Stock your freezer with slice-and-bake dough, and you’ll always be moments away from freshly baked cookies. You don’t need to purchase the kind the comes prepackaged in a tube in order to have a perpetually full cookie jar — you can go DIY and make your slice-and-bakes at home with one of these seven recipes. Before you get baking, we’ve found a few tips from Fine Cooking so that you get the best cookies every time.
It’s recommended that when shaping the dough, you keep the logs between 6 and 10 inches in length. Tightly secure the logs in plastic wrap and then also place it inside a Ziploc bag. Twisting the ends of the plastic wrap will help properly store the dough, which can generally be kept in your freezer for up to three months. When you want to defrost the dough before cutting your cookies, do so in the fridge. Always use a sharp knife when cutting into the dough, and if you want uniformly sized cookies, measure with a ruler for your slices.
1. Lemon Icebox Cookies
Slice and bakes are sometimes also referred to as icebox cookies, as Southern Living chooses to use. You can make variations of the recipe by adding different toasted nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, folding them into the dough before forming the logs.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
Directions: Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add grated lemon rind and lemon juice, beating until blended. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended.
Divide dough into three equal portions; roll each portion on wax paper to a 12-inch log. Cover and chill for 8 hours, or up to two months. Cut each log into ½-inch slices (about 28 slices), and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store cookies in an airtight container, or freeze, if desired.
2. Vanilla-Bean Sables
Sable cookies, or the French version of shortbread, can be stored ready to slice and bake in your freezer for up to two months. Fine Cooking says that with this recipe, you do not need to fully defrost the dough before cutting. It yields 24 cookies.
- 2 soft, plump vanilla beans, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 large egg yolks, divided
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- sanding sugar, white or colored
Directions: Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape the seed pulp into a small bowl; add the granulated sugar. Using your fingers, rub them together until blended. If using vanilla extract, add it to the dough with the egg yolk.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix the butter on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute; mix in the salt. Add the vanilla sugar (or granulated if using vanilla extract) and the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add 1 egg yolk and mix for 1 minute. Still on low speed, mix in the flour just until blended; the dough will be soft.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it gently a few times. Divide it in half and shape each half into a 9-inch log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking liners.
Sprinkle about ½ cup sanding sugar onto a piece of waxed paper. Combine the remaining egg yolk with a splash of water in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Brush each log with the egg wash and roll it in the sanding sugar until evenly coated. Trim the ends of the logs if they’re ragged. Using a knife, cut the dough into ½-inch-thick rounds. Put them on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between rounds.
Bake the cookies, rotating and swapping the baking sheets’ positions halfway through, until the cookies are brown around the edges and golden on the bottom, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before serving.
3. Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies with Dulce De Leche Filling
Breaking your baking down into different days makes multiple-step cookies more manageable. Spending the time to make dulce de leche is an easy task when your cookie dough has been made in advance, and all you need to do is slice it up before baking. Use Better Homes and Gardens‘ recipe for icebox cookies, and if desired, follow Very Best Baking’s instructions for making caramelized milk.
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dulce de leche
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (homemade dulce de leche)
Directions: For the cookies, in a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half; cover and chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
Shape each portion of dough into a 6-inch-long roll about 1¾ inches in diameter. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill about 4 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut rolls into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
To make dulce de leche, pour 1 can 0f sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Remove from heat. Beat until smooth.
Spread dulce de leche on the bottom sides of half the cookies using a rounded tablespoon of dulce de leche on each cookie. Top with remaining cookies, bottom sides down, pressing together lightly to make sandwiches.
4. Toasted Coconut and Orange Icebox Cookies
Less time consuming than dulce de leche is dipping your cookies in melted chocolate. Aida Mollenkamp provided a recipe that does just that with icebox cookies to Food Network that makes about 36 cookies. Sweet, citrusy, and different from your typical shortbreads and freezer cookies, you could also drizzle the chocolate on top instead of dipping.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons packed orange zest
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup toasted sweetened coconut
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine the flour, zest, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars over high speed until light and airy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy and the mixture looks like wet sand, about 2 more minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until just combined.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the flour mixture and coconut and beat until just evenly combined. Lay two large pieces of plastic wrap on a clean work surface and put half of the dough along the center of each piece. Shape the dough into tw0 logs measuring about 1½ inches in diameter and 10 inches long. Roll logs up in the plastic and secure tightly. Refrigerate the logs for 1 hour or up to several weeks.
Cut the logs into ½-inch slices. Roll the cookies in sugar to coat and shake off excess. Arrange on a baking sheet, leaving ½-inch between the cookies. Bake until set and golden on the edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
When cookies are cool, melt the chocolate in a small pan over medium-low heat until smooth. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, scrape off excess, and set on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set up before serving.
5. Striped Icebox Cookies
Martha Stewart‘s icebox cookies have a slightly shorter freezer-shelf life than the previous recipe. These jam-striped desserts will only last for up to one month when frozen — that is, if you can keep yourself from eating all three dozen before one month is over.
- ¾ cup dried sour cherries
- ⅓ cup sour cherry jam, or preserves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions: Make the filling. In a food processor, combine dried sour cherries, jam, and sugar. Process until coarsely pureed. Transfer to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Let stand until cool.
For the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; incorporate. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix to combine.
Transfer dough to a clean work surface and divide into four equal portions. Place one portion between two pieces of parchment paper that are at least 12 inches square. Roll out dough to a 3½-by-9-inch rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Repeat with the remaining three portions dough. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.
To assemble the cookies, remove dough from freezer. Remove top pieces of parchment from dough. Spread one-third of the filling evenly over one portion of dough. Invert second rectangle over the first; remove parchment on top. Repeat layering process, leaving the top rectangle uncoated. Trim to a 3¼-by-8½-inch brick. Wrap in plastic wrap and transfer to freezer for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Cut the brick into ¼-inch-thick rectangles; place on baking sheets, spaced 2½ inches apart. Bake until light golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
6. Checkerboard Cookies
Like the striped cookies, presentation is just as important as taste in these checkerboard cookies from Williams-Sonoma and Cookies. Food coloring can easily be added to the dough and the flavors changed to add variety to your baking. This recipe yields about five dozen cookies.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
Directions: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter pieces in two additions, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and pulse until the dough holds together. Divide the dough in half. Transfer one-half to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the cocoa until incorporated.
Lightly dust the work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out each dough half into a 3-by-9-inch rectangle, ½ to ¾ inch thick; trim the edges to even out. Place each rectangle on a large baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the whole egg until blended. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, cut each rectangle into 4 strips about ¾ inch wide (you should have 4 strips of each color). Arrange 2 chocolate strips and 2 plain strips in a checkerboard pattern, brushing the beaten egg between the strips and gently pressing them together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and use a knife to square off the edges of each block. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Remove the blocks from the refrigerator, unwrap, and cut each crosswise into slices ¼ inch thick. Place them 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies feel firm when lightly pressed, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
7. Brown Sugar Icebox Cookies
You’ve had sugar cookies by the dozen, but what about Cooking Light‘s brown sugar cookies? You could even take this icebox dough and roll it out after refrigerating it to make cut-outs instead of slice-and-bakes.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons margarine, softened
- ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg white
- Cooking spray
Directions: Combine first three ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Beat margarine at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed of a mixer until well blended. Add vanilla and egg white, and beat well. Add flour mixture and stir until well blended. Turn dough out onto wax paper; shape into a 6-inch log. Wrap log in wax paper; freeze 3 hours or until very firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut log into 24 ¼-inch slices and place slices 1 inch apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on wire racks.