how to keep cookies fresh

There’s nothing better than a soft and gooey cookie fresh out of the oven. But keeping cookies fresh is a challenge - and something we spend a lot of time thinking about at Whisked! Here are our best tips on storing cookies.

How Long Do Cookies Last?

How long cookies last depends on two factors - the type of cookie and the way that cookie is stored.

Dry Cookies

Dry cookies, like shortbread cookies, gingersnaps, and Danish butter cookies, will stay fresher for longer because they have very little moisture. Dry cookies become stale when they suck up moisture from the air - causing them to become soft and lose their snap.

Storing Dry Cookies

To keep dry cookies fresh, follow these steps:

  • Make sure cookies cool completely before storing.
  • Store them at room temperature in an air-tight container, like Tupperware.
  • Store different flavors separately. Over time, strongly flavored cookies like molasses or mint will seep into other cookies, so if possible store each flavor in its own container.
  • If you have limited Tupperware containers, place each flavor in its own freezer bag and then place those bags in the container. That will help keep flavors separate while maximizing your storage space.
  • If storing cookies in layers, use parchment or wax paper to keep them separate.

Stored this way, dry cookies should last for two to three weeks, depending on the recipe. Left out on a tray, dry cookies will become stale much more quickly - in three to four days.

Soft Cookies

Soft cookies, like chocolate chip and peanut butter, are harder to keep fresh because they get their chewy texture from the balance of moisture in the cookie. Chocolate chip cookies have lots of moisture in the centers and less on the edges - which is why their middles are soft and the edges are crispy. Chewy cookies become stale when they lose moisture to the surrounding air - eventually becoming hard and brittle.

Storing Soft Cookies

how to store cookies

To keep soft cookies fresh, follow these steps:

  • Make sure cookies cool completely before storing.
  • Like dry cookies, you want to store chewy cookies in an airtight container - like Tupperware - to help them retain their moisture.
  • Store different flavors separately. Over time, strongly flavored cookies like molasses spice cookies or mint will seep into other cookies, so you want to store each flavor in its own container.
  • Because chewy cookies can stick together, place layers of parchment or wax paper between the cookies.

Stored properly, chewy cookies should last for up to a week at room temperature. Without storing them in an airtight container, chewy cookies get stale very quickly - in two to three days.

How to Freeze Cookies

how to freeze cookies

Freezing is the best way to store cookies long term. Freezing a freshly baked cookie preserves that fresh flavor and texture so you can enjoy it any time. For best results, let your cookies cool completely, and then freeze right away.

You’ll need to make sure the cookies are well wrapped and protected from air. Storing unwrapped cookies will expose them to freezer burn and ice build up.

To freeze cookies

  • Place your cookies in a freezer bag and then squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible.
  • Place the bagged cookies in another airtight Tupperware container.
  • Make sure the lid is on tight!
  • Don’t forget to date and label your cookies, so you know what to grab when you’re hunting through the freezer.
  • Soft cookies, like peanut butter cookies, can might stick together, so put a piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap in between each of the cookies.

Cookies stored in this manner will be good for up to three months. This method means the cookies have a double layer of protection from freezer burn and ice, so they’ll stay fresher longer.

Thawing Frozen Cookies

The easiest way to thaw a frozen cookie is to place it on your kitchen counter and let it come to room temperature. This should take one to two hours, depending on the cookie and the temperature in your kitchen. The thawed cookie will taste like it’s baked that day, because you froze it at the peak of perfection.

Thawing Cookies in the Oven

If you can’t wait for the cookie to thaw on its own and want a warm cookie, you can thaw and heat in an oven.

  • Place the frozen cookie on a baking tray lined with parchment or foil.
  • Put it in an oven at a low temperature - between 250 and 300 degrees (you can also do this in a toaster oven, as long as the oven is set to the “bake” setting).
  • Heat the cookie until it’s warm - eight to 10 minutes.
  • To make sure it’s heated through lightly touch the center of the cookie. The center is the last part of the cookie to heat up, so once it’s warm your cookie is ready to eat!

Using this method, your cookie will taste like it’s fresh baked and should have that warm and gooey center.

Can You Thaw Frozen Cookies in the Microwave?

If you’re too impatient to warm your cookie in an oven, can you microwave it? The short answer is yes. But it’s not the best way to thaw a cookie.

Because of the way microwaves heat items, the cookie will lose its texture. Instead of having a soft middle and crisp edges, a chewy cookie will be soft all over. And a crunchy cookie will lose its crunchiness and become soft. You also might have a soggy bottom - as the cookie thaws in the microwave, it releases moisture that gets trapped between the bottom of the cookie and the surface it rests on.

But at Whisked!, we understand that sometimes you need a cookie right away. To thaw a cookie in the microwave, place your cookie on a plate and microwave for 60 seconds at 50% power. If you need to warm it for longer, microwave it in 30 second increments at 50% power, unit it’s warm and soft.

If you want to get homemade, fresh cookies right away, Whisked! offers the best mail order cookies that you'll want to eat right away. All of the storage tips in this post work great with all of our cookies. If you have a sweet tooth, you can also order desserts online from Whisked.

About the author, Jenna Huntsberger
Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Jenna moved to DC in 2005 to work in nonprofit communications. After deciding her real passion was pastry, she founded Whisked! in 2011, selling baked goods at a local farmer's market. Today, Whisked! cookies and pies are carried in more than 100 retail locations, and have been featured in publications like the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, and NPR.

Written by Jenna Huntsberger