Having a batch of cookie dough in your freezer can be handy if you want a quick and fun baking activity with your kids or when your in-laws surprise you with their visit and you desperately need something to offer them. But how long can you store premade cookie dough safely in your freezer? This article will answer your question, along with how to tell if your cookie dough isn’t safe to use anymore.
How to Store Cookie Dough in the Freezer?
If you are freezing commercially produced cookie doughs, check the expiration date before buying them. This isn’t the same as best by date – which only indicates the best quality.
If you make cookies and have some cookie dough left over, cover it in plastic wrap or freezer paper for easier dough defrost. Or, better yet, put it in an airtight container lined with parchment paper so that it will be ready for your next baking journey.
Storing Different Types of Dough
Store-bought frozen cookie doughs have short shelf lives – lasting from two weeks to six months when frozen. This is particularly true if they are already portioned into the appropriate cookie dough balls most cookie recipes require. If you freeze the dough after having it in the refrigerator, this may reduce its shelf life.
Fortunately, the mass-produced cookie dough you will find in the freezer section of most supermarkets is made with a specific freezer sealing technology, so it has a bit longer shelf life. These will typically last 9 to 12 months in the freezer in an air-free container.
While it may taste better for particular baking recipes, homemade cookie dough typically has fewer preservative properties and is often left at room temperature beforehand. Due to this, this type of frozen cookie dough would have a much shorter shelf life.
What Makes Cookie Dough Go Bad?
Most cookie dough recipes use raw eggs as the main ingredient, which is the most common cause of bad cookies. Eggs carry several types of bacteria that cause food poisoning – and the sugar and other ingredients used in doughs make the perfect substrate for their growth.
While freezing cookie dough may delay this, it will get spoiled over time. Even if your store-bought cookie dough doesn’t include eggs, it may contain sugar, baking soda, chocolate chips, or other cookie fillings that will eventually spoil.
How to Tell if the Cookie Dough Has Gone Bad?
The easiest way to tell if the cookie dough is bad is to observe its surface after thawing it in the fridge. The usual signs are discoloration of the edges and a sour smell. The dough balls may have a dryer surface, thicker texture, and a bitter taste, especially if it was made with eggs.
While mold is more common if you keep the dough in the fridge, it may also appear on the surface of frozen dough. If you couldn’t see any obvious signs on the frozen raw cookie dough itself – but your freshly baked cookies taste funny – your cookie dough is bad.
Now that you’ve learned how long you can keep cookie dough in your freezer, it will be easier to keep up with your cookie dough repertoire. If you are still concerned about the safety issue and don’t want to freeze cookie dough, you can always opt for freezing baked cookies, like soft almond and sugar cookies.