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Storing Cookies While Decorating

When I began decorating cookies I used royal icing. I loved it and I still love it to this day. I love the taste and the texture of it.

It wasn’t until later that I discovered there are people that don’t like royal icing because they say it’s rock hard and they also don’t like the taste. They prefer to decorate with glaze or with a mixture of the two.

My cookies do have a slight crunch when you first bite the cookie but underneath that crunch is softness. In my experience I have never had anyone tell me that my cookies are too hard. I use Sweet Sugarbelle’s recipe for my cookies. The cookie has a soft, almost cake like texture to it. This could be one factor that helps the cookie stay soft. Another factor could be that I use a little bit of corn syrup in my royal icing. I currently use a recipe I adapted from Ali Bee’s royal icing.
What I believe also helps a lot is how cookies are stored. I keep my cookies stored in airtight containers throughout the decorating process. After a step has dried I will close my cookies up unless I’m moving on to another step.

There are a lot of factors involved in drying times like how runny your icing is, the weather and the temperature in your house. I cannot give you specific times of when your cookies will be dry but do not store your cookies until you’re sure they are dry.

Since I work full-time I usually do a lot of my decorating at night or on the weekends. An example of the decorating process for me will be to outline and flood my cookies. I allow the cookies to dry for 8-10 hours or overnight. If I’m in a hurry, which is almost always, I will use a fan to speed up the process {a tip I learned from Sweet Sugarbelle here}. If I’m working the next day I will cover up my cookies in the morning. This helps then stay fresh and moist until I’m ready to work on the them again. The process repeats depending on how many steps are involved.

Let’s talk about the different kinds of containers I use. First up are these 1/4 sheet pan covers. I don’t recall where I heard about these first but I’m pretty sure it was from Sweet Sugarbelle. Do you sense a pattern here? What can I say? The girl has crazy good ideas and tips.

I bought mine at a local restaurant supply store. They snap onto the 1/4 sheet pans and work great to keep your cookies fresh and moist. I still use these now and then but mostly they are just sitting on my baker’s rack. Some of them snap on so good that I have a hard time getting them off because of troubles with my hands.

This leads me to the next type of storage container I use. Your standard run of the mill plastic storage box. They are also great to store undecorated cookies in while they are waiting to be decorated. When I decorate cookies I like to work on sheet pans so the only downside to using these boxes is that I have to transfer my cookies from the box back to the pan for the next decorating step.

My final and most favorite storage device is the Cupcake Courier. The Cadillac of cupcake carriers. This carrier came into my life after a disastrous mishap happened one day while transporting cupcakes to work for my co-workers birthday. The crappy carrier I owned fell apart as I was taking it out of my car and mostly all the cupcakes were laying on the parking garage floor as I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks. My wonderful and caring husband went online and did research and ordered this for me to make sure I had something sturdy for transporting cupcakes. One day I saw that my friend Melissa, The Baked Equation, was using them for her cookies and I’ve been using mine for that ever since.

I put some parchment paper on each layer to keep the cookies from going through. I’m looking for plastic mats or something more permanent that will fit in there. If you use this and have ideas let me know.

What’s great is that I can put the whole tray on a sheet pan on my baker’s rack. Then when I’m ready to store them I put all the trays back in the carrier and close it up.

Depending on the size of the cookie each tray can hold anywhere from 6-12 cookies. This is a pricey carrier but I have seen them on occasion at Home Goods for $19.99. I wish I had grabbed another one when I last saw them because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen one there.

I hope you liked taking a look at how I store my cookies. If you’re looking to keep your cookies fresh and moist don’t leave them out longer than they need to be.

Happy decorating!


  1. Awesome post, Melissa! 馃檪

  2. Great reminder here. Love your containers too. I’ve been using the Royal Glaze recipe as well and really like it. Not only is it a bit softer but it seems to have such a great shine to it.

  3. great tip! this is something i need to work on.

  4. I also store my cookies between decorating. Although, mine go into a tupperware cake container. The cupcake courier is pure genius. Wish we had a Home Goods close. This would definitely go on the top of my “must have” list.

  5. For something sturdier than parchment paper to keep the cookies from falling through you could try clear vinyl template sheets used in quilting. Most come in 8-1/2″ x 11″ inches but these come 13″x22″ and you can cut them to fit:
    Also, maybe a Silpat mat might work…

    • Tiffany Wright says:

      Another option is that rubber non-adhesive shelf liner. Its cheap, cut to size, you can wash it easily and reuse it and it does double duty and keeps the cookies from moving around while decorating. I use it for just about every cake and cookie project. I even line the trunk of the car with it to keep cakes from moving during delivery 馃檪

  6. Just had another thought. I also like to store my cookies away during the usual two-day process of icing them. There is just something that bothers me about leaving them out for so long. I sometimes use my dehydrator to dry the cookies when I am in a hurry, but whether I am rushed for time or not, I like to use my dehydrator to store them while they dry. It’s not an airtight seal of course, but I do think it’s better than having them left out, especially overnight. The dehydrator I have allows for you to purchase more trays so that you can add more storage and it doesn’t have a huge footprint so doesn’t take up a lot of room.

  7. Great post as always Melissa. Thankfully I’m one of those people that likes both cookies made with royal and cookies made with glaze or a combination of both. Pretty much anything sweet works for me! What about a smaller size silpat for your layer between cupcake carrier? I’m not sure of all the sizes they come in, but that was my first thought when I read your post. It broke my heart to think of you laying on the ground with your beautiful cupcakes around you, especially after all that work. What a sweet hubby to find you a solution! Hugs, Cristin

  8. I just ordered half size cookie sheets with the covers but thinking that the quarter size sheets may be better for decorating. I also use a cupcake carrier to store cookies. The levels on mine flip over to a flat surface which would eliminate the need for you to use the parchment paper. I got my carrier at Smart & Final. It comes with two layers that snap together and you can purchase more to keep on connecting them one on top of another. I can email a picture if you’d like =)

  9. I never thought of a cupcake carrier! That is genius! I am going to start stalking HomeGoods!!

    Thanks for the tip!

  10. I was just reading through your blog 馃檪 I saw this post–for your cupcake carrier I think I would use plastic canvas ( the stuff old ladies at craft shows make yarn kleenex box covers from 馃檪 ) -it is so cheap AND totally washable/reusuable

  11. Just happened upon your site via Google. This might be what you’re looking for? Buyers complaining in comments section that they are flat inserts. Not actual trays.

  12. Awww. So sorry u had to go through that awful cupcake disaster. Hope your co worker was understanding. I always have issues with drying my royal iced cookies; overnight, they always turn out soft and crumble when pressed. I was told to thicken my consistency as thicker icing dries faster. Could you give me tips on how to deal with humidity when icing and drying cookies with royal icing?

    • The best tip that I can give is to use a fan. Even if it’s not humid out I use a fan. It helps my cookies dry faster and I like that. I learned this tip from Sweet Sugarbelle.

      When you say crumble when pressed is the icing turning to a dust like consistency or is it just soft? On one rare occasion I had this happen to me and I have no idea what caused it. After hear thoughts from other decorators I established that it was either my icing being over mixed during the coloring stage or it was the brand of powdered sugar. That time I had used Target brand. I never used that brand again and knock on wood have never had the problem again. Hope this helps 馃檪

  13. Love your site and cookie decorating! Just came across this article and your tips and tricks are very helpful!! I also prefer to store my decorated cookies, because they can get rock hard. I actually just launched a product called Sweet Stackers which are reusable, stackable trays that fit inside a typical airtight food storage container. I enjoy baking/cookie making and cupcake carriers were the only thing I could find on the market to store my cookies (but they tend to be pricey and bulky – great for cupcakes though). Sweet Stackers would probably even work inside your carrier since you were looking for a flat tray?

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