Can cookies go bad? (7 Things to Know)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘can cookies go bad?’ We will discuss how long it takes for various kinds of cookies to go bad, and the reasons that contribute to the factors. We will also discuss ways to store the respective cookies. 

Can cookies go bad?

Cookies can go bad. However, it will be a long time until they become unsafe to eat. Cookies usually undergo a drastic decline in quality by becoming stale and soft until they go bad. 

Ingredients in cookies impact the length of time you would expect the cookies to last. If cookies have dairy, eggs, or frosting, you will need to store them in a refrigerator, where they will last for 5 to 7 days. Milk, cream, eggs; are perishable ingredients that will make the cookies spoil. 

Most types of cookies can be frozen; except for cookies that have frostings and decorations.

The kind of cookie has a substantial impact on how long they keep. Holiday cookies that have just flour, eggs, sugar, and butter will keep for a few days to a few weeks.

Different Types of Cookies and their respective shelf-lives:

Drop cookies that have oatmeal and chocolate chips last for a week at room temperature; so will sugar and gingerbread cookies. Shortbread cookies will stay edible for 2 weeks. 

Twice-baked cookies or crunchy cookies have a longer shelf-life than most homemade cookies.

Delicate cookies that have fillings and frostings need special care. When you store cookies with royal icing, they can be stored at room temperature and eaten within 2-3 days.

What factors determine how quickly cookies go bad?

The main factors that determine the shelf-life of cookies are; the preparation method, ingredients, and storage.

Cookies come in various sizes, shapes, and flavors. Cookies make a terrific dessert because they do not spoil and are cheap to make.

Cookies are also eaten as a snack because the high caloric value satiates you for long. 

While homemade and bakery-bought cookies last for a short time, packaged cookies have a significantly longer shelf-life. Packaged cookies are sealed hermetically, hence protecting the cookies from bacteria and environmental contaminants.

Why do cookies take so long to spoil?

Cookies are a dry commodity which is why they take a long time to spoil. Moreover, cookies have sugar that prolongs life even further. The sweeter and harder the cookies are, the longer they will last. 

Sugar binds the free water molecules to itself hence preventing bacteria from approaching the commodity. Bacteria are the foremost cause of food spoilage. If food spoilage bacteria are kept at bay, food lasts for a significantly long time to spoil.

A low moisture content adds to the extended shelf life of cookies. To reiterate, a lack of water molecules in the cookies makes them last for quite a long time. 

What is the difference between hard and soft cookies?

Soft cookies have more moisture than hard cookies. Consequently, soft cookies will spoil quicker than hard cookies would. Soft cookies are more prone to bacteria and staling; hence, they will last for a short time. 

Homemade soft cookies will last for 2-3 days, while homemade hard cookies will last for 2-3 weeks. 

If you have an opened package of hard cookies, they will last for only 2 to 3 weeks, while a packet of soft cookies will last for only 7 to 10 days.

How to tell if cookies have spoiled?

When cookies start to go bad, they first lose their texture. Hard cookies become soft as they approach staleness, while soft cookies become hard. 

A poor texture does not mean that the cookies are unsafe to eat. Other signs of spoilage are more serious, which include a change in color or smell.

If you spot white or green mold on the surface of your cookies, you need to throw them away; otherwise, you risk getting sick. A fuzzy patch means that the cookies are starting to rot, and the cookie is home to fungus.

How to store cookies?

Cookies need to be kept in an airtight container to prevent air from reaching them. Keep the cookies in the pantry if they do not have frostings or dairy as part of the ingredient. If the cookies have either or more of the ingredients, such as cream cheese, buttercream, whipped cream, or custard frostings, they will need to be stored in the refrigerator.

If you make the cookies at home, there are measures to help store the cookies for long. You can store cookies in the freezer, use a vacuum or airtight packaging, or even Oxygen Absorber Packet to make them last for long.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘can cookies go bad?’ We discussed how long it takes for various kinds of cookies to go bad, and the reasons that contribute to the factors. We also discussed ways to store the respective cookies. 

Other FAQs about Cookies that you may be interested in.

Can you cook cookies on tin foil?

Do cookies go bad

Can you freeze baked cookies?