How Long Can Cookie Dough Last in the Fridge?
How Long Can Cookie Dough Last in the Fridge?

Cookies are one of people’s favorite tasty treats, but whether you prefer store-bought or homemade cookie dough, there is always a question about its storage. How long can cookie dough last in the fridge? What is the shelf-life of cookie dough? Does commercially produced Pillsbury cookie dough have longer shelf life than cookie dough made at home? Let’s find out all the answers.

Both commercially produced and homemade cookie dough are equally tasty, but if you have time on your hands and want cookies made of quality ingredients, maybe it would be a better choice to make them on your own. You can use healthy fats, real sugar, real chocolate, and make cookies without preservatives.

Store-bought products, such as Nestle or Pillsbury cookie dough can be a good choice too. Store-bought cookies are often lower in sugar and calories and they do not require your time and they also have a longer shelf life.

Cookie doughs can be refrigerated in two cases – when you want them to develop more flavor (refrigerating is recommendable at least for 30 minutes, so the ingredients combine better and make even more delicious cookies) or when you don’t want to bake the whole amount at once. 

We will explain below all about refrigerating cookie dough.

How long can I keep cookie dough in the fridge before baking?

Refrigerating and freezing are ways to save unused raw cookie dough or its leftovers, whether is it store-bought or homemade.

The shelf life of cookie dough that you buy is longer. If you open the package you should use it within 5 days, but always keep the open dough in the refrigerator. Unopened cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. If you want to save it for longer, simply freeze it.

Balls of cookie dough can be frozen and saved for later (shutterstock.com)

Frozen raw cookie dough last up to 12 months in the freezer. It can also be used after best by date. Best by date doesn’t mean that cookie dough will go bad instantly on that date, but that it will be in its best quality, which will decrease afterward.

How long can you refrigerate homemade cookie dough?

Homemade cookie dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for three to five days. It can also be frozen for up to two months. Depending on how you choose to freeze cookie dough you can alternatively take small quantities out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge overnight.

Homemade vs store-bought cookie dough: Lifespans

The longevity of your cookie dough can differ depending on several factors. A typical life span for homemade cookie dough is 1-2 weeks. For some store-made cookie dough, you could expect around 6 or 12 months. Particular ingredients play an important role in dough’s longevity. 

Cookie dough can be refrigerated in a bowl but covered with plastic wrap (shutterstock.com)

Cookie dough you buy will be in its best quality up to 3 weeks in the fridge, while frozen cookie dough can last up to a year. We don’t recommend keeping it in a freezer for longer than a year. Doughs made from scratch may taste better but their quality will start to decline after 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Does edible cookie dough have to be refrigerated?

Edible cookie dough is the only exception in terms of refrigerating. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, although it will be firmer and therefore easier to manage if it’s kept in the fridge. Once you open edible cookie doughs, you should eat them within 2 to 3 days. Edible cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 2-3 months, just let it thaw at room temperature.

Edible cookie dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated (shutterstock.com)

The reason edible cookie dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated is that its ingredients are heat-treated – flour is baked and eggs are omitted, therefore there is no danger of food poisoning if this type of dough isn’t refrigerated.

How do you store cookie dough in the fridge?

You can store cookie dough balls on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or wax paper, and you can also refrigerate the entire ball of cookie dough. Put cookie dough into a container or plastic ziplock bag. You can also put it in a bowl and wrap it with plastic foil. Cookie dough can also be rolled in a log and wrapped in plastic foil – it will also be easier to cut later.

Can you skip the chilling of cookie dough?

Refrigerating is the way of storing cookie dough, but cookie dough also needs to be refrigerated right after kneading. Chilling makes ingredients more compact and allows fats to cool. Chilling will give a nice texture to your cookies – they won’t be flat, as they would be if you’d bake them right after kneading.

So, if you wondered will refrigerating ruin your dough – no, it will make it even tastier and it’ll give it a better texture.

When you make cookie dough it should rest in the fridge, to get better texture and taste (shutterstock.com)

Can you keep cookie dough in the fridge for a week?

It depends on the type of cookie dough.

For example, doughs you make from scratch at home will be good for 2 to 4 days when kept in the fridge. The cookie dough you buy in the store is designed to have a longer shelf life than other kinds of raw cookie doughs. They can be kept in the refrigerator for two weeks even after their best by date.

Can you refrigerate cookie dough too long?

As we mentioned in the introduction of this article, refrigerating cookie dough is recommendable by all means. After you knead the dough, you should let it “rest” in the fridge for at least 30 minutes up to 24 hours. Resting will allow fats to cool, which will result in a better texture of your cookies – they will be thicker and chewier. Also, the cookie dough will develop all flavors and it’ll be more tasteful.

Still, do not exaggerate with refrigerating cookie dough. Everything more than 24 hours won’t make any difference at the final product and after 72 hours your cookie dough could begin to spoil.

Does refrigerating cookie dough make a difference?

Yes, refrigerating makes a difference. It will allow fats (butter or shortening) to cool down and therefore cookies won’t overspread during baking. Also, it will allow the flour to fully hydrate, which will also affect cookie texture. Your cookies won’t be hard flat disks, as it might happen without chilling the dough, but they’ll be airy and chewy.

Don’t eat raw cookie dough if you notice any sign of spoilage (shutterstock.com)

Why is my cookie dough hard after refrigeration?

Cookie dough is sometimes hard as a rock after refrigeration and the reason for this unusual problem usually lays in flour. Flour needs to hydrate – it will soak in all other cookie ingredients, but if the dough is left in the fridge for too long, it could harden so much that is almost impossible to work with.

Tip: If your cookie dough is too hard after refrigeration, try to fix it with a little additional liquid or fat. Knead it once again and let it rest at room temperature.

Should refrigerated cookie dough be brought to room temperature before baking?

No. If your dough isn’t too hard, you don’t need to bring it to room temperature before baking.

Chilling in the fridge will make it easier to scoop and cookies will have better shape, consistency, and taste when the dough is previously cooled.

Can I freeze cookie dough instead of refrigerating it?

Yes, frozen cookie dough won’t lose on its quality. Cookie doughs you make at home can be frozen for 3 months (don’t forget to write down a little label with the date of freezing), while commercial doughs can be frozen for up to 12 months, giving you plenty of time to use it.

When you make cookie dough from scratch and decide to freeze it, simply make little balls, like you would do when you’re baking cookies, and put them on a baking pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Put a pan into the freezer for about an hour.

When balls of dough are frozen, transfer them into a container or plastic ziplock bag. That way you can take out the exact amount of cookie dough you want to bake – it’s more practical than freezing the entire amount of cookie dough in one big ball.

Is frozen cookie dough better?

Freezing won’t affect the quality of cookie dough more than refrigerating. Only 30 minutes of chilling will make a difference, as we mentioned. Cookies will brown better, spread less, and have a chewier texture. Freezing is great for portion control – you can bake small batches of cookies. You can take out as many balls of cookie dough as you want to – even if it’s just 5 of them.

Refrigerated cookie dough will give you nicer cookies (shutterstock.com)

What makes cookie dough go bad?

Raw eggs are one of the main ingredients of cookie dough and the main reason cookie dough is gone bad. Raw eggs will moisture dry ingredients and help the dough to keep together, but raw eggs are also prone to spoiling, especially when combined with other ingredients, such as sugar, fats, and flour.

Over time eggs could spoil and make cookie dough dangerous for your health.

How can you tell if cookie dough is bad?

How to know when your dough go bad? The most obvious way – using your senses – will tell you if your cookie dough is bad. If cookie dough has an unpleasant sour smell it is gone bad.

Also, if you see any mold on your cookie dough, throw it away and make another batch.

Discolorations are another secure sign that cookie dough is turning bad – if edges of cookie dough become darker and firmer (not as soft as the rest of the dough) that is one more sign that your cookie dough is not good.

Should I eat expired cookie dough?

First of all, look carefully does cookie dough has an expiration date or best by date, since those two are not the same.

You can eat cookie dough up to two months after its best by date if it doesn’t have any signs of spoilage and if it has been stored properly.