Make-Ahead Holiday Cookies
Looking to start your holiday baking early? Learn how to make and freeze Christmas cookies weeks in advance with these handy tips and recipes for holiday cookies.
Start with this basic Holiday Cookie Dough, then find more Christmas cookie recipes below that use the dough.
The Taste of Home Test Kitchen created this make-ahead Holiday Cookie Dough recipe for a variety of holiday cookies (see below).
These whimsical cookies will bring a smile to anyone's face! Get kids involved in the fun by letting them add the red-hot candies to the Jolly Santas.
A holiday cookie platter just wouldn't be complete without these scrumptious Lemon Rope Trees. Firm and crispy with appealing lemon flavor, they're sure to disappear quickly!
You'll love the chocolaty flavor these Magic Stars cookies bring, as well as how simple they are to make!
Fruitcake finds its way into a cookie for a new tasty treat. You'll be reaching for this Reindeer Bites recipe year after year!
Using our make-ahead dough, these four-ingredient Strawberry Tea Cookies from Carolyn Klingensmith in Livonia, Michigan are easy, breezy delights. They're so simple, but have that "slaved over" look and taste.
Tips for Make-Ahead Holiday Cookies
Most cookie doughs can be stored in the freezer. However, do not freeze dough containing sour cream or cream cheese. After mixing the dough, chill it in the refrigerator until firm. Then shape it into a large ball or square. Wrap in freezer paper, then place in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw dough in the refrigerator before baking.
For drop cookies, you can place individual cookie portions onto waxed paper-lined cookie sheets and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to labeled freezer bags. Remove as many portions as you need and bake, making sure to add additional baking time.
Store cooled, baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days. To freeze cookies for up to 3 months, wrap the cookies in plastic, stack in an airtight container, seal and freeze. Thaw wrapped cookies at room temperature before serving.
—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- Whenever I have a few extra minutes, I mix up a batch of cookies, roll the dough into logs and seal them with my Food Saver before storing them in the freezer. (If you don't have a Food Saver, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then heavy-duty aluminum foil.) During the holidays, it's easy to slice the frozen logs or thaw the dough and pinch off into teaspoon-size portions before baking. When we want cookies at Christmas, there's no fuss, no muss and no hours of mixing and baking.
—Donna Lauck, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- I make my holiday cutout cookies ahead and freeze them without frosting. They keep better that way. Before a potluck, I thaw the cookies and frost them. They taste and look fresh-baked.
—Jean M., Scandinavia, Wisconsin
- To save time and still make a variety of cookies for holiday celebrations, I get creative with a big batch of basic refrigerator cookie dough. I slice some to make round cookies and top with colored sugars…I roll some into balls and coat them with coconut or chopped nuts…I use a portion for thumbprint cookies…and the rest I wrap around fillings like dates, cherries and candies.
—Marilyn B., Norwalk, Ohio
Allow cookies to cool completely before storing. Store soft cookies and crisp cookies in separate airtight containers. If stored together, the moisture from the soft cookies will soften the crisp cookies, making them lose their crunch.
Flavors can also blend during storage, so don't store strong-flavored cookies with delicate-flavored ones.
Layer cookies in a container, separating each layer with waxed paper.
Allow icing on cookies to completely dry before storing.
If your crisp cookies became soft during storage, crisp them up by heating in a 300° oven for 5 minutes.
—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
More Christmas Cookie Recipes >
More Make-Ahead Desserts >