Knowing how to store holiday cookies and candies makes it a cinch to stash your creations in advance for safekeeping–both from deteriorating over time and from stray cravings–so they last long past the moment you made them.

An assortment of holiday cookie tins with tissue paper sticking out of them.

Rest assured, busy bakers who have other things to do with every spare hour in December besides bake, that most decorated Christmas cookies, as well as caramels and candy cane bark and brittle, can be made in advance and stashed for up to a week before gifting them or noshing on them with some wine at your swanky soiree. Which means you can easily pretend that you JUST slaved over a hot stove for the cookies and candies that you’re gifting. You simply need to pay mind to a few commonsense tricks.

Storing cookies and candy at room temp

First, make sure the candy itself or the icing on your decorated cookies is fully set and dried before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. You can layer candies or cookies between sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper, stacking the cookies no more than three layers high since too much weight can damage the decorations or the shapes of the candies toward the bottom of the tin.

Storing cookies in the freezer

For longer storage, you can freeze baked but undecorated cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Cool completely before freezing. Simply thaw them at room temperature before serving or decorating.

A selection of decorated gingerbread cookies in the shapes of men, stars, and trees.
: avdeyukphoto

You can also freeze unbaked cookie dough that must be chilled before rolling out, such as sugar cookie dough or gingerbread dough. These can be formed into a disk, wrapped in plastic wrap, sealed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months; let the dough thaw to a cool room temperature before rolling it out, baking, and decorating as usual.

Same goes for icebox doughs, which are formed into a log prior to chilling, slicing, and baking. They can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months. Just thaw at room temperature before slicing and baking.

Additionally, any unbaked rolled or shaped cooked dough, such as sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and fig rugelach, can be shaped and frozen before baking and then baked directly from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.

About Elisabet der Nederlanden

Elisabet der Nederlanden grew up in her grandmother’s kitchen in Sweden and has been working in bakeries since she was a teenager. She’s a professional baker, recipe developer, food stylist, and author of Holiday Cookies. @elisabettheswedishbaker

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  1. Since moving to rainy Oregon, I’ve had problems with my sugar cookies staying crispy! What to do??? I definitely roll them really thin, let them cool and they’ve lost their crispiness by the next day!

    1. Dawn, the moisture in the air is definitely not helping you! Have you tried storing them in the fridge or freezer?

    2. An old standby is putting a slice of soft bread on top and store. Any moisture will migrate to the bread. I would put a layer of plastic wrap under the lid also. Hope this helps.