Old Fashion Refrigerator Cookies Recipe

Icebox Cookies

Old Fashion Refrigerator Cookie are sometimes called sliced cookies or icebox cookies because the dough is chilled until firm.  Then the dough cut into thin slices and baked.  This is a great cookie to prepare to have on hand in case of last minute company, or housewarming gift.  The dough can be made in advance and frozen until you are ready to use.  During the late 1920’s and 1930’s, my Grandma Myers used this very recipe to bake these delicious Old Fashioned Refrigerator Cookies in the oven of her wood stove.  My mother tells me that they used to test the heat by sticking their hand in the oven until the temperature felt right, and then they put the cookies in.  Do not worry – these cookies have been adapted for use in our modern ovens.  This century old recipe is still delicious!!  


Photo was shared with me by my sister, Carol Arroyo, and her baking website called The Baking Pan.


 Refrigerator Cookies


Old Fashion Refrigerator Cookies Recipe - Icebox Cookies:
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Icebox Cookies Recipe, Old Fashion Refrigerator Cookies Recipe
Servings: 5 dozen
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening*
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (firmly-packed) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or your choice of nut, coarsely chopped
  1. In a large bowl, cream vegetable shortening, butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy; stir in eggs and vanilla extract.  Add flour, salt, and baking soda; stir until well blended.

  2. In a small bowl, combine dates and nuts until dates are coated with nuts; stir into cookie dough.

  3. Shape cookie dough into a 2-inch wide logs, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least overnight.  When it is rolled up, twist the ends tightly.  Dough may be stored in the refrigerator for several days before using.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease cookie sheets.

  5. When ready to bake, remove dough from the refrigerator.  Using a sharp knife, cut cookie dough into 1/8-inch slices; place 1-inch apart onto prepared cookie sheets.  Slice only what is to be baked, return remainder to refrigerator for baking as needed.  Dough will last approximately 1 week in the refrigerator.  Any longer storage, store in the freezer.

  6. Bake 10 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Recipe Notes

* Butter may be substituted for the vegetable shortening.


Variation Ideas:

Vanilla Nut Refrigerator CookiesCoconut Refrigerator Cookies:  Omit vanilla extract and nuts.  Add 1 teaspoon grated orange rind (zest), 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind (zest), and 1 tablespoon orange juice in first mixing stage.  Stir 1 cup finely-cut coconut into dough.

Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies:  Add 2 ounces melted chocolate in first mixing stage.  Add 1/2 of flour mixture, then 2 tablespoons milk, mixing thoroughly.  Add the remaining flour and mix well.  Stir in nuts.

Holiday Cookies:  Use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar.  Add 1/2 cup finely-cut candied cherries and 2 tablespoons finely-cut citron.  Use very finely-chopped toasted almonds instead of walnuts.

Lemon Walnut Cookies:  Use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar.  Omit vanilla extract and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (zest) and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in first mixing stage.

Orange Pecan Refrigerator Cookies:  Omit vanilla extract.  Add 2 teaspoons grated orange rind (zest) and 1 teaspoon orange juice in first mixing stage.  Use 1/2 cup finely-chopped pecans instead of walnuts.

Peanut Cookies:  Use 1/2 cup very finely-chopped, salted peanuts instead of walnuts.

Toasted Almond Cookies:  Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in first mixing step.  Use 1/2 cup very finely-chopped toasted almonds instead of walnuts.



Comments from Readers:

Thank you so much for sharing your Grandma Myers’ cookie recipe.  I have made a bunch for my Myers Family Christmas Eve.  My Grandma Myers was Allie Beatrice Myers.  We will enjoy the cookies and the wonderful story.  Merry Christmas to You and Your Family! – John Myers (12/21/15)


Comments and Reviews

24 Responses to “Old Fashion Refrigerator Cookies Recipe”

  1. Dena ferman

    Need the carb count for the refrigerator cookies and for what serving?

    Thanks. I’ll await your reply to my e-mail above.

    • Linda Stradley

      I am sorry, but I do not have the carb count.

  2. Debbie Wieczorek

    Thanks for the recipe my mother in law used to make these for my husbands birthday every year she passed away on Nov 8th and I thought I’d surprise him but I couldn’t find her recipe I came across this recipe and they are just like keep hers he was totally surprised and happy

  3. Joy Cull

    Sounds like the cookies mama made but mama used I lb of butter no oil

  4. Lorelei Sebranek

    My grandmother used to make these cookies at Christmas time. I was just going through her cookbook and couldn’t find the recipe. I began to cry & prayed as I googled the recipe. My heart was so excited when I saw the picture of your grandma Meyer’s cookies. They look just like my Muzzy’s (my grandmother) cookies. Thank you so very much for sharing. Please excuse me while I wipe my tears and make my grocery list. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all!

  5. Melissa Elenbaas

    My grandmother always made icebox cookies but I couldn’t find her recipe. A google search showed this recipe first and it seems very similar, except grandma’s did not contain dates. I’m going to give this a try, without dates and, in a nod to my personal preference, using black walnuts. I have a black walnut craving! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Candace

    My grandmother’s recipe called for 1 cup butter or margarine, 1 egg, and 3 cups of flour, and those amounts work fine, too — probably slightly less sweet, though. I teach grammar, and I’d suggest you edit the title of the recipe to begin “Old-Fashioned.” (This is correct because the past participle — with the -ed ending — is the form used for an adjective.)

    • Linda Stradley

      The problem is that search engines do not seem to like hyphenated words.

    • thanks for the grammer class, couldnt make the cookies without it

      i make the refrierator cookies sim but all butter since about 1949,,,,love them,,,,brown sugar makes them good, some times i add a bit of carmel extract or almond extract to them,,,,just a bit,,,,a great cookie,,,,,

  7. Maggie

    I think the recipe actually is called ice-box cookies, because we had ice boxes, NOT refrigerators. My Mom made these more than just about any cookies, because of convenience. At a mighty 4 feet 10 inches. She was a very Special lady!

  8. Maxine

    My”Meme” made these cookies. It was so fun to help her. She made another cookie that was whiter and refrigerate. Just before cooking added sprinkles. Don’t have that recipe any suggestions?

  9. Ann Marie

    I grew up eating these Ice Box cookies that my mother made. She is now almost 83 years old (can’t really bake any longer) and this is her mother’s recipe. So, it is an oldie but a goodie! My mother always says “If I had a nickel for all of the cookies I have baked, I’d be a millionaire!” My mom was always baking different kinds of cookies, but this was always a staple and one of my favorites. As a child, I always sliced the chilled cookie dough and put them on the cookie sheet to bake. (Mom always formed a rectangle shape for the dough so we had rectangular shaped cookies instead of round.) I’m going to go visit her this weekend and I’m making these cookies and bringing her her favorite Ice Box Cookies as a surprise! So, glad I found your recipe (almost exactly the same as my mom’s recipe). Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I haven’t made these in a really long time and had forgotten how easy they are to make. Will be enjoying them soon. : )

  10. Ann Marie

    Oh, one more thing. I’m looking forward to trying some of the variations of the cookie you have listed.

  11. Dori

    Interested in using pastacios inmaking these cookies. Some help with portions please.

  12. Mary funderburg

    These cookies are far too short when made according to the recipe. The photo looks like the cookies of my childhood but the look of the end result looks more like lace cookies.


    THANK YOU.. i also love the dough raw.

  14. C

    If you refrigerate them 4hrs before baking and preheat the oven they don’t melt and spread so much

  15. Wanda

    Question— I want to try the chocolate version of these cookies. What kind of chocolate do you use? And you still add the dates and walnuts, right? These are one of my favorite cookies but I’ve never had them in chocolate. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Nancy

      Wanda, sorry we don’t have the chocolate version of this recipe, just the one listed.

  16. Carmen Edwards

    I have many happy memories of my grandmother’s cookie jar being filled with these cookies. She did not put dates in hers though. Yesterday I made your recipe variation with the coconut, orange juice, orange zest, and lemon zest. Oh my gracious. I have found a new favorite cookie recipe. The citrus flavor was so fresh and yummy. I love these cookies. Thank you for sharing the recipe with this marvelous variation. I look forward to sharing a tin of these cookies with my brother who dearly loved his grandmother…and her cookies!

    • Nancy

      I am so glad you found a new favorite cookie recipe. I hope that everyone enjoyed them for Christmas. Thank you for visiting and stop by anytime, there is so much more to discover!

  17. Icegel

    Wow I want to try this

  18. Linda

    When I made these they puffed up way too much. Can you think of any reason. My mother-in-laws were flatter and crispy.


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