Taking your passion for food and making a business out of it is a lot of fun. Whether you sell via BlueCart eCommerce, using an eCommerce website builder, or on an online marketplace, there are plenty of ways to reach buyers. If cookies and sweets are your thing for seasonality, knowing how to ship cookies is an important skill to acquire.
The good news is that eCommerce cookie sales are expected to grow by 7.3% year-over-year through 2025! Cookies are also shelf-stable so you don’t need to worry about how to ship frozen food.
So, how do you pack cookies up and ship them in a way that keeps them safe? It requires the right eCommerce packaging materials, proven packing strategies, and a little bit of luck.
Keep reading for our cookie shipping best practices--whether they’re decorated, temperature-sensitive, or anything in between.
How to Pack Cookies for Shipping
You’ve perfected your recipe, baked a fresh batch, and let the cookies cool off. Now you’re wondering how to pack cookies for eCommerce shipping without any shipping issues. This is a critical skill that anyone who sells baked goods needs to master.
Keep reading the essentials on how to pack cookies for shipping in the following sections.
How to Ship Decorated Cookies
Some of the most popular cookies are decorated cookies. After all, who doesn’t love a dessert that has their favorite cartoon character or celebrity on it? Because of the intricate icing work involved, decorated cookies need their own form of care.
Here is how to ship decorated cookies successfully:
- Allow them plenty of time to dry and cool. Detailed icing work is the claim to fame of decorated cookies. If you don’t allow the icing enough time to sit, you risk all of it getting smudged once the cookie is packaged up. Give your masterful creations at least 1-2 hours to sit and dry. Lightly touch the edge of one with a toothpick after this time has elapsed to check it. If you bake your cookies in the same facility they're packaged in, make sure your warehousing layout accounts for this step.
- Wrap them individually. It’s difficult to ensure a decorated cookie keeps its image if it’s sitting next to another. This is why you should have cellophane sleeves for each decorated cookie. The plastic also works as a little more padding between each cookie and other packing materials.
- Pack them with extra care. Cookies of this kind are a little trickier to pack. Oftentimes they’re made in non-standard shapes, like the shape of a head or body. In some cases, placing your cookies side-by-side and surrounding them with bubble wrap is the perfect solution. This ensures one cookie’s icing doesn’t get smashed into itself by the weight of additional cookies on top of it. Experiment a little bit and figure out what works naturally for your type of cookies.
- Include extra space in the box or package. In the case of decorated cookies, it’s actually best to leave a little room in the box. This technique allows just enough airflow to prevent icing from warming up and getting smudged. You can accomplish this by padding the walls of your shipping box and only putting light packing material on top of the cookies. Air pillows work well for this, as do foam sheets or packing peanuts.
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How to Ship Cookies Without Breaking
Cookies are prone to crumbling and breaking because of their size and how they’re made. From softer, thicker cookies to thin, crispy ones, no one likes discovering that their treats fell apart mid-transit.
Perfecting the science of shipping cookies without breaking takes some time and effort, but it can be done. Here’s how to master it:
- Consider the cookie type. Unfortunately, just because a cookie is delicious doesn't mean it was made for shipping. Cookies that are thin and dry tend to crumble more easily; avoid sending them in packages if you can help it. Cookies that are softer or larger tend to hold together better and can be shipped with little concern.
- Wrap them carefully. Whether you’re selling one cookie or 12, each cookie should be individually wrapped. Food-grade shrink wrap or individual sleeves are usually all you need for this. Allow your cookies plenty of time to cool before wrapping them so they’re adjusted to room temperature.
- Add extra padding to the package. No matter what box size you use to send the cookies, there should be plenty of extra padding in it. After shrink-wrapping them, you can further wrap them in bubble wrap or packing paper. Stack your cookies with the largest on bottom and smallest on top. This prevents cookies from shifting around or being pressed into each other during transit.
- Put a sticker on the box. Placing a sticker that says, “Fragile: Handle with Care”, “This Side Up”, or a similar phrase works wonders. Instead of treating your packages the same as others, eCommerce shipping companies will be more prone to notice this and handle it accordingly. Stickers are cheap and don’t require any training to use.
- Ship in small quantities. The more cookies are packed into a box, the heavier the box becomes. This makes the cookies prone to breaking, even if there’s already lots of padding in the box. Try to ship in quantities of no more than 24, especially if you have limited box sizes. If you must ship in larger quantities, order a dedicated handling service to prevent one-size-fits-all treatment of your products.
How to Ship Cookies and Keep Them Fresh
Keeping baked goods fresh during shipping isn’t particularly easy, especially when they contain dairy. You have to make sure the cookies arrive in great condition and that shipping environments don’t take a toll.
Here are some tips on how to ship cookies and keep them fresh:
- Limit the amount of product transition time. As soon as your cookies have cooled, they should be wrapped up, and as soon as they’re wrapped, they should be close to boxing. This allows as little time as possible for oxidation, which is what spoils food if it’s left out too long.
- Prepare your cookies to sit in any orientation. Even when taking action to prevent it, your cookie package may still end up on its side or upside down. Providing enough cushioning inside the box will prevent unwanted exposure to air or moisture.
- Ensure an airtight seal for the box. The number one factor that spoils cookies prematurely is air. If the box doesn’t have a firm seal on every side, it’s possible your cookies will be stale by the time they arrive. Check that your packaging material is sufficient, and then double tape all box flaps.
- Ship in bulk when possible. One advantage of using regular mail to ship out cookies is you can do it in bulk. Set aside a specific time each day to pack all of your orders and then drop them in the mail. Of course, this method works best if you're selling from home or have a budding business. If your business is larger, speak with your shipping carrier to find out what bulk shipping discounts they offer. Most services are willing to offer you a lower rate per unit if your monthly sales volume with them is at a certain level.
How to Ship Cookies In Hot Weather
Learning how to ship cookies in hot weather may seem daunting, but it’s actually fairly straightforward. Unmelted cookies are much more enjoyable, and it also prevents you from issuing an RMA number or losing profit.
It takes some specialized equipment and a smart packing process. Here is how to ship cookies in hot weather:
- Use insulated or temperature reflective padding. Food packaging companies often sell aluminum-coated padding, aluminum bubble wrap, and polystyrene foam boxes. All four walls of your box, plus the top before closing the lid, should have at least one of these materials. Pack your cookies in the coldest environment available so the air kept inside the package remains cooler longer.
- Include a note for customers. Even after you’ve taken every precaution to prevent damage, sometimes cookies still melt a little bit. Set up an email that’s automatically sent to customers upon order completion. In the email, state that you make every effort to ship cookies in mint condition, but there’s a small chance some melting may occur. Also include instructions about how customers can revive their cookies (if possible), such as placing them in a room temperature container or the refrigerator.
- Put stickers on the boxes. In the same way that stickers can prevent boxes from being stacked upside down, they notify carriers of shipment needs. Get a roll of stickers that says “Keep out of direct sunlight” or “Keep in a cool area”. This lowers the likelihood that your package will be placed just anywhere.
How to Ship Cookies In the Mail
Whether you’re shipping homemade cookies, sugar cookies, Christmas cookies, or iced cookies, selling baked goods from home is a blast. But selling cookies online means you have to pack them and ship them, too.
If your business tends to sell small batches, chances are you’re learning how to ship cookies in the mail. Shipping cookies out via mail is economical because your shipping costs by weight will be low.
How to Ship Cookies USPS
As the largest shipping service in the United States, the USPS has plenty of experience carrying cookies. Their premade boxes and simple shipping and handling make it easy to get started as a small business.
Here’s what to be aware of when learning how to ship cookies USPS:
- Choose the right USPS box. You can pick from Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, a First Class box, or Retail Ground. Each shipping service comes with different box sizes and weight limits. In most cases, a First Class package or Priority Mail will suit cookie shipping needs. Just make sure that you’re matching the box type to the service you selected; otherwise, USPS will delay your shipment and charge you the difference.
- Find the post office or USPS drop box closest to you. USPS has millions of drop boxes throughout the country, making it easy to drop packages on the go. Alternatively, you can go to a USPS office, especially if you need help with several packages. Be advised that USPS wait times tend to be extensive, especially during afternoons and weekends.
- Send your cookies to your customers. Once all of the above steps are complete, you can drop your shipments off! Pat yourself on the back knowing that you made the effort to ship your goods in top condition.
How to Ship Cookies Via UPS
UPS has one of the biggest ground transportation fleets in the United States, making them great for shipping cookies. All of their drivers’ schedules are streamlined with route optimization software too, which means your cookies will reach customers as soon as possible.
Read the following to learn how to ship cookies via UPS:
- Choose a UPS service, like UPS Simple Rate. No matter how many cookies you’re sending and what size they are, you need a UPS service to get the job done. UPS Simple Rate offers standardized rates for small packages, and UPS Ground is another popular option. UPS also provides air freight options and specialized services, so take some time to figure out what you need.
- Find the closest UPS drop box near your home or business. Similar to USPS, UPS has numerous drop boxes located throughout thousands of towns in the United States. Many of them can be found in central areas of towns, and UPS Stores also accept package drop offs.
- Drop off your cookies. Once your box is packed, the label is printed, and you’ve affixed it to the package, you’re good to go. Head over to the UPS drop box and place it in. Give yourself a high five, because your customers are about to be really happy.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Ship Cookies
If you already have a cookie business, chances are you’re familiar with how to ship them to customers. If you’re just starting out, sound cookie shipping strategies are a must.
We researched some frequently asked questions about how to ship cookies to make your life easier. Check out our answers below:
What Is the Best Way to Mail Cookies?
Mailing cookies successfully is the result of quality packaging, fast shipping speed, and giving customers flexibility with add-ons. If you’ve packed your cookies well enough such that they won’t break and you’re sending them out soon after orders are received, that’s 80-90% of what’s necessary.
Each cookie should also be individually wrapped or placed in a cellophane sleeve. This keeps cookies fresh, lessens the chance of breakage, and ensures they last as long as possible. If you don’t have cellophane sleeves fitted to size yet, research how much they cost. It’s faster and simpler to drop cookies into sleeves than it is individually wrapping each one.
Will Homemade Cookies Last In the Mail?
Yes--homemade cookies last in the mail as long as you’ve packed them appropriately. Soft cookies should be packaged to prevent crumbling and crispier cookies can be stacked on top of one another.
For optimal results, ship your homemade cookies out as quickly as possible. This ensures maximum freshness, which customers always appreciate.
Is It Safe to Send Cookies In the Mail?
Yes, it is safe to send cookies in the mail. As long as your cookies aren’t at major risk of spoiling and don’t contain any prohibited substances, there’s nothing wrong with mailing cookies.
Before your cookie business gets underway, though, review the cottage food laws in your state and any state you plan to ship to. These laws describe how food is allowed to be made, distributed, and shipped from home-based businesses. Reviewing them upfront prevents legal penalties and logistical headaches later on.
A Balanced Diet Is a Cookie In Each Hand
Selling cookies online is a flexible way to make money and have fun doing so. Once a couple of your recipes have caught on, you can scale your business up and turn it into your full-time income if desired.
By using these cookie shipping tips, your handcrafted creations will show up in wonderful condition. Your customers will be excited to hear their doorbell ring and you’ll be pulling in the profits.