Shipping Cookies

When I write about things like this, I always feel the need to post a disclaimer.  This is what I do when I ship cookies, but it isn’t the only way, just what works for me.  If you need to tweak it or adapt it a little, feel free.  There’s not too many laws in cookie land.  Mostly just ideas and experience.  We all learn from one another and from trying things.

I’ll try to keep this short.

To pack cookies you will need a few things:

  • boxes in two sizes, smaller ones to pack cookies in, and another {two to three inches larger around the sides} to pack the boxed cookies in.
  • cellophane cookie bags
  • something to keep the bags closed {heat sealer, tape, ribbon, twisty tie, envelope seals, stickers}
  • scotch tape
  • packing tape
  • scissors
  • butcher paper, peanuts, or other packing materials

I would like to note, I pack differently depending on the occasion.  This is what I would call a fancy job.  You know, like for gifts and such.


Step 1: Get everything assembled before beginning so you won’t have to get up thirty-eight times while packing. Then, pray.  Seriously.  This might be the most important step of all.

Step 2: Seal the cookies in cellophane bags to ensure freshness.  I heat seal mine, and you won’t believe what I use…a flat iron.

DO NOT PANIC!  It’s never been used on hair.  It was a repeat Christmas gift. When I was looking into buying a heat sealer, I noticed it’s pretty much the same thing as a flat iron, so I tried it and it worked.  The trick is, it has to be the temperature control kind  AND you cannot turn it up much higher than 280 degrees.

If you don’t have any spare hair appliances lying around, you can always buy a heat sealer like THIS ONE.  There are models in all different price ranges.  Pick one that works for you.

Step 3: After the cookies are bagged, it’s time to wrap them with bubble wrap.  I’ll just tell now, if you’re one of those people who is stingy with bubble wrap you’re going to have to get over it now.  I know it’s expensive, but if you skimp on the wrap and the cookies arrive in a million pieces then it defeats the purpose of bubble wrap period.  So, pad those babies well!

I usually wrap mine exactly as shown.  Every once in a while, I’ll wrap them individually in bubble wrap bags if I have any around but most of the time I use a roll.

Lay two cookies flat on the bubble wrap face up, fold wrap over them and flip.  Place two more cookies on top of those so that they are back to back.  Fold those over once more, secure with scotch tape, then make a new packet.  The key is to keep the decorated sides from facing.  Friction will damage the decoration face to face.

Step 4:  Once they are wrapped, place them in a box plate-style, meaning up and down, not stacked.  My friend Maryann taught me that.  The idea is that without the weight of all the other cookies on top of them, they are less likely to be broken in transit.

Step 5:  Gently close the box.  Don’t laugh.  It may seem perfectly obvious, but you don’t want to be the jerk who smashes two dozen cookies trying to force the box closed.

Step 6: {optional} Decorate the package with labels, stickers, or my new favorite thing, paper tape and labels from Paperjacks on ETSY.

Step 7: Now it’s time to prepare the second box.  Begin by padding the bottom.  This is butcher paper, but I’ve been known to use packing peanuts, old plastic bags, newspaper and material saved from incoming packages.  It’s a great way to save a little money on shipping supplies.

Step 8: Wrap the cookie package in bubble wrap again, center it inside the larger box and fill in the space around it with packing materials.  Be gentle but make sure things are packed in tight enough that the box DOES NOT MOVE if you shake it a little.

Step 9: When the cookies are secure inside the larger box, pack the box to the top and gently close.  Before sealing, give it a little shake.  The box should feel hollow and light.  There should NOT be any movement at all.

Step 10: Seal the box with packing tape and you are finally done.  Pray again.  By the way, I should mention that wrapping cookies pretty much takes forever.  This is completely normal, and one of the big reasons I don’t like to ship cookies very often.

As for what service to use, I think it really boils down to personal preference.  I’ve used USPS, UPS, and Fex Ex with only one or two mishaps.  For my purposes, the post office works well, and I have been mostly pleased.

If you’re a serious shipper, I would recommend Fed Ex or UPS.  I know several high volume shippers who use one or the other and they are happy with the service.  Personally, I think Fed Ex is a bit pricey, but if that’s a concern, both Fed Ex and UPS offer incentives to frequent customers.

A few more tips on successful shipping:

  • Use smaller boxes, even if it means multiples.  After a certain size {about 12-14 inches} pricing goes from weight to dimension.  If you walk in with a 36×36 box you’re going to get an unpleasant surprise at the post office.  Trust me.
  • Start early.  It takes way longer than you think it should to pack a box of cookies.  Nothing sucks more than the 2:55 post office dash because you started at 2:15.
  • Don’t be afraid to adapt my suggestions a little.  For non-gift cookies, I sometimes omit the smaller box and pack the cookies in a secure center.
  • Tape larger cookies and cookie pops to a strong piece of cardboard to give it a little extra reinforcement
  • Save and reuse packing materials
  • Follow the no-movement rule.  If you shake it and things jiggle, add more padding.
  • For decorative boxes, check out Big River Packaging.  They have cake, cupcake, and cookie boxes, including these ADORABLE little macaron boxes.  For about ten dollars, they’ll also send you samples of up to five box sizes.
  • For packing supplies, I like ULINE.  Lots of good stuff there.
  • Pray.  A lot.

Oh, and as an afterthought…

  • check with local businesses that sell products that require packing peanuts and similar materials for their incoming shipments.  Usually they are more than happy for you to take them off their hands
  • AND, if you have a disaster and the package is returned, take photos of the package and do not disturb it anymore than you have to.  Take it directly back to the shipper, show them, and file a claim as soon as possible.  If the package arrives damaged, tell the recipient to do the same.

So, that’s my spiel on shipping.  No major revelations or secrets, just a lot of experience and a pretty good track record.  I hope this helps you to get beautiful cookies from place to place in one piece!