Best Way to Freeze Decorated Sugar Cookies

Thank you for sharing!

You and the kids got into such a decorating frenzy with this latest batch of sugar cookies, more so than usual. All your cookie containers are full, so you’ll have to freeze the remaining sugar cookies but that’s got you wondering, what is the best way to freeze decorated sugar cookies?

This is the best way to freeze decorated sugar cookies:

  • Let your cookies cool
  • Put the cookies in cellophane bags one at a time
  • Heat-seal each cellophane bag
  • Transfer the cookies to an airtight container
  • Freeze and enjoy up to three months from now

There are plenty of details for freezing decorated sugar cookies that I want to touch on in this article, so I recommend you keep reading. I’ll also have a cookie freezing FAQs section that will discuss whether cookies decorated with fondant or buttercream can safely go in the freezer. 

Can You Freeze Frosted Sugar Cookies? 

At their most basic, sugar cookies are baking soda, baking powder, butter, white sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. 

With so many dry ingredients in sugar cookies, you worry about what would happen should you put your cookies in a cold, moderately moist environment like a freezer. 

You’re afraid the cookies themselves will begin to soften and maybe even fall apart. You’re concerned the icing work that you painstakingly piped on will lose its consistency.

Fortunately, none of that is the case. If you follow the steps I’ll present in the next section, you can safely freeze frosted sugar cookies every time. 

This now opens so many possibilities. If you know you’re going to be slammed with work next week but that’s also the week of your child’s school bake sale, you can whip up cookies on the weekend when you have time and then freeze them until the night before the bake sale. 

If you’re having a holiday party, you can make your famous frosted sugar cookies days before and then thaw them in time for the first guests. 

Your life will be a lot easier! 

How to Freeze Decorated Sugar Cookies

Okay, so how exactly do you preserve the intricate iced details of your decorated sugar cookies when in the freezer? Per the intro, here’s what I recommend.

Step 1: Allow the Cookies to Cool Completely

I’m sure you did this already, as you’re not supposed to ice hot or warm cookies. That said, I wanted to mention this anyway: you should never freeze food while it’s still warm.

The cookies will produce condensation that’s now trapped within a sealed cellophane bag. The condensation will cool when you put the cookies in the freezer, but that won’t help their freshness one iota. 

Step 2: Store the Cookies in Cellophane Bags

Rather than use plastic zippy bags, I prefer cellophane bags instead. 

Cellophane is compostable and recyclable, and it too is transparent so you can check on your cookies every now and again if the need arises. 

Step 3: Heat-Seal the Cellophane

While plastic baggies have a zippered top you squeeze shut to secure the bag, cellophane bags don’t. You’ll have to use a heat sealer to close the bag where you want it. 

Yes, this is an extra investment. The average price of a heat sealer is anywhere from $30 to $120, but keep in mind this is a device you’ll probably end up using all the time. You’ll recoup the money you spent in no time!

To heat-seal a cellophane bag, put one decorated sugar cookie in the bag (or several if they’re smaller), line up the end of the bag with the heat sealer, and then apply heat for five to 15 seconds. The heat sealer will create a seal. 

Step 4: Put the Cookies in an Airtight Container

If your cellophane bag seal is airtight, then you could always put the cookies directly on the freezer racks or shelves. Even still, I’d advise you to use an airtight container.

Why an airtight container? For freshness, of course. Your decorated sugar cookies will also thaw faster compared to putting them straight on your freezer rack (more on thawing later). 

Tupperware is a classic choice here. It can be translucent Tupperware or colored, that doesn’t matter quite as much. Reusable silicone bags are another option; the thicker, the better. 

Step 5: Move the Cookies to the Freezer

Your decorated sugar cookies are now ready for the freezer. You might want to tape a Post-It note to the container after writing the date you’re freezing the cookies. This way, you don’t leave them in the freezer for too long!

How Long Are Frozen Sugar Cookies Good For?

You just closed the freezer door with your decorated sugar cookies in there. How long can you freeze them before you should eat them (or give them away)? 

Your sugar cookies can stay in the freezer for upwards of three months. I’ve heard tales of some bakers who say they’ve stashed their sugar cookies in the freezer for 11 months and the sweet treats were still good.

You can try this experiment if you want, but for optimal freshness and flavor, 11 months of freezer storage might be a bit much.  

How to Defrost Sugar Cookies 

After freezing your sugar cookies for a while, you’ve decided it’s time for them to come out of the freezer. Exactly how do you thaw the icy cookies?

Take the Tupperware or container out of the freezer and put it on the counter. If you froze your decorated sugar cookies in reusable silicone bags, you can place those directly on the counter as well.

Don’t take off the Tupperware lid or open the silicone bag quite yet. Instead, allow the cookies to reach room temperature. You’ll know they’re warm enough to handle when the cellophane doesn’t feel cold anywhere.

It can take up to two hours to thaw your decorated sugar cookies, so keep that in mind when planning a bake sale or get-together. 

Sugar Cookie Freezing FAQs

Do you still have questions about freezing sugar cookies, such as whether you can freeze various kinds of icing or even raw sugar cookie dough? Don’t worry, as I have the answers in this section! 

Can You Freeze Unbaked Sugar Cookie Dough? 

You plan on baking sugar cookies, but not today. You already made the dough, and you’d like to stash it in your freezer until later this week when you have five minutes to turn the oven on without interruption.

Are you able to freeze the unbaked sugar cookie dough or do you have to use it right away? You can absolutely freeze raw cookie dough! That doesn’t only go for sugar cookies, but nearly any type of cookie.

Before freezing, roll your unbaked sugar cookie dough into a thick log. Then cover the log in plastic wrap, ensuring none of the cookie dough is exposed. Transfer the log to an airtight container or a reusable silicone bag and freeze it. 

The raw cookie dough will stay fresh in your freezer for three months. Cookie dough usually has to thaw for upwards of three hours before it’s ready for cutting and baking. 

Can You Freeze Sugar Cookies with Fondant?

Although it’s not the most popular cookie topping, you love putting fondant on your sugar cookies. 

The icing includes ingredients like glycerol, shortening or vegetable fat, gelatin, water, and sugar. You already know your sugar cookies will freeze well, but will the fondant? 

No, fondant is not freezer-friendly. Colored fondant can bleed if the sugar cookies are left in the freezer for too long, which will ruin the decorating work you did. Your cookies would be technically edible, just ugly. 

If you use uncolored fondant, that should be fine to freeze without any risk of discoloration. 

Can You Freeze Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Icing?

You just whipped up your much-beloved buttercream icing to decorate your sugar cookies. 

Like most buttercreams, your recipe likely uses cream or milk, confectioner’s sugar, shortening or butter, and plenty of authentic flavor like vanilla or chocolate. 

Does buttercream icing do well in a freezer? If you seal your sugar cookies properly, then yes! 

However, buttercream has a much shorter shelf life in the freezer compared to the sugar cookies themselves, several weeks versus several months. 

How you thaw buttercream is not quite the same either. Remove the buttercream-decorated sugar cookies from the freezer the night before you want to serve them and then store them in the fridge until morning. 

Can You Freeze Sugar Cookies Decorated with Sprinkles? 

The kids insisted on decorating a batch of sugar cookies with lots of sprinkles after you spread some icing on the cookies. You’re dubious whether the sprinkles will hold up in the freezer.

Your fears are not unfounded at all. Sprinkles and colored sugars don’t work well in the freezer. Color bleeding will occur just as it does with fondant, which will make your decorated sugar cookies look sloppy and sad.

Thank you for sharing!

Catherine Cruzz

I first fell in love with all things kitchen when I was growing up and working alongside my father in Florida at our family's appliance service and installation company. Many years later, and thousands of miles away from family I was enjoying a wonderful experience at a culinary school in Pennsylvania. That’s when I realized that along with my passion for holidays and cooking, I was still just as interested in the appliances, kitchenware, and cookware that I grew up around.

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