Unlike cake batter, cookie dough doesn't mind a short (or long) stay in the freezer. In fact, many serious home bakers and professional bakers choose to freeze raw cookie dough—it's faster to make one big batch of dough, portion it out, and freeze it for later use than it is to make several small batches. Just beware: Once you learn the ins and outs of freezing cookie dough, you may not have room for anything else in your freezer.
Different kinds of dough require different freezing techniques. For instance, if you're making drop cookies (like chocolate chip cookies), you should freeze the dough in individual portions. On the other hand, if you're making holiday sugar cookies, you should freeze the dough in larger rounds. Unfortunately, some types of cookie dough do not freeze well, including meringues, madeleines, and most thin, lacy cookies. Read your recipe carefully to determine how to freeze it.
Frozen cookie dough will keep for about three months, but you should always check for freezer burn before you bake it. If you do spot freezer burn, don't worry: You can still safely use your dough, though it may have developed a stale flavor.
How to Freeze Icebox Cookie Dough
- Make your favorite icebox cookie dough.
- If you're planning to bake all of your cookies at once, roll the dough into a log (according to the recipe's specifications), then wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.
- If you're planning to bake the cookies in batches, slice the cookies first, then freeze them on a parchment-lined baking sheet overnight. You can then transfer the frozen cookies to a large, airtight bag or container in the freezer.
- To use: Defrost the cookie log in the refrigerator overnight, or bake the frozen sliced cookies. Check your recipe for baking time and temperature.
How to Freeze Drop Cookie Dough
- Make your favorite drop cookies.
- Portion the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Depending on your recipe, you can use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon. Freeze the cookie dough overnight.
- Transfer the dough balls to an airtight bag or container in the freezer.
- To use: Bake the frozen cookies according to the recipe's time and temperature specifications.
How to Freeze Rolled Cookie Dough
- Make your favorite rolled cookie dough.
- If you're planning to bake all of your cookies at once, divide the dough into several even rounds, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.
- If you're planning to bake the cookies in batches, roll out the dough and cut out the cookies, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze the cookies overnight, then transfer them to an airtight bag or container in the freezer.
- To use: Defrost the unrolled cookie dough in the refrigerator overnight. You can then roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, and bake them according to the recipe's specifications. If you've already cut out and frozen the cookies, simply pop them in the oven.