We all know how much of a hassle it is to make cookie dough again and again.
It is much easier to make a big batch in one go and then store it for longer. But then there is always the danger of the dough becoming moldy or stale.
So, are there safe options for storing the dough?
If you enjoy making cookies, this question has undoubtedly crossed your mind each time you mix a batch.
Well, the short answer is YES!
Read on to learn more about cookie doughs and how to make them last.
Why Put Cookie Dough in the Fridge?
If you store it properly, taking all the necessary measures, cookie dough can stay fresh for days.
This will let you bake fresh cookies for weeks. Other than making our job easier, refrigerating cookie dough has several benefits for the dough itself. The cookies improve in flavor if you let the dough chill before baking.
Refrigerating cookie dough will make the cookies tastier. It gives all the ingredients enough time to release their juices into the dough. These juices make up the sweet taste you enjoy in your cookies.
As the carbohydrates gently soak in the oil, your cookie will become juicier, softer, and moister.
The flour will hydrate during refrigeration, and organic enzymes will break down.
The flour will absorb glucose and moisture from the eggs. Once in the oven, this will help the cookies to caramelize and brown better.
Freezing dough is also an option, but you may have issues if the freezer is too cold.
This may cause the dough to dry out. However, the dough will stay fresh for a long time if you add a lot of flour to it before storage.
Even if you may not wish to, many recipes will instruct you to place your chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before preparing the cookies.
Furthermore, freezing cookie dough beforehand is essential for cut-out and flattened cookies.
The freezing process ensures the dough becomes thick and stops the cookies from expanding too much.
How Long Is Cookie Dough Good in the Fridge?
The USDA recommends three days for standard dough storage (1). But it depends on whether the cookie dough is homemade or store-bought. Company-manufactured cookie doughs contain ingredients such as preservatives that homemade doughs don’t.
You can keep homemade cookie dough in the fridge for up to five days if you use an airtight container. Cookie dough bought from the market will likely stay fresh for longer.
Cookie dough shelf life varies by manufacturer also.
Most cookie doughs have a 12-month shelf life in the refrigerator and may even be used up to one or two months after the “use by” date.
Four Best Ways to Store Cookie Dough in the Refrigerator
Making cookie dough is not an easy or quick task. It requires time and effort and leaves a very messy kitchen that you will need to clean up afterward!
That is why people make cookie dough in larger quantities and often store them in the fridge or freezer.
However, as mentioned earlier, there is always the risk of this dough becoming stale and infected by bacteria.
What are, then, the most effective ways of storing cookie dough so you can use it again later without making another batch?
Let’s find out.
Storing in the Refrigerator
Storing in the refrigerator is the easiest way to keep your cookie dough. It contains raw eggs and several other ingredients, which can develop harmful bacteria if left at room temperature.
Keeping the dough in the refrigerator stops bacterial growth.
Storing Cookie Dough Balls
Another effective method is to form the dough into spheres and then placing these balls in the freezer.
Thick cookie dough may be frozen in this style, such as the sort used for chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice-cream cookies, or any drop cookies.
Storing Cookie Dough Logs
You can also divide the dough into blocks.
You can then wrap each block tightly in plastic film for later. This is especially useful when baking delicacies like butterscotch cookies.
Storing Cut-Out Cookie Dough
Another option for storing your cookie dough is to cut out the cookies and then store them.
You can cut the cookies into any shape and put them in an airtight container.
The airtight container will help the cut-outs stay fresh and also preserve their flavor and juices. Furthermore, this method is also more convenient.
All you have to do is take out the cookies from the fridge, place them on a tray, and put them straight into the oven.
How Long Does Cookie Dough Last at Room Temperature
You should definitely be aware of how long cookie dough preserves at room temperature.
You may have unintentionally left the dough out on the table or may just be taking a break before baking it.
Around 4 to 6 hours is the recommended limit before foodborne bacteria start forming. Six hours is the limit for a cooler environment, while four hours is the limit for a bustling kitchen at peak summertime temperatures.
Utilize your judgment. But ensure it has been at most 4-6 hours since the cookie dough was left out at room temperature.
If you want to use the cookie dough after a few hours, it is better to cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it to prevent any spoilage.
This is mainly because raw and natural products in cookie dough, like eggs, must be chilled, as they may develop dangerous bacteria when left out for an extended period.
How Long Does Cookie Dough Last in the Freezer?
When you have dough left over or can’t use it right away, freezing it would be the best way to make the most of it.
Most chefs also agree that freezing is the best way to store cookie dough for longer periods. Freezing can keep the dough fresh for months.
You should ideally use frozen cookie dough within two to three months for best results.
According to food safety regulations, you can store it for up to six months.
The dough, however, may become crumbly and dry by the time you take it out to use it again.
But don’t worry, the cookies will turn out fine once you bake them. Just make sure you first defrost the dough and bring it to room temperature.
Then, proceed to bake it.
What Does Ripening Cookie Dough Do?
Putting cookies in the fridge before browning them is known as “ripening.” While some recipes call for a rapid boil, others advise waiting 72 hours before drying them.
There are two main effects of this resting phase for cookies.
Firstly, this process lets the oil in the cookies settle and solidify. Recipes that ask for freezing the dough often require extra oil. This is because chilled fat dissolves during baking, preventing the cookies from thinning.
Secondly, and more importantly, the resting time allows the flour to rehydrate and absorb the dough’s liquids thoroughly, much like the autolyze process in bread making.
Unlike other baked items, cookies are pretty dry, and most moisture comes from the eggs.
Also, because eggs are heavy, the dough requires time to absorb them fully. As a result of this process, cookies result in a better brown color and are full of flavor.
1. Should you defrost cookie dough before baking?
If you want your cookies to treat your taste buds, then there is no need to defrost them before baking. Many expert bakers prefer baking cold cookie dough because it helps the cookies maintain their form.
Remember that baking straight from the freezer may require a few more minutes in the baking process for your cookies.
2. Are homemade cookies worth the effort?
If you are a true chef at heart, you likely didn’t need to read the earlier parts of this article.
And you also already know that nothing is more delicious than a warm handmade cookie straight from the oven, or even cold cookie dough, for that matter!
Many individuals struggle with making homemade cookies, so family and friends should consider themselves fortunate when you succeed.
While a fantastic freshly-made cookie dough recipe would definitely wow your guests, it would also end up better than pre-made cookie dough.
You won’t be able to preserve the handmade cookie dough the same way as store-bought brands, as the ingredients are fresh and there are no or very few preservatives in the homemade dough.
You will only get three to five days of shelf life with homemade cookie dough. If you freeze the dough, you can extend the shelf life to three to six months.
We advise freezing it by firmly wrapping it in plastic or using a freezer sealing method to remove any moisture from the box before freezing.
Making the most out of homemade dough is ideal since it is much simpler to prepare a sizable quantity and store it rather than start from scratch each time you want to bake a batch.
3. How to tell if the cookie dough is rotten or stale?
Taking essential health and food security measures will assist in preventing foodborne illnesses.
Most cookie doughs contain uncooked eggs. Because raw eggs are commonly associated with salmonella and E-Coli, both hazardous types of bacteria, you must be careful while using these in cookie dough.
Even though it is hard to resist a freshly baked plate of cookies, undercooked eggs make them unsafe to eat.
Some cookie recipes don’t use eggs, so depending on the other components in the recipe, it may be okay to leave the cookies out on the table.
The edges of the cookie dough will get thicker and more rigid than the center as oxidation occurs when the cookie dough begins to spoil. The taste will be off no matter how long the dough is kept.
The dough might grow mold if left out too long and will also emit a putrid smell. Foods made with raw ingredients come with unique health hazards.
So always practice food security and enjoy your food before it has reached the end of its shelf life!
4. Why is my cookie dough hard after refrigeration?
In general, many cookie recipes call for extended refrigerated/frozen durations.
You could run into difficult-to-handle and crumbly cookie dough as a result. This is because of the excessive cooling of the freezer drying out the moisture from the dough.
Therefore, keep a close eye on your refrigerator’s cooling before putting the cookie dough inside.
5. Is selling cookie dough a great business idea?
Selling pre-made cookie dough as a business is not a bad idea at all.
Franchises selling freshly-prepared cookie dough go beyond simple cookie-cutter stores.
As you can make several types of delicious cookie doughs for different types of cookies, which you can later mix with ice cream or other delicious goodies, there is a tonne of space for imagination and creativity.
People will experience a sense of ownership in your business for tasty cookie dough if you include your consumers’ opinions in selecting new varieties.
The fact that a cookie dough franchise store may be a less expensive business venture than many other options adds to its uniqueness.
Cookie dough businesses often have more reasonable franchise fees and total expenditures, unlike certain franchises that would cost you a great deal to start.
Everybody, especially children, adores cookies.
But preparing a large batch of dough does not mean you must also cook a large quantity at once.
By following the necessary procedure, you can store any leftover dough for up to five days in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.
By storing freshly-made dough in the fridge or freezer, you may bake fresh cookies anytime without having to prepare new batches of dough each time.
Just follow the steps outlined above and keep your cookie dough fresh. Enjoy making homemade batches of some fantastic cookies for days to come!