them back to freshly baked life. Heating them for just a short amount of time can create a nice crispiness on the edges.
How to freeze sugar cookie dough
Freezing cookie dough is a great way to help meal prep if you want to bake your cookies fresh.
Prepare the dough
Follow your preferred recipe. Once the dough is mixed and ready, it’s time to take shape.
Shape the dough.
Shape your cookie dough into a flat disc or divide it into smaller portions more convenient for later use. Doing this will make it easier to handle when it’s time to thaw and bake.
Wrap the dough.
Wrap the shaped dough tightly in plastic wrap or put it in a resealable freezer bag/ziplock bag. Really focus on getting as much excess air out as you can to prevent freezer burn.
Label and Date.
Write the date and type of dough you put in the bag. This will help you remember what you keep track of your dough and use it in a reasonable time (I mean, hopefully).
So for extra protection against freezer burn OR to keep the dough extra fresh for an extended amount of time, you can double protect it. Just place the wrapped dough in an additional layer of aluminum foil or just double bag it in another resealable/ziplock bag.
Generally speaking, sugar cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. After that, the quality may start to decline.
Thawing frozen cookie dough
When you are ready to make that batch of cookies, just remove your dough from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours (until it becomes pliable). Then, once it is thawed, you can roll out the dough, cut your shapes using some cookie cutters and bake everyone’s favorite cookies!
Now you know how to freeze your sugar cookies and how to thaw them, these make the best prep work before a holiday or celebration! Enjoy those memories and not the stress that comes with running around trying to make everything the day before. Enjoy!