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How to Store Cookie Dough

Written by: Sarah Mills



Time to read 3 min

If you ever find yourself with leftover cookie dough in your bowl, or—gasp—you’re one of those amazing people who thinks ahead for future orders (could never be me), you’ll need to store that dough in the fridge or freezer until you are ready for it. Although it’s tempting to just roll it into a ball and wrap it in cling film, there are much better ways that will save you time in the long run.


The problem with refrigerating or freezing a ball of dough is that it will come to room temperature at an uneven rate. The inside of the ball will be rock hard long after the outside is already becoming soft and mushy. For this reason, it’s much preferable to roll your dough flat before refrigerating or freezing. So what’s the easiest way to do that?

sugar cookie dough

Storing Leftover Dough

Well, if you only have a small amount of dough left, my favorite storage method is to pop that dough ball right into a gallon-size Ziploc bag (don’t zip it up yet!) and use my rolling pin to level the dough to a flat that fills the bag. You can unstick and lift up the top half of the bag now and again to allow the air pockets that develop in the bottom corners of the bag to be released. Depending on how much dough you have, you can roll it right to the thickness you would ordinarily, or you can simply roll it to a relative flatness that you can adjust when you’re ready to use the dough; if you have enough dough to fill two bags, you are better off dividing the dough and making two flats than forcing it all into one thick flat. 

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Zip the flattened bag(s) up when you are ready, and if you plan to use the dough within a few days, you can stick it right into the fridge; if you don’t think you’ll be using it soon, go ahead and pop it in the freezer. Just make sure that the dough is laying flat when you put it in the fridge; you don’t want to drape it over a takeout container, or your chilled dough will take on that wonky shape. When you’re ready to bake, it’s as easy as removing the dough from the fridge, slicing the bag open, and plopping the flat of dough onto some parchment for any final rolling (frozen dough will obviously take a bit longer to come to temperature than refrigerated flats).

**If you prefer to be more eco-friendly and be able to reuse the bags, roll the dough between sheets of parchment instead, and then insert the flat into the Ziploc bag for storage.

Rolling your dough into flats might seem like a waste of time at first glance, but it will save you so much time once you are actually ready to get started baking. Flats from the refrigerator will require just minutes at room temperature before your cutters will be able to work on them without issue, and although frozen flats will definitely require a little more time, it’s not even in the same ballpark as if you simply froze the dough in balls. And bonus--chilled cutouts tend to retain their nice sharp edges and clean lines better than room temperature dough. 


Time is money, but sometimes putting a little extra in at the start will save you more in the long run!

Making and Storing Dough Ahead of Time


The same principle applies for larger batches of dough, but Ziploc bags generally won’t be big enough (unless you can get your hands on some industrial-sized bags). Instead, roll out flats of dough between sheets of parchment that are just slightly smaller than the size of your cookie sheets. Once rolled, stack the flats of dough in your cookie sheets and then wrap tightly with cling film (I can typically fit three flats per tray). The important thing is to minimize air contact with the dough to prevent drying it out.

pans in freezer
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