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.
When baking frozen cookie dough, you do not have to thaw the cookie dough. Simply place the frozen, pre-scooped cookie dough onto a baking sheet and bake for 2-3 minutes longer than the original recipe recommends. That’s it!
To bake: What’s great about frozen cookie dough balls is they can be baked directly from the freezer. While the oven preheats, take out as many cookies as you’d like to make and place them on a parchment paper- or Silpat-lined baking sheet a few inches apart, or as far apart as the recipe instructs.
There’s no need to thaw frozen drop cookie dough in order to bake your cookies — in fact, we don’t recommend it. Start by preheating the oven slightly lower than the temperature called for in your recipe — about 15 degrees F lower.
“When your dough is refrigerated, the butter hardens. So when you bake them, they spread less and hold their shape better,” adds Epperson. “Which means a better likelihood of a soft, chewy cookie in the center.” So chilling the dough before baking means fluffier cookies with better consistency.
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.
Store frozen cookie dough pucks in an airtight container. When you are ready to bake the frozen dough pucks, preheat your oven to 375°. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
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 most important thing to remember when thawing your cookie dough, whether shortbread-style or drop cookies, is to place it in the fridge. Do not thaw at room temperature, as this will encourage bacteria growth from the eggs in the cookie dough.
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.
HEAT oven to 350°F (or 325°F for nonstick cookie sheet). PLACE cookie dough rounds about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. BAKE 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown.
It’s important that the cookie dough balls are frozen solid on a cookie sheet before you transfer them to the plastic bag. Otherwise, they’ll run together and turn into a weird cookie dough amoeba in your freezer. Sure, they’ll still taste amazing when it’s time to bake, but the presentation won’t be anything special.
It is best to chill dough in the refrigerator for the entire recommended amount of time.
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.
30 minutes will do the trick if you’re simply looking to avoid your cookies spreading all over the place. If you have the luxury of chilling the dough overnight to develop flavor, go for it.