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It’s impossible to resist a batch of freshly made homemade cookies. They’re a fantastic light dessert to enjoy at the end of a long day and a wonderful present to share with family and friends on special occasions. Learning how to properly store the cookies to make them last longer will help you enjoy these treats for longer!
As a general rule, cookies should be stored in an airtight container or on a baking tray to keep them fresh for as long as possible. They should be stored in a single layer in order to prevent them from breaking and absorbing access moisture from the freshly baked cookies.
As a baker, I quickly found that storing my baked good is just as important as baking them. Whether you enjoy chocolate chip, oatmeal, or any other type of cookie, I took it upon myself to find the most commonly asked questions about how to store homemade cookies so you can enjoy them for as long as possible.
Do Cookies Spoil?
As a whole, cookies can spoil if not properly stored. Because most cookie recipes feature a high sugar content, they can spoil usually within a week. Take proper precautions when storing cookies such as storing them in your pantry short-term or in the freezer long-term.
There are some slight differences in the type of cookies you plan on storing and how long they will last. For example, if your homemade cookie recipe is a soft cookie recipe, it will last about two to three days in the pantry.
They can also last five months in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag.
If you’re looking for a good set of airtight storage containers, I recommend getting the Rubbermaid Brilliance Leak-Proof Food Storage Containers with Airtight Lids.
I’ve used these containers for a couple of years now and I’ve successfully stored all of my food and baked goods in room temperature, fridge, and freezer. I’ve even used them in the microwave! These containers come in many different sets, so choose the right one for you. You can check out these containers on Amazon!
Hard cookies tend to last a bit longer when stored at room temperature. Depending on the type of hard cookie, you can expect them to last between two to three weeks in the pantry. If you are planning to store them in the freezer they will last about four to five months depending on your storage methods.
Fortunately, properly storing any variety of cookies is both quick and easy.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about How To Store No-Bake Cookies Properly. This article talks about how long no-bake cookies can last in each type of storage! You can check out this article here!
Below, you’ll find a table that breaks down how long cookies last in each type of storage method…
How To Store Homemade Cookies Properly?
Homemade cookies should be stored in an airtight container, or on a baking tray to keep them as fresh as possible. When homemade cookies are made, it is important to allow them to fully cool on a cookie rack before storage. Storing them in a single layer will prevent them from breaking.
The most important thing to remember when storing homemade cookies is to ensure they are fully cooled before preparing them for storage. The reason you want to make sure they are fully cooled is to prevent any condensation issues from occurring while they are stored.
Condensation can cause your cookies to spoil much faster and could also lead to taste and texture issues.
If you have made a variety of cookies with different flavor profiles you will need to store them separately in different containers. Flavors tend to merge together after they have been stored together for over a day or so. I’ve found this to be particularly true for mint, lemon, and gingerbread cookies.
The next important detail is to either use an airtight container or a fully covered baking tray to store your cookies on. Exposure to air can also cause your cookies to go stale much more quickly.
If you are planning on eating your cookies within the next few days you can safely store them at room temperature, just be sure to put them in an airtight container.
How long cookies can last with different methods of storage:
|Counter Top||Sealed Container||Refrigerator||Freezer|
|Can last for up to 2 days if left out at room temperature||Can last for 5 days||Can last for up to 8 weeks||Can last for up to 8 months|
*By the way, for a long time, I was looking for a way to store my cookies without them breaking and losing their shape. I recently came across a great Set of Flat Storage Containers that worked great for storing my cookies flat in the fridge and freezer without breaking them! You can check out this Storage Set on Amazon!
If you are going to wait more than two or three days to enjoy your cookies, your best bet is to use the refrigerator. Storing them in the fridge will keep them fresh, and you won’t have to wait for them to thaw like you do when you use the freezer.
If you have made a batch of cookies ahead of time for a big event, your best bet is to store them in the freezer. You can add an extra layer of protection for your cookies by gently wrapping them in aluminum foil. This will decrease the chances of your cookies becoming freezer burned.
If you are worried about your soft cookies turning hard, a great tip I like to use is to place a piece of bread in the bottom of the container before putting my cookies inside. The moisture from the bread will keep your cookies soft and ready to enjoy!
How Long Do Cookies Last At Room Temperature?
As a general rule, cookies can last up to five days when stores at room temperature. This can be achieved by cooling the cookies down and storing them either in airtight containers or in a baking tray. Assemble the cookies in a single layer and top the baking tray with plastic wrap.
Typically, I have noticed that my cookies tend to last a little less than a week at room temperature. This can also be dependent upon what kind of cookies you have created. Some cookies that contain fruits may expire a little more quickly than oatmeal or a chocolate chip cookie.
If I am serving my cookies the next day and don’t want to place them in containers (let’s face it, we get lazy when it comes to washing our Tupperware) just leave them in the baking sheet!
Once the cookies have cooled and the baking tray is cool as well, simply lay the cookies in a single layer onto the sheet and wrap the tray in plastic wrap to prevent any air from entering.
*By the way, you might also want to know What To Do With Broken Cookies. I recently wrote an article that talks about Creative Things To Do With Broken and Crumbled Cookies, which you can find here!
How Long Do Cookies Last In Containers?
When properly stored in an air-tight container, cookies can last for up to one week at room temperature. This amount of time depends on where they are being stored. Cookies stored in containers in cooler environments last for up to two weeks.
You’ll notice that the amount of time your cookies will last in containers depends on where you’re planning to store them.
For example, cookies that are left at room temperature in a container will last less than a week, whereas cookies stored in a container in the fridge will last about a week or so.
If you’re trying to keep them fresh for longer, your best bet will be to store them in the freezer. This will keep them fresh for up to five months. You can store small batches in an airtight container and safeguard against freezer burn by wrapping them individually in foil before placing them in the container.
Generally, if you know your cookies will be eaten within a few days, simply placing them in a container and leaving them out at room temperature will be sufficient.
However, if you’re not planning to eat them soon then you’ll definitely want to put them in the fridge or freezer.
*Side Note: I’m surprised at how many people don’t know what a Cookie Swap is. I recently wrote an article that explains exactly What Is A Cookie Swap and How To Host One For Your Holidays!
Should I Store Cookies In The Fridge?
As a whole, in order to keep cookies fresh for longer than a week, you should place them in the fridge with a proper airtight container. Cookies will stay fresh for up to eight weeks when properly stored in the fridge. Make sure no condensation is trapped by cooling cookies all the way.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article answering the popular question of How Many Days In Advance Can You Make Sugar Cookies? In this article, I spoke about all the ways you can keep your sugar cookies nice and fresh! You can check out this article here!
You can store cookies in the fridge without altering their taste and texture. I typically prefer to store my cookies in the fridge. I always place my cookies on a cooling rack and wait until they have fully cooled. Without proper cooling, storing your cookies will cause condensation to form and ruin the texture of your cookies.
Try to place your cookies towards the front of the fridge where there is less temperature discrepancy. The back of most people’s fridges tends to be colder, which could run the risk of unintentionally freezing your cookies.
Can You Freeze Cookies?
As a whole, you can freeze cookies in the freezer. Cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to eight months. For bigger batches, separate the cookies into multiple containers for easier thawing. For smaller batches, freeze in a single container and thaw once ready to use.
You can absolutely freeze your cookies ahead of time if you’re preparing several batches of them. I like to choose a weekend prior to the holidays in order to bake my batches.
The key to safely storing your cookies in the freezer is to make sure you have completely protected them from exposure.
*Side Note: You might also want to know How To Bake Cookies Without A Cookie Sheet. I recently wrote an article that talks about What Can You Use To Bake Cookies Without A Cookie Sheet, which you can check out here!
How To Store Cookies In The Freezer?
Cookies must be completely cooled prior to storing in the freezer. Cookies can be stored on a covered baking tray or in an airtight container. Ensure that the cookies are not placed on top of each other. Gently squeeze excess air out and then place them in the freezer.
First, make sure that you’ve given your cookies enough time to cool thoroughly. Trapped condensation will definitely increase your risk of having them spoil more quickly.
Make sure you have enough parchment or baking paper on hand before storing your cookies. I like to line my baking tray with parchment paper before placing them in the freezer. By using a baking sheet to lay your cookies down flat, you’ll be adding an extra layer of protection and decreasing the chances of your cookies breaking while being stored.
Once you have lined your tray and placed your cookies on top, be sure to cover it completely with a freezer-safe plastic food storage bag. Make sure there isn’t any excess air in it by gently squeezing it from the top.
By using this method your cookies will be safe for up to five months. If you decide to store them in an air-tight container, your cookies will be safe for up to eight months.
How Can You Tell If Cookies Are Bad?
As a general rule, you can tell that a cookie is bad when they become soft and discolored. Some cookies may start to smell sour and become stale when they are past their expiration date. Softer cookies tend to become hard while harder cookies may turn soggy.
I’ve found that it’s relatively simple to determine when it’s time to throw away your cookies. If the cookies you baked were supposed to be soft but they have now gotten hard, that’s a pretty good indication that they are past their prime.
The same concept goes for your hard cookies as well. If your crunchy cookies have turned soft and soggy you should probably throw them out.
Like most foods, there are general ways you can use to tell whether or not your cookies are still good. Generally, you can tell if your cookies have gone bad if you notice a change in appearance.
Mold = Spoilage
Some cookies like chocolate chip cookies will start to become discolored, especially on the chocolate parts. Some cookies like fig cookies or other types of cookies may start to grow mold on them if they were not stored properly. They may also taste sour.
Don’t take a chance with your cookies and your health. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt of whether your cookies are edible just toss them in the trash and create a new batch.
*By the way, if you’re looking for some new cookie sheets/baking pans to replace for your kitchen, I recently came across the Perfect Nonstick Cookie Sheets / Baking Sheets Set that I got for myself and they work great! You can check out these Nonstick Cookie Sheet Set on Amazon!
Can You Make Cookies Ahead Of Time?
As a general rule, you can make cookies ahead of time. When making cookies ahead of time, make sure to properly cool the cookies before storing them in an airtight container and placing them in the fridge for up to eight weeks. You can also store them in the freezer for up to eight months.
Why Do Cookies Get Soft When Left Out?
As a whole, cookies get soft when left out because they are made with large amounts of sugar. This sugar eventually begins to break down which causes it to start absorbing water in the air when they are left out. This water absorption causes the cookies to soften which can lead to eventual spoilage.
Baking cookies is a fun way to bring edible treats to my friends and family. They’re a simple yet delicious treat that not many can resist!
As a result, it is extremely important to know how to properly store your cookies. Whether you’re baking a small batch to indulge by yourself or a large batch for a crowd, making sure you know how and where to store them will ensure fresh cookies every time.