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How to Freeze Cookie Dough (& bake from frozen)

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
November 6th, 2020
5 from 10 votes
5 from 10 votes

I ALWAYS have frozen cookie dough in my freezer. Learn the BEST way to freeze cookie dough and how to bake it straight from the freezer for fresh cookies in a matter of minutes at any time!

Even though there are plenty of tricks for storing already-baked cookies, let’s be honest. Nothing competes with the goodness of a just-baked cookie.

Bowl of giant chocolate chip cookie dough

That’s why I ALWAYS have frozen cookie dough in my freezer.

(Secret confession: I pretty much feel naked without cookie dough stashed somewhere in my freezer).

Having frozen cookie dough on hand means you can whip up a batch of homemade cookies any time in just minutes. This comes in handy when:

  • You need to satisfy a cooking craving STAT and don’t want to make an entire batch
  • Company stops by unexpectedly (like your mother-in-law…)
  • It’s a busy season (holidays, back-to-school, etc.)
  • You have an upcoming bake sale or party
  • Homemade gifts are in order (for teachers, students, new parents, neighbors, etc.)

I’ve got lots of tips for freezing cookie dough included in the pink box below. Be sure to watch my video below to step into my kitchen with me as I show you step by step how to freeze cookie dough!

How to Freeze Cookie Dough:

Equipment you need to freeze cookie dough:

Which kinds of cookie dough are best to freeze?

Pretty much ANY drop-style cookie can be frozen successfully. Whether that be chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal, peanut butter, double chocolate… or anything in between.  Notes on what to do with cookies rolled in sugar are below. Believe me, I wrote an entire cookbook about cookie baking so I’ve frozen my fair share of recipes!

If you’re making cut-out cookies, such as sugar cookies where you roll out the dough and cut it into shapes with a cookie cutter, those cookies are best frozen after baking.

How to freeze chocolate chip cookies or cookie dough balls:

Balls of big and thick chocolate chip cookie dough

  1. Make the cookie dough as the recipe directs. Use a spring loaded cookie scoop to portion out balls of dough onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. BONUS TIP: If the recipe calls for chilling or ‘marinating’ the cookie dough (which does WONDERS for your cookies!!) then be sure to allow the dough to marinate before shaping and freezing.
  3. Place the tray of cookie dough balls in the freezer. Freeze until firm and solid.
  4. Remove the balls of cookie dough to a labeled and dated airtight container.

How to freeze cookies coated in sugar:

For cookies like snickerdoodles, which are rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking, you want to wait until just before baking to roll in sugar. So freeze the uncoated balls of cookie dough. Once ready to bake, roll in the sugar and follow the directions below for baking. If you find the sugar doesn’t stick as well to the frozen dough, allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature then bake as directed by the recipe.

How long can you freeze cookie dough for?

You can store cookie dough in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Does freezing cookie dough change the softness or thickness of cookies after baking?

Generally, the colder the dough is when it enters the oven the thicker the cookies will be. This also makes them softer!

How to bake frozen cookie dough:

You can either let the dough completely defrost overnight in the fridge or for a couple hours at room temperature and bake just as the recipe originally instructed.

OR, if you’re impatient like me, you can bake from frozen. Here are the steps…

  1. Preheat the oven to about 20 degrees lower than the original recipe temperature. 
  2. Remove however many balls of dough you need from the freezer and place on a parchment-lined baking pan.
  3. Bake the cookies for 2 to 5 minutes longer than the original recipe instructions, or until the cookies are golden at the edges but still slightly ‘wet’ looking at the very center.

Why do you have to lower the temperate when baking cookies from frozen?

Using the above technique helps the cookie dough melt and spread out evenly from a frozen state. If you bake as the recipe directs normally, you’ll likely get cookies that spread and crisp too much at the edges but stays super thick and undercooked in the center.

How to freeze baked cookies:

Practically all unfrosted, unglazed cookies can be frozen. Cut-out cookies (like sugar cookies) freeze particularly well in airtight containers for up to 1 month. Defrost to room temperature before decorating or serving.

If you’re enjoying something like chocolate chip cookies, you can also defrost and refresh in a 300°F oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until warmed through. An oven works better than a microwave, which will usually result in mushy cookies.

See how easy it is? Freezing cookie dough is the BEST. I hope you found this helpful.

The ultimate SOFT batch chocolate chip cookie that will become your GO TO recipe!

My favorite cookie recipes to freeze:

5 from 10 votes

How to make
How to Freeze Cookie Dough

I ALWAYS have frozen cookie dough in my freezer. Learn the BEST way to freeze cookie dough and how to bake it straight from the freezer for fresh cookies in a matter of minutes at any time!

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of cookie dough

Directions

  1. Make the cookie dough as the recipe instructs. Freezing works best with drop cookies (i.e. chocolate chip, peanut butter, etc.). Cut-out cookies actually freeze well after they’re baked!
  2. Roll the cookie dough into even balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet that fits in your freezer.

  3. Freeze the balls for 1 hour, or until solid. This prevents the balls from sticking to each other.
  4. Remove the balls to a ziptop bag. Be sure to label with the date, recipe name, baking temperature, and baking time.
  5. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. You can get away with freezing for longer but the quality may start to lessen.

Recipe Notes

How to Bake Frozen Cookie Dough:

  1. Preheat the oven to about 20 degrees lower than the original recipe temperature. 
  2. Remove however many balls of dough you need from the freezer and place on a parchment-lined baking pan.
  3. Bake the cookies for 2 to 5 minutes longer than the original recipe instructions, or until the cookies are golden at the edges but still slightly 'wet' looking at the very center.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookie dough, how to freeze cookie dough

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The BEST way to freeze cookie dough and how to bake straight from the freezer!

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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  1. #
    Heather — December 4, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Love this! I used to do this all time when I worked at a bakery. It was like a “DUH” and an ‘A-HA” moment all at the same time. And glad to see I’m not alone on having frozen cookie dough in my freezer at all times! 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — December 5, 2015 at 8:53 am

      Right!? It’s crazy how many things are made ahead of time in a professional kitchen that most of us don’t even realize!

  2. #
    Melissa Sanchez — December 12, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I’ve never froze my cookie dough before.
    I was wondering if by freezing the cookies, does it in any way change how they bake?
    I.e. The softness of them or how fluffy they would typically bake without freezing them.
    I guess what I’m asking is does the quality of the cookie change?
    Thanks! ?

  3. #
    Kate @ Ease and Carrots — December 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    This is great! I like to freeze my chocolate chip cookie dough, but I’ve always done it in one ugly, messy lump! I will definitely be trying this method next time. Thanks!

  4. #
    Helen Vermett — January 17, 2016 at 9:41 am

    This is awesome!

  5. #
    Lesley SIMMONS — September 16, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I don’t bother with the initial freezing stage, I use strips of grease proof paper to wrap the balls of dough in and drop them straight into a zip lock bag , there’s absolutely no sticking together. Thanks for the tips about cooking from frozen, when I’ve tried this in the past it didn’t do so well, now I’ll follow your tips!

  6. #
    Marlon Gobitz — March 8, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Hi. You think the cookie dough can get spoiled if frozen for over 3 months? I just baked my chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and they smell a bit sour…
    Thanks.

  7. #
    Amanda Baskerville — March 4, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Wow, I think my life is changed. This makes everything so much easier. I actually did this yesterday and they taste good baked from frozen and they taste amazing just as frozen cookie dough balls. Great to make smaller balls and crumble them into some ice cream. Thanks for the tips!

  8. #
    Deborah Young — October 16, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    I have froze my cookie dough before because I use to make a lot of sugar cookies and chocolate chip but never thought about making the balls first then freezing them until I read this my oven just quit on me co I’ll be using the toaster oven to make cookies for the 2 of us .
    Thank you so much for your advice of freezing raw dough.

  9. #
    Liz — December 4, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Not sure why you ask for my web site but no mind. I found when baking frozen cookies…just put the baking pan with the frozen lil plops on it in the over while it’s preheating. Then they will be perfection.

  10. #
    Maria — December 6, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    I was wondering if I could do this with any cookie , I am doing white choc chip with cranberries and also a white choc chip with vanillla pudding and m&ms. Tying to get a jump start on my Christmas baking. Thx

  11. #
    Linda Micardi — December 9, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I have always froze cookie dough, and have several bags ready to go for this years Christmas Baskets and Trays I give away, however, QUESTION: Can I bake the cookies from the frozen dough and then refreeze the cookie till its time to give them away?, Is that possible? Just wanted to get ahead of the game and have the cookies baked., if not I will wait until a few days before handing out my baskets and trays and make them then. In the mean time I will continue to freeze dough, but use the above method for the dough.
    ALSO: can I freeze baked cookies? If I make them now, I think I did this years ago, but t was so long ago, I cant remember now.
    THANKS!!

    • #
      Tessa — December 10, 2018 at 7:55 am

      Yes, you can freeze baked cookies, but they won’t last as long in the freezer. I prefer to freeze the dough!

  12. #
    Lindsey — December 11, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I am told I make the best snickerdoodles ever. I am wondering if freezing the dough will make a difference in the texture and softness of this particular cookie. I would sure hate to mess a batch up! Thanks!

  13. #
    Julie — December 15, 2018 at 11:33 am

    I love how easy this can be, and with guests coming for Christmas, I can start early. I’m making peanut butter kiss cookies, and I roll each ball in sugar before I stick them in the oven. Do I roll the balls in sugar before or after I freeze them? Thanks!

  14. #
    Audriana — July 10, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    This is how we made cookies at the bakery I used to work at. Always cooked from frozen. Except we did not leave space between each dough scoop as you showed here. Pretty muched shoved as many on a sheet tray as possible. Never had any problems with them sticking together, thougmanye freezing time I’m sure was longer. We stored them on the sheet tray in a loose plastic sleeve/bag, and they probably were used up in a week or two.

  15. #
    Christine White — October 13, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    This was very helpful. I was wondering if you had any recipes for sugar free cookies.

  16. #
    Liz — November 20, 2019 at 2:50 am

    I like my cookies soft, Will freezing the dough change that?

  17. #
    Joanne Allpress — June 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    Hi,

    Do you know if you can freeze baked cookies if you baked them from frozen cookie dough?

    In other words could you make the cookie dough, freeze it, cook from frozen, let them cool and put them back in the freezer again?

    Does the baking process make it so that the first freeze no longer counts?

    Many thanks.

  18. #
    Jane — October 30, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Hi there, I was wondering if you could explain the reasoning behind lowering the temp. by 20 degrees? I’ve also read on other sites to bake at original recipe temp. but increase baking time.

    • #
      Handle the Heat — November 5, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Lowering the temperature helps the cookie dough melt and spread out evenly from a frozen state. If you bake as the recipe directs normally, you’ll likely get cookies that spread and crisp too much at the edges but stays super thick and undercooked in the center. Hope that helps 🙂

  19. #
    Dustin — November 9, 2020 at 6:19 am

    I think it’s hard to do fnhuwng nor too hard its taste is very good

  20. #
    Dustin — November 9, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    OMG….really great, it makes me feel alive again after hard working days, the taste is great and quite strange.

  21. #
    Jennifer Hajjar — January 4, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    How long typically does it need to freeze before storing in bags?

    • #
      Handle the Heat — January 5, 2021 at 1:01 pm

      1 hour, as the written recipe indicates!

  22. #
    Tracy — January 10, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    Perfection!

  23. #
    Gina — January 24, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    This recipe is AMAZING! I followed this recipe to a T and I made sure to weigh the flour and the sugar. I chilled it for 4 hrs then baked 3 cookies to test and then I baked 12 more cookies after 24 hrs of marinating, both times they were delicious! The consistency, size and softness of the cookies were perfect! I’ll see how long it stays soft & chewy after baking, I also froze the rest of the cookie balls so I’ll be curious to see if they are as good after being frozen. Thank you!

  24. #
    claudemiro M. Silva — January 27, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    I loved this recipe and I recommend it to everyone who wants to learn it too. padeiroseconfeiteiros.com

  25. #
    Julie — March 12, 2021 at 12:54 am

    Hi, Can you scoop the cookies first (easier to scoop just-made dough), then refrigerate, then freeze? Won’t that give the same result as refrigerating, scooping, then freezing? Thanks for any info!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — March 12, 2021 at 10:28 am

      Hi Julie, the directions say to scoop just made dough and then freeze! Or are you asking about cookie dough that needs to marinate in the refrigerator first?

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