Cookies are perhaps the most popular snack around. That is why a lot of people make sure that they have cookie dough at arm’s reach at all times. This way, they can rest easy knowing that they can satisfy their cravings wherever they arise.
That said, it isn’t unheard of for people to lose track of the things they buy from the grocery store. So, in all likelihood, you will probably find yourself asking:
Can you eat expired cookie dough? To be safe, you should not consume cookie dough that is past its expiration date, but you can consume it up to 1-2 months past its best-by date, if stored properly.
However, when using cookie dough past its best-by date, there are several factors to consider. Be sure to keep reading as we delve deeper into this question.
What is Cookie Dough Made of?
Before we answer the question of whether it is safe to eat expired cookie dough, we must first take a closer look at what cookie dough is made of. Needless to say, this is extremely important.
This is especially true if you are like us and consider cookies to be your favorite treats. If you’re not careful, you might be biting off more than you can chew, as your favorite snack can just as easily get you sick.
If you have a cursory knowledge of baking and cooking, then you are probably aware that most cookie dough contains raw eggs.
This means your dough will require extra caution and care on your part, as eggs are associated with dangerous bacteria like salmonella and e-coli.
As you may have figured out, this makes proper storage all the more pertinent when it comes to cookie dough. Of course, other types of homemade cookie dough recipes exclude raw eggs altogether.
Note that store-bought cookie dough also contains other ingredients that act as preservatives that effectively prolong its shelf life. Even so, it is important to keep your cookie dough refrigerated.
Is It Safe to Use Expired Cookie Dough?
Now, you may be thinking to yourself: isn’t the best-by date set in stone? While it may come as a surprise, there is a difference between expiration dates and best-by dates.
If your cookie dough has an expiration date rather than a best-by date, it’s best to heed the warning and ditch the dough.
However, the best-by date acts as more of a guide and gives you a rough timeframe of when the dough will be at its best quality. This means that it won’t go rancid, spoil, or expire on the date stated on the label.
That said, you are completely free to consume the cookie dough even if it has gone past its initial best-by date.
However, we must stress the fact that you need to pay close attention if you plan to go through with this and look out for any telltale signs of spoilage with your cookie dough.
Listed below are some of the signs that you need to pay attention to:
- Discoloration – This is a red flag that you have to watch out for. Typically, discoloration will start on the edges of your cookie dough. You will notice that its edges will begin to exhibit a darker color compared to the inner parts of the dough. This is a product of the process known as oxidation, which can spell doom for your dough.
- Changes in Taste – If you are like us, then you will know how hard it is to resist eating the raw cooking dough. There is something about its flavor that just reels us in. However, as the cookie dough starts to turn, you will also notice that there will be changes to its taste as well. Soon enough, it will be a far cry from the wonderful flavor that you used to enjoy.
- Rancid Odor – Like with any other spoiled food, your cookie dough will soon give off a bad odor, which will tell you that it is time to throw it out.
- Mold Growth – If the cookie dough isn’t properly stored or if it goes ages beyond its best by date, you will notice that it will soon start exhibit signs of mold growth. Needless to say, this can be pretty dangerous, so it is best to get rid of any extra cookie dough you have that has any mold on it.
While it is relatively safe to use cookie dough after going past its best-by date, we recommend doing so with an extra layer of caution and care.
At the same time, you should always observe proper food safety procedures and exercise proper hygiene to ensure that your cookie dough won’t turn.
We, of course, recommend cooking your dough thoroughly before eating it, as tempting as it may be to skip the wait and stick that spoonful of dough right into your mouth.
If your heart’s set on eating cookie dough raw, take a look at our favorite edible cookie dough recipe.
How Long Is It Safe to keep Raw Cookie Dough in the Fridge?
This is probably the most important question in this guide. While it is an undoubtedly great question, coming up with a straight and definitive answer is more complicated than you would think.
This is because not all cookie dough is created equal – what may seem like subtle differences can lead to vastly different shelf lives.
To better explain this, we have listed down some of the things you need to take into account:
- Ingredients – As stated earlier, what goes into making your dough will have a great impact on how long it can last. Some types of cookie dough contain high levels of artificial flavoring and other kinds of additives and preservatives which can dramatically affect how long it can last.
- Fillings – Similar to the ingredients used in the dough itself, the things you use to serve as the filling will also affect your dough’s longevity in the fridge.
- Amount– The amount and size of the cookie dough you are storing also matters. As a rule, don’t let large sheets of raw cookie dough sit out on the fridge for too long as its bigger size makes it more susceptible to the effects of its environment.
- Storage – It is also worth mentioning here that the way you store your cookie dough will have a great impact in terms of how long it can last. For instance, between cookie dough which has been left out at room temperature for 4 hours and a freshly made dough that went straight to the fridge, it is clear how the latter will likely last longer than the former.
How Long Does Homemade Vs. Store-Bought Cookie Dough Last?
As explained in the previous section, there are several factors at play when it comes to determining the shelf life of raw cookie dough in the fridge.
The range can vary widely. For instance, you are looking at somewhere between 1-2 weeks for homemade cookie dough to some store-bought brands lasting as long as 6-12 months.
The differences may seem extreme, but we have to come back to the crucial role the specific ingredients play in terms of the dough’s longevity.
On that note, we have provided an overview of the different kinds of cookie doughs and how long they can last.
Store-Bought Cookie Dough
First, we have the most convenient and long-lasting of the bunch. Store-bought cookie dough is incredibly simple to use. You can find it in any supermarket or grocer and the dough itself usually comes pre-portioned.
If you ever need to store it for longer periods, it would serve you well to remember that it can last for as long as 3 weeks in your fridge. Meanwhile, if you choose to freeze it, then it can last for as long as 12 months.
Homemade Cookie Dough
Next, we have homemade cookie dough. This is the kind of stuff home chefs love to make. As anyone would tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than making something from scratch.
This is because you get to exercise full creative control over the entire process.
That said, they probably won’t last as long as the store-bought cookies. This is because you will be working with fresh ingredients rather than processed ones.
Sadly, it is to be expected that these won’t have the same preservative properties as their counterparts.
Specifically, they will only last for 3-5 days before the quality of the dough starts to decline.
Bake Sale Cookie Dough
Finally, we have what we call the bake sale frozen cookie dough. You will have inevitably run into this type of dough at some point.
It serves as the perfect middle ground for the previous two types. It is typically used for fundraisers and the like.
While commercially produced, they aren’t the same as the ones you buy in the grocery store, as they are usually made in smaller batches.
Moreover, this kind of cookie dough does not contain the same amount of artificial preservatives and ingredients.
That said, the best option to make this type of cookie dough last is by ensuring that it is properly stored. If you put it in the fridge, then it can last for as long as 1-2 weeks beyond its initial best-by date.
Of course, if you want to ensure that it can reach its maximum shelf life of 9 months to a full year, then you should also consider sticking it in the freezer.