I made the mistake of making my neighbors these cookies peanut-butter-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies. Every time I see either neighbor they thank me again for the wonderful cookies, "Oh they were So Good!" hint hint

I'm breaking down and making them another batch tonight, but it got me thinking of a fun Christmas present for them. I'd like to give each of them a baking sheet, a cookie scoop, a roll of parchment paper, and a big batch of the cookie dough. Assuming the freshest possible eggs and butter, how long can I expect this dough to make tasty cookies if kept in the refrigerator? Freezing is an option too, but they're less likely to actually use it if they have to think ahead far enough to defrost it. (BTW, it is a great recipe.)

The recipe is in the link, but just in case the link dies, the ingredients are:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Substitution ideas that might lengthen refrigerator life are more than welcome.

7 Answers 7


Since those are drop cookies, the best approach is to portion them into individual cookie portions, and freeze them on a sheet tray. Once solidly frozen, they can be moved into a zip back or other more convenient storage container.

They do not need to be thawed in order to bake, so they still are very convenient. Simply lay them out frozen on a tray, and bake.

It will take a minute or two longer than the regular non-frozen time. It might be helpful to drop the temperature by 25 F or so, but it shouldn't really be necessary.

The real issue with holding the dough is not just food safety (you should get 2-3 days given raw eggs as the most perishable ingredient); this doesn't give you a very large window. Eat By Date suggests 3-5 days.

It is also the loss of leavening power as the baking powder may slowly react, although the dough should be thick enough that most gets retained.

  • Hmm, I didn't even think about the egg shortening the refrigerator life that much, 'cause of course I'd keep it much longer than that as long it it smelled and tasted good. Maybe I'll consider putting together a mix.
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 17, 2013 at 7:01
  • 1
    @Jolenealaska : maybe try substituting a vegan egg replacer, and see how that affects the cookies ... if it's still okay, you'd have a dough that you can hold for longer. Also make sure you have double-acting baking powder so you get the second reaction when it gets heated.
    – Joe
    Dec 17, 2013 at 15:00
  • 1
    @Joe the vegan egg substitute is a fabulous idea!! (put it in an answer, I'd love to "accept" it if it works) There is no baking powder in the recipe, just baking soda...??
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 17, 2013 at 15:04
  • You can use ice cream scoop and make balls and freeze them. Ready to pop on a cookie sheet. Works great
    – user30867
    Dec 11, 2014 at 14:28

If you are worried about the freshness of the cookie dough, why not just place the dry ingredients layered into a mason jar with a card on the side with instructions on what wet ingredients to add and how to complete the recipe. That way, you have a cute presentation, and you won't have to worry about when they are going to make the cookies.

  • That's a pretty good idea especially if I buy powdered vanilla. I could vacuum pack peanut butter in 1/2 cup aliquots, so all they need to add is an egg and a stick of butter.
    – Jolenealaska
    Mar 15, 2015 at 23:33

As egg is your most perishable item in the recipe, you might try various vegan egg replacements to see how that affects the dough.

As there's already both things nutty and slightly gritty (the oatmeal) in there and it's a drop cookie (so workability isn't an issue), I'd suggest ground flax + water.

  • What about some kind of pasteurized product in a carton like Egg-Beaters?
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 17, 2013 at 15:25
  • @Jolenealaska : I assume it'd be safer than regular eggs (free range or other small batch eggs are also less likely to be contaminated than factory-raised eggs, as are eggs are eggs from innoculated chickens), so you'd be starting with less bacteria in there ... but much of the issue is that (1) how quickly eggs spoil out of their shell and (2) eggs are hospitable to microbes. Flax seed is less a problem in those regards.
    – Joe
    Dec 17, 2013 at 15:48
  • I would treat all eggs equally, regardless if they are free-range or not. There is no telling how likely a lot of eggs will be contaminated, and placing more faith in one or the other could comprise safe sanitary practice.
    – user31110
    Dec 20, 2014 at 20:51

Cookie dough can keep for a week in the fridge as long as it doesn't start to dry out. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. You can also freeze cookie dough for up to three months, which may be your best option if you are trying to get ahead on time.


I make cookies as an occupation and own a small licensed bakery. Our state law requires disposal of all prepared foods after 7 days. Raw cookie dough falls into that category. Baked, cookies are shelf stable and there is no disposal date required on those. Your area food codes should be available online. I would and do go by the law. Hasn't let me down yet.


Most of the answers suggest that it's the eggs you need to worry about. There's no need to look for vegan replacements, just use powdered eggs (and remember to add the extra water). The eggs are already cooked, so now the only real concern is the dough drying out or the leavening losing its potency over time. My family almost always replaces raw eggs in cookie dough with powdered eggs and it never affects the resulting texture.


You could either freeze the cookie dough or substitute the eggs for a non-perishable item such as water + ground flax. Their are plenty of other options for seasonings if you are looking to make a variety of different cookies!! http://www.carolinaingredients.com/search/dist/3

  • 1
    -1. The durability of a food is not the minimum of the durability of the ingredients! Replacing the egg does not mean that it will last longer than if it had an egg.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 17, 2013 at 16:06

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