The Right Way to Make and Freeze Christmas Cookies

Think of it as an early Christmas present for your future self.

Christmas Cookies
Photo: Linda Pugliese, Hector Sanchez

Yes, you can bake Christmas cookies now, and they'll still be just as delicious for all those cookie swaps, office parties, teacher gifts, and holiday get-togethers.

Summer is a brilliant time to make and freeze cookies because you're likely to have a little more time on your hands for baking projects. And you can enlist helpers who are on summer break from school and in need of fun projects.

If you're a stickler for fresh-baked flavor, you can also make the dough and freeze it, but it is best used within three months—so you can get started in October and have plenty of dough on-hand for December.

Follow these tips to freeze-baked cookies like a pro.

How to Freeze Christmas Cookies You've Made in Advance

Choose the Right Cookie

Slice-and-bake, cut outs, drop, bar, and some shaped cookies (thumbprints) freeze well. Avoid delicate cookies like tuiles, Florentines, meringues, and any sort of wafer cookie. Pre-baked cookies can be frozen for up to six months.

Decorate Later

Cookies with sprinkles, dragees, icing, and other fancy finishes might not look as perfect once they've been defrosted. If possible, bake the cookies, freeze them, then decorate them after they have been thawed.

When you're ready to decorate your thawed cookies, make it a festive family activity with our guide to decorating Christmas cookies with kids.

Cool the Cookies Completely

Make sure the baked cookies are completely cool before you freeze them. If they are still warm, the trapped steam could degrade the cookies' shape and texture when thawed later, and it can cause freezer burn once frozen.

Package Them Carefully

Arrange the cooled cookies in airtight containers. Line bottom with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or wax paper. Separate each layer of cookies with aluminum foil or wax paper. Seal the container, and label it with the contents and date before freezing. Airtight containers prevent freezer burn, and separating cookies in layers keeps them from sticking to each other and breaking.

Thaw Correctly

Don't thaw the cookies in the container they were stored in—condensation can make them soggy. It's best to lay the cooks out on a cooling rack and let them come to room temperature. Once they have defrosted, you can refresh them in a low oven (300 F to 325 F) for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size and type of cookie.

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