Should You Eat Expired Cookie Dough?

Cookies are probably one of the most popular snack foods around. This is why so many people ensure that cookie-dough is within arms-length at all time.

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You can always rest easy knowing that you can satiate your cravings for some tasty cookies whenever you need. 

Similarly, it is not unheard of that occasionally people lose track of all the things they purchase from the grocery store, and so, you can expect that at some point you will be asking yourself, ‘Can you eat expired cookie dough?’ 

To stay on the safe side, it is probably not highly recommended that you eat expired cookie dough, however you can eat it up to 1 or 2 months past it’s best by date, if you ensure that you have stored it properly. 

Although, when you use cookie dough that is past its best by date, you should consider a few things. So, stick with us, and we will delve deeper into this topic for you, so you know when you can and can’t eat your cookie dough. 

What is cookie dough made of? 

Before we get into the safety of eating cookie dough, we want to first talk a little more about cookie dough itself. Primarily what exactly it is made out of. Because this is what is very important in the conversation about whether or not it is okay to eat when expired. 

This is especially important if you are a massive cookie lover and these tasty treats are your absolute favorites. Because, if you are not so careful, you may end up biting off more than you can chew as your favorite snack has the ability to get you sick. No one wants that! 

If you have any baking knowledge, or even just basic cooking knowledge, then you are probably well aware that a majority of cookie dough will contain raw eggs. 

This because that raw dough requires extra caution and care by you. Eggs are associated with dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. So, as you can imagine this means that proper storage a rather imperative factor in the over all safety of your cookie dough.

However, there are other types of cookie dough, such as homemade cookie dough recipes that can exclude raw eggs altogether.  

Store bought cookie dough will also often contain other ingredients that act as preservatives that will prolong its shelf life too. This is why it is especially important that you keep your cookie dough refrigerated. 

Is it okay to use expired cookie dough? 

You may think that the best-by date is set in stone, it is not. There is a rather significant difference between the best buy date and an expiration date. 

Namely, if your cookie dough has an expiration date rather than a best-before date, then once the date has passed it is best to heed this as a warning and get the dough out of there.

However, on the other hand, if your dough has the best by date then this is more like guidelines, it will give you a rough timeline of when the dough it’s at its best quality.

After this the dough will slowly decline in quality, but it will not go rancid, spoil or expire completely on the date that is stated on the label. 

That being said, you can consume your cookie dough, even when it has gone past the best by date. Yet, you must pay attention if you do this, keep your eyes peeled for signs of spoils, or rancidity in your cookie dough. 

Let’s have a look at some f the factors that will day that your cookie dough has spoiled.

  • Keep an eye out for discoloration. This is a major red flag that you need to keep your eyes peeled for. If you see the edges start to discolor this is a telltale sign. The edges will go first, they will start exhibiting a darker color in comparison to the inner parts of the dough. Once you notice this, throw it out. This process is called oxidation which is basically your dough’s death cry. 
  • If it tastes funny, it’s not funny. If you are a dough lover then you know how hard it is to resist taking a bit out of your raw cookie dough. There is just something about this flavor that keeps you coming back for more. However, if the dough is starting to turn then you will also notice a change to its taste too. Soon enough, it will be the opposite of the tastiness you originally expected. 
  • A bit smelly. If any food is spoiling, it will start to smell rather foul. Cookie dough is no different, it will start to smell rather horrific, and you will know then, it’s time to go in the trash. 
  • Mold is a no-go sign. If your cookie dough is not correctly stores, or if it ages way beyond its best by date then it will eventually start showing signs of mold. You probably know hat mold can be pretty dangerous, so it is safe to stay away from any cookie dough that you have that has mold on it. 

While you can generally safely eat your cookie dough after it has gone past its best-by date, we always recommend doing so with extra caution and care.

Although, it is always wise to do so with extra adequate food safety procedures and be extra cautious with proper hygiene to ensure that your cookie dough doesn’t turn bad. 

We always recommend thoroughly cooking your cookie dough thoroughly before you start snacking the days away, no matter how tempting it may be to skip the wait and just munch down on some of that raw cookie dough. 

If you are in love with the idea of eating up some raw cookie dough, then we do recommend taking a look at making some raw cookie dough yourself. 

How long is it okay to keep refrigerated raw cookie dough? 

The most important question you could ask. Good on you, asking the right questions. While this is a great question, providing a straight answer, is not as easy. This is simply because not all cookie dough is created the same way.

There are some subtle differences that can give different cookie dough’s, different shelf lives. 

To explain this a little better, there are a few things you should take into consideration, lets have a look at what these factors are. 

  • What are the ingredients? What goes into making your dough will have a big impact on how long it is likely to last. There are some types of cookie dough that will contain higher levels of artificial flavorings and different kinds of additives, not to mention the preservatives that will dramatically affect how long your cookie dough will last. 
  • What about fillings? Much like the ingredients used inside the dough, the fillings you put into it as well will also have different effects on the longevity of your dough in the refrigerator. 
  • How much do you have? How much dough you have will actually affect the life span of your dough. As a general rule, do not let large sheets of raw cookie dough sit out of your refrigerator for too long. A larger surface area means more susceptibility to the effects of the surrounding environment. 
  • Where are you keeping it? And how? It is worth mentioning here that the way in which you store your cookie dough will have an effect on how long your cookie dough will last. As an example, if you have left your cookie dough out at room temperature for four hours, and if you have a freshly made cookie dough that went directly into the fridge after making, the latter will last longer, simply because it has had better storage conditions that do not open it up to being susceptible to the surrounding bacteria in the environment. 

Homemade vs store-bought cookie dough: Lifespans. 

As we have explained in the previous section there are many factors that will affect the life span of your cookie dough. 

The longevity of your cookie dough can vary depending on a plethora of different factors, For homemade cookie dough you are generally looking at a lifespan of 1- 2 weeks. But, for some store-bough cookie dough brands you are looking at 6 to 12 months. 

These differences may seem rather extreme, however, we have to come back to looking at the crucial role of these specific ingredients and how they play their roles in terms of the dough’s longevity. 

Let’s take the time to have a look at the different types of cookie dough and how long you can expect each one to last. 

Store-bought

First, the most convenient and long-life option of the lot. Store bought cookie dough! It is simple enough to use, you can find it in pretty much any supermarket, or at any grocer, and the dough itself often comes pre-portioned. 

If you ever need to store this dough for even longer periods, it will serve you pretty well to know that it can last as long as 3 weeks in your fridge. However, you can also choose to get even more life out of it.

You can actually freeze your store bought cookie dough if you wish, this will extend its life all the way up to a year (12 months), just remember that you have frozen it.

It is a good idea to label it too, noting what date you froze it, so you know if it will still be good. We don’t recommend keeping it frozen for over a year. 

Homemade

Up next, we have homemade cookie dough. This is the kind of cookie dough that any home-baking chef loves making.

Anyone who does this will tell you that there is no feeling that is quite as satisfying as making something from scratch, having it turn out wonderful and taste delicious. This way, you can also make as much as you want. 

You get full creative control over the entire process, make as much as you want, put whatever you want in it, and create it however you want, you could make a batch of cookies, or just one massive giant one. 

However, this will not last as long as tore bought options, both prior to cooking and after cooking. This is all down to working with fresh ingredients and no preservatives. 

Sadly this does mean that it is expected that they won’t preserve as well as processed cookies, but they will taste better. These cookies will only last about 3-5 days before the quality of the dough starts to decline. 

Bake-sale cookie dough

Oh, we left this one out! Well, before we leave you to your day, lets tell you about this type of cookie dough. This is the bake sale frozen cookie dough. Chances are, you have run into this dough at some point.

It is a perfect middle ground for the previous two types, it is often used during fundraisers and events. Despite being commercially produced, this is not the same as the cookies you would often get in a grocery store, and they are also made in smaller batches. 

This kind of cookie dough also lacks the high content of artificial preservatives and ingredients, in this way it is similar to homemade cookie dough. But it will last longer than homemade cookie dough will.  

That being said, the best option for making this type of cookie dough last even longer is to ensure that it is adequately stored, much like the others.

If you put this cookie dough type in the refrigerator then it can last for as long as one or two weeks past the initial best-by date on its packaging. 

However, if you do want to make sure that it can reach its absolute maximum shelf life, which is from 9 months to one year, then you can also consider popping in into the freezer as well. 

Cassie Marshall
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