Can you freeze decorated sugar cookies? Yes, you absolutely can! You can freeze them un-iced or decorated. Let’s dive into all of the best methods for how to store royal icing cookies.
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How to dry cookies decorated with royal icing
First, let’s make sure our cookies are dried properly to begin with. Make sure your cookies are drying on a flat surface (like a baking sheet–NOT a cookie drying rack with expose holes underneath the cookie). As long as the cookie is iced and is on a flat surface, the only part of the cookie exposed to their air are the sides.
You MUST wait until your cookies are completely dried before you can store them in an airtight container. You CANNOT put royal icing cookies in an airtight container until the icing is hard to the touch. This takes about 8 hours.
Read this post for more information on how long it takes royal icing to dry and troubleshooting icing not drying correctly.
How to store royal icing cookies
Once the cookies are completely dried they can be stored in an airtight container (either just stacked on top of each other or for a safer storage in between layers of PARCHMENT–not wax). Whether or not you need to put parchment paper in between depends on your cookie recipe (some stick together more than others–I’ve never had that issue with my recipe) and/or if they’re decorated (generally speaking I’d recommend there always be something separating the cookies if they’re decorated).
I will store cookies this way (either un-iced or decorated) for up to 1 week. If I know I’ll be using them after 1 week, then I’ll freeze them.
If keeping the cookies for longer than 1 week, I recommend freezing. For freezing, I recommend layering the cookies in between PARCHMENT (not wax) paper in an airtight container (unless you heat seat them like I do, then you don’t need to do this!).
For larger quantities of cookies I have a larger container where I can store two layers of cookies upright. So many cookies!!
When you’re ready to defrost, you MUST leave the cookies in the container on the counter until they are fully defrosted. If you take them out too early when they’re iced the icing will melt/bleed as it defrosts. I usually give them at least 6 hours to defrost. Cookies can stay frozen for at least 6 months (but I’ve gone longer!)
How far in advance can you make the cookies?
If you want to make your cookies in advance… totally doable!
1 week before event: I start the process UP TO 1 week before the event and don’t do any freezing in this time period (either of the icing or cookies).
More than 1 week before event: I usually like to freeze baked un-iced cookies and prepped fresh batches of icing (I’m always paranoid iced cookies will not defrost correctly, even though that RARELY happens). You CAN completely decorate and freeze before the event though!
Check out this post for more detailed instructions on how to store royal icing.
How long do decorate sugar cookies last?
On the counter in an airtight container, I’d say up to 3-4 weeks. Personally, I prefer to eat them within 1 week or freeze them. Frozen properly, they can easily lats 3-6 months (or more!). You can even freeze dough before it’s baked (just makes sure it is VERY securely airtight!).
Want to try cookie decorating?
Try out one of my online cookie decorating classes!