Hey Besties! It’s a common question in our cookie decorating world. Can you freeze cookies with royal icing? And the answer is YES, absolutely! And there are actually many reasons why you may want or choose to. So today, we’re covering the ins and outs of freezing your cookies to save time and still ensure they taste perfectly fresh! Many people who order, purchase and enjoy delicious, decorated sugar cookies have NO idea how many hours go into making them!
For those just getting into cookie decorating, my intention is not to scare you away! But for informational purposes, it’s very common for it to take a few days from baking to packaging. For example, you may bake all your cookies for an order on Monday and then spend the next couple days actually decorating them, in stages. Some designs can be done in a day, especially if you’re using a dehydrator to speed up the process, but even then, cookies usually need to dry fully overnight. So, it’s very common for cookie decorating to take 2-3 days, or more, from baking to packaging.
Cookies can be very putsy and while a dehydrator can help in speeding up the drying process in between steps, sometimes your schedule requires you to make your cookies weeks in advance. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that! Actually, you may be surprised to learn that some cookiers purposely finish their cookies in advance so they can freeze them as they are convinced, they taste better after being frozen and thawed! I know cookiers who have tested their cookies and have found they stay softer for longer after they’ve been frozen.
So, let’s cover some tips and tricks for freezing dough, undecorated cookies, decorated cookies and royal icing!
Can I Freeze Cookie Dough?
You can absolutely make and freeze your dough in advance! I suggest forming your dough into large patties (versus a ball), wrapping in plastic wrap and placing in a Ziploc Freezer bag. Note that there is a difference between freezer bags and regular bags! Shaping them into patties will allow for them to thaw faster and roll-out easier. The night before you plan to bake, move them to the fridge and they’ll be ready to go the next day!
Can I Freeze Undecorated Cookies?
Cookiers commonly bake and freeze their undecorated cookies well in advance so they can pull them out to decorate when needed. When stored properly, naked cookies can be stored and stay perfectly fresh for three months! Although many people say they are good for even longer.
Some cookiers freeze in just Ziplock bags or just airtight containers. I prefer double protection…cookies take a long time to bake and I’m not risking them going bad! When they are naked, you can simply stack on top of each other or stack vertically (standing their edge). I suggest bagging into freezer bags and then in an airtight container. Some put parchment paper in between layers if stacking on top of each other. We simply stack ours in Ziplock bags and put inside airtight containers.
When ready to start decorating, it’s best to take the container out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter, without opening it, for at least an hour. You can then open up and spread your cookies out to bring to room temp. If you open the container when they are still frozen, condensation can make the cookies soggy.
Pro tip: Once your cookies are room temp, you can start decorating! It’s a common misconception that they need a lot of time to thaw before decorating. Naked cookies thaw pretty quickly!
Can I Freeze Cookies Decorated with Royal Icing?
You can absolutely freeze cookies that have royal icing on them. We freeze both flooded cookies that can be pulled out and decorated at any time for short notice orders, and fully decorated cookies.
We can commonly accommodate short-notice orders by having flooded cookies in the freezer and royal icing transfers already made ahead of time. That way, if someone contacts us wanting cookies on short notice, we can thaw and add transfers to fulfill an order with virtually no work.
How To Freeze Flooded Cookies
For flooded cookies, we use the same freezing technique as naked cookies. First step is to wait for the flood base to be completely dry overnight. Then we simply stack in Ziplock bags and put inside an airtight container. We have never needed to have parchment or anything separating the cookies as long as the flood base was completely dry.
When you want to thaw, remove the container from the freezer and let it thaw on the counter for at least an hour before opening up. Then you can open and spread out your cookies to fully thaw. And once they are room temp, you can keep decorating or add transfers!
We always have 5-6 dozen flooded cookies in our freezer in rounds, plaques and other basic or seasonal shapes. This allows us to thaw them on short notice to fulfill short-notice orders. Or we can simply pull from this stash if they work for other custom orders we need to work on.
How To Freeze Fully Decorated Cookies
If you prefer to fully decorate your cookies and then freeze so they are ready to go, that works too! For fully decorated cookies, I recommend heat sealing them individually before stacking vertically in an airtight container. To read everything you need to know about heat sealing cookies, we have a whole post about that HERE. Heat sealing really is a game changer and I personally wouldn’t freeze decorated cookies without heat sealing.
When you want to thaw, remove the container from the freezer and leave on the counter overnight and they’ll be ready and waiting for you in the morning. If you are thawing them over the daytime, simply let the container thaw for at least a few hours and then open.
Note that there is a common misconception that if you open the container when they are still frozen, condensation will get in there and ruin your cookies. If they are heat sealed, this is not a concern. If you are using self-sealing bags that are not airtight, this could be a concern. So just be aware that heat sealing provides a great layer of protection from any condensation, but anything that is not heat sealed is more susceptible to condensation.
Can Your Freeze Royal Icing?
Royal icing made with meringue powder can be frozen for months. You can make large batches of icing ahead of time, freeze and then thaw and color when needed. You can also freeze leftover icing. I pull it out of the freezer and put in the fridge the night before I need it. It simply needs a good restir after thawing and you’ll be ready to color.
I used to be wary of freezing my cookies more than once (undecorated and then again after decorating. However, I’ve tried it several times and haven’t noticed a difference in flavor, texture or freshness.
You also want to be aware of any smells in your freezer, as the cookies will absorb smells – yuck! Make sure your freezer is clean and a box of Arm & Hammer helps too.
I hope you found this post answering the question, “Can you freeze cookies with royal icing?” helpful! We all know cookiers commonly need to work ahead to manage your busy schedule while still ensuring fresh, soft cookies for your customers or family. If you’re still looking for an easy, no-fail sugar cookie recipe that people will love, THIS is the one for you! Or simply check out our ever-growing collection of flavored cutout cookie recipes HERE!
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