How Long Can Cookie Dough Sit Out? [The Freshness Factor]

Cookie dough sitting out

Ingredients like milk, eggs, and butter used in cookie dough are perishable.

So you can’t leave the dough at room temperature for too long.

Time for Which Cookie Dough Can Sit Out

There is no exact answer for how long cookie dough can sit out. Different factors like the ambient conditions, ingredients used, and method of storage will affect the outcome. Nonetheless, you can safely assume that cookie dough will not last outside for more than two hours.

Raw cookie dough contains flour, eggs, and dairy, which harbors harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli.

Even if the dough doesn’t show visible signs of damage, food safety is compromised. It can lead to food poisoning.

If you must keep cookie dough for longer than two hours, refrigerate or freeze it.

Refrigerated cookie dough lasts for three to five days. Frozen cookie dough holds up for several months.

Unless you freeze the dough in the form of a ball, you can directly use it to bake cookies without thawing.

So it’s a safe and efficient way to store any excess cookie dough.

Now, if you must keep cookie dough at room temperature for a short time, there are a few ways to extend its lifespan.

Let’s look at what they are.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Cookie Dough at Room Temperature?

We don’t recommend storing cookie dough at room temperature for too long.

Keeping it outside for too long will promote bacterial growth and make it unsafe for consumption.

Hence, it’s better to use it quickly or store it in the refrigerator.

If you can’t refrigerate cookie dough right away, these precautions will help to extend its lifespan.

1. Use Heat-Treated Flour

Flour is a primary ingredient of cookie dough. It has a long shelf life.

But it will not last too long when mixed with wet ingredients.

The presence of moisture makes it vulnerable to spoiling.

Heat-treating flour makes it safer. You can heat it at home in just a few minutes.

One method is to spread the dough on a baking tray and place it in a preheated oven for five to ten minutes.

This will remove moisture from the flour and make it safe for baking.

You can also heat flour on the stovetop. Spread it on a skillet or frying pan and gently heat it till warm.

The flour temperature shouldn’t exceed 160°F.

2. Use Pasteurized Eggs for The Dough

Pasteurized eggs undergo heat treatment at a low temperature to destroy harmful bacteria in them.

This makes the eggs safer than fresh eggs.

You can prolong the lifespan of raw cookie dough by using pasteurized eggs for the dough.

Most of the eggs you buy from supermarkets are pasteurized.

You can check the label on the carton to confirm.

Related: How to Preserve Cookie Dough? | Fix Crumbly Cookie Dough

3. Choose Recipes without Eggs

Eggs are rich in moisture and fat. So they spoil rapidly at room temperature.

Unpasteurized eggs begin to spoil in less than two hours when left outside.

So your cookie dough is more likely to spoil if it has eggs in it.

But there are various recipes for cookies that don’t involve eggs. These will hold up better at room temperature.

Choose vegan or vegetarian cookie recipes without eggs if you wish to store your raw cookie dough at room temperature for much longer.

4. Choose Recipes without Dairy

Just like eggs, dairy ingredients like milk and butter spoil rapidly at room temperature.

So cookie dough spoils quickly if it contains milk, yogurt, cream, butter, and other forms of dairy.

Recipes that don’t have butter or milk will hold up better at room temperature.

Another likely problem is that ingredients like butter become runny at room temperature.

So the texture of the cookie dough will change if you leave it out for too long.

If you can’t refrigerate cookie dough quickly, avoid these ingredients in your recipe.

5. Add Natural or Artificial Preservatives

Cookie dough with natural preservatives

Homemade cookie dough doesn’t last as long as shop-brought varieties in the fridge or outside.

One reason for this is that the readymade varieties usually have preservatives.

These preservatives slow down the proliferation of germs and bacteria in the dough.

If you must store your cookie dough outside for a long time, consider adding natural or artificial preservatives.

Natural preservatives include lemon juice and vinegar.

These ingredients inhibit bacterial growth and extend the lifespan of the dough.

You can also use artificial preservatives for the same purpose.

6. Store It Covered

Contact with air and humidity makes dough spoil quickly.

It creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth.

Hence, the dough will deteriorate quickly, and its texture will also change.

You can prevent the dough from spoiling rapidly by limiting exposure to the environment.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic or use a tight lid to prevent the entry of air or moisture.

Otherwise, transfer the dough into an airtight bag or container. Expel the excess air and seal it tightly.

This will help to extend the lifespan of the dough.

2 Way to Store Cookie Dough

Regardless of the precautions you take, the raw cookie dough will not hold up for too long at room temperature.

The high amount of moisture and fat makes it a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.

While you can slow down bacterial growth, you can’t fully stop it. Hence, it will eventually spoil.

Reducing the temperature is the only way to store cookie dough for several hours.

There are two ways to go about this.

1. Refrigerate It if You Must Store It for More than A Few Hours

If you make cookie dough in advance or end up with excess dough, store it in the fridge.

Cookie dough will hold up in the refrigerator for two to three days.

This will give you enough time to use the excess dough.

You can refrigerate it in the same mixing dough by just covering it with a lid or plastic wrap.

The other option is to transfer it to an airtight bag or box and put it in the fridge.

This will ensure that the dough remains safe for consumption.

Make sure to use refrigerated cookie dough within two to three days.

Beyond this time, it will change texture and spoil, even if you keep it in the refrigerator.

Related: Ways to Store Cookie Dough

2. Freeze Cookie Dough for Long-Term Storage

Cookie dough will hold up for two to three days in the refrigerator.

However, if you would like to store it for much longer, freeze it.

There are various ways to do it based on the type of dough. You can try any of the following methods:

  • Freeze it in the form of discs that you can cut into cookies at the time of baking.
  • Freeze it in the form of logs to reduce the space needed for storage.
  • Cut into cookies and store them in an airtight bag or container. Separate the cookies using parchment paper to avoid sticking.
  • Freeze the entire dough in the form of a ball or disc. Thaw it before rolling it out and cutting it into the desired shapes for baking.

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