Do Girl Scout Cookies Actually Taste Better When Refrigerated?

There's something special about the annual Girl Scout cookie season. Knowing that you can only get these cookies once a year puts a certain amount of pressure on buyers to purchase enough to last for an entire year. Well, not the whole year: These cookies are stamped with a best-by date of about six months after delivery, so you'll want to make plans for extending the shelf life if you hope to make it the whole year.

We've heard about people storing these cookies in the freezer to make their supply last, and we wondered if they actually tasted better when chilled below room temperature. So we picked up a few boxes and got started with our tasting experiment for three top candidates: Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs. We left a handful of cookies at room temperature while the others were divided between the refrigerator and freezer. After giving them 24 hours at their new temperature, our tasters performed a side-by-side taste test to evaluate the differences. We assessed the cookies' flavor, aroma, and texture to see if the cool environment improved their eatability. Do these heavy hitters benefit from some time in the fridge or freezer? Read on to find out.

The best Girl Scout Cookies of 2023

When we tasted every 2023 Girl Scout Cookie, ranking them worst to best, we found that all of our tasters had a different favorite. While some cookies were certainly better than others — we're looking at you, Toffe-Tastic — there weren't really any losers here. The Girl Scouts have been extremely successful at pulling together sweet and savory flavors, accenting rich chocolate with hints of salted caramel or toasted coconut where needed.

Of all the cookies, our tasters ranked Tagalongs as their favorite, so we were excited to try them in the refrigerator and freezer to see if they still stacked up. Depending on where you live, you may know these cookies as "Peanut Butter Patties." Samoas (or "Caramel deLites") ranked our second favorite cookie, and Thin Mints came in at a surprising fifth. (We expected these minty treats to come in higher, considering that they're the No. 1 best-selling cookie, according to the Girl Scouts of America.) As for the Raspberry Rally cookies that currently making waves on eBay (much to the chagrin of the Girls Scouts), they rounded out our top 10.  

Girl Scout Cookie availability

There are two ways to score Girl Scout cookies this year. If you know a Girl Scout, you can order the cookies directly from her paper order form. These sales generally begin in February, although the specific dates depend on your region. You can also order the cookies online via the Girl Scout's e-commerce portal. For our tasters (located in Oregon), these online sales began on March 5th in 2023. Many Girl Scout troops also set up booths outside local businesses to catch anyone who happened to miss the preorder sales, so check with your local council to find out when and were those will occur.

We mentioned earlier that Tagalongs and Samoas have different names depending on where you live in the U.S., and that's because some cookies are only available in certain regions. Each Girl Scout council chooses a baker: either ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. The cookies we tested in the refrigerator are all available across the U.S., but your package may say "Peanut Butter Patties" instead of "Tagalongs" or "Caramel deLites" instead of "Samoas" if you're in ABC Bakers territory. We're in Little Brownie Bakers territory, so we tasted those packages.

Why refrigerate Girl Scout Cookies

In 2015, Kelly Parisi, chief communications executive for the Girl Scouts of the USA told Time that "the only way to eat" Thin Mints was straight out of the freezer. That got us thinking about whether we're missing out by eating the cookies right out of the box. In theory, refrigerating or freezing the cookies will help them maintain a crispy texture while solidifying the chocolate, hardening it just enough to not melt as fast. Sounds pretty good to us.

If you live in a warm climate, you may want to refrigerate chocolate items regardless of whether you think it improves the flavor. Chocolate melts at 82 degrees Fahrenheit, so those precious packages of Girl Scout cookies could be creating a mess on the countertop during the summer. The refrigerator will keep that chocolate nice and solid, preserving the eating experience.

A final reason has to do with best-by dates. All of the Girl Scout cookies we purchased were stamped with an expiration date of September 1, 2023 (about six months after delivery). Most were marked "use or freeze by" while others (like the Toast-Yay!, Lemonades, and Lemon-Ups) simply said "best by." We can only assume that Girl Scouts does not recommend freezing these cookies. For the rest, storing them in the freezer will help them keep their quality if you haven't finished them in time.

Thin Mint comparison

We started with the cookie that we've tried frozen before. One of the tasters regularly keeps a sleeve of Thin Mints in the freezer as a late-night snack. She explained that it satisfies her ice cream craving, which she tries to avoid due to the calorie count. Each one of these small cookies only contains 40 calories each, so they're a perfect substitute.

When we tasted the room-temperature Thin Mint, it immediately reminded us of why we love this cookie. The rich chocolate exterior started to melt as soon as it hit our tongues, and the crispy cookie inside satisfied the urge to reach for a crunchy snack. The peppermint oil was perfectly sweet and minty, cleansing our palate and lingering in a pleasant way.

The refrigerated cookie and frozen cookie tasted almost identical. The freezer cookie was slightly crisper than the refrigerator, and both were crunchier than the room-temperature cookie. The chocolate definitely took longer to melt, so we got to savor it a little longer. That said, all the flavors and aromas were muted. We missed the in-you-face mintiness of the room-temp cookie. It still lingered in a nice way, but it wasn't as bold.

Samoas comparison

We were a little skeptical about this one because we worried about what the refrigerator would do to the cookie's texture. At room temperature, the Samoa had the perfect level of toasted coconut aroma, caramel and chocolate richness, and a perfectly toothsome, chewy texture. Since the cookie isn't entirely covered in chocolate, we were concerned that the cookie would lose its appetizing consistency.

Sure enough, the refrigerator cookie was disappointing. It tasted sweeter than the room-temp Samoa, but it lacked that essence of caramel and coconut we loved about the original. It just wasn't the same without the gooey texture of the chocolate. The freezer cookie, on the other hand, was absolutely fantastic. It was the one cookie the tasters said they would definitely freeze on purpose. While its flavors were also muted compared to the cookies straight out of the box, the texture here was fantastic. It gained a super crispy edge that faded into the chewiness we love with this cookie. The chocolate also melted more slowly than the refrigerator cookie, so it wasn't as drippy like the original but it did allow you to savor the richness for a little bit longer.

Tagalongs comparison

The Tagalongs were our favorite cookie when we ranked the 2023 Girl Scout cookie lineup, so we had high hopes for the refrigerated and freezer versions. The best thing about these cookies (if you love peanut butter, like us) is the aroma. We could smell its intoxicating aroma as soon as we opened the box, and it didn't disappoint when it came to flavor, either. This cookie has it all: melty chocolate, a delightfully crisp wafer in the middle, and smooth, sweet peanut butter.

Sadly, the refrigerator and freezer versions did nothing to augment the flavor. The cookie is perfect as-is! We got much less peanut butter aroma from the refrigerator cookie and almost none from the freezer. Both exhibited less sweetness, but the peanut butter was a little bit richer and more savory-tasting with the refrigerated cookie. We did like how the freezer allowed us to savor the chocolate before it melted, but overall, this is the cookie we'd be least likely to serve at anything other than room temperature.

Final verdict: Should you refrigerate or freeze Girl Scout Cookies?

Overall, the tasters preferred room-temperature cookies over refrigerated or frozen ones. The cooling methods did a good job of accentuating the crispiness of the chocolate-covered cookies, and it also slowed the rate at which the chocolate melted. That allowed us to savor the chocolate flavor just a little bit longer. However, any cookie that wasn't coated in chocolate got a little too chewy in the refrigerator.

Beyond the texture, we also didn't appreciate the muted flavors from frozen and refrigerated Girl Scout cookies. The peppermint flavor took longer to reach our palate when it was cold, although it did linger in a pleasant way. The caramel, coconut, and peanut butter flavors suffered here too, being less intense than their room-temperature counterparts.

Of all the choices, the tasters all said they would turn down a refrigerated Samoa. The texture was too chewy, and it lost its luster. In general, everyone agreed that they wouldn't care to eat any of the cookies out of the refrigerator again, but they'd be willing to eat any of the frozen versions. Surprisingly enough, the frozen Samoa was the winner. It slightly edged out the room-temp Tagalong because of its incredible texture.