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Spoiler: Cookie Dough in Fridge – Shelf Life Revealed!

Chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar, peanut butter, shortbread, double chocolate, nutty, fruity, sandwich, thumbprint, cutout — the types of cookies are (thankfully) nearly endless. And whether you’re baking them for an occasion or as a treat on any ol’ day of the week, cookies can add up quickly.

Maybe you’re realizing that the recipe yields more than you bargained for. Maybe you made your dough in advance to allow it to rest and you’ve since changed your mind about baking today. Or perhaps, you barely got the dough into the fridge when other tasks arose, and now you’re not sure you have time to bake it. 

When is the cut-off for that chilled dough, anyway?

No matter the circumstances for their creation, we all know wasting cookies — is a no-go. So, it’s best to know the deal about storing dough.

How Long Can Cookie Dough Be Stored in The Refrigerator?

The fact is, no matter how divine and delicious cookie dough is, it is a raw product that contains eggs and butter. Over time, it’ll become rancid, on top of the lurking danger of salmonella and E. coli. Ugh. Let’s breeze right on by the food poisoning and into cookie-ville, shall we?

Most cookie dough will last a cool 3-5 days in an airtight container or other airtight situation. It may even be good up to one week, you’ll just need to use your best judgment at that point.

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Cookie Dough

When debating about the shelf-life of dough, first consider whether it’s homemade or produced. Store-bought cookie dough will last longer thanks to added preservatives that the homemade stuff doesn’t have. Follow the expiration date on the package, but if there isn’t one, you can add one generous week to the “best-by” date.

Homemade dough, when stored in an airtight container, is best to use within 3-5 days, but may be good up to one week. To assist in your baking, consider pre-scooping the dough for storage in a container with a lid or rolling the dough into a log and wrapping it in plastic wrap.

How to Tell if Cookie Dough Is ‘Bad’

Like many food products, deciphering if your cookie dough has kicked the bucket is a matter of using your senses. If it has any visible mold, smells off (pungent/sour), or has developed hard or discolored edges, you’ve missed your fresh-baked opportunity. Unfortunately, salmonella is bacteria that doesn’t have a clear odor — so if it tastes off, it is. Spit it out and cut your cookie losses.

Freezing Cookie Dough

Unlike the parameters for refrigerating, when it comes to freezing dough, there’s no difference between store-bought or homemade. Either one will keep in the freezer for two months, just be sure to get it in there by the “use by” date if store-bought.

When freezing homemade dough, you can freeze a whole, wrapped log, flattened disk, large dough ball, or portioned scoops or slices. Small amounts work well frozen then thawed in the fridge as needed. 

To be honest, I bake all my cookies at once and freeze the ones I won’t be eating right away. Baking them first, I can keep them in the freezer for 8-12 months. They defrost perfectly at room temperature and taste the same as the day you made them (or at least the day after). 

A convenient point to note is that you can bake cookies directly from their frozen state, especially cookies that require holding a certain shape — you may just need to add a couple of minutes to the bake time. If freezing a log, you’ll need to let it thaw a bit in the fridge before it’s sliceable.

For quick holiday cut-out cookies, roll out the dough and freeze in sheets separated by parchment paper in a zip-top bag or bags. When you’re ready for cookies, just pull a sheet, let it thaw a smidge in the fridge, cut out the cookies, and bake.

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