They’re popular during the holidays, but can you freeze decorated sugar cookies without affecting their taste or design? Yes! Here’s how.
But they can be time consuming, especially the decorating. So we like to get a head start and prepare them well ahead of time so they’re ready to simply serve when family and friends arrive.
And freezing cookies is a great way to keep them fresh, as long as you follow a few simple steps.
How to freeze decorated sugar cookies
Commonly, sugar cookies are decorated with royal icing. Why? It has a smooth, wet consistency that makes it a good option for both mixing in colors and for decorating.
And it has a nice smooth sheen when it dries. So you can use it to flood the surface of your cookies in an even way with more control than you could with other icings like buttercream, for example.
⭐️ But you need to let it royal icing dry completely on the cookies before you freeze them. Otherwise, your designs may run or crack.
Step 1: Dry decorated sugar cookies
Royal icing can take up to 8 hours to dry after you apply it to your cookies. So to dry the icing without drying out the cookies themselves, place them in a single layer on a flat parchment-lined baking sheet instead of a drying rack. This will reduce the surface area of the cookie that’s exposed to air.
Then allow them to dry at room temperature on a kitchen counter. Also, don’t cover the cookies or they won’t dry completely and the icing will remain soft, which can lead it to run or crack.
❌ And avoid placing them in the fridge to try to speed up the drying process, as the humidity inside your refrigerator can slow down the process and cause the colors to run.
When the icing is fully dry, it will have a hard outer texture. At that point, you can move on to step 2.
Step 2: Store the cookies properly
When the icing is dry and hard to the touch, carefully move the iced cookies to an airtight container or freezer bag. If you’re stacking them, it’s a good idea to place layers of parchment paper or wax paper between them. That will help prevent the cookies from sticking together and potentially ruining your beautiful designs!
Then seal the container to prevent freezer burn and the cookies from drying out, and place in the freezer. Decorated sugar cookies can last for up to 3-6 months in the freezer. They’ll likely still be fine to eat after that, but you may notice the flavor start to diminish.
👉🏼 Related: Can You Freeze Rice Krispie Treats?
How to defrost frozen sugar cookies
To thaw out the decorated frozen cookies, simply take the whole container or bag from the freezer and place it on a kitchen counter. Then allow the cookies to defrost slowly. This will likely take a few hours, so if you’re expecting guests, be sure to start the defrosting process well beforehand.
❌ Don’t open the container before they thaw or condensation could cause the decoration on your beautiful sugar cookies to bleed.
⭐️ Tip: If you’re making a lot of decorated sugar cookies, freeze them in smaller batches so you only need to defrost the amount that you need.
How long will sugar cookies stay good for?
If you intend to eat the cookies fairly soon after you bake them, you won’t need to freeze them at all. Just store sugar cookies an airtight container at room temperature. Both decorated and undecorated cookies can stay fresh for up to 1 week. Any longer than that and the cookies will start to become noticeably stale.
Can you freeze sugar cookie dough?
Yes! After you make your dough, break it into a few portions and place them on sheets of plastic wrap. Then press them flat. This will make them easier to roll out when you’re ready to use the dough. Plus, this way you only need to thaw the portion you want to use.
Next, cover the dough with the plastic wrap and place it into a ziploc bag. When you’re ready to bake with it, simply let the dough thaw out in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Then roll it out and bake as you normally would.