Whether you are baking ahead or simply can't eat everything fast enough, this guide to freezing baked goods has all the information you need.
I don't know about you, but there's no way I'm able to eat everything I bake.
Maybe it's because I spend practically all my free time in the kitchen, but I always end up with *way* too much dessert. And that's where the freezer comes in.
You would be surprised how many baked goods you can freeze and enjoy later! Freezing is helpful if you can't eat everything fast enough, or if you just want to have treats on hand for a special occasion. Depending on what you're making, there are several different ways you can freeze it—both baked and unbaked—so it's helpful to know all of your options.
Without further ado, here is my ultimate guide to freezing baked goods.
General Tips for Freezing Baked Goods
Though there is a specific way to freeze each type of dessert, there are some general rules that apply to all baked goods when freezing.
1. Label everything!
I can't tell you how many times I have frozen something and forgot about it in my freezer. Save yourself the headache by just writing the date down from the start. Make sure to also write what it is you are freezing so you don't have any confusion later.
2. Make sure everything is tightly wrapped.
I sometimes wrap my baked goods twice to make sure they are protected in the freezer. You can even wrap an item in plastic wrap, then store it in a Tupperware container to be extra safe.
3. Most baked goods stay fresh for up to two months.
Some foods will last longer than that, but I usually use two months as a rule of thumb. By labeling the food, you can easily tell when to toss it as the months go by.
How to Freeze Cookies (and Cookie Dough)
Without a doubt, I always have some form of cookie dough in my freezer. Here are my recommendations for freezing cookie dough:
- Chill the dough. After making your cookie dough, let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
- Portion into cookie dough balls. Then, shape the cookie dough into individual balls so that they are ready to bake.
- Freeze stored in a Ziploc bag/Tupperware container. Store the cookie dough balls in an airtight container and freeze up to two months.
- Bake the cookies straight from the freezer. No need to thaw! Simply transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to a sheet tray, then bake in the oven. They might take a few extra minutes to bake, so keep an eye on them.
On the other hand, you can also freeze baked cookies. Here is the best way to do that:
- Bake your cookies, then let them cool completely at room temperature. If you wrap the cookies while they're still warm, the bag will trap that extra moisture and make the cookies soggy.
- Freeze the baked cookies in a Ziploc bag/Tupperware container. I recommend placing parchment paper in between each layer so the cookies don't stick together. Like the cookie dough, you can freeze these cookies for up to two months.
- When ready to eat, thaw the cookies at room temperature. Simply remove the cookies from the freezer and let them thaw on your kitchen counter. Once completely thawed, you can heat them back up in either the microwave or the oven for a few minutes.
How to Freeze Cakes
Honestly, I find making cakes a bit daunting. It's hard to find the time to bake the cake layers and assemble the cake in one day. Anybody else feel me?
That's where freezing comes in! You can easily make your cake layers ahead of time, then assemble the cake weeks or even months later. Here are my recommendations for freezing cakes:
- Bake your cake layers, then let them cool completely at room temperature. Make sure the layers are completely cool to the touch before freezing.
- Wrap the cake layers individually in plastic wrap, then freeze for up to two months. I recommend wrapping each layer by itself so that they don't stick to each other. I sometimes also like to wrap the layer in plastic wrap, then place a Ziploc bag on top so that I know it's secure. Alternatively, you can also wrap the plastic layer in aluminum foil.
- When ready to use, thaw the frozen cake layers in the fridge. I recommend pulling the cake layers out a day before you are ready to use them, but you should thaw them for at least 8-12 hours in the fridge. Keep the cake in the wrapping while you thaw to avoid condensation buildup.
- Don't freeze decorated cakes. While you can freeze a cake that is fully decorated, I usually prefer to just freeze the cake layers individually. Frosting will taste best if made fresh, and I personally don't like to run the risk of messing up a beautifully decorated cake in the freezer.
How to Freeze Quick Breads
If you're making as much chocolate chip banana bread as I am, you're definitely going to need to freeze some of it. Here are my tips for freezing quick breads:
- Bake and let cool completely at room temperature. Make sure the bread is completely cool to the touch before freezing.
- Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap, then freeze for up to two months. You can either wrap the loaf as a whole, or you can slice it and wrap each slice individually. I find freezing the bread in slices a bit easier since you don't have to wait as long for them to thaw out later.
- When ready to eat, thaw the bread at room temperature. I usually let the bread thaw at room temperature overnight, then I warm it up in the microwave or the oven before serving.
How to Freeze Muffins and Cupcakes
Whenever I have some spare time, I love whipping up a batch of muffins or cupcakes to freeze. You can easily pull them out and decorate when a special occasion arises!
Here are a few tips:
- Freeze unfrosted cupcakes. Similar to freezing an entire cake, let cupcakes cool completely before freezing. Then, wrap the unfrosted cupcakes individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months. I recommend adding the frosting right before serving for the best taste.
- Thaw at room temperature, then heat up in the microwave or oven. Let the muffins or cupcakes sit out at room temperature for 3-4 hours (or even overnight), then warm them up before serving. If you are going to frost the cupcakes, I advise doing so without warming them up.
How to Freeze Pie Dough
When the holiday season rolls around, I always make sure I have extra pie dough in my freezer. That way, making all those Thanksgiving pies is an absolute breeze.
Freezing pie dough couldn't be more simple:
- Wrap pie dough in disks, then freeze individually. If you are making a large batch of pie dough, I recommend dividing the dough into individual portions. Shape the dough into a circle, then gently pat it out so that it forms a disk. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap, then freeze for up to two months.
- To use, thaw the pie dough in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, roll the pie dough out with your rolling pin and form your crust as usual.
Alternatively, you can also roll the pie dough out into the pie pan, then freeze the pie pan entirely. Make sure to stick the entire pan into a freezer bag so that it stays protected. When ready to use, simply thaw the crust in the fridge overnight, then continue assembling the pie as normal.
Want to Learn More?
Check out these articles to learn more about the science of baking and bake like a pastry chef at home!