One of the very first things I learned when I started baking as a teenager was that there’s a right way and a wrong way to store cookies. The first Christmas I started baking a few different types of cookies to gift to family and friends, stacking them all in the same large storage containers before dividing them into their festive tins.
What happened was that the chewy cookies quickly went stale, the crunchy cookies became soft, and the mint from one cookie mixed with the gingerbread from the other. I soon realized I was doing it all wrong. Fortunately, my family was too nice to tell me that all the cookies actually tasted the same.
This is what I wish I had known then. Here are the best ways to keep cookies tasting fresh and delicious all season long.
Store baked cookies at room temperature
The biggest problem cookies face during storage, other than getting stale, is that their texture can go in the opposite direction than intended: soft cookies can get hard and crispy cookies can get soft.
Another obstacle? Strong flavors from one type of cookie can overwhelm others. That means the best way to store cookies is to keep their original characteristics in mind, hoping to keep them.
For long-term storage, it is best to freeze cookies. However, if you just want to keep cookies fresh for about a week, you’re better off storing them at room temperature. Here’s how to store them.
Soft cookies such as gingerbread, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies should be stored separately from crunchy cookies. If they have a strong flavor, they should also be stored away from other types of soft cookies in an airtight container.
To keep them as soft as possible, place a slice of white sandwich bread in the airtight container. Just as this trick helps keep brown sugar soft, it will keep your cookies soft because the moisture in the bread will leach into the cookies.
The goal for crunchy cookies is the opposite: you want to keep moisture away. To do this, keep crunchy cookies separate from soft cookies (the moisture of which can actually make crunchy cookies softer), in an airtight container that isn’t completely sealed. This will allow some air to sneak in and keep your cookies away from moisture and moisture. Again, if any of these cookies have a strong flavor, divide them by type.
How long do baked cookies last?
Baked cookies will stay fresh for three days in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If you decide to freeze baked cookies, plan to thaw and serve them within three months.
How do you prefer to store your cookies?