How Long Do Donuts Last? How to Tell if Donuts Has Gone Bad?

Donuts are truly one of life’s greatest pleasures, aren’t they? They often come in dozens, and being the donuts fanatics as we are, we definitely cannot throw away the leftovers, can we?

But how long do they last? Should we store them in pantry, refrigerate them or freeze them? There are probably hundreds of queries in your head. Read on to find out how long donuts last, how to store them, and what happens if you consume expired donuts!

Do Donuts Go Bad?

Donuts are perishables. And, like any perishables, donuts do go bad. However, there are certain ways in which we can store donuts fresh for a long and relish them whenever we can.

Having said that, it is always, let us emphasize, ALWAYS, a good idea to bake and eat them fresh and within a few hours if you don’t want to risk the quality of donuts. In fact, according to Voodoo Donuts, donuts do not last longer than 10 hours.

While you can reheat them after long-term storage and relish their deliciousness, it is an incontestable fact that the texture and quality will never feel the same as freshly cooked donuts.

How Long Do Donuts Last?

Regular donuts last in the pantry for around 1-2 days. These yeast donuts can go stale overnight if you don’t wrap them properly.

A former donut maker, Jerry Lee Hancock on Quora suggests you buy your donuts from stores that serve donuts in a donut box and not just a regular container. Donut boxes have holes for ventilation to keep donuts fresh for a long.

If you properly store your yeast donuts in a refrigerator, they will last you for about a week, and in the freezer, the lifespan increases to about 2 – 3 months.

In the case of cream-filled donuts, it is always better to eat them within a few hours or refrigerate them as soon as possible. They last for about 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator when stored properly.

Likewise, glazed donuts stay fresh on the countertop for around 8 hours. Leave it for longer, and you shall witness wetness on the surface and dryness on the inside.

The moisture on the donut evaporates with time, and in the case of glazed donuts, the moisture combines with the sugar in the glaze to produce sticky sugar water. Does not sound very palatable now, does it?

You can still freeze glazed donuts in sealed bags, but the glaze on them will crystallize. The texture will differ, but the taste will hopefully remain the same.

You can also store donut dough properly wrapped for around a week in the pantry, a month in the refrigerator, and 2-3 months in the freezer.

Pantry (In Donut Box) Fridge Freezer
Regular Donuts 2 days 1 week 2-3 months
Cream-filled Donuts 3 hours 3-5 days 2-3 months
Glazed Donuts (Raised) 8 hours 1-2 days 2-3 months
Donuts Dough (Unbaked) Probably up to a week 1 month or less 2-3 months

4 Tips to Tell if Donuts Has Gone Bad

We discussed how long various types of donuts last in different storage scenarios. However, unless the donuts are frozen, it is necessary to inspect the quality of the donuts from time to time and trash contaminated donuts to ensure that the nearby perishables are protected.

Below are a few indicators that signal that your donuts have expired and should no longer be eaten.

1.   Prolonged storage:

If you’ve stored your donuts in the pantry or a freezer for embarrassingly too long, you needn’t check for any sign of spoilage and should simply trash them right away.

The quality will most probably have degraded, and if the storage was in the pantry, pathogens would most likely have infested the donut, despite lacking any sign of spoilage.

2.   Mold:

Moldy foods might not be that big of a health hazard when ingested in a small quantity, unknowingly or knowingly.

However, some might show signs of allergic reactions and gastric issues induced by mold toxicity, in which case immediate medical attention is imperative. Therefore, if your donut is even slightly moldy, it is no longer safe to eat.

3.   Off smell:

When there’s no sign of spoilage, trust your nose. If the smell is pleasant and palatable, and the storage time wasn’t too long, you can probably eat the donuts once you reheat them.

On the other hand, if the smell is sour and pungent, especially in the case of cream-filled donuts, that’s a clear-cut sign that the donut is no more safe to consume.

4.   Off taste:

If nothing else seems suspicious, you’ll probably have to take a small bite of the donut to determine if it is still of good quality.

We hope you’d never have to resort to this final option only to find out the donut was spoiled. Our recommendation is to throw them away in case of the slightest suspicion!

4 Tips to Store Donuts

1.   Best donut storage area in the pantry: Neither too sunny nor too damp

Once you wrap your donuts for pantry storage, choose an area of the pantry that is cool yet not too damp.

Too much heat causes the moisture in the donuts to vaporize and condensate, which results in damp donut exteriors. Not only this is responsible for bad donut texture, but it also induces mold growth on dunots.

On the other hand, storing your donuts in a paper bag or a donut box in a damp area can also lead to moisture build-up on the donut.

2.   Avoid refrigeration if possible:

Many aren’t a big fan of refrigerating donuts. It results in soggy-bottom donuts, which probably aren’t very fun to eat.

If possible, leave your donuts at room temperature for a few hours or up to 2 days of storage. If not, directly freezing them would be a better option.

3.   Freeze raw donut rings:

If you want to relish your donuts fresh and not reheated, freezing homemade donuts dough rings after the first rise is the way to go! Place the rings on a wax paper-lined tray and let each ring freeze until solid.

Finally, pour these rings into a freezer bag, and remove the air inside. If possible, seal these using a vacuum seal. When it’s time to make donuts, let the rings thaw and rise for a second time before you fry or bake them into delicious donuts.

4.   Bare donuts respond to the freezing better:

Also, if you’re making homemade donuts and have already fried them, don’t put any toppings or fillings until it’s time to actually eat them.

If you don’t want to compromise the texture and flavor of reheated donuts, it is best to freeze them bare and apply glazes, icings, and fillings only after you reheat them.

The Risk of Consuming An Expired Donut

As with any food item, knowing how far expired your donuts are is necessary. Are they simply stale? Well, in that case, reheat them in a microwave for around 15 seconds, and they should regain their softness and taste.

But do you witness mold or off-smell? Then, it is probably time you trash them. Not only will they not taste good and palatable, but they can also pose several health risks to the consumer, including and not limited to minor nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions, and food-borne illnesses.

Mold and bacteria-contaminated food will probably make you ill depending upon the type of the contaminant, the amount ingested, and the consumer’s body.

Especially if the donuts are cream or custard-filled, consuming such donuts can cause gastric and digestion issues, as one would in the case of ingesting expired milk and derivatives.

Can you freeze Donuts?

Yes, you can definitely freeze donuts. However, one must be aware that any food item isn’t meant to be frozen while still hot.

Firstly, it can increase the temperature within the freezer, thawing nearby food. Hot food takes longer to freeze, thus allowing contaminants, especially Salmonella, to spread and spoil the food. Finally, hot food stored in a freezer is believed to lose its nutritional value.

Therefore, start by cooling your donuts to be frozen. Once cold, store the donuts in a clean and airtight bag or container and put them into the freezer. Frozen donuts last for up to 3 months.

However, we advise you not to freeze your donuts for that long and instead opt for fresh donuts instead. For refrigeration, always wrap your donuts in plastic or foil to prevent donuts from drying.

Furthermore, in the case donuts and glazed, make sure you freeze the donuts separately such that the glaze solidifies before you stack them in a freezer bag to store them.

Nevertheless, remember that donuts are best frozen when unglazed and unfilled, as the cream used doesn’t freeze well and looks curdled instead.


We hope we could answer your queries regarding how long donuts last and how to store donuts in this post. Are there any special tips that you follow to keep your donuts fresh? Feel free to share with this donut-fanatic community!

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