Eating raw cookie dough is enjoyable, but there are safety concerns to consider. Raw eggs in the dough pose a risk of salmonella poisoning. However, properly storing cookie dough in the refrigerator can extend its shelf life and reduce safety issues.
Here are quick answers to common questions about how long raw cookie dough lasts in the fridge:
- Unbaked cookie dough made with pasteurized eggs can safely be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Regular cookie dough with raw eggs should only be kept 1-2 days maximum in the fridge.
- Freezing cookie dough allows it to last for months, whether made with raw or pasteurized eggs.
- Proper storage involves sealing cookie dough in airtight packaging or containers.
- Discard cookie dough if you see any signs of mold or smell a bad odor.
Shelf Life of Refrigerated Cookie Dough
The shelf life of raw cookie dough depends largely on whether it contains raw or pasteurized eggs. Here is a breakdown:
Cookie Dough with Raw Eggs
Raw eggs dramatically reduce the shelf life of refrigerated cookie dough. Salmonella and other bacteria can grow even when chilled. Here are guidelines for cookie dough with raw eggs:
- Refrigerate dough immediately after making – don’t leave at room temperature
- Only keep for 1-2 days maximum in the fridge
- Discard dough if it smells unpleasant or shows signs of spoilage
The risk with raw egg dough comes from both the egg itself and potential contamination from other ingredients. Using pasteurized eggs instead allows refrigerated storage for longer.
Cookie Dough with Pasteurized Eggs
Pasteurized eggs have been heat treated to kill salmonella and other bacteria. Cookie dough made with pasteurized eggs poses less safety risk and can be refrigerated for longer time periods:
- Can safely be stored for 3-5 days in the fridge
- Store in a sealed container to prevent drying out
- Monitor for mold growth, unpleasant odors, or other signs of spoilage
The shelf life also depends on factors like quality of ingredients and storage method. Well-sealed containers help cookie dough last longer before going bad.
How to Store Cookie Dough in the Fridge
Proper storage is important for keeping raw cookie dough safe to eat. Here are some tips:
- Use airtight containers: Store dough in plastic containers or bags that seal tightly and prevent air exposure.
- Divide into smaller portions: Separate dough into smaller blobs versus a giant log. This helps avoid repeated warming and contamination when scooping out dough.
- Label containers: Mark containers with the date so you know when 3-5 days have passed.
- Place on lower fridge shelves: Colder temperatures on lower shelves help dough last longer.
- Avoid cross-contamination: Don’t let cookie dough touch or drip onto other foods in the fridge.
Monitoring the look, smell, and texture of cookie dough can also help you spot signs that it is starting to go bad in the fridge.
How Long Does Cookie Dough Last in the Freezer?
Freezing is the best way to extend the shelf life of cookie dough for later use. Here’s how long cookie dough lasts frozen:
- Dough with pasteurized eggs lasts 3-6 months in the freezer
- Dough with raw eggs lasts 2-3 months frozen
- Well-sealed from air exposure, dough can last up to a year frozen
Properly freeze cookie dough by:
- Portioning dough into manageable blobs or balls
- Placing in freezer bags, removing excess air
- Labeling with date and contents
- Freezing on metal pans before transferring to bags
Thaw frozen cookie dough overnight in the fridge before baking. Refreeze thawed dough only if necessary.
Signs Cookie Dough Has Gone Bad
Check cookie dough visually, by smell, and texture to determine freshness and whether it needs discarding. Signs cookie dough has spoiled include:
- Mold growth – fuzzy greenish or white spots or blemishes
- Sour or unpleasant smell
- Change in consistency – dried out, runny, or mushy
- Discoloration – unnatural colors like grey, yellow, pink
- Presence of black or dark specks
- Off or rotten taste when sampled
When in doubt, remember the old adage “When in doubt, throw it out.” Don’t risk getting sick from eating spoiled cookie dough.
Food Safety Tips
Follow these food safety practices when handling and storing cookie dough:
- Use pasteurized eggs when possible
- Refrigerate dough immediately after mixing
- Discard old dough after recommended time periods
- Check for signs of spoilage before eating
- Avoid giving raw dough to high risk groups like pregnant women, children, and the elderly
Consuming raw dough is still somewhat risky. For highest safety, bake cookies rather than eating dough raw. But following the above guidelines allows you to keep dough on hand for convenient baking while minimizing the risk of food poisoning.
The Bottom Line
Here is a summary of how long cookie dough lasts in the fridge or freezer:
|Cookie Dough Type
|Regular dough with raw eggs
|1-2 days max
|Dough with pasteurized eggs
Be diligent with storage methods, label your dough, and discard it when in doubt. Following proper food safety practices allows you to safely keep cookie dough on hand for up to several months.