Is there anything in this world better than warm, chewy, preferably ginormous freshly baked cookies? That’s a rhetorical question… we all know the answer is a resounding NO!
A good homemade cookie (or six) can soothe the soul, turn a rotten day golden, and give you the will to carry on, albeit with slightly thicker thighs.
But if by some miracle you don’t devour every last crumb of your homemade cookies as soon as they’re out of the oven, you’ll likely be interested in how long homemade cookies last.
It’s a good thing to know if you’re making huge batches of cookies for the holiday season or if you’re just trying to exercise some restraint. So, how long do homemade cookies last? Let’s find out!
The Expiration Date Of Homemade Cookies?
Typically, the expiration date of baked goods arrives all too soon, forcing us to either gorge ourselves on bread and cake, or let our delicious treat go to waste, but cookies are different!
Homemade cookies or even freshly baked cookies from the store should last for up to a week, sometimes up to three weeks and beyond, and that’s at room temperature, too.
However, the way in which you store chocolate chip cookies (or any others for that matter) will have a huge impact on how long homemade cookies will stay fresh, but more on that a bit later.
What About Cookie Dough?
Raw cookie dough isn’t anywhere near as robust as its cooked form and will only last for about 3 to 4 hours when stored at room temperature. So, don’t sit on that dough, folks; get to work and pop it in the oven, pronto!
How Long Do Homemade Cookies Last In The Fridge?
Keeping cookies fresh is even easier using a fridge! By refrigerating your cookies, you’ll extend their shelf life by up to two months at least, but if you get them in the cold in good time, stored correctly, you’re looking at something more to the tune of up to three months.
What About Refrigerated Cookie Dough?
Store cookie dough in the refrigerator and extend its shelf life by up to four days; however, I’d recommend using it in three to ensure a top-quality final product.
So, if we combine the staying power of refrigerated dough with the refrigerated cookies it will produce, we get a whopping three months and four days!
How Long Do Homemade Cookies Last In The Freezer?
Store cookies in the freezer if you’re looking for ultimate staying power – we’re talking eight to twelve months! But when placing cookies in the freezer, the manner in which they’re stored is more important than ever.
What About Frozen Cookie Dough?
Much like you can freeze cookies, you can also freeze cookie dough, and it will last for at least 2 months. After that, the cookie dough will still be edible for another month or so, but the quality will start to drop.
The Impact Of Cookie Type On Expiration
Cookie is an umbrella term for a lot of different baked goods, especially here in the States, and as each type of cookie is made differently, so too are their expiration dates.
For example, certain Christmas cookies, such as gingerbread men, will last for up to a month at room temperature, meaning you can get them prepared for the man in red way ahead of time.
Meringue cookies, on the other hand, will only last two weeks at room temperature, and on the other end of the spectrum, we have dry, crisp cookies such as shortbread cookies, gingersnaps, and Danish butter cookies.
Stored at room temperature on the kitchen counter, dry cookies will last for months on end – much longer than soft cookies – but keep them properly stored, away from air and moisture, otherwise they won’t be crisp cookies for much longer.
Perhaps iced cookies (or sugar cookies as they’re often called), are the shortest living specimen, as the icing goes off quite quickly.
The Golden Rules Of Storing Cookies (Chocolate Chip Cookies And Beyond)
Regardless of where you keep them, storage method is everything if you want your cookies to last!
Storing Cookies At Room Temperature
Keeping cookies fresh at room temperature is easy enough, but there are a few rules to follow.
- Wait for the homemade cookies to cool completely: Hot cookies will slowly lose moisture, moisture that will become trapped in the packaging and fast-track expiration.
- Use an airtight container: Much like any food, cookies have two enemies, moisture (which we’ve just covered) and air. Air oxidizes food, alters texture and flavor, and accelerates bacterial growth. This is why an airtight container is essential. A plastic container will work fine, but a cookie jar will look nicer in your kitchen. That said, with a cookie jar, be sure to keep it to one cookie type at a time, and clean it if you plan on storing another type of cookie in there, as the flavors can mix in unpleasant ways.
- Use waxed paper: Stacked cookies in a warm environment will stick to each other. This is especially true of chocolate chip cookies, but using something like waxed paper or parchment paper, you can separate them and keep them nice and crisp.
Storing Cookies In The Fridge
For more impressive shelf life, consider refrigerating your cookies. The rules for cookies in the fridge are similar to those for cookies stored at room temperature.
Again, the key is to let them cool down and make an air tight seal before placing them in your fridge. One of the best tips I’ve ever heard is to keep the cookies on the cookie tray you used to bake them, seal it with aluminum foil, then refrigerate them.
However, although they’ll stay fresher, it’s not such a space-friendly solution. Instead, you can use airtight containers such as Tupperware, or, if it’s small enough, you could pop your cookie jar right into your refrigerator.
Storing Cookies In The Freezer
When freezing cookie dough or cookies, beware freezer burn. Cookies retain moisture and when it leaves the cookies, air replaces it, which causes the burn. Thankfully, airtight containers will keep that pesky air at bay. It’s also worth using paper towels to soak up any excess moisture before storing them.
You can use a freezer bag or plastic wrap if you like, and the cookies will still stay fresh in the freezer, but be sure to expel as much air as possible, and if the plastic wrap tears, replace it ASAP. It’s also a good idea to use wax paper to separate your cookies so you can defrost them one at a time.
To maximize longevity, freeze cookies as soon as they’re fully cool. To freeze cookie dough, portion it, then securely wrap the portions in waxed paper.
As long as you store cookies correctly, they’ll last a fair while, even if kept at room temperature, but certain types, such as iced cookies or any that have more dairy products in, will benefit from refrigeration. You should also consider single layer storage to reduce sticking.
For the longest shelf life, drop cookies in your freezer, and they should taste great for up to 12 months.