How to Freeze Desserts

Want to know a secret? I freeze pretty much every single dessert I make for the blog. Want to know how to freeze desserts too? Well, you’re in the right place today.

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How to Freeze Desserts - freeze cakes and cookies, bars, candy and even pie all in advance of the holidays!


Ah, the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve; so many holidays in one short month! If you’re anything like me, these are the baking holidays. I make desserts for parties, pot lucks, class treats, gifts, family…and for the blog. In other words I have an abundance of sugar coming out of my kitchen.

If you’re like me, you don’t like to spend the actual day of the holiday baking. So what to do? Do what I do: bake ahead and freeze! Yes, you can.

Also, if you’re like me, you don’t want all those leftover cookies and desserts staring you in the face after the holiday is over. After a month of indulgence it’s time to watch what you eat, right? What to do? FREEZE IT ALL! Don’t throw it away, and if you don’t have someone to give it to…freeze it for later.

I freeze dessert, and today I’m going to share my secrets with you. I get lots of questions about how long things last and how to freeze them, I figured it was about time to just write a post about it. Right? Right.

In order to successfully freeze pretty much any baked good, you need some supplies:

  • Paper towels (the kind that are select-a-size)
  • Gallon size Ziploc storage bags (they’re cheaper than freezer bags and I just don’t see the point)
  • Airtight containers (like tupperware or the Ziploc/Gladware ones)

With those three things, you can freeze pretty much anything.

Freezing baked goods (1 of 6)

You can freeze almost any dessert easily by following my tips.

How to Freeze Cookies and Bars:

Basic cookies and bars are the easiest things to freeze. Layer the cookies or bars in a single layer inside your gallon size bag. You’ll probably fit about 12-15 cookies or bars to a layer (depending on size). Place a paper towel on top (inside the bag) and add another layer. I find that three layers are as many as will fit, and each layer will hold less cookies, so you may need more than one bag. Seal and freeze.

To defrost: Let them set on the counter to come to room temperature. Don’t remove the paper towel, that will absorb the moisture as they thaw.

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Note: you can also freeze cookie dough. Scoop balls of dough and place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze until firm, then place the balls in a bag or airtight container in the freezer. Pull out a few as needed and bake as directed.

My favorite cookies and bars: Russian Teacakes, Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Brownies

How to Freeze Frosted Cookies, Bars, and Cupcakes:

Yes, you can freeze things with frosting! This method works with anything that’s gooey and/or you can’t stack when room temperature for fear of crushing the decorations.

Place the items in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in your freezer. (Remember to use a pan that will fit in your freezer!) Let them freeze for about 30 minutes to one hour, then take them out of the freezer. Large airtight containers work best for cupcakes and you can stack frozen frosted cookies and bars between paper towels in gallon size bags like regular cookies/bars. Refreeze until needed.

To defrost: If your items are in a single layer in an airtight container or in one layer in a bag, just leave them on the counter to thaw. If you’ve stacked the items, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet to thaw so that the frosting doesn’t smudge when it gets to room temperature.

My favorite frosted bars and cupcakes: Triple Lemon Cupcakes, Perfect Sugar Cookies, Coconut Sugar Cookie Bars

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How to Freeze Candy and Fudge

Yes, I freeze fudge. I have a huge bag from last spring still in my freezer!

Layer the candy or fudge in a single layer inside your gallon size bag.  Place a paper towel on top (inside the bag) and add another layer. Keep going until your bag is full. Note: if you’re dealing with small truffles, you might want to use a quart size bag instead.

To defrost: Let them set on the counter to come to room temperature. Don’t remove the paper towel, that will absorb the moisture as they thaw. The only issue I have with freezing chocolate dipped candy is that it is sometimes less shiny after thawing. So, if the truffles are for a gift, you may not want to freeze them. But if you just have extra after a marathon baking session, have at it. Then you can have a truffle whenever a craving hits.

My favorite candies and fudge: Oreo Truffles, Pecan Pie Fudge, Gingerbread Fudge, Sugar Cookie Bark

How to Freeze Muffins, Quick Breads, Pancakes and Waffles

Frozen breakfast foods are the best – make a big batch on the weekend and have breakfasts – fast – for the week. I often pop a frozen slice of pumpkin bread into Jordan’s lunchbox and by lunch it’s defrosted!

Muffins: Freeze them like you would cupcakes, in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen you can throw them all in a large gallon size bag, seal, and store in the freezer. Just take a muffin out as you need one and either let it come to room temperature or microwave it for about 30 seconds.

My favorite muffins: Fruity Pebble Muffins, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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Quick Breads: Slice the loaf of quick bread and place each slice in a sandwich size ziploc bag. Seal and freeze. Take one bag out at at a time, as needed. Either let it come to room temperature, or microwave for about 30 seconds to thaw. The only issue you’ll have is if the bread is glazed, but melted glaze from microwaving is still really good.

My favorite quick breads: Mom’s Banana Bread, Healthy Banana Bread, Pumpkin Bread

Pancakes and Waffles: I like to layer my pancakes and waffles between pieces of paper towel. Then stack them up and place them in a bag and freeze. That way they’re easy to separate, because the paper towel keeps them from sticking to each other. Pancakes can be microwaved and I like to reheat waffles in the toaster. (This also works for french toast!)

My favorite pancakes: Cinnamon Sugar Pancakes, Sprinkle Pancakes, and Wheat Germ Pancakes

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How to freeze Pie, Cake, and Cheesecake

YES. I even freeze my cheesecakes!!

There are two ways to do  freeze a cake, cheesecake, or pie.

  1. Freeze them whole. Let them cool completely. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. To defrost, unwrap and let them thaw in the refrigerator. (For a frosted cake you probably want to freeze it first on a cookie sheet, then wrap it in plastic.)
  2. Freeze the slices. Slice your pie or cake or cheesecake. If your slices are firm (like a cheesecake or a cookie pie) place each in a ziploc sandwich bag, seal, and freeze. If your slices are messier, like a cream pie, place the slices on a cookie sheet and freeze for 30-60 minutes, then place each in a bag and re-freeze.

There are some caveats with freezing pies, cakes, and cheesecake. If your cheesecake has a topping, like chopped cookies, they may soften in the freezer, so beware. I have more success freezing firmer pies, like chess or cookie pie, than I do pudding pie, but I’ve frozen them all. It’s just a matter of how pretty they look once defrosted.

If you’re serving for a party, I suggest not freezing a pudding pie or a pie with whipped cream. But cheesecake? Sure, but make the topping before serving. Pies and cheesecakes made with cool whip freeze and defrost well.

My favorite pies, cakes, and cheesecake: Cookies ‘n Mint Chip Cheesecake, Key Lime Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Chess Pie, Toffee Pecan Pie

Shopping list for successful freezing desserts:

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113 CommentsLeave a comment or review

    1. I do! Just know that sometimes when you defrost chocolate it can look a little cloudy. So, top with sprinkles before or even just wait to decorate with a drizzle of chocolate after if that is important to you. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes, so it just depends on where you’re serving them and if you care about it. (Note: most people won’t even notice except you!)

    1. You can definitely freeze the peanut butter balls. I’m sure you can freeze the millionaires too, even after you’ve added chocolate. The only thing with frozen chocolate is it can get a little cloudy when you defrost it. If that happens, just drizzle on some extra chocolate!

  1. in 19 days i have a reunion would like to know if i can freeze a peanut butter pie a choc. pie & a strawberry lush pie 2 of them will have cream cheese & cool whip in them & milk will that hurt to freeze 

    1. I think the peanut butter pie is freezable – but I’ve never done that and defrosted, just eaten them frozen. I wouldn’t freeze the strawberry lush, the berries won’t freeze and defrost well. That’s an easy recipe and you can throw it together in just a few minutes, so save it for last minute!

  2. We’re traveling for my sons birthday & I thought about baking & freezing his cake instead of trying to make it all come together in an unknown kitchen.

    Are there certain cakes/icings that do better than others?

    1. I’ve always had good success freezing moist cakes and buttercream frosting! Check out my cakes and cupcakes recipe pages for ideas! (Sorry for my delay in replying, I’ve been out of town!)

  3. I’d like to get a better idea about which recipes taste the freshest from frozen.  Does the texture or taste change because of defrosting them?  (Ex: Baklava will not be as crispy once defrosted, right?)  I would like a nice variety to make for a wedding.  Thanks!

    1. You’re right, there are some things that do not taste the same when defrosted. Cookies, bars, cupcakes (things that are “bready”) tend to do better when defrosted. Anything that is cripsy when fresh (baklava, croissants, puff pastry) will loose that when frozen. In fact, those items are usually best freshly made too, eaten within a day or two.

  4. My sons bday party was today but he woke up sick with the stomach virus:( hopefully we can reschedule later. What is the best way to freeze his cake (chocolate w/cream cheese icing) and Oreo balls?

    1. I’m so sorry Meg!! That is the worst, when they’re sick on their birthday. I hope he feels better soon.

      The cake, since it’s already frosted, just cover it as well as possible and freeze. Place the Oreo balls in an airtight container, those will survive just fine but they may be a little dull looking when defrosting – nothing a drizzle of chocolate can’t cure (but no one would likely notice anyway!)

  5. Hello!! First of all, thank you for sharing this awesome idea! So far, I have had great luck. What do you think about freezing a truffle pie? It has chocolate chips, whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar?

    1. Truffle pie, like ganache, that’s made already? I’m always wary of freezing cream pies if I’m serving them to company later. For me, it works just fine, but you never know about ice crystals and that sort of thing. For company, I’d make it fresh. To save leftovers? Freeze!

  6. Great post!  My son has asked me to do a dessert table for his Labor Day wedding.  I always stress about freezing stuff. I always freeze my cakes unfrosted but have u ever frozen frostings like Swiss meringue or buttercream or chocolate ganache?  Would u frost and fill and freeze or def frost And then frost the cake?  Oh one more question sorry. Have u ever tried freezing the cheesecake jars?  Would it make any difference if it was no bake vs baked cheesecake?  See freezing stuff stresses me out.   I am going to have a lot of baking to do and I will be a lot less stressed if I can make ahead!  I love this post

    1. You can definitely freeze things that have been frosted in a pinch, but I recommend, especially for company/wedding, that you freeze the cake and then frost it day of or the day before. I’ve frozen buttercream frosting without any issues. Just let it come to room temperature and stir it up, and you may have to add some extra cream or milk if it’s too thick. I’ve never frozen ganache or swiss meringue, I’m sorry I can’t give you advice on those! Thanks for reading!