Refrigerate Cookie Dough: Mix cookie dough(except bar cookie batters and meringues) and refrigerate up to 1 week. Pack dough in containers, or shape your slice-and-bake dough into logs and wrap. Store in a tightly covered container. Thaw dough in the refrigerator before baking.
Freezing Cookie Dough: Most butter- and shortening-based cookie doughs can be frozen. Place dough in a tightly sealed container; freeze up to 6 months. Thaw dough in the refrigerator; shape and bake as directed.
Storing Cookie Dough Logs: After shaping slice-and-bake cookie dough into logs, wrap the logs in plastic wrap, then in foil. Freeze logs up to 6 months. Thaw logs in the refrigerator overnight before slicing.
Leaving Cookies at Room Temperature
How Long to Keep Cookies Out: Most cookies will last at room temperature up to 3 days. However, if you leave them out for too long, the cookies can change texture and flavor. To prevent cookies from becoming stale, cover them with plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container when not serving.
In the Pan: To keep bar cookies in the baking pan, cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap.
Store Separately: Store each type of cookie separately in a tightly covered container. If you mix soft and crisp cookies, the soft cookies will dry out and the crisp cookies will become soft. They may also begin to absorb the flavor of other cookies if combined.
When to Stack: Sturdy cookies can be stacked in airtight containers without losing their shape or freshness. Layer drop cookies, unfrosted bars and cookies, and cookies with firm-set icing between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container or resealable plastic freezer bag. Layer delicate cookies, such as spritz or gingerbread men, between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight containers.
How Long to Keep: Store stacked cookies at room temperature or in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze the cookies up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat, let the cookies sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then decorate!
Single-Layer Cookie Storage
Cookies to Never Stack: Place softer cookies, like brownies, cheesecake bars, and any sweets with sticky toppings, in a single layer in an airtight container. This keeps the cookies from losing their shape while being stored.
How Long to Keep: Store single-layer cookies in the refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
How Long to Freeze: Freeze most cookies up to 3 months in freezer bags or containers -- unfrosted. When you are ready to eat them, just thaw the cookies in the container for 15 minutes, then frost or sprinkle with sugar before serving.
Bar Cookies: Store baked bar cookies in a block. Before baking, mold foil to the outside of the pan so it will easily fit inside the pan. Line the pan with the foil. After cookies have baked and cooled, use the foil to lift out the entire block. Wrap it in foil, seal, and freeze. Thaw cookies before cutting into bars.