How to Store Any Type of Cookie to Keep It Fresh

Soft or crispy, frosted or unfrosted — here’s everything you need to know about keeping that dozen (or more!) good for as long as possible.

<p>Diana Chistruga</p>

Diana Chistruga

They’re the star of bake sales and cookie swaps for a reason: Homemade cookies are crowd-pleasers that keep and travel well. While we doubt many people are going to turn away a slightly stale cookie, there are a few cardinal rules for keeping cookies fresh. Here’s a guide to storing any kind of cookie, from soft chocolate chip cookies to crispy ginger-rye cookies.

How long do cookies last?

Cookies will look and taste their best for about three days at room temperature or about a week in the fridge. That doesn’t mean you should toss them, though! While cookies might become a little stale when stored for a longer period, they’re remarkably shelf-stable, and can keep for two to three weeks at room temperature or up to two months in the fridge, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Baked cookies can also last in the freezer for up to three months when stored in an airtight container. If all else fails, turn those stale cookies into an icebox cake!

Related: How to Freeze Cookie Dough

Do baked cookies need to be refrigerated?

Most cookies don’t need to be refrigerated, but there are a few exceptions. You should store your cookies in the fridge if they contain a perishable ingredient like ricotta, cream cheese, or jam; or if they include a custard element (lemon bars are a good example). If your kitchen is very warm and you’re making cookies with melty ingredients like chocolate chips, the fridge may also be your friend.

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

How to store soft cookies

An old-fashioned cookie jar is undeniably charming, but it’s not an ideal storage vessel for soft cookies like soft chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, or bar cookies since it’s not completely airtight — air causes the cookies’ starch molecules to crystallize faster, resulting in stale cookies. The best vessel for storing soft cookies is an airtight plastic or glass container or ziplock bag.

First, allow the cookies to cool completely, then transfer into the container in a single layer, if possible, or stack them in between sheets of wax or parchment paper to keep the cookies from touching each other. Store different types of cookies in different containers, as they can transfer their flavors to each other (this is particularly important with soft and crispy cookies, since soft cookies will cause crispy cookies to soften and vice versa). To help keep soft cookies moist for longer, you can add a piece of sliced white bread to the container, which will absorb air.

Related: The Best Cookie Sheets of 2024, Ranked and Reviewed

What about frosted cookies? Frost the cooled cookies, then allow the frosting to harden, which will take about two hours, before transferring them to airtight containers. Store in a single layer, if you’re able to, or use sheets of parchment or wax paper in between each layer to prevent smushing.

© Lucy Schaeffer
© Lucy Schaeffer

How to store crispy, crunchy cookies

The main enemy of crispy cookies like biscotti, pecan sandies, gingersnaps, or crispier chocolate chip cookies is moisture. To keep them dry and crunchy, you’ll want to keep these cookies in an airtight container that’s not completely sealed, which will help to keep moisture and humidity at bay. In this case, a cookie jar is actually okay, since it isn’t airtight. Otherwise you can leave the lid slightly ajar or a ziplock bag slightly unfastened. First allow the cookies to cool completely, then transfer them into the container — don’t worry about storing crunchy cookies in a single layer, but keep them away from soft cookies, which will transfer their moisture.

Can you freeze baked cookies?

Yes! Freezing cookies is an excellent way to keep them fresh for an extended period of time — allow them to cool completely, then store them in a single layer in an airtight container or ziplock bag, or stacked between sheets of wax or parchment paper; they’ll keep for up to three months. You can also freeze cookie dough for up to one month before baking.

Related: How to Store Any Type of Cake to Keep It Fresh

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