The Best Way to Store Cookies
How to Store Cookies
The most important concept to understand when storing cookies is to keep the same types of cookies together and not mix cookie types in the same packaging for storage. Ideally, store each batch of cookies together and separate from other batches of a different kind of cookie. Most importantly, keep soft cookies with soft cookies and crisp cookies with crisp cookies. If you don’t separate them then you will end up with dry soft cookies and limp crisp cookies as the dry ones absorb moisture from the soft ones. In the end, none of the cookies will satisfy.
Storing Soft and Chewy Cookies:
Chewy cookies generally ship better than crisp cookies. Good choices of chewy cookies to mail include chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, snickerdoodles, etc.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely.
If not allowed to cool, they will stick together during storage and/or shipping.
- Grab a cookie tin with a tight fitting lid.
We prefer cookie tins like these, but airtight plastic containers (or glass jars if not shipping) can also be used. There’s a reason that the big cookie companies ship in tin containers as they form the needed airtight seal and also add a solid defense against destruction.
- Place a piece of waxed paper inside a cookie tin that extends well over the sides of the tin.
Each side should be long enough to wrap across the top of the cookies, just before the lid.
- Place a single layer of cookies carefully, and as close together as possible, into the tin.
- Place a piece of waxed paper – cut only to the inside size of the tin – over the cookies.
- Repeat with the next layer of cookies and paper.
Do this until the container is as full as possible (but not stuffed).
It’s not necessary, but if there is room a slice of bread can be added to the top of the container to help keep the cookies soft and chewy.
- Fold the waxed paper extended on the sides over the top of the cookies.
- Place the lid on the full container, being careful not to smash the cookies in order to close the lid.
- If mailing the cookies, get a heavy cardboard box and insulate it with a layer of bubble wrap – bubbles facing toward the box.
If you need additional fillers (or in place of bubble wrap), homemade air popped popcorn actually works well and also provides an extra treat to the recipient.
- Address the box and add the word “FRAGILE” before taping the box seams.
- Mail the box as soon as possible to ensure that the freshest cookies are delivered.
Storing Bars and Brownies:
Brownies are not your best bet for mailing, as they will likely end up all squished together. Other sturdier types of bar cookies or layered bar cookies, such as our magic cookie bars will ship well. Also, avoid mailing frosted bar cookies as the frosting will likely melt or possibly harden, depending on the weather.
- Use a lightweight or otherwise disposable pan to bake your bar cookies.
Alternately, line a baking pan with aluminum foil and let the foil extend over the two sides. Once the bar cookies have cooled, grab each side of the foil and lift to remove the entire bar from the pan (carefully, as cracks occur quite easily).
- Completely cool the bar cookies.
- Wrap the entire pan all the way around in plastic wrap without cutting into them.
If you are going to freeze the cookies, wrap the entire sheet again in aluminum foil before placing it into the freezer.
- If mailing, protect in bubble wrap and then a cardboard box as described above in the chewy cookie instructions.
If the bars do not fill to the top of the pan, then popcorn or crumpled newspaper can be used to fill in the void. But, don’t let anything except wrapping touch the cookies as it will absorb moisture from the cookies.
Storing Crisp Cookies:
Crisp cookies, including many classic Italian cookies such as biscotti, stored properly in a cookie jar or tin can be kept up to a month or more. If they are firm and insulated properly, they can be mailed. Don’t waste your time trying to mail thin brittle cookies though as they will most likely arrive at their destination in small bits. Most pre-made cookies found in the bakery isle of a grocery store are fine to store in a cookie jar. But remember, don’t mix crisp and soft cookies for storage.
If mailing crisp cookies, follow the directions above for packaging chewy cookies for shipping.
Storing Cut-out cookies:
Cut-out cookies that have icing made with confectioners sugar and water are great left out on the counter, because the ingredients are very shelf stable. Layered flat in an airtight container, using waxed paper or parchment paper to separate the layers, these cookies can last two weeks. They should also mail well, depending on your recipe. Follow the directions above for mailing chewy cookies.
But, cut-outs that are iced with Royal icing can be a different story.
Most traditional royal icing is made using raw egg whites, which can possibly carry Salmonella. Therefore, cookies with traditional royal icing must be refrigerated and should not be mailed. Many current recipes for royal icing now use meringue powder in place of egg whites. Since meringue powder is shelf stable, these cookies can remain safely sealed on the counter for two weeks and should also mail well. Follow the directions above for mailing chewy cookies.
Cut-out cookies freeze beautifully, especially if unfrosted. Bake, cool, stick and freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags. They can be made well ahead of any occasion and then defrosted quickly on the counter before adding any type of decorative icing.
The Best Way to Store Cookies
Thaw cookies at room temperature. Cookies thaw very fast and safe at room temperature.
When defrosting frozen cookies that have icing or frosting, be sure to separate them into a single layer before thawing so that will not become stuck together once thawed.
Like warm cookies? Microwave stored cookies very briefly in the microwave – about 10 seconds (or less) for two cookies.
For information on freezing cookie dough, see our freezing cookie dough post.
Drop cookies are so much easier to make with a professional cookie scoop, just scoop and release to make cookie balls in a flash.