You don’t have to defrost cookie dough before baking. If you’ve separated your cookie dough into single-serve balls or shapes beforehand, you can put them in the oven from the freezer. However, frozen cookies need one to three extra minutes in the oven versus thawed dough.
Generally, it’s okay to bake these types of cookies directly from the freezer, but they will not turn out exactly like those that are baked fresh. The taste will remain, but the cookies will not spread as large. If you want the spread to be the same, we recommend thawing the dough for 24 hours in the fridge.
It comes down to personal preference—if you prefer crispier edges and soft interior, plus deep vanilla and caramel notes, we recommend using refrigerated cookie dough that’s been chilled at least overnight. However, the first no-chill batch had a nice, soft texture and was rich with flavor.
Chilling cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies spread.
Freezing cookie dough is easy. … Place the solid and cold cookie dough balls into a labeled zipped-top bag– large or small depending on how much dough you have. Label the bag with the month and the baking temperature and place the bag in the freezer. Freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months.
Once you are ready to use the dough, transfer the wrapped dough to the refrigerator and let it thaw for 24-48 hours until it is soft enough to roll/slice.
As a general rule of thumb, you should refrigerate cookie dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. More than that and you won’t see a noticeable difference in the final product, says Haught Brown.
How long does it take for refrigerated cookie dough to come to room temperature? Once the dough has chilled, let it warm up at room temperature until it’s just pliable (about five to ten minutes); letting it get to be too warm will defeat the purpose of chilling the dough at all.
Put each portion of cookie dough into a plastic bag with a zip top that you can put into the fridge or freezer. Squeeze all the air out of the bag before sealing the top closed. Getting all the air out of the bag is especially important if you plan on freezing the dough.
Many cookie recipes call for long refrigeration times, but a finicky dough or a little extra chilling time can result in dough that’s as hard as a rock, and nearly impossible to work with. Merrill recommends putting dough near a warm stove, and pounding it with a rolling pin once it starts to soften.
Chilling the dough is a key step in making sugar cookies, especially when you’re making cut-outs. Even if you’re tight on time, make sure to get the dough in the fridge, or even the freezer, even if it’s only for a little while. … Chilled dough also holds its shape better in the oven.
If you start a cookie recipe only to realize you have to chill the dough for longer than the time you have, you can freeze the cookie dough for a bit to speed up the chilling time. Here’s what our Test Kitchen recommends: Place the cookie dough in the freezer for one-quarter of the recommended refrigerator time.
In most cases, I prefer to freeze cookie dough over freezing baked cookies. That way, you still get the nice homemade smell and softness of the cookies when they come out of the oven. But if you want to get the whole job done, you can certainly bake the cookies, then freeze them later.
The frozen dough can be defrosted by following the steps below:
- Use a microwave safe plate and spray with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
- Place the frozen cookie dough on the plate.
- Cover with microwavable plastic wrap.
- Microwave for 10 seconds on the defrost or 30% power setting.
- Check the defrosted dough.