An A to Z of how long cookies last.

How Far in Advance Can You Make Holiday Cookies?

How Far in Advance Can You Make Holiday Cookies?

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Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 6 2017 8:33 AM

How Far in Advance Can You Make Holiday Cookies?

Lebkuchen keep for several weeks—so start baking them NOW.

Sophia Real

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

No! You can’t make all of the desserts and cookies for Christmas at the last minute and still enjoy the holidays.


Fortunately, plenty of cookies keep well—and some actually improve with age. Go ahead and try some of those traditional Scandinavian and German recipes that you’ve ignored all these years; many are made for keeping and delicious, indeed. Or, stay in your comfort zone with butter cookies, meringues, and biscotti.

If you can organize your sock drawer (so trendy right now) you can make a plan and start baking cookies immediately. (And for tips on how to bake a zillion cookies with only two cookie sheets go here.)

Shortbread cookies keep for at least 1 month. Yippee!

Mark Weinberg

Always consult the individual recipe you are using, but here is the general scoop on types of cookies that keep well and/or actually improve with age—as long as you store them properly, in airtight containers or as directed in the recipe you are using. You can find storage times and further details for dozen of other cookies in my book Chewy Gooey, Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies (Artisan Books 2010).

Your Guide to Make-Ahead Cookies, A through T:

  • Amaretti: These keep for at least 2 months, probably much longer.
  • Biscotti: The super dry, crunchy type improve with a few days age and keep for several weeks. The cakier, less crunchy type may keep for 2 weeks.
Mexican wedding cakes for 1 month.

Linda Xiao

Brandy snaps keep for 1 week.

Linda Xiao

  • Brandy snaps (unfilled): These keep for 1 week.
  • Butter cookies: Generally these are better a couple of days after baking but keep for at least 1 month (see also spritz, shortbread, Mexican wedding cakes, etc.).
  • Fruitcake cookies: Depending on the recipe, you may be able to make these weeks or months ahead.
gingerbread for several months.
Grahams are good for 3 weeks;
Lace cookies, 1 week later.

Mark Weinberg


Make your pfeffernusse several weeks ahead of time. Photo by James Ransom

Make your pfeffernusse several weeks ahead of time.

James Ransom

  • Pfeffernusse: These should be made at least a few days or up to 2 weeks before serving, depending on the recipe, and they keep for several weeks.
  • Shortbread and shortbread cookies: These keep for at least 1 month.
  • Springerles: These should be made 2 weeks before serving and they keep for several months.
Spritz cookies keep for 1 month.
Same goes for shortbread.
  • Spritz: These keep for 1 month.
  • Sugar cookies: The crispy, crunchy variety (not the light cakey type) keep for at least 1 month.
  • Tuiles: These keep about 1 month.

More cookie recipes from Food52


Alice Medrich is a businesswoman, baker and cookbook author with a particular interest in chocolate.