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How to Ship Cookies

Jul 28, 2023

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Your baked treats will arrive fresh—not in crumbles!

Of all the many Christmas traditions, perhaps one of the sweetest (pun intended!) is baking Christmas cookies. And while making and eating them are obviously fun, there's something so festive and thoughtful about wrapping them up to share with friends and family. Of course, not everyone is going to live nearby! So, if you've ever wondered just how to ship cookies, you've come to the right place.

Here, we've got some tips and tricks to keeping your cookies fresh and intact, the best and most affordable ways to ship them, as well as the best cookies to make for a long journey. Cookies are one of the best homemade Christmas food gifts, so why not give them the extra special treatment to make sure they arrive looking and tasting as good as when they left!

You know those retro-looking cookie tins you see in craft sections at stores during the holidays? There's a reason they are still popular! They are not only sized perfectly for a few dozen cookies with room to play around with the configuration, but they are very sturdy. Simply wrapping cookies in plastic bags or cardboard boxes will increase the chances of them getting crushed en route, so opt between metal or plastic containers.

Let's talk how to pack the cookies inside the containers first. Line the bottom with some sort of cushioning like a thin layer of bubble wrap and be sure to cut it in the shape of the container so it lays flat. Next, line the whole container with empty cupcake liners. This will not only help guide you on where to put the cookies, but help separate the different types and flavors.

Stack the cookies by type in the cupcake liners. Fill them almost to the top, but be sure to leave a little space so they don't get squished when you put the lid on. The cookies should fit snuggly, but not crammed in too tightly. Shake the container gently. If the cookies slide too much, use some crumpled tissue paper or parchment paper to fill in the gaps. Line the top with a layer or tissue or parchment paper and then close the lid tightly.

Ready to ship? Grab a sturdy cardboard shipping box that is larger than your container with just enough space around it for padding. Wrap your cookies at least twice in bubble wrap. Line the bottom of the box with a layer of bubble wrap, crumpled newspaper, or filler, then place the wrapped cookies on top. Fill in the rest of the sides and top of the box with your filler of choice, making sure the cookie container fit snuggly and does not shift significantly when you gently shake the box. Seal the shipping box with packing tape. Now you're ready to ship them through the mail!

The best way to ship cookies depends on where you live and where your recipient lives. In general, your local USPS will be the most affordable option. Choose overnight or two-day shipping to ensure your cookies arrive on time. Any longer than that and you are risking the freshness factor of your cookies. If the recipient lives quite far or if either of you live in a more remote location, UPS will offer more consistent one or two day shipping. Oftentimes, it will be pricier, but it is worth the security of knowing they will arrive in time.

Not all cookies are created equal when it comes to shipping! First, you want to avoid anything that can't stack. If they are cookies that might stick together because they are soft or have sticky frosting like these carrot cake cookies, they won't ship well. Also, avoid cookies where the recipe advises to eat them the same day or to refrigerate them.

Look for cookies that are on the crispier side, because they stack better and typically last longer. The good news is that plenty of traditional Christmas cookies fit into this category. Think: spritz cookies, pinwheel cookies, gingerbread cookies, and decorated sugar cookies. Regardless of what kind of cookies you choose, make sure they are fully cooled. Remember that iced cookies take longer to set. Test one yourself! You've probably made extras, and let's be honest, you deserve a little treat. 😉

Lastly, pro tip: If you are shipping cookies a long distance and want to ensure freshness, you can wrap a slice of bread in parchment and pop it into the tin before closing (be sure to mark "discard" on it!) or hydrate a brown sugar keeper that they can reuse. Either way, that extra moistness will make the cookies last a day or two longer!

AnnMarie Mattila is the Commerce Editor for The Pioneer Woman, covering products ranging from home, fashion, beauty, and more.

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