Sugar cookies are usually made in large batches, and the leftovers need to be stored properly to keep them as fresh as possible for as long as you need. Room-temperature storage is fine for several weeks, but the freezer is best for long term. Firm, undecorated cookies may need minimal protection—they’re fine in resealable plastic bags. But tender, iced sugar cookies are better kept in rigid containers that hold them in place and prevent them from crumbling.
Where to Store Cookies and for How Long
It’s safe to keep sugar cookies in a countertop cookie jar if you plan to eat them within two to three days. Store them in a cool, dry pantry or cupboard, away from stoves, sinks, and ovens, up to three weeks. Freeze sugar cookies if you need to store them any longer. Thaw and eat frozen cookies within three months for the best results.
Cool the Cookies and Harden the Icing
Before wrapping or storing cookies, cool them to room temperature on cooling racks, uncovered. Moisture evaporates from cookies until they cool and accumulates on wrapping materials as condensation, which ultimately makes the treats soggy. Let icing harden on decorated sugar cookies to avoid damaging the designs.
Separate According to Texture and Flavor
If you made more than one type of cookie, sort them according to their textures and flavors. Crisp cookies absorb moisture from soft cookies if you store them together. Cookies also absorb flavors of other baked goods. For example, if some cookies have mint-flavored icing and others are strawberry-flavored, they should be packed separately.
Protect With Parchment Paper
Sugar is a powerful adhesive—even sugar cookies without icing can stick together. Use parchment paper to prevent this. Cut squares of parchment paper that are slightly larger than the cookies. Sandwich each cookie between two squares of parchment.
Bags for Firm, Undecorated Cookies
Crisp, undecorated sugar cookies will likely be safe in resealable plastic bags. Wrap them in parchment paper before sliding them in the bags.
Containers for Soft or Decorated Cookies
A rigid container with an airtight lid protects decorated or soft sugar cookies better and keeps them arranged properly. Stack parchment-wrapped sugar cookies in a container to about 1/2 inch from the rim. Stack unfrosted sugar cookies top-to-bottom like a stack of pancakes. Stack decorated sugar cookies side-to-side like a loaf of sliced bread so the weight of the stack doesn’t smash the icing in between cookies.
Thaw frozen cookies at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. To crisp them up, place them in a 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 5 minutes.