Sending a homemade treat across the miles? My tips for how to ship cookies will ensure that your home-baked confections arrive as beautiful as when they left your kitchen!
background image: NRuedisueli via Canva.com
How to Ship Cookies for Gift-Giving
A shipment of cookies is a wonderful gift, with a personal touch. I’d love to receive a box of freshly-baked cookies at my doorstep during the holidays, or any time of the year. Wouldn’t you?
These tips and best practices will give you the best chance of ensuring that your recipient receives a beautiful gift of home baked confections, and not a boxful of cookie crumbs!
What Kinds of Cookies are Best for Shipping?
It can be difficult to ship delicate cookies, such as macarons, thin wafer cookies and tuilles, or anything that crumbles easily. Even with sturdier cookies, you’ll want to stay away from recipes topped or filled with very soft or gooey confections, such as a thumbprint cookie filled with chocolate hazelnut spread.
Cookies that I’ve had the most success shipping are:
- sturdy shortbread (such as White Chocolate Chai Shortbread Cookies),
- drop cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodles, etc.)
- bar cookies and unfrosted brownies
- slice and bake cookies
- cutouts decorated with hardened Royal icing (avoid buttercream)
- sandwich cookies (made from a sturdy cookie with a filling that isn’t too soft)
- candies/confections (rum balls, buckeyes, etc.)
Unicorn cookie photo: arinahabich via Canva.com, all others: Amanda Biddle
You’ll want to avoid chocolate-dipped or drizzled cookies during warm weather months, or for shipments to a hot climate. They’ll melt easily and will be a mess when your gift recipient opens the box!
If sending gingerbread or cutouts, choose shapes that don’t have intricate designs or delicate parts that can easily snap off. For example, the small “horn” on a unicorn-shaped cookie would be prone to breaking off with jostling. In comparison, a solid heart-shaped cookie would be sturdier.
When making cutouts for shipping, it’s also best not to roll the dough too thinly.
Image: fizkes via Canva.com
How to Pack Cookies for Shipping
1. Choose a Container and Cushion the Base
I like to use a sturdy cookie tin or heavy kraft treat box. You want something with sides that won’t easily collapse if jostled during shipping.
It’s important to cushion the cookies as much as possible, starting with the bottom of the container. I like to use bubble wrap, crumpled parchment, or crinkle-cut paper shred (basket filler) for the base layer.
2. Pack the Cookies in Pairs
To keep cookies fresh and give them the most stability in the box, I wrap them, sandwiched back to back in pairs, with plastic wrap. A pair of cookies can stand up to shipping bumps and knocks far better those that are loose and on their own!
Important: Cookies should be fully cooled before wrapping and packaging!
Instead of sandwiching, you can also group stackable cookies, like chocolate chip, in cushioned treat bags. I like to place a square of parchment between each cookie in the stack, up to 6 cookies.
As I layer the wrapped cookies into the container, I place more crumpled parchment, crinkle-cut paper, or sometimes even paper towels, between them.
Image: Rimma_Bondarenko via Canva.com
3. Final Preparations Before Shipping
I finish packing with a second piece of bubble wrap (or whatever base filler I’ve used) to cushion the cookies on top. Inevitably, the top is going to be the bottom, and vice versa, at some point during shipping! Always make sure that the sides of the container are cushioned as well.
Be sure to tape the tin or box closed (even if you’re tying it with decorative string or ribbon) and place it in an outer shipping box with additional packing material for cushioning. In lieu of taping the box, you can also wrap it in festive wrapping paper or brown kraft paper.
You want to make sure your box of cookies is packed with a tight fit in the outer shipping box. Fill up any gaps around the cookie box with packing material to minimize shifting and absorb the impact if (when) the package is tossed/jostled in transit.
Do you have tips for shipping cookies? Tell us in the comments!
I’m the guy in my generation who makes “the shortbread” for my greater (Scottish) family around Christmastime. We live all over the country, so shipping is an issue. I do buy a lot from Amazon, so I save lots of packing materials from their shipments. I use them for packing shortbread. Folks say the shortbread arrives intact so I guess it’s a good way to do it.
Gail Horton says
All of your tips I have used in the past are right on the money. I had to ship some chocolate dipped cookies to Florida as my son’s girlfriend was craving them, so those I placed in ziplock snack baggies and kept them frozen and then packed them with a GEL ice pack until I was ready to ship them. Although shipping took about 3 days, I think they stayed cold and stable for at least a day of their journey