How Long Can Cookie Dough Be Stored In The Refrigerator?

Dunk them in milk, use them to make an ice cream sandwich, whip up a cookie trifle, or pulverize them into a pie crust — however you like to enjoy cookies is your prerogative. However, what isn't up for discussion is how long that cookie dough can stay in the fridge before baking.

A cookie is a blank canvas for chocolate chunks, candy pieces, chopped nuts, dried fruit, or whatever else you can find in the pantry. Naturally, this level of customization is one of the greatest benefits of homemade cookies. Not to mention that you can also adjust the quantity of sugar and implement healthier swaps, with the added bonus of fewer artificial ingredients and additives. They can, however, take a bit of time to make from scratch. That's why when the cookie cravings strike, it's best to be prepared.

For the sake of convenience and quality, it's a great idea to make your cookie dough ahead of time. But, even though letting your dough rest improves the flavor, it can be problematic if the dough hangs out in the fridge for too long. Because raw cookie dough contains fresh eggs and butter, over time the dough will become rancid. On top of that, there's already a threat of salmonella and E. coli if raw eggs were used, according to Bob's Red Mill. To avoid the risk of food poisoning, there is a limit to how long the dough should be kept in the fridge.

Keep them refrigerated for up to a week

Depending on whether cookie dough is commercially-produced or homemade, the shelf life can differ. Generally, store-bought cookie dough will last a bit longer thanks to the addition of preservatives. While there's usually a best-before date on the package, MasterClass shares that if the dough doesn't have an expiration date, you should use it within one week of the best-by date.

As for homemade cookie dough, it has a significantly shorter shelf life, even when stored in the fridge. According to Better Home & Gardens, any cookie dough — with the exception of meringue and cookie bar batters — can be kept for up to a week if stored in an airtight container. For easier baking later, pre-scoop the batter or shape the dough into a log before tossing it in the fridge. Some cookie dough is even safe to freeze if you want it to be good for months.

If you've lost track of time and forgot to label exactly when your cookie dough went into the refrigerator, don't fret. Determining whether the dough has gone bad is as simple as using your senses. Smarter Homemaker advises that darkened dough edges or a sour smell can be an indication that it's time to discard the mix. Unfortunately, some bacteria — like salmonella — doesn't have a distinct smell, so it's better to not consume any cookies that don't taste the way they should!