Last Updated on February 12, 2023
Many people will make the cookie dough ahead of time to save time in the kitchen. It is important to know how to tell if cookie dough is bad if you are storing it ahead of time. Cookie dough is perishable, so it can go bad, especially if it is not stored properly.
Having cookie dough on hand can be great if you get a hankering for freshly baked cookies. However, your cookie dough must be still fresh when you bake it as spoiled cookie dough can make you sick. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to store it to keep it fresh and ready to bake.
Keep reading to learn how to tell if cookie dough is bad.
How to Tell if Cookie Dough is Bad
Having cookie dough on hand is great if you are ever wanting some freshly baked cookies. In addition, it is a great option if you are looking to save time around the holidays when life gets busy.
Since cookie contains ingredients such as eggs and butter, it is perishable. Though you can make it ahead of time and store it, it is important to know what it looks like when it goes bad. When cookie dough has gone bad, it is no longer safe to eat even if you bake it as it can make you sick.
Here is how to tell if cookie dough is bad:
1. Mold or discoloration
If you notice any white or green spots on your cookie dough, it is likely mold. Since mold can make you sick, you will have to throw out all of the cookie dough. In addition, if you notice any strange discoloration on your cookie dough, it is best not to risk anything and just throw it away.
2. Bad taste or smell
Bad taste and/or smell is one of the best indicators that food is no longer good. If your cookie dough has a rancid, sour, or just straight-up bad smell, you will want to throw it out. In addition, if you notice an off or just straight-up bad taste in your cookies, you don't want to eat them.
3. The cookie dough has become hard and crumbly
If your cookie dough is not properly stored, it can dry up, becoming hard and crumbly. At this stage, your cookies will be too dry to bake properly and you will just end up with a disappointing mess.
How to Store Cookie Dough
If you are making cookie dough ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge or the freezer. You don't want to leave it at room temperature for more than two hours, as it can begin to go bad any time after since it is raw.
Storing cookie dough in the fridge
You can store homemade cookie dough in the fridge for three to five days, depending on the type of cookie dough. You should keep it properly stored in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag to seal the freshness in.
For drop-style cookies, you can store the dough in one big ball or shape out individual serving-sized balls. If you shape out the cookie dough into balls, you can pop them right in the oven once it has preheated. For cut-out cookies, you can store the dough in a ball, or log, or rolled out into sheets.
Storing cookie dough in the freezer
Freezing your cookie dough is a great way to always have some on hand. Cookie dough can last in the freezer for up to nine to twelve months, which allows you to make a bunch at once and use it throughout the year.
When storing cookie dough, you can freeze it in balls or logs covered in plastic wrap. When you are ready to use it, let the cookie dough thaw at room temperature for around 30 minutes to an hour before rolling out and cutting. Then preheat the oven and bake your cut-out cookies.
You can also store cookie dough rolled into individual balls. Place the balls in a Ziploc bag, separating the layers with a layer of parchment paper.
When ready to bake, take your cookie dough balls out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature as your oven preheats. Then bake the frozen cookie dough for one to two minutes longer than what the recipe calls for.
Is it Safe to Eat Raw Cookie Dough?
Most experts warn against eating raw cookie dough as you can potentially get salmonella from eggs and E.coli from raw flour. However, you can use pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour to make cookie dough that is safe to eat raw.
How to Tell if Frozen Cookie Dough is Bad
In most cases, cookie dough can't spoil if it is frozen, however, it can lose its quality. One key sign that your frozen cookie dough is bad is if it has ice crystals forming on it. Though it is still safe to eat, the ice crystals will cause freezer burn which will affect the taste of the cookies when baked.
To prevent freezer burn, be sure to properly store your frozen cookie dough. Store your cookie dough in an airtight Ziploc bag or an airtight container. To help further prevent your cookie dough from getting freezer burn, wrap each ball of cookie dough in a layer of plastic wrap before adding it to your Ziploc bag or airtight container.
If you notice any discoloration or change in texture, this could also be a sign that your frozen cookie dough has gone bad. If this is the case, it is best to just throw it away.
Can You Bake Expired Cookie Dough?
You can bake expired cookie dough as long as it has not gone bad and is not too far past the expiration date. Typically, cookie dough can last for one to two weeks past the expiration date as long as it has been properly stored.
Be sure to examine your expired cookie dough before baking it to make sure it hasn't gone bad. If there is any sign of mold, throw it out as it is not safe to eat. In addition, if the cookie dough has an off taste, smell, or appearance your best bet is to just toss it out.
If your cookie dough is getting ready to expire, you can always freeze it to keep it for longer. When frozen in individual balls, frozen cookie dough can be baked without thawing, you will just need to bake it for an additional minute or two.
How is Cookie Dough Supposed to Look?
The exact way cookie dough is supposed to look will vary by the type of cookie you are making. Unless you are making chocolate cookies, the most cookie dough will have a pale or light brown appearance. The color should be consistent throughout and there should generally not be changes in color throughout the dough.
Cookie dough should be well mixed so that it is one consistent color, aside from any fillings. It should be soft and pliable but not overly sticky. It should be able to stay together when you form it into individual cookies.
How Long Can Cookie Dough Sit Out?
Cookie dough should not sit out at room temperature for any more than two to four hours, depending on the ingredients. This is because cookie dough often contains perishable ingredients such as eggs and butter.
After this time frame, bacteria may begin to grow in your cookie dough. This bacteria can cause food poisoning and make you sick. For best results, you want to store cookie dough in the fridge or freezer if you are not planning to make the cookies right away.
In addition to growing potentially harmful bacteria, your cookie dough may begin to dry out if it is not properly covered at room temperature. Be sure to keep your cookie dough in an airtight container.
How to Tell if Cookie Dough is Bad: Storing Your Cookie Dough
Storing cookie dough is great if you are wanting to save time in the kitchen or want to make freshly baked cookies when you get a craving. Cookie dough will last for three to five days in the fridge or nine to twelve months in the freezer when properly stored.
Do you have any questions regarding how to tell if cookie dough is bad? If so, please ask your cookie dough storage questions in the comment section below.
How Long is it Safe to Keep Raw Cookie Dough in the Fridge?
Rough cookie dough can last in the fridge for around three to five days. Store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag to keep it fresh.
What Happens if You Eat Bad Cookie Dough?
Eating raw cookie dough can potentially make you sick and even give you food poisoning. If the cookie dough has mold, discoloration, an off smell or taste or has become hard, you should throw it out.
How Do You Preserve Cookie Dough?
To preserve your cookie dough to bake later, place it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag if you are placing it in the fridge. If you are freezing it, cover it in plastic wrap or place it in a Ziploc bag.
What Does Bad Cookie Dough Smell Like?
Bad cookie dough often has a sour or rancid smell. If your cookie dough has a bad smell, throw it away as it is likely not safe to eat anymore.
Ever since she was a young girl, Anna has been a lover of desserts. As an adult, she enjoys
baking a variety of desserts from cakes, cookies, brownies, bread, and more from scratch. She
enjoys sharing her passion for baking with others who also have a sweet tooth. From properly
measuring ingredients to making sure they are the correct temperature, Anna knows the
importance small details can make in baking. She wants to share her experience with others in
hopes they can make the most delicious baked goods. When she’s not busy blogging, Anna
enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen.