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How To Keep Donuts Fresh [3 Ways]

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How to keep donuts fresh overnight

Whether you’ve baked a batch of fresh donuts or bought them from the local bakery, you may have leftovers. Eating dry and starchy donuts the next day is such a disappointment. The good news is, we’re about to explain how to keep donuts fresh overnight, or even for a few months!

What is the best way to store donuts?

Cake donuts or glazed donuts are best stored at room temperature in a sealable plastic bag or airtight container. They will stay fresh for a day or two if stored properly, out of direct sunlight. To keep them longer, refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze them for 3 months. Cream filled donuts should always be refrigerated for best results.

Storage TypeHow long will donuts last?
Room temperature1-2 days
Refrigerated5 days
Frozen4-6 months
  • Cream filled donuts should be refrigerated. Storing them at room temperature can encourage bacteria growth.
  • Avoid freezing cream filled donuts as their texture will be unpleasant once thawed.

Option 1: Store at room temperature

Suitable for: 1-2 days.
Best choice: if you have donuts without cream filling or you don’t have a fridge.

  1. Transfer your leftover donuts to a large ziplock plastic bag or an airtight container. If you add them to a bag, make sure all the air is squeezed out before sealing. Do this gently to avoid squashing the donuts.
  2. Store the donuts in a cool area of the house that isn’t damp and avoid placing them in direct sunlight.
  3. When it’s time to eat the donuts, give them a zap in the microwave on high for 5-10 seconds. Heating them will soften their texture and freshen them up.

Quick Tips:

Don’t microwave too long: If you store your donuts at room temperature, it’s really important not to microwave them for too long. The glaze or icing will melt and the donut will turn hard. Your best bet is heating in five-second intervals until they reach perfection.

Fully cool before storing: If your donuts are still warm they need to cool down before being stored. Otherwise, moisture will get trapped in them, turning them into a soggy mess which is even worse than dry ones!

Option 2: Refrigerated

A donut on a plate in the fridge
Refrigerate donuts for up to five days.

Suitable for: Up to 5 days.
Best choice: For cream-filled donuts or if you won’t be eating them in the next two days.

  1. Use plastic bags or a container that seals tightly. If you add them to a bag, make sure all the air is squeezed out before sealing.
  2. Place your donuts in the fridge until required.
  3. When it’s time to eat them, microwave your snack on high for about 10 seconds to revive the dough. If you have donuts with jam filling, be careful not to burn yourself.

Option 3: Frozen

Suitable for: 3-6 months.
Best choice: A useful long-term storage option.

  1. Wrap each donut individually with parchment paper then place them in an airtight container. This will stop them from sticking together if you want to remove one at a time.
  2. For added protection from freezer burn, place the container in a plastic bag. If you don’t have the right-sized bag then wrap the container in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

To defrost frozen donuts remove them from the freezer and leave them at room temperature overnight. If you’d like to eat them immediately, microwave on high for 15 seconds and check the interior isn’t icy. If necessary, continue heating in 5-second increments.

Note: The storage times we provided are only a guide. Factors like the type of donut, climate, and refrigerator temperature will all play their part.

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Cake donuts vs yeast donuts: what stays fresh longer?

Yeast-raised doughnuts are light and fluffy, with less moisture so they’ll dry out faster than cake donuts which are made using a dense batter. Expect yeast donuts to last 1-2 days at room temperature while cake donuts may still be edible after 4 days.

Did you know? Over 10 billion donuts are made in the U.S. each year.

Donut fact
Over 10 billion donuts are made in the U.S. each year.

Frequently asked questions

How do I make a stale donut fresh?

The best way to freshen donuts is to give them a quick zap in the microwave, on high, for 15 seconds. Check if the inside is soft and heat for a further 5 seconds if required. If you don’t have a microwave, refresh your donuts in the oven for 10 minutes at 350°F.

What are the best ways to use leftover donuts?

Some excellent ways to use leftover donuts are to make a thirst-quenching donut shake or serve them in a bowl with vanilla ice cream. Old donuts can also be used as the main ingredient in bread pudding.

Can I leave donuts in their original box?

Have you got leftovers in a cardboard box from Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts? Although these boxes are convenient for transporting to the home or office, they aren’t airtight. To keep donuts fresh longer, transfer your sweet snacks to an airtight container to stop them from drying out too fast.

A lady holding Krispy Kreme doughnuts in a boxCan I stack doughnuts on top of each other?

Plain donuts can be stored on top of each other, but keep them in a single layer if they’re iced or have other toppings. It won’t take long for them to stick together if you’re keeping donuts in a pile.

Can I freeze apple cider donuts?

Apple cider donuts can be frozen in a freezer bag for 3-6 months. They can be defrosted overnight on the countertop or give a quick burst on high in the microwave.

Final words

Is it donuts or doughnuts? Whichever way you spell it, they’re always soft, delicate rings of dough. Fresh donuts that sit out on the kitchen bench overnight will taste like cardboard. Stored properly, donuts should remain fresh longer.

In most situations, keeping donuts in a sealable container or bag at room temperature will yield the best results. We recommend microwaving them briefly before eating to revive the donuts. They’ll taste as fresh as the day they were made.