Is it even the holidays without those epic baking frenzies? After all, family gatherings and office parties are never complete without Christmas cookies.
But when you can’t be there in person to share your homemade treats, shipping them through the mail is the next best thing.
Learn how to ship Christmas cookies to ensure they reach their destination as delightful as they were when they came out of the oven.
After your baking spree, it’s tempting to pack your cookies right away to get everything over and done with. The golden rule here is to be patient.
Let your cookies cool to room temperature first.
Warm cookies release steam. If you pack them too soon, this steam can get trapped inside the packaging and condense, causing the cookies to get soggy.
A moist and warm environment is an open invitation to mold. You want your cookies to stay delicious and crisp and keep them safe from mold growth.
Follow these steps to packaging Christmas cookies so they don’t turn into a box of crumbs at the end of their trip:
Opt for a rigid plastic box or an empty tin that seals tightly. A sturdy container will protect your cookies from getting crushed during transit.
First, layer the bottom of the container with a sheet of bubble wrap to cushion your cookies.
Here’s a fun tip: Put some caramel puffs in small resealable bags and use them as packing peanuts.
Next, line the insides of the container with aluminum foil or plastic food wrap. Ensure the foil or wrap is large enough to fold over the cookies once the container is full.
Different cookies have different textures.
Avoid packing crispy and soft cookies together. Over time, the crispy ones may lose their crunch if stored with softer ones.
Bundle 4–6 cookies of the same size in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or cello bags. If you’re packing a mix of cookies, double-wrap each kind to prevent aromas and flavors from mingling.
For soft cookies, add a piece of white bread inside the wrapper to keep them from drying out.
Place the heaviest cookies at the bottom of the container, and work your way up to the lightest ones. Fill the gaps with wads of tissue or crinkle-cut paper.
Add a layer of bubble wrap on top of the cookies. Then, fold the lengths of aluminum foil or plastic wrap over the contents before securing the lid.
Select a heavy cardboard box with at least two inches of extra space around your cookie container.
Line the bottom with a layer of packing material, such as bubble wrap, shredded paper, or foam peanuts. I collect them throughout the year for holiday use, but you can use crumpled newspapers as an eco-friendly alternative.
Next, position the container in the center of the box. Fill all empty spaces with more packing materials.
Before sealing, give the box a gentle shake. If your cookie package shifts around, add more fillers.
Apply packing tape along the seams where the flaps meet. Mark the box as “Fragile” and “Perishable” in thick, bold letters.
Finally, affix the shipping label on the top of the box.
Here are my top picks for holiday cookies that can handle a little rough-and-tumble during shipping:
- Blondies and brownies
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Oatmeal cookies
- Shortbread cookies
- Sugar cookies
Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like cookies in holiday colors and motifs. But can you ship decorated cookies?
Well, yes, you can! But you have to skip the buttercream frosting for now.
If you want to showcase your mad piping skills, opt for royal icing. This frosting dries hard, so it’s less likely to melt or smudge during transit.
You can also use fondant or powdered sugar to sprinkle holiday cheer into your Christmas cookies.
Not all cookies are cut out to survive the rigors of shipping.
To avoid a crumbled mess, it’s best to steer clear of delicate cookies that are prone to breaking. Save your lace cookies and butter wafers for handing out at the office or around the neighborhood.
Also, avoid cookies that require refrigeration, like cream cheese squares or cookies with buttercream frosting.
Shipping perishable items requires specialized packaging like insulated coolers, dry ice, or gel packs. Aside from bumping up your shipping costs, this poses a risk of leakage or condensation inside the package.
When you’re in cookie-baking mode, plan your baking sessions around your target date for mailing. Spread out the batches if you’re whipping up various cookie recipes.
Make all your dough for the first few days and put them in the fridge. Then, spend the final stretch for an oven marathon.
As soon as the last batch of your baked cookies has cooled down, send them on their way. It’s the best you can do to ensure they’re still fresh when they get to their destination.
Still, you can bake and freeze certain cookies in advance. However, remember to thaw them before shipping.
Freezing preserves freshness, but thawing can release moisture, which isn’t ideal inside an airtight container.
The USPS swears by Priority Mail as your best bet for shipping cookies that need to survive those cross-country trips.
It’ll only take 1–3 days for your homemade cookies to reach your lucky mailing list. Yes, you read that correctly, even if you’re shipping to a far-off state like Alaska or Hawaii.
Priority Mail offers flat-rate pricing based on the size of your box. Starting at just $8.55 per box, it’s the cheapest option for sending baked treats to distant loved ones.
If you’re willing to pay extra, Express Mail guarantees overnight to two-day delivery.
And save yourself a trip to the post office. Your local postman can deliver these Priority Mail boxes to your doorstep for free!
Plus, you can skip the lines by taking advantage of USPS’s online services, where you can print pre-paid labels for every package.
After paying postage, you can schedule a pick-up from a postal carrier through their website.
With extra effort and care, you can make the holiday season a little sweeter for loved ones in another zip code. And what could be more heartwarming than receiving a tin of festive cookies in the mail?
Fortunately, shipping Christmas cookies has never been easier.
Remember to choose the right cookies, packaging materials, and postage options. This way, your holiday creations remain fresh and intact when they reach their final stop.
Lastly, take advantage of the free services from your local post office to avoid the holiday rush.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.