Chill and bake: Master the art of freezing cookie dough

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Freezing cookie dough is a convenient and practical way to enjoy freshly baked cookies anytime. You can pull a couple of frozen dough balls out of the freezer and bake them, and if you need a last-minute treat, you will have a secret stash of your favorite dough just waiting to be baked.

Freezing cookie dough before a party or for holiday baking is an easy way to save time and reduce stress. By preparing and freezing the dough in advance, you’ll have a delicious batch of cookies ready to bake whenever you need them. This allows you to plan ahead and guarantees freshly baked homemade treats. 

Chocolate chip cookie dough balls on a baking sheet.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls. Photo credit: One Hot Oven.

When making cookie dough, consider doubling the recipe and baking half immediately while freezing the other half. Alternatively, you can prepare a standard batch of cookies and freeze half of the dough. This time-saving approach guarantees a constant supply of freshly baked homemade cookies. It’s also handy to have a cookie scoop on hand for easy portioning.

What cookie dough freezes the best?

Cookie dough generally freezes well, especially when it includes a fat such as shortening or butter.

  • Chocolate Chip
  • Oatmeal
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Gingerbread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Snickerdoodles
  • Shortbread
  • Biscotti

I freeze cookie dough since I can’t eat a whole batch alone as an empty nester. But I prefer not to make a half batch. Plus, I like having cookie options in the freezer for unexpected gatherings. It’s important to double-wrap the dough balls and place them in a freezer-safe container.”

— Jennifer Osborn, Kitchen Serf
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What is the best way to freeze cookie dough?

There are several options for freezing cookie dough; each is easy to do and results in tasty cookies. 

How to freeze a whole ball of cookie dough?

This method works great when you want to bake a whole batch of cookies.

A chocolate cookie dough ball wrapped in plastic on a marble surface.
Chocolate Dough Ball. Photo credit: Yayimages.
  • Prepare the cookie dough.
  • Shape the dough into one large ball.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then place it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
  • Store the dough in the freezer.

When you are ready to bake, defrost the dough in the refrigerator, scoop out the dough and bake according to the original recipe when thawed. 

How to freeze proportioned cookie dough balls, also known as drop cookies?

This method works great when you want to bake a few cookies.

Chocolate chip cookie dough on a baking sheet.
Chocolate Chip Cookies. Photo credit: Deposit Photos.
  • Prepare the cookie dough according to your recipe.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out equal portions of cookie dough and place on the baking sheet. Make sure the dough balls are not touching to keep them from sticking together.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the dough balls for 1 to 2 hours until firm.
  • Once frozen, transfer the dough balls to a freezer container
  • When you are ready to bake the cookies, take the dough balls out of the freezer and place them on a baking sheet. Allow them to thaw for about an hour. Heat the oven as directed on the recipe and bake the cookies according to the recipe. With this method, you can bake just one cookie in your toaster oven, or the whole batch in the big oven.

How to freeze, slice and bake cookie dough?

Slice-and-bake cookies are easy to make and bake, and freezing these dough logs takes just minutes.

A chocolate roll with sprinkles and a knife on a cutting board.
Chocolate Shortbreads. Photo credit: One Hot Oven.
  • Prepare the cookie dough according to your recipe.
  • Roll the cookie dough into a log according to the recipe directions for size. Make sure the dough is evenly shaped and well-rounded.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then wrap again in aluminum foil. 
  • To freeze, place the cookie dough log in the freezer on a flat surface.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap and let thaw for about an hour. Heat the oven according to the recipe. Place the cookie dough on a cutting board, cut the slices and place on a baking sheet. Bake according to the recipe.

How to freeze cutout cookie dough?

Get a jump start to your holiday baking and freeze your cutout cookies ahead of time.

Heart shaped cookies on a baking sheet with a rolling pin.
Heart Sugar Cookies. Photo credit: Deposit Photos.
  • Prepare the cookie dough according to your recipe.
  • Roll the dough according to the directions and cut out the dough shapes.
  • Place the cutouts on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer for an hour until they are firm.
  • Layer the frozen cutouts in a large container with parchment paper separating each layer.

When ready to bake the cookies, remove them from the freezer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Heat the oven to the desired temperature and bake the cookies according to the recipe. Because they are so thin, you should not have to add additional baking time.

Looking to freeze your cookie dough like a pro?

“Living full-time in our RV, my husband and I like the convenience of preparing and freezing cookie dough in advance. During our travels, when we have a power connection, I whip up batches of ready-to-bake cookie dough balls. Then, in remote spots, I can effortlessly grab a few from the freezer and indulge in freshly baked cookies without any hassle or cleanup – just warm cookies, straight from our oven.”

— Rebecca Blackwell, Of Batter and Dough
  • Label and date the dough so you know what type of cookies they are and when they were made.
  • You can freeze cookies for up to a year.
  • You can bake the cookies directly from the freezer; add an extra 1 to 2 minutes of baking time. Also, the cookies will spread less than a defrosted cookie.

By freezing the cookie dough, you can indulge in delicious, freshly baked cookies that are just as tasty as the day they were made. This saves you time and guarantees you can savor warm, homemade cookies whenever you have a cookie craving or when unexpected visitors arrive.

Jere Cassidy is the writer and recipe developer behind the blog One Hot Oven. A passion for all things food-related led her to culinary school to expand on her baking skills and now to sharing easy recipes for all home cooks and bakers of all skill levels. When not in the kitchen, Jere’ likes to travel far and wide to find delicious food.

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