If you love serving holiday desserts but don't want baking to get in the way of entertaining, do your holiday baking ahead of time and stash the goodies in the freezer. Then bring them out for parties, drop-in guests, and anytime treats on demand. Keep reading to find out what kinds of recipes work best and how to freeze them so they come out as fresh and flavorful as they were when you made them.
Best Bets for Bake-and-Freeze Holiday Treats
Just about any kind of cookie is a good candidate for baking and freezing. (The only exceptions are cookies made with very runny dough, such as madelines and delicate tuiles.) Once the cookies are baked, let them cool to room temperature, then freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Transfer to an zip-top freezer bag, squeezing out all the air, or wrap them individually and place in an airtight container. You can even freeze cookies that are decorated with sturdy royal icing. Just be sure to wrap them individually and thaw at room temperature so the icing doesn't get watery from condensation.
- Read more about freezing and thawing cookies and cookie dough.
- Video: How to Freeze Cookies
- Get all our cookie recipes.
Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cheesecakes
Freezing unfrosted cupcakes: Let them cool completely, then wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of heavy-duty foil. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. Transfer to a gallon-size resealable freezer-safe plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. To thaw: Leave cupcakes wrapped in plastic and thaw at room temperature.
Freezing unfrosted cake: Let it cool completely, wrap it in plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil, and freeze on a baking sheet or in the cake pan for up to 4 months. To thaw: Leave cake wrapped in plastic and thaw at room temperature.
Freezing frosted cake: Place the cake in the freezer on a baking sheet until frozen solid to the touch. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. Note: For best results, use buttercream frosting instead of cooked frosting. To thaw: Leave frosted cake wrapped in plastic and thaw at room temperature. Add another layer of frosting, if needed, while the cake is still cold.
Freezing cheesecake: Let cool and freeze, then wrap tightly and return to the freezer for up to 4 months. You can even wrap and freeze individual slices for cheesecake on demand. To thaw: Leave cheesecake wrapped in plastic and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Baked fruit pies, custard pies (think pumpkin), and pecan pies freeze well. As with freezing other baked goods, let the pie cool completely before freezing. Wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic and a layer of foil, then return the pie to the freezer for up to 4 months. To serve, let the pie thaw at room temperature for about one hour, then heat in an oven at 350 to 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until warm. Note: We don't recommend freezing pies topped with meringue.