Feb 20


How long do decorated cookies stay fresh? What is the shelf life of decorated cookies?

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So how long do decorated cookies stay fresh?

I get this question quite often so thought I'd share some info. with you in a short post. By no means am I an expert; it's just what I've found works for me through trial and error, but I hope you find this helpful.

Before I begin, a few details to go over:

  • I'll be talking about the recipes I use (you can find them here). All recipes are different. Although the answers here will help you in general, it's best to do some testing if you're using other recipes, to find out how long yours will last.
  • No preservatives are in the recipes I use – everything is from scratch.
  • In terms of planning your cookie decorating, besides figuring out how far ahead you can begin making them, these Cookie Decorating Schedules may be helpful for you.


How far ahead can I make my decorated cookies?

Although I've tested them for longer and the batches I've tried seem fine for up to 4 weeks, my general rule of thumb is up to 2 weeks. I know they're fine to eat at 4 weeks, but I feel better about giving the cookies away when the recipients don't need to eat them right away.

It's important to wrap them in some sort of an airtight bag or container once they're dry. I like to put cookies individually in cellophane bags and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Shrink wrapping isn't necessary, but I'd love to hear from you if this is the method you use. Do your cookies generally stay fresh longer?

 A few other 'shelf-life' tidbits of information for you:

  • Gingerbread cookies typically have a long shelf life. (4-6 weeks).
  • I've also noticed that gourmet stores with custom decorated cookies (from scratch/no preservatives), have a shelf life of about one month.
  • If you're interested in freezing decorated or undecorated cookies, you can find information in this post and the comment section here.

Once Upon a Cookie – Cinderella

This Cinderella decorated cookie is the second in a series of princess cookies (Click here to find the first one), copied from this piece of art. {Thank you, suisei-ojii-sama!}. I tried to stay true to suisei-ojii-sama's design, and really fought back the urge cover her dress in disco dust, but I couldn't resist adding the tips of her little shoes, and of course, covering with disco dust.

Other Sweet Tidbits

A few sweet morsels of information I'd like to share with you:

  • The Cinderella cookie shape was made by hand cutting the dough with a paring knife. Easy enough to do if you're only doing a few cookies, but a heads-up in case you don't already know, time-consuming if you're doing a lot of them. There's got to be cutters out there you could use though (drop me a line please if you see one), or even just pipe her on a rectangular cookie.
  • I used a Kopykake projector to help me pipe Cinderella's shape.
  • Click here for the royal icing recipe I used.

Thank you for reading me here, I appreciate each and every comment, and love to hear from you!

If you'd like, leave me a comment below, on Facebook, twitter, youtube or instagram, and share your findings about the shelf life of cookies as well – I love to hear what you've learned in your cookie decorating journey.

Have fun baking!



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  1. November 23, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    In that way since it takes several days for them to achieve you, http://www.bonmax90.eu you will not have to be concerned much about it.

  2. Carey
    January 14, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Hello! Do you know how long cutout (sugar or shortbread) cookies stay fresh? For example, can i bake them on a Wednesday, then ice them with RI the following Wednesday and still have them okay to eat by the next Wednesday? I guess I’m asking for their shelf life. ;) thank you!!!

    • January 15, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      I sometimes bake my cookies and then freeze them in an airtight container after they are fully cooled. Then I can decorate them anytime I want within about 6 weeks. They thaw in as little as a half hour and taste just as fresh as just baked. If you seal them in an airtight container after fully decorated and dried, they last for several weeks (4-6). I like to individually wrap my cookes and I don’t have a heat sealing machine, so I use a hot knife and it works great.

  3. February 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi there :)
    How long does icing preserve in the bag? I find that challenging, it separates really quickly the sugar from the water. I need help on this topic ;)
    Thank you!

  4. Elizabeth
    February 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I would think that using a female gingerbread cookie cutter would make the shape, if you cut her arms and feet off. In fact, that’s what I thought you had done until you said there was no cookie cutter used. I would think that you could try that because the female gingerbread cutter I have has a skirt, a torso, and a head shape. Since you’re decorating inside the cookie shape, not to the edge, I think it would be a relatively easy guide.


    this link is not exactly what I have but it is similar.

    • marian
      February 16, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Elizabeth!

  5. Lauren Lynch
    May 28, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Hi, Marian–LOVE your website! I’ve read your posts about the multi-day decorating timelines and storing cookies. If I’m decorating over several days, what do I need to do with the cookies in the in-between time? Will they get stale if they are sitting out on a pan or parchment paper on the countertop in between decorating days or do I need to store them in airtight containers? Thank you!

    • Lea
      October 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I would like the answer to this question as well. How do you store cookies while the first layer has to dry sometimes up to 12 hours? I’m a airtight container it just out on a sheet? thanks

    • Meagan
      November 1, 2015 at 1:57 am | Permalink

      Hi! I’m not sure what she does, but I leave mine on parchment paper on pans. This helps me and I feel like they stay safe, not stale. I would like to know as well! I made 12 doz this week and I couldn’t imagine transferring them from air tight container to decorating surface each day!

  6. June 16, 2015 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    I do not know whether it’s just me or if everyone else encountering problems with your site.
    It appears like some of the text on your posts are running
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