Shipping baked goods: How to ship cookies and keep them fresh

Female bakery owner standing in front of baked goods

There’s something special about receiving freshly baked treats in the mail. However, that excitement can turn to disappointment if they arrive in a pile of crumbs. So, how can you ship cookies and other items while helping them stay in excellent condition? We’ll take you through steps you need to know, including which baked goods hold up best in transit, how to pack cookies for shipping and your available shipping options.

What are the best baked goods for shipping?

Shipping baked goods that are dense and moist tends to work out the best. Baked goods with a thinner or dryer texture can break apart and crumble more easily in transit. Baked goods that often hold up well during delivery include:

  • Moist cookies

  • Bars like brownies and blondies

  • Banana bread and other loaves

  • Muffins

  • Coffee cake

  •  Bundt cake

While frosted baked goods are trickier to transport, it’s still possible to ship items like cakes and cupcakes. By using overnight shipping and well-insulated cold packaging, your frosted treats should remain intact and ready to be enjoyed upon their intended arrival.

What are the best baked goods for shipping?

  1. Allow your baked goods to cool completely. Once your treats are out of the oven, wait until they’re cool to the touch before packaging them up.

  2. Separate flavors. For example, if gingersnaps spend several days in direct contact with lemon cookies, their flavors will start to rub off on each other. Instead, use individual packaging for different flavors.

  3. Package up the baked goods. Wrap your baked goods securely in plastic packaging, squeezing out all excess air. Plastic wrap and Ziploc bags work well or opt for airtight plastic containers for shipping cookies and baked goods. Are you planning to ship your cupcakes? Skip the plastic wrap and instead place each cupcake into individual containers to guarantee ultimate freshness.

  4. For cupcakes or round cakes with frosting, we recommend using a paper stick or a popsicle stick placed into the center of each cupcake/round cake that sticks above the product and provides a buffer to prevent frosting transfer if the package is on its side or upside down. This method works best by freezing the stick within the product.

  5. Freeze your baked goods. Once you’ve tightly wrapped everything, pop them into the freezer for a few hours. This is the best way to ship baked goods as it locks in freshness and makes the items stronger for their journey. This is especially useful for items that have frostings or other toppings to prevent damage to the design.

  6. Line the box and place baked goods inside. Condensation may form inside the box as frozen baked goods thaw in transit. Place insulated liners around the box's edges to keep everything cold for as long as possible. Plus, the liners may absorb moisture to help keep the box from weakening.

  7. Fill in extra space. Prevent your baked goods from moving around by filling the space inside. Bubble wrap, air pillows and tightly packed tissue paper are all great options when shipping baked goods.

  8. Gently shake the box. After packing the box, do a quick shake test. Can you feel or hear movement inside? That’s a sign you need to add more cushioning; otherwise, the baked goods will get jostled in transit. Pack in some extra bubble wrap or tissue paper until all the contents of the box are secure.

  9. Ship the package. Mark the box as perishable, and head to your nearest FedEx location to send it off. Don’t forget to request a tracking number so you can see when the package reaches its destination.

Additional tips for shipping cookies and baked goods:

  • Be mindful of the weather. Even if you do everything right when packing your baked goods, the weather is out of your control. Frozen baked goods will defrost quicker in hot and humid weather, even if you use insulation. Stick to speedier delivery service in the summer and when shipping to or from a hot climate, especially if you’re shipping baked goods that could melt.

  • Carefully choose your insulation. Certain insulation types work best for short term shipping windows whereas other insulation work best for long haul shipment. Of course, the performance of this insulation will be dictated by the amount of gel pack coolants or dry ice you use inside the box.

  • Consider dry ice for perishables. Dairy-based frostings like buttercream melt faster when they’re not refrigerated. Add a little dry ice into an insulated box to help keep its contents frozen. Keep in mind; there are regulations on how much dry ice you can use when shipping by air. Check with the team members at your local FedEx store to ensure you’re following all the guidelines and have the correct dry ice label on the outside of the package. We recommend customers use overnight shipping for any perishable products.

What is the best way to ship cookies and baked goods?

Overnight shipping is the way to go for anything that will require refrigeration upon its arrival. Use this speedy next-business-day service for baked goods made with buttercream, cream cheese frosting or other icings. Sturdier baked goods like cookies, brownies and loaves of bread tend to stay fresh for a few days if packaged correctly. Overnight shipping is still the ideal option to help them arrive in good condition, although you can also consider FedEx 2Day® shipping or FedEx Ground® shipping. FedEx 2Day shipping will get your package to its destination in the U.S. within 2 business days, while FedEx Ground takes 1-5 business days in the contiguous U.S. Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii requires 3-7 business days.

Keep these tips in mind when shipping baked goods, and you’re sure to have happy recipients upon a successful delivery!