Even if you can't share a special occasion with loved ones in person, you can still send a sweet thought—send cookies by mail! Learn exactly how to package cookies to send in the mail so they won't crumble, plus other tips for how to mail cookies straight from the pros at the USPS.

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Whether the holidays are coming or you just want to ship someone an extra-special care package, you can't go wrong with cookies by mail. Mastering how to mail cookies is especially timely for 2020, as many holiday gatherings are pandemic-adjusted, and get-togethers in person are less common. If you can’t meet in person, a “thinking of you” cookies by mail kit is a super-sweet gesture. We tapped our Test Kitchen pros then asked Kimberly Frum, a senior public relations representative for the United States Postal Service (USPS), for their top tips for how to package cookies to send in the mail, when to ship them, and more, so you can take preventive measures to avoid a box of crumbs or stale treats by the time of their arrival.

Our Best Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Credit: Blaine Moats

7 Tips for How to Mail Cookies

Wondering if you can mail cookies by USPS, UPS, FedEx, or other such services? Sure! But you risk them arriving a bit dried out or as a pile of broken pieces unless you …

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1. Choose sturdy cookies. Avoid any cookie recipes that are fragile (macarons), flaky (lacy Florentines), cream-filled (sandwich cookies), or delicate (butter wafers) when shipping cookies through the post. The best cookies to mail are those that are at lower risk for breaking or smushing during transit. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, biscotti, bar cookies, shortbread, oatmeal cookies, and snickerdoodles do well. If you want to send cookies by mail that are frosted, choose those topped with a drier, firmer frosting, like a powdered sugar glaze or royal icing rather than a fluffy buttercream.

2. Allow them to cool before packaging. We know it can be tempting to send cookies by mail ASAP after they come out of the oven, but shipping cookies that are still warm is a bad move. Cookies that haven’t fully cooled can generate condensation inside the packaging. Not only can this alter the texture, but it may also result in bacterial growth, molding, or other food safety issues.

Allow each item to cool fully. If you’re worried about potential spoilage, the best way to ship cookies may be in an insulated cooler ($25, Office Depot) with ice packs or dry ice to keep things chilled, Frum advises, because the postal service doesn’t offer refrigeration.

3. Wrap the cookies. One of the most important considerations in this process is how to package cookies to send in the mail. Our Test Kitchen suggests wrapping pairs of cookies, back-to-back, in plastic wrap. The exception: Bar cookies or brownies, which tend to be sturdy enough to wrap and hold up individually. It might be a little time-consuming to divide your batch into sets of two as you send cookies by mail, but trust us—it's worth the extra wrapping to make sure they arrive intact.

4. Stack them smartly. If you’re shipping cookies of different sizes, weights, and styles, stack the cookies in rows with the largest and heaviest ones at the bottom of the box. Progress up to the smallest and lightest on top. A final key to packaging cookies to send in the mail: Fill any empty crevices with cushioning like bubble wrap ($14, Target), packing peanuts ($6, Office Depot), or crumpled newspaper.

5. Choose a new box. “Because boxes can weaken in the shipping process, we recommend that you don’t reuse boxes. Instead, you can get free Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express boxes at your local post office,” Frum says. If you choose to risk it and reuse an old box for shipping cookies, note that logos and all extra markings or labels must be masked or removed, Frum adds.

6. Wrap and label the box. Seal the top of the box with packing tape. Wrap the box in kraft paper ($7, Michaels) and secure with tape.

“Once the box is packed, make sure the address is printed clearly on the outside including all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information,” Frum says. “Also place a card inside the package that contains the delivery and return addresses. This ensures the package can be delivered or returned should the box break open or the mailing label become damaged or fall off.”

If you’re shipping cookies or other holiday goodies, you’re not required to mark the box with “perishable”—but you certainly can if you like.

7. Select express shipping. Depending on how the package is sent, domestic delivery can take up to five days, Frum says. To expedite and reduce the chance of spoilage when you send cookies by mail, choose Priority Mail Express (overnight to two days) or Priority Mail (one to three days) to help ensure it arrives in a timely manner, Frum says.

If you want to ship cookies through the post but don’t want to venture out to your nearest USPS, UPS, or FedEx location, you can use the following resources to order boxes, print labels, purchase postage, and/or request package pickup:

Now that you know the basics of how to mail cookies, the toughest decision will be narrowing down which classic cookie recipes to bake and share.

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