Did you know you can freeze sugar cookies at any stage? You can freeze the dough, the cut out cookies, the baked and decorated cookies!
Ah, the holiday season. So much fun. So much work. Let’s take a little bit of stress out of this holiday season and discuss how to freeze your sugar cookies.
By freezing your sugar cookies (at pretty much any stage in the game) you can have sugar cookies ready for whenever you might need them.
How to freeze sugar cookie dough
- Make cookie dough (see recipe below)
- Scoop cookie dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap
- Flatten into a disc about an inch thick.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap
- Place plastic wrapped disc of dough into freezer bag. Push out all the air and seal. Place in freezer.
- To thaw: remove cookie dough from freezer and place on counter (if using later that day) or in refrigerator for 24 hours. Roll and bake as usual. It will take your dough a couple hours to thaw at room temperature.
How to freeze cut out unbaked cookies
- Make cookie dough
- Chill cookie dough in refrigerator for an hour or so
- Roll and cut cookies
- Lay cut cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment
- Place cookie sheet into freezer for 30-60 min to “flash freeze” cookies
- Line a freezer safe container with plastic wrap
- Remove cookies from freezer, place cookies immediately (we don’t want them to thaw) into the freezer safe container. Place a sheet of plastic wrap between layers of unbaked cookies and on top of the final layer of cookies. Place lid on container and place in freezer.
- To Thaw: Remove cookies from freezer. Take them out of the container and place them on cookie sheet. Bake immediately from freezer, adding 3-5 minutes onto bake time. Don’t allow unbaked cookies to thaw on top of each other or they will smush and that will make you mad.
How to freeze baked cookies
- Make cookies as usual (make dough, roll, cut, bake).
- Place baked, COOLED cookies into a freezer safe container lined with plastic wrap.
- Cover and freeze.
- To Thaw: Remove cookies from freezer. Allow to come to room temperature naturally (takes about 1 hour). Frost and decorate as normal. If you’re in a hurry, you can thaw the cookies in the oven at 350 degrees for 3 minutes.
How to freeze baked decorated cookies
Did you know you could freeze decorated sugar cookies? I didn’t either until I worked as a cookie decorator. That was our secret. Fully decorate cookies and then freeze them. It’s how we were able to keep up with all the holiday production.
- Make cookies as usual: make dough, roll, cut, bake, and decorate. If you plan to freeze your already decorated sugar cookies, it’s best to decorate them with royal icing rather than buttercream because royal icing dries completely.
- Allow to dry completely. Don’t put any raised details on the decorated cookies (you can do this after you thaw them back out). What do I mean by raised details? No bows, stars, extra borders. These things tend to get broken off in the freezer.
- Once your cookies are dry, place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for 1 hour to “flash freeze”.
- When the cookies are frozen hard, place them in a freezer safe container lined with plastic wrap. Pro tip: if you container is deep enough, stack the cookies on their sides, they’re less likely to get damaged and you can fit way more into one container. Freeze.
- To Thaw: remove cookies from freezer and freezer container and lay them out on a cookie sheet flat. Allow to come to room temperature naturally. To thaw faster: bake in the oven at 350 for 3 minutes. NO MORE!
- Add your details. Check your cookies over to make sure the frosting isn’t damaged and add any little details you might want on the cookie.
Which way is best?
I find freezing my already baked cookies is the fastest and easiest way for me to have fresh cookies for the holidays. Freezing the rolled baked cookies is also pretty good, because you can bake the cookies right from the freezer.
Freezing decorated cookies is a little bit of a hassle and fixing them can take some time. Freeing just the dough doesn’t save much time because you have to wait for it to thaw to roll it and cut it.
How far in advance can I freeze them?
All of these times are for cookies/dough that are well wrapped.
- Cookie Dough: 6 months
- Unbaked Cookies: 6 months
- Baked Cookies: 6 months
- Baked, Decorated Cookies: 1-2 months
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment. Cream together shortening and butter until completely mixed.
- Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add in vanilla and beat until combined.
- With the mixer on slow speed, add in the baking powder and flour. Mix until just combined.
- Cover and chill dough for at least an hour.
- Turn out dough on a floured surface and roll dough 1/8″ thick. Cut cookies with desired cookie cutters. Place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes or until bottom is brown and the brown is creeping up the edges. The tops of the cookies should not be shiny at all.
- Allow to cool completely. Frost and decorate as desired.
- These cookies don’t spread too much, but if you don’t want any spreading, chill cut out cookies for 5-10 minutes before baking. This is more necessary for cut-outs with finer details.
- The number of cookies this recipe makes obviously depends on the size of your cookie cutters.
- This dough can chill in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be frozen for a couple of months. To freeze the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer safe ziplock bag.
Check out this post on how to freeze frosting so you can really prepare in advance!
These rolled butter cookies and these soft sour cream cookies freeze really well using the same method as above.
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