Do You Need to Thaw Frozen Cookie Dough Before Baking?

Baking from frozen cookie dough can help save you on prep time and money and prevent food waste. But did you know that, unlike many other frozen foods, most frozen cookie doughs require no thawing time before baking? Being able to bake from frozen allows for quick batches of fresh-baked cookies anytime and even the ability to make bake-on-demand desserts for your bakery or food business.

Most cookie doughs do well in the freezer, allowing at-home bakers, as well as professionals to keep frozen dough stocked up. In your food business, there are the options of freezing batches of freshly mixed cookie dough made in-house or buying already frozen dough in batches from trusted cookie dough manufacturers. Baking from frozen is much the same as baking from fresh, with just a couple of minutes added to the time in the oven.

Why Freeze Cookie Dough?

  • Time-Saving
    Being able to bake cookies from frozen dough provides a lot of conveniences. This is especially true when the dough is pre-shaped or pre-scooped before freezing. From here, it will simply be a matter of arranging dough on a tray lined with parchment paper and putting it in a preheated oven.
  • Longevity
    While fresh cookie dough will need to be baked and consumed quickly, frozen dough will last in the freezer for around six months. This gives you plenty of time to use it when needed and cuts down on food waste.
  • Money Saving
    Being able to bake cookies on demand prevents the need to mix many small batches of cookie dough or toss out excess dough or excess ingredients that don’t get used. Less food waste means saving money for your food business.
  • Better Taste
    Putting cookie dough into the freezer before baking can help solidify the fat from the butter in your cookies, which in turn keeps them from spreading too much in the oven. Colder dough will not expand as much as warm dough does. This will produce a higher, thicker cookie. Chilling before baking also hydrates the flour in your dough which will result in the coveted chewy, rather than cakey, cookie.

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

Freezing techniques for cookie dough depend on the type of cookie you are making. For example, sugar cookie dough should be frozen in large disks or logs to be broken, rolled, and shaped. For chocolate chip cookie dough, individual cookie-sized balls should be frozen. There are some cookie types that should not be frozen in dough form, such as madeleines and meringues.

If freezing in a disk or log shape, cookie dough should be wrapped tightly in parchment paper or plastic wrap beforehand. This will help prevent any odor absorption from the freezer as well as freezer burn. For cookie dough that has already been scooped or shaped, unbaked cookies should be stacked in an airtight container or freezer bag. Separating layers with parchment paper can prevent sticking.

To Defrost or Not To Defrost

Frozen cookie dough balls do not need to be thawed out before baking unless you’ve been given specific instructions that say to do so. For many cookie doughs, for example, shortbread-style or slice-and-bake cookies, baking immediately from frozen will give you the best results.

When making sugar cookies, if you have not pre-cut the shapes, you may have to let cookie dough thaw a bit before rolling it out. The best way to thaw frozen dough is by letting it sit in the refrigerator for one or two hours. This gradual defrosting will work better than trying to thaw dough in a warmer room temperature environment such as the kitchen countertop. Thawing dough in a warmer temperature could pose the risk of food poisoning from bacteria in the raw eggs in your dough.

If you are baking cookies straight from the freezer, remember to add a couple of minutes to the recipe’s recommended time in the oven. Preheat your oven and equally space out frozen dough balls, giving them space to expand on the tray. You should not need to increase the oven’s temperature – stick to the recipe.

Freezing Cookie Dough vs. Freezing Cookies

Freezing raw cookie dough rather than freezing already baked cookies allows you to have that fresh-baked cookie taste whenever you want it. Cookie dough is able to retain its fresh taste and texture, while frozen baked cookies may start to lose flavor over time and can often become soggy sitting in the freezer. Freezing baked cookies is definitely an option, but when possible, it would be better to freeze dough and then bake fresh on demand.

By freezing cookie dough made in your bakery, restaurant, or other food business, or by purchasing pre-made frozen dough from a high-quality cookie dough supplier, you will find more flexibility in providing delicious fresh cookies anytime. Frozen cookie dough not only tastes great but will save you both time and money. For many doughs, you’ll be able to simply heat up the oven and bake straight from the freezer. Bon appetit!

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