No one can resist the temptation of freshly baked cookies. The smell of cookies baking in the oven is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. But what do you do if you have leftover cookie dough? Does it go bad?
Cookie dough does go bad after a while, but it takes a long time. A typical dough appears to survive 5-10 days in the refrigerator before it begins to grow excessive germs. Dough containing milk-based ingredients or eggs will spoil quickly if left out at room temperature for more than a few hours.
Cookie dough made with normal ingredients (flour, water, salt, and yeast) lasts a long time and does not spoil easily. Because there is nothing in the dough that will soon get rancid, it will endure for a long time.
Put it in the freezer for up to six months. Be sure to tightly wrap the dough so that it doesn’t dry out.
Keep reading to learn more about if cookie dough goes bad and if there is any way to recognize and use up stale cookie dough.
What Makes a Cookie Dough Go Bad?
Cookie dough can go bad for several reasons. The main reason that cookie dough becomes inedible is due to bacteria or mold growth. If you leave the dough out at room temperature, the warm environment will encourage bacteria to grow.
As the bacteria multiplies, it can produce toxins that can make you sick if you eat them. The toxins can cause food poisoning, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever.
In addition to bacteria, mold can also grow on cookie dough. Mold is a type of fungus that can be found in both indoor and outdoor environments. Like bacteria, mold produces toxins that can make you sick if ingested.
Also, the eggs in cookie dough, when combined with the sugars, butter, and other ingredients, can spoil over time, making the dough and the cookies unhealthy. As a result, if you notice your cookie dough is low, it’s time to make a new batch.
What Are the Signs of a Spoiled Cookie Dough?
Did you know that the first cookie-style cake was created in Persia in the 7th century A.D.? According to historians, the first cookies were used as “test cakes” to see how well the mixture worked. Cookie dough is a timeless favorite.
Smell: One of the easiest ways to tell if cookie dough has gone bad is by smelling it. If the dough smells sour, bitter, or otherwise off, it’s time to toss it.
Texture: Another way to tell if your cookie dough has spoiled is by looking at the texture. Fresh cookie dough should be smooth and easy to work with. If it’s dry, crumbly, or otherwise appears to be drying out, it’s no longer good.
Color: If you see any changes in color, such as the dough turning green or brown, that’s a sign that it has gone bad and should not be eaten. Sometimes the edges of the dough can become slightly darker than the rest of it.
Mold/Bacteria: If you see any mold on the cookie dough, discard it immediately. Mold can be white, black, green, or any other color, and it can appear in spots or streaks.
LEARN MORE: Can Butter Go Bad?
Preventing Cookie Dough From Spoiling
The best way to store cookie dough is in the refrigerator. If you’re not going to use it right away, put the dough in a covered container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. This will keep the dough from drying out and prevent bacteria and mold from growing.
You can also freeze cookie dough for up to six months. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or a freezer-safe bag so that it doesn’t dry out. When you’re ready to use the dough, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using it.
If you’re not going to use the dough within a few days, it’s best to freeze it.
Shelf Life of Cookie Dough
Cookie Dough Expiration Date
|Past Date||Past Date||Past Date|
|Pillsbury Cookie Dough||2-4 Hours||2 Weeks||6-12 Months|
|Frozen Cookie Dough||2-4 Hours||1-2 Weeks||9-12 Months|
|Homemade Cookie Dough||2-4 Hours||3-5 Days||6-12 Months|
Pillsbury Cookie Dough
Pillsbury cookie dough, like many others, is unique in that it’s designed to be kept in the refrigerator for a longer period of time than other frozen raw cookie dough.
Even after the “best by” date, the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. This style of dough isn’t our favorite for freezing, and it only lasts around 6 to 12 months.
This form of dough, on the other hand, will always be available, so there’s no need to keep it frozen for a long time!
Frozen Cookie Dough
If you keep cookie dough in the refrigerator, you may expect it to last for another 1 to 2 months after the “best by” date. Frozen uncooked cookie dough can survive 9 to 12 months in the freezer, giving you plenty of time to utilize it before it spoils.
Homemade Cookie Dough
Because the ingredients are frequently fresher and have fewer preservative features, you won’t be able to keep the handmade cookie dough given by store-bought brands.
With homemade cookie dough, you may only get 3-4 times the refrigerator life, but if you freeze it, it can keep anywhere from 6 to 12 months.
Before freezing, we recommend tightly wrapping it in plastic wrap or using a freezer sealing technique to remove any damp air from the container.
Making the most of them with homemade dough is ideal because it’s considerably quicker to prepare a large quantity at once and freeze a few than it is to start from scratch the following week.
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Make Cookie Dough Last Longer
- Use Basic Recipe: Keep to conventional recipes and stick to the flour, water, salt, and yeast formula for the longest-lasting dough. Milk, yogurt, sour cream, and other ingredients with a short shelf life should be avoided. These additives will attract bacteria quickly, causing your dough to spoil more quickly than usual.
- Store Properly: After you’ve prepared your dough, be sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge. If you plan on keeping it for more than a week, we recommend freezing it.
- Reduce Yeast Use: Too much yeast can lead to a dough that rises too quickly and doesn’t last as long. Use the minimum amount of yeast necessary for your recipe, and your dough will thank you by lasting longer.
- Use a Cooler: If you’re making dough in bulk or want to keep it for an extended period of time, consider using a cooler. The cool temperature will help slow down the rising process and prevent bacteria from growing.
Using Up a Stale Cookie Dough
You won’t be able to bake risen bread with it because it’s likely highly over-proofed, but there are several alternatives you should consider before discarding it.
- Use it as a pie crust: If the dough is too dry to work with, add a little milk or water to make it pliable. Then, use it as you would any other pie crust recipe.
- Make cookie bars: If the dough is too crumbly to roll out, press it into a baking
- Flat pizza: If the dough is dry and won’t come together, add a little water until it forms a ball. Then, use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin crust and add toppings.
- Preferment: If the dough is still active, use it to make a sourdough starter or other fermented dough.
No matter what, we always recommend err on the side of caution and toss it if you’re not sure. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to foodborne illnesses!
LEARN MORE: Can Cashews Go Bad?
Just a fun fact, cookies appeared in Europe between the 17th and 18th centuries, as baking grew popular. That’s when the word “cookie” appeared from the phrase “Koekje” which means “little or little cake” in Dutch.
Cookie dough can go bad, but there are plenty of ways to make it last longer or use it up when it does go bad. So don’t worry too much about your cookie dough going bad-just enjoy those cookies!