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How to Store Christmas Cookies

Santa doesn't like stale cookies. Our guide shows you how to keep cookies fresh until Christmas.

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Shortbread Christmas cookies with Christmas decorationsShutterstock / Lukas Hejtman

Want to get a head start on your holiday baking? Before you reach for the flour and sugar, read these tips about how to store cookies. Our Test Kitchen secrets will help your goodies stay fresh well into the season. (But first, check out our Christmas Cookies Baking Guide!)

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Sugar Cookies on a Cooling RackAntonia Lorenzo/Shutterstock

Cool completely

Making Christmas cookies is a lot of work, so don’t ruin your efforts by rushing the cooling process. Cookies need to be completely cool to the touch before they’re placed in storage containers, otherwise the trapped heat will create condensation—which ultimately will ruin your cookies. Making batch after batch? Try this trick.

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Desserts choice. Cookies and biscuits in glass jars on counter bar for saleShutterstock / Prostock-studio

Keep cookies separate

If you’re storing different varieties of cookies, plan to keep them in separate containers. Otherwise your soft cookies will moisten your crisp cookies, and the flavor profiles of different varieties—say sugar cookies stored with gingersnaps—will start to blend together.

Test Kitchen Tip: Made a mistake? If your cookies got too soft, crisp them up in a 300º oven for 5 minutes.

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Colorful gingerbread cookies on culinary parchment.Golubovy/Shutterstock

Divide into layers

The last thing you want is for your cookies to stick together! Arrange cookies in a single layer, adding a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper between layers. You should use parchment paper when baking the cookies, too. Here’s why.

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The hand of a young man is opening a freezer doorShutterstock / Lolostock

Keep it cool

Cookies stay fresh in a cool, dry place, such as the back shelf of your pantry. Depending on the variety, they’ll last anywhere between a few days and a few weeks. For longer storage, pop cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Homemade Chocolate Revel Brownie BarsShutterstock / Brent Hofacker

Bar storage

When storing cookie bars, the best way to keep them fresh is in the original pan they were baked in. Cover the pan with foil, or place it in a large, resealable bag. If your bars contain any perishable ingredients—such as a cream cheese glaze—store them in the fridge. (Psst! These bar recipes are perfect for the holidays.)

Test Kitchen Tip: Sometimes it’s not always possible to keep the bars in the original pan. If that’s the case, cut them into squares and place in an airtight container, then store in the fridge. They will stay fresh for one to two weeks.

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Frosted Cranberry Drop CookieTaste of Home

To frost or not to frost

For best results, avoid frosting cookies before storing. Not only will the end result look cleaner, but you’ll avoid taking up half of your fridge space with cream cheese-frosted cookies. After baking, wrap unfrosted cookies in plastic wrap, stack in an airtight container, seal and freeze. Thaw at room temperature before frosting and serving.

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chocolate chip coconut cookies doughShutterstock / SewCream

Freeze the dough

Running low on freezer space? Consider freezing cookie dough instead of the baked goods. Just drop scoops of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes. When firm, place the dough drops in a resealable plastic bag. Bake from frozen for 3-5 minutes longer than the original instructions.

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Jar of Ginger CookiesShutterstock / Anna Hoychuk

Use the right container

To keep your cookies fresh, you need to keep air out. For that reason, we suggest airtight containers (like one of these Tupperware favorites). Make sure nothing gets in the way of the container and its lid, and double-check that the seal is tight before popping it in the fridge.

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Pile of Various Christmas Cookies and DecorationsShutterstock / Olga Nayashkova

Pick the right recipes

Some Christmas cookies freeze better than others, so keep that in mind if you’re preparing your cookie tree way in advance. Drop cookies, cutouts, icebox cookies, shortbreads and hearty bar cookies stand up well to storage. Delicate lace cookies, meringue-based treats and whoopie pies do not. Get our ultimate guide to the different types of cookies.

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Christmas cookie decoratingShutterstock / petrunjela

Wait to decorate

Just as you should wait to frost your cookies, you should also wait to decorate them. Sprinkles, sugar pearls, candies and other decorations can lose their flavor or consistency if left in the freezer too long.

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