How to Store Christmas Cookies So They Stay Fresher for Longer—Plus, 2 Genius Ways to Refresh Too-Dry Treats

Heed our expert tips to keep your seasonal sweets in their prime.

Are you making tree-shaped sugar cookies or gingerbread and snickerdoodles this year? We hope so: The tradition of baking Christmas cookies is one many families look forward to. Whether you are whipping up several dozen or just a batch or two, knowing how to store your cookies properly will ensure they maintain their flavor and texture.

There are a few different factors that go into keeping homemade holiday treats fresh, which is why we asked professional bakers to explain how to properly store Christmas cookies to guarantee optimal freshness throughout the season.

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Ryan Liebe

Know How Long Different Types of Cookies Last

Understanding how long different cookie types last will help you determine how to store them, says Melanie Auxer, a food scientist and vice president of Insomnia Cookies. You can expect these treats to stay fresh between 3 to 14 days when stored at room temperature, she explains. Softer or filled cookies will last on the short end of the range, while biscotti and other hard cookies stay fresher for longer. Auxer suggests storing baked cookies in the freezer for up to six months if you want to enjoy them far beyond that timeline.

Cool Before Storing

No one likes a soggy cookie, and for that reason, always let cookies—or any baked goods—cool before storing, notes Auxer. "If not cooled, the moisture generated by the heat will get trapped inside of the storage container and cause the cookies to get soggy," she says. Generally, Christmas cookies will take about 10 to 20 minutes to cool after you take them out of the oven.

Store Different Varieties Separately

If you baked batches of different cookies, each type should be stored in its own container. Not only will this keep the flavors separate, but it will also prevent the cookies from absorbing unwanted moisture from nearby treats. "I like to keep more delicately flavored or textured cookies separate from others since these soft cookies can quickly pick up background notes from something like anise if packed together," says Anna McGorman, a pastry chef and director of culinary operations at Milk Bar.

Traditional Spritz or press cookies are usually baked from the same dough, though, so those can be kept together. "Think of storing Christmas cookies like making a fruit salad—bananas are going to get a bit roughed up by the more sturdy melon cubes if left too long together," McGorman says.

Use Airtight Containers

Once your cookies have cooled, store them in layers in airtight containers. Separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper to prevent the cookies from sticking together. Do so, and you should be able to store Christmas cookies at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, notes Auxer.

Store Cookies Without Frosting Them

If you plan on keeping cookies for more than 7 days, don't add frosting until you're ready to serve, since icing has a different shelf-life. And if you've already iced your cookies? Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, shares Auxer. Like unfrosted cookies, frosted varieties should be stored in layers in between sheets of wax paper to prevent sticking.

How to Refresh Dry Cookies

If your cookies have started to dry out a few days after you baked them, you can pop them in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds, making sure to cover them with a damp paper towel, says McGorman. Serve the cookies immediately after microwaving.

Alternatively, you can also add half a slice of bread to your airtight container overnight. "The cookies will reabsorb some moisture from the bread and should be as good as new," she says.

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