Chill Out! How to Make Refrigerator Cookies

Refrigerator cookies are made from dough shaped into cylinders, refrigerated to become stiff, and then sliced and baked.

Also known as icebox cookies or slice-and-bake cookies, these are a great prepare-ahead-of-time treats. You can mix the dough ahead of time and then store it. These cookies are ideal when you have limited baking time, need only a few cookies at a time, or want to be ready to serve warm-from-the-oven cookies at a moments notice.

How Do I Prepare Dough for the Fridge?

Mix the dough

Slice refrigerator cookies evenly with The Cookie Elf

Mix dough together according to recipe directions.

One note about special ingredients to icebox cookies: be sure to give special attention to additions to the dough, like nuts and fruits. Chop them smaller than usual before adding them to the dough. If the nuts and fruits are too large, the cookie dough may break apart when slicing. When they are small, the dough will slice more smoothly.

Shape the dough

After mixing the dough, shape it into logs, cylinders, or rolls. If the dough is particularly soft, shaping and wrapping may be easier if you chill it for about an hour in the mixing bowl before forming it.

Shape the dough either between your hands (for shorter logs) or on the counter (for longer ones.) When forming logs, it is better make them shorter rather than too long, so they are easier to handle. Sprinkle the work surface with powdered sugar, rather than flour, when shaping the log. The sugar will dissolve into the cookie when baking.

Uniformly-shaped refrigerator cookies are perfect for making sandwich cookies. Refrigerator cookie dough can also be prepared in layers, as for pinwheel cookies, or rolled out flat, sprinkled on the surface with fillings, and rolled into a log before chilling. Or logs can be formed into other shapes such as triangles or rectangles by flatting the sides of the rolls before slicing, as for shortbread or biscotti.

Wrap the dough

Wrap logs in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Twist the ends of the wrap tightly to secure it.

Place the wrapped cookie rolls in a tall glass. Set the glass on its side in the refrigerator. The round glass helps the dough keep a round shape and prevents the bottom of the dough from flattening out. Turn the logs periodically while refrigerating.

Once chilled, the dough becomes hard enough to be sliced into round cookies and baked.

How Long Should I Chill the Dough?

Recipes specify how long to chill the dough. Most icebox cookie dough must be chilled at least one hour before slicing, but can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week (or in the freezer up to a month.)

You can also prepare the dough ahead of time, wrap it tightly, and keep or fridge then slice as needed for baking, wrapping the remainder for another day. If you’re storing the dough in the freezer, place the wrapped log in a labeled, resealable freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

How Should I Slice the Cookies?

Remove one roll from the refrigerator at a time, keeping the rest refrigerated until you’re ready to slice it.

Unwrap a dough log and set it on a cutting surface. Use a thin, sharp knife to slice the dough, rotating the roll about a quarter turn after each slice to keep sides from flattening.

Make sure to cute each slice at the same width to ensure even baking.

Frozen logs may be sliced and baked without thawing when you simply bake cookies a few minutes longer than the recipe directs.

How to Add a Decorative Edge to Refrigerator Cookies

For variety, roll your cookie log in nuts, sugar sprinkles, coconut, or another favorite topping before refrigerating. When the dough is sliced, cookies will have a decorative, personalized edge.

To add this decorative edge, place the log on a piece of wax paper and then brush it with egg whites or an egg wash before rolling in the topping. The egg wash will allow topping to adhere more securely to the log.

Pour the topping in a shallow pan, one large enough to accommodate the log. Lift the log as it sits on the waxed paper and move it until it is positioned over the pan. Gently roll the log into the pan. Gently shake the pan back and forth, rolling the log until covered with the coating.


Get more inspiration on our Refrigerator Cookies Pinterest board.

Easy Refrigerator Cookie Recipes

Pistachio Cherry Refrigerator Cookies ...

Refrigerator Pecan Shortbread: Easy to Chill and Slice ...


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