This Is How Long Your Christmas Cookies Will Stay Fresh

So many cookies to make, so little time! This guide will help you bake and store every batch in the best possible way.

If you’re an ambitious gift-giver and a proud home baker, you probably plan to do a lot of cookie-baking for Christmas. It’s helpful to know how to store the most popular cookies as well as how long each will keep. This guide will cover it all!

And don’t forget to check out our complete Christmas Cookies Baking Guide!

How Long Do Cookies Last?

In general, baked cookies will be fine at room temperature for about five days, but only if stored correctly. For most kinds of cookies, there are essentially two ways to store them: in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer.

However, different types of cookies do require special storage or need to be eaten faster. Here are the details on each kind of cookie.

Drop Cookies

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Drop cookies are a great go-to cookie style. Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies and cowboy cookies are all examples of this type of cookie.

Because these cookies are fairly sturdy, they can be stacked without fear of crushing or ruining any sort of decoration. Keep these cookies in an airtight container. If they get a little too crunchy for your liking, here’s how you can soften them up.

  • At room temperature: At room temperature, drop cookies should last about a week. Just keep them sealed up.
  • In the freezer: Baked drop cookies will be good in the freezer for six months.
  • Cookie dough: You can store drop cookie dough in the freezer for up to six months. To make things easy, pre-portion the dough with a cookie scoop, freeze and pop in an airtight container for long-term storage in the freezer.

Cutout Cookies

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Cutouts—be they sugar cookies or gingerbread—are musts around the holidays. They don’t last forever but are good candidates for freezing.

  • At room temperature: Try to eat cutout cookies within a week of baking
  • In the freezer: Baked cutouts can be stored in the freezer for six months. Be sure to freeze them undecorated. Frosting and glazes don’t hold up well in the freezer.
  • Cookie dough: You can stash the cookie in your refrigerator for two to three days (cutout dough often needs to be chilled anyway). Cutout cookie dough can be kept in the freezer for up to six months.

Icebox Cookies

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Like drop cookies, icebox and slice-and-bake cookies are pretty sturdy. Baked cookies can be kept stacked in an airtight container or popped in a zip-top bag.

  • At room temperature: Eat baked icebox or slice-and-bake cookies within five days so they taste their best.
  • In the freezer: Baked icebox cookies can be frozen. Just eat them within six months.
  • Cookie dough: This kind of cookie is designed to be made in advance and stashed in the fridge or freezer. Keep logs of icebox cookie dough in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for six months. Be sure to wrap the logs tight and place them in an airtight bag before popping them in the chill chest.

Shortbread and Spritz Cookies

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Cookies like shortbread and spritz are great candidates if you want cookies that’ll last a while.

  • At room temperature: Eat these types of cookies within two weeks
  • In the freezer: You can keep shortbread and spritz in the freezer for up to six months.
  • Cookie dough: You can make these types of cookie dough in advance. Cookie dough for either recipe can be made up to three days ahead of time (chilling is actually recommended for shortbread). You can also pop disks of dough into the freezer for about three months.

Twice-Baked Cookies

Twice-baked cookies like biscotti and mandelbrot have a longer shelf life than most other homemade cookies. These are the perfect cookies to start your holiday baking with—they won’t be stale by the time you finish the rest of your cookies for your cookie trays.

  • At room temperature: Keep them sealed up in an airtight container. They’ll be good for two weeks.
  • In the freezer: Keep them in the freezer for up to six months. If you need to revive them and crisp them up, a few minutes in a 300ºF should do it.
  • Cookie dough: It’s best to make biscotti and other twice-baked cookies right away. Don’t make this dough in advance and store it.

Frosted Cookies

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Frosted cookies require some care to store. Store decorated cookies in a single layer in an airtight container—you don’t want to mess up your beautiful designs!

  • At room temperature or in the refrigerator: Cookies that are topped with cream cheese frosting or whipped cream should be stored in the fridge. Frostings like royal icing can be stored at room temperature. Eat both within two or three days.
  • In the freezer: Frosting and decorations don’t hold up to the freezer.

Delicate Cookies

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Everyone loves a dainty cookie now and again. Sweets like pizzelle, florentines, tuiles and brandy snaps feel like a real treat. However, these delicate bakes require some finesse to store (and don’t have a very long shelf life).

  • At room temperature: Eat these cookies as quickly as possible—within three days is best. If you have cookies with fillings, like brandy snaps, keep them in the fridge.
  • In the freezer: Delicate cookies like these do not store well in the freezer.
  • Cookie dough: These batters should be prepped and used immediately. Don’t make the batter in advance.

Tips to Help Your Cookies Last Longer

To ensure that your cookies last as long as possible, it’s important to store them correctly. Airtight containers are your friend here (not flimsy cookie tins). For freezer storage, two layers of wrapping is also a good idea to prevent freezer burn.

Here are a few more tips to make your handiwork last:

  • Never store cookies before they’re completely cool; trapped heat will make them soggy.
  • Store different kinds of cookies separately. This way, soft cookies won’t make crisp cookies limp, and vice versa. There’s also a risk of flavors melding together, which might not be so bad for a batch of peppermint cookies and a batch of chocolate cookies but definitely wouldn’t be great for something like peppermint and lemon.
  • Don’t stack delicate cookies or cookies with soft frosting on top of each other—those are best stored in a single layer. Drop cookies and twice-baked cookies, however, can safely be layered between sheets of wax paper.
  • Due to their longer shelf lives, twice-baked cookies and cookie press cookies are your best bets for shipping to a faraway friend. Not only are they usually hearty enough to survive the journey, but they’ll taste relatively fresh once received. Find more shipping tips here.
  • How long do cookies last in the fridge? Well, baked cookies shouldn’t be kept in the fridge (unless they’ve got a frosting that needs to be kept cool). Keep cookies at room temp.

You should be confident that every batch stays fresh for as long as possible. Happy baking! (And learn more about the different types of cookies.)

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Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.