Today we’ll cover the shelf life, storage options, and spoilage of brownies.
I know as well as you do that brownies rarely survive long enough to worry if they’re still okay to eat. But if you baked or bought too much, you might wonder: how long do brownies last?
Or maybe you want to learn if you’re supposed to refrigerate brownies or if freezing them is okay.
Either way, this article is all about the shelf life, going bad, and proper storage practices for brownies. If that’s what you’re looking for, read on.
There are hundreds of brownies recipes, each slightly different from the other. That makes it challenging to give you a one-size-fits-all answer for all your questions. Always consult the recipe for storage info if possible.
Table of Contents
- How Long Do Brownies Last?
- Do Brownies Need to Be Refrigerated?
- How to Keep Brownies Fresh
- Can You Freeze Brownies?
- Do Brownies Go Bad?
- Brownies Shelf Life and Storage Summary
How Long Do Brownies Last?
Brownies typically last for 3 to 4 days well covered on the counter or up to 6 days if they’re sealed tightly in the refrigerator. If that’s not enough, you can freeze them for at least 3 months.
While each recipe comes with its recommendations, both store-bought and homemade brownies typically keep for about 4 to 5 days. So if you don’t have any specifics about storage time, finish the brownies within those five days or discard the leftovers.
(Five days is also how long cheesecake lasts, except that you need to refrigerate it.)
That said, always read what the recipe’s author says about storage time. For instance, these brownies keep for only three days, while these retain quality for 5 to 6 days stored at room temperature, at least according to recipe authors.
Obviously, all these numbers are only rough estimates, and you might just as well store yours for a day or two longer or have to discard them sooner for quality reasons or mold.
If the storage time given above is not enough for you (for some reason), you can successfully freeze most brownies.
Now, let’s cover other factors that influence the shelf life of brownies.
Moist vs. Dry
Moist brownies with lots of butter and chocolate tend to retain quality better than those with high flour content.
That’s probably because while those moist, fudgy brownies will only become a bit drier after a couple of days in storage, those dry, overbaked cake-like ones will become completely dry in that same period.
Toppings and Fillings
Brownies with dairy and egg filling or topping typically last 3 to 4 days in the fridge, sometimes even less. It depends entirely on how long that filling or topping retains quality.
For instance, unstabilized whipped cream lasts only a day or so before it gets runny. So if you top your brownies with unstabilized whipped cream, you should finish them within a day.
Otherwise, the whole thing will become an unappetizing mess that will likely end up in the trash.
Brownies Ordered Online
If you decide to order brownies online, you might get your hands on some long-lasting brownies.
Some bakeries that sell their brownies online offer ones that last for three weeks or even a month. That’s more than three times regular brownies keep for.
Those brownies might be a good option for you if you want to limit sugary treats to one every couple of days and can’t stand throwing food away. Such brownies last long enough for you to eat them without gorging on them.
That said, most brownies you buy online last only a couple of days after you get the package, so if you’re looking for ones with a ridiculously long storage time, read the fine print before ordering.
Do Brownies Need to Be Refrigerated?
You don’t need to refrigerate brownies, but they’ll last a couple of days longer if you do. Brownies will be okay sealed tightly at room temperature unless they include perishable ingredients (like fresh fruit) or a frosting that requires refrigeration.
That means if your brownies are topped with whipped cream, cream cheese frosting, or any other egg- and dairy-based frosting, they should sit in the fridge.
If you’re buying frosted brownies in your local bakery, it’s always good to ask whether you should refrigerate them or not. Sometimes it might be okay for the brownies to sit on the counter for a couple of hours (until sold), but not a few days.
Finally, storing them in the fridge is an easy way to prolong the shelf life of brownies from 3 to 4 days to 5 days.
If you decide to refrigerate your brownies, seal them tightly so that they don’t pick up any smells or dry out. Wrapping the slab or individual pieces in plastic wrap is best for keeping them fresh, but a reusable freezer bag is a close second.
Or you can place them in an airtight container or cake carrier if you’re refrigerating a brownie slab.
How to Keep Brownies Fresh
Let Them Cool
Before you place your brownies in storage, make sure they’re nice and cool so that they won’t start sweating after sealing them.
An hour on the counter taken out of the baking pan for homemade brownies should be enough. Double that if those brownies are super rich and dense.
Unless you’re buying pre-cut brownies, store the slab whole if possible. This way, it’ll keep quality for longer because of the smaller surface area that allows moisture evaporation.
If that’s not an option, cut the slab in half or quarters and store each part separately. It’s not ideal, but better than storing individual pieces.
Refrigerate or Freeze as Soon as Possible
If you know your brownies need to last more than a couple of days, refrigerate or freeze them while they’re still fresh. They’ll keep better quality for longer.
No matter whether you refrigerate brownies or leave them on the counter, they need to be well wrapped or covered to stay moist.
Plastic wrap or aluminum foil allows you to wrap the baked goods tight, but they aren’t particularly reusable. In other words, they end up in the trash pretty much right after use.
Cling wrap might stick to the surface of the brownie after a day or two, and rip it off when you’re unwrapping everything. Wrap and unwrap carefully when using plastic wrap, or stick to other options.
Instead, you can use reusable bags and squeeze out the air before sealing them. These also don’t let much air near the brownies, but you can use them over and over until they wear out.
Last, there are airtight containers, cake carriers, and the like.
These aren’t ideal but are still much better than leaving your brownies uncovered. Plus, these are your only option if your brownie is topped with something that can get squished, and you don’t want to ruin it.
Can You Freeze Brownies?
Yup, most brownies freeze just fine. Unless the filling or icing doesn’t freeze that well, feel free to freeze yours.
The process is super simple:
- Portion the brownie slab or pieces if needed. If you won’t be able to finish the thawed baked dessert within 3 to 4 days, it’s best to divide it into smaller portions.
- Wrap the brownies with aluminum foil if you plan on freezing them for longer than a month. Skip if you’re freezing them only for a week or two.
- Transfer the chocolate dessert to a freezer-safe resealable container. Seal it tightly. Add a label if you find it useful.
- Put the container into the freezer.
When it comes to defrosting, placing the container in the fridge and leaving it there for the night should do the trick.
Eat thawed brownies within 3 to maybe 4 days.
Do Brownies Go Bad?
Brownies don’t last forever, but they typically don’t go off the same way veggies or dairy products do. That means the spoilage signs are usually more subtle than mold growth or a sour taste.
When checking if your brownies are okay to eat, you should look for changes in texture, aroma, and taste.
First, let’s talk about texture.
If a brownie (or blondie, a brownie made with white chocolate) started out super moist and is now dry and crumbly, it’s time for it to go. It’s most likely safe to eat but will taste pretty so-so at best. It’s probably better to toss it if that’s the case.
(Unless you’re a subpar-tasting brownies enthusiast.)
Obviously, if you notice anything like mold you should toss the brownies as well.
Next, give the baked good a good whiff to ensure it doesn’t smell off or “funny.” If the smell is altered, assume that those brownies are gone.
When it comes to taste, it’s pretty clear if brownies are still any good after the first bite. And if they’re not, you know what to do.
Last, think about how long you have already stored those brownies.
If they sit for more than five days on the counter or a week in the fridge, it’s time for them to go. Sure, they might look, smell, and taste perfectly fine, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Brownies Shelf Life and Storage Summary
Thanks for reading this primer on brownies. Here are the takeaways:
- Brownies typically last 3 to 4 days at room temperature and up to 5 days sealed tightly in the fridge. If that’s not enough, you can freeze them.
- Some bakeries, especially ones that sell brownies online, make brownies that last much longer, like three weeks or even a month.
- Moist brownies and ones with dairy and egg icing or filling should be refrigerated. Regular brownies are probably better off at room temperature.
- When checking if your old brownies are okay to eat, look for changes in texture, smell, and aroma of the baked good. If either is off, it’s probably time to get rid of it.