The Best Way to Refrigerate or Freeze (Most) Cookie Doughs

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[Photographs: Vicky Wasik. Video: Serious Eats Video.]

One of my main issues with cookie recipes is their yield. Lacy brown butter and ricotta cookies are delicious, sure, but do I really need 35 of them? Same goes for these quick and easy chocolate chip cookies and these new-fashioned snickerdoodles. They're amazing cookies, but they're also far more enjoyable in moderation. Unfortunately, what usually what happens is I find myself downing a half dozen at a time as I scramble to eat them all before they go stale. Cookie-eating goes from being a pleasure to a chore, and when I decide to give some away instead, they're usually on the verge of going stale, which makes me feel doubly bad.

Though some cookie recipes, like those aforementioned ricotta beauties, can be scaled down, many are formulated to work with a whole egg, which can make downsizing a bit tricky.

That's why a bunch of us hobby bakers around the office got excited when Stella nonchalantly demonstrated her method for pre-portioning and freezing excess cookie dough. It isn't as revolutionary as toasted sugar, but it's certainly super efficient and very useful. So we asked her to show the world in her video for Tate's-style chocolate chip cookies.

Cookie dough being portioned for freezing

Stella suggests that you start by portioning out however many cookies you plan to bake. Any leftover dough—or the whole batch, if you're saving it for later—can then be scooped onto wax, parchment, or deli paper in groups of six, 10, or whatever single-bake servings you prefer. Folded into a neat packets and placed into ziptop bags, the cookies can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for three to six months. Stella also recommends labeling the bags with the dough type, the date you made it, and the baking instructions. Sure, it may seem a little fussy, but all that extra info guarantees that you—and any friends or family you want to give a packet to—know exactly what needs to be done to bake them off.

Cookie dough portioned and ready to freeze

The first couple batches will more than make up for any near-stale cookies you've given out in the past.