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Can Brownies Go Bad

I know as well as you do that brownies rarely survive long enough to worry if they’re still okay to eat. But let’s say you’re living on your own, and trying to limit sugar intake. So you decide to eat one per day, instead of finishing the six-pack in one sitting. If that’s the case, you actually might need to know how long they last, and how to tell they’re done for.

Before we go any further, I want you to remember that there are hundreds of recipes for brownies, each one slightly different than the others. That makes it challenging to give you a one-size-fits-all answer. But I’ll try my best to keep this guide to the point, without getting into too much detail.

Ready to learn about the shelf life, going bad, and proper storage practices for brownies? Let’s go.

Chocolate brownie
(credit: Toa Heftiba)

Can Brownies Go Bad? How To Tell If They Are Bad?

Brownies don’t last forever, but they also (usually) don’t go off in a way veggies or dairy do. That means they probably won’t get moldy or rotten. Unless, of course, you store them for a really long time and in improper conditions.

Instead, you should look for slight changes in texture, aroma, and taste. If the brownie (or blondie, that is a brownie made with white chocolate) started out super moist and is now dry and crumbly, it’s time for it to go. If there’s a filling or frosting and it starts to change color, that’s also a sign it’s nearing its time.

Taste is the last piece of the puzzle. If it changes noticeably, discard the brownies. There’s no point in eating subpar brownies. They’re supposed to be a treat, not torture. I know I tend to eat all kinds of baked goods even if their quality is far from its peak, but I’m working on it. If you’re like me, I hope you’re working on it too. It’s okay to throw away food that’s of poor quality.

The truth is, more often than not, brownies keep quality for longer than expected. And there are no noticeable changes that indicate spoilage, or even quality loss. That’s why it’s also important to pay attention to how long we store them.

Nutella brownies and milk
(credit: sheri silver)

How Long Do Brownies Last?

As I already mentioned, there are numerous brownie recipes. The shelf life depends heavily on the ingredients used and their proportions. Plus there are preservatives, that some bakeries use to retain the quality of their baked good for longer. Because of that, all I can give you when it comes to “life expectancy” of your brownies is a pretty safe estimate. And that estimate is about 4 to 5 days ([BB][CB]) for all kinds of brownies. When in doubt, finish the box within those five days, or discard the leftovers.

Now let’s talk about it in a bit more detail. Generally, moist brownies (with lots of butter and chocolate) tend to retain quality for longer than those with high flour content. It makes perfect sense because both butter and chocolate last quite some time. That means you might get a couple more days of good quality.

Brownies with dairy filling or topping probably won’t last much longer past those 4 to 5 days simply because whipped cream and other dairy products used in toppings don’t last much longer. In short, enjoy those brownies fresh.

Last but not least, some bakeries offer brownies that keep quality for much longer, like three weeks ([LB]), or even a month. That 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.

When it comes to homemade brownies or blondies, read the recipe carefully. Often you can find there the info on how long a freshly baked brownie slab lasts. Keep that in mind when storing it.

If the storage time given above is not enough for you (for some reason), you can successfully freeze most brownies ([BB][CB]).

Sliced brownies
(credit: NordWood Themes)

Can You Freeze Brownies?

Yup, most brownies freeze just fine. Unless it’s the dry variety, or the filling or icing doesn’t freeze that well, feel free to freeze yours. The process is super simple:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Transfer the chocolate dessert in a freezer-safe resealable container. Seal it tightly. Add a label if you find it useful.
  4. Put the container into the freezer.

When it comes to defrosting, putting the container in the fridge and leaving it there for the night should do the trick. Eat the thawed brownies within 3 to maybe 4 days.

If you’re not interested in freezing your brownies, let’s talk about the usual storage practices.

How To Store Brownies?

The best place to store your brownies depends on the ingredients used. Moist brownies, or ones with egg and dairy icing or filling, should be stored in the fridge. Those more on the drier side are perfectly fine at room temperature or slightly below. When in doubt, consult the baker or check out the bakery’s website for info. If stored improperly, the quality of the cake might go south quite fast.

No matter where you keep the brownie slab or pre-cut pieces, make sure the container is sealed tightly. This way the cake won’t dry out, or pick up other odors if it’s in the fridge. A sealable plastic cake container should do the job perfectly well.

In a Nutshell

  • Look for changes in texture, smell, and aroma of the brownie. If either is off, it’s probably time to get rid of the baked good.
  • Brownies typically last 4 to 5 days in peak quality. Some bakeries make brownies that last much longer, like three weeks or a month. When in doubt, go with the 4 to 5 days recommendation.
  • You can freeze most brownies and be perfectly happy about the results.
  • Moist brownies and ones with dairy and egg icing or filling should be refrigerated. The rest is probably better of at room temperature.