Tips for Shipping Baked Goods at the Holidays

Receiving a care package from family members during the holiday season makes those who can’t be close to the family feel a little closer. Who wouldn’t be happy to open a box and see grandma’s special sugar cookies inside? It’s one of the easiest ways to share the joy.

But, making sure the baked goods arrive fresh and in one piece is just as important as making the actual recipe. Follow these tips on shipping baked goods and the delicious treats will arrive fresh and in one piece.

What Baked Goods Are Best to Ship

Ones that are moist, hearty and sturdy. Ship baked goods that are hearty and sturdy. Things like cookies, blondies, brownies, pound cakes, and unfrosted cakes are best. If anything has frosting on it, make sure to pack the frosting separately. Putting frosting on before shipping will cause the treats to get gooey and sticky.

What Baked Goods Are Worst to Ship

Chocolate. With the package traveling between hot and cold environments, anything with chocolate runs the risk of melting and arriving with a chalky color.

Frosting filled cookies. With any type of sandwich cookie, the frosting center may ooze out of the cookie while shipping.

Anything that needs to be refrigerated. Shipping items that need to be refrigerated add an extra layer to the shipping process. Make sure to pack them in a styrofoam container with a frozen gel pack. Then, place the styrofoam container into the shipping container and pack tightly. It’s best to ship anything that must be cold overnight.

How to Package Baked Goods

Do not bake ahead of time. Make sure not to bake the treats ahead of time. Doing that, and then adding a couple days on for shipping, means the goodies have a chance of becoming stale. Bake items the day you plan to ship (giving enough time for them to completely cool before packaging) or the night before.

Plastic wrap and parchment paper are your best friend. Cookies can be stacked in a log shape and wrapped tightly in plastic. Blondies and brownies can be stacked and wrapped in plastic wrap too, just make sure to put a small piece of parchment paper in between each bar to prevent them from sticking together. It’s also best to slice pound cake into individual slices and wrap each one in plastic wrap. This will help to keep everything fresh.

Don’t package different types of goodies together. It’s best not to package different types of baked goods in one box. Packaging a chewy blondie and a crunchy cookie together will cause the crunchy cookie to get soft.

Avoid placing baked goods in a resealable plastic container. While these plastic containers work great for leftovers, they do not work as well for shipping baked goods. Any moisture will build up and remain inside the plastic which means the baked goods can get soggy. Plus the extra plastic will increase the package weight and shipping costs. Wrapping in plastic wrap is more cost effective.

Cookie tins are useful. Placing cookies into a cookie tin will help keep the cookies fresh and prevent breaking. Make sure to place a piece of waxed paper on the bottom of the tin and in-between each layer to prevent sticking. Cookie tins are also useful for packing unfrosted cakes. Once packaged, place the tin into a shipping box.

Pack the shipping box tightly. Whether you’re using your own box or one from the post office, make sure the box is packaged tightly. The baked goods should not move around when the box is shaken. Cushion the inside with bubble wrap, packing paper or styrofoam pellets. After the items are placed in the box, make sure to fill any holes with additional paper or bubble wrap.

Label the box perishable. At the post office, they may ask if the item is perishable and place a sticker on it. It’s best to label it yourself too. This allows the recipient to know they need to quickly open the box.

How to Ship Baked Goods

Priority Mail is fine for shipping. Typically taking 2-3 days, USPS Priority Mail is fine for mailing baked goods. If you’re nervous about the baked goods going stale, then use next-day delivery. However, you’ll definitely pay more.

Order boxes from the post office. Did you know the USPS will ship packing boxes directly to your house? Just go to their website and click Order Boxes. They’ll be delivered to your door and allow you to package the baked goods at home without making an extra trip to the post office.

Bake early in the week. Earlier in the week is best to bake and ship baked goods. This means that it won’t get held up over the weekend.

Only use the post office for shipping to the troops. If you know someone overseas on the military and want to ship a gift box, the USPS is the only mail service allowed. You will need to go to the post office for shipping because a customs form will need to be filled out. It may take up to two weeks for the package to arrive, so keep that in mind when deciding what to send (sturdy cookies ship best).