How to Chill Cookie Dough in the Freezer to Speed Up the Process

Make the most of your afternoon spent baking with this time-saving tip for chilling your cookie dough.

Baking is a science and many recipes require chilling cookie dough in the fridge before baking. While it might seem like an unnecessary step, actually taking the time to chill cookie dough really is important to do. Why? It's to solidify the fat in the dough, so the cookies won't spread too far during baking, and to ensure the cookies end up soft and tender. It would be a sad day when those cute sugar cookies you just cut into pretty snowflakes turn into one large, buttery blob in the oven. It's best to chill your dough in the refrigerator for the entire recommended time. But when you're in a time crunch (or just need a cookie fix stat), our Test Kitchen's got you covered.

sugar cookie dough baking sheet
Scott Little

How to Quickly Chill Cookie Dough

If you start whipping up a cookie recipe only to realize you have to chill the dough for a longer amount of time than you have, there's a trick for speeding up the process: freezing the cookie dough. That's right, you can freeze it for a bit to shave quite a bit of time off the chilling suggestion in the recipe. Here's what our Test Kitchen recommends when quickly chilling cookie dough in the freezer:

  • Place the cookie dough in the freezer for one-quarter of the recommended refrigerator time. The dough can be wrapped in plastic, scooped into balls for baking on a cookie sheet, or left in the mixing bowl, covered. For example, if you want to make some sugar cookie cutouts that call for at least an hour of chill time in the fridge, you could freeze the dough for 15 minutes instead.

Once your dough is chilled, continue to roll out the cookies and bake as the recipe directs. Of course, if you like planning your dessert menus ahead, there are plenty of freezer-friendly cookie recipes and bar cookies you can start prepping today for future enjoyment. You can also keep a few rolls of icebox cookie recipes handy for freshly baked treats whenever cravings strike.

New to baking cookies? Get our guide on all things cookies to cover your bases when it comes to cookie sheets, ingredients, and storage.

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