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How Long Do Donuts Last?

You’ve bought way too many donuts, and you’re not sure how long are donuts good for. How long do donuts last?

Everyone knows donuts are best fresh, but if your guests or colleagues ate only half of what you’ve bought, you have to deal with it. And throwing them out probably isn’t your top choice.

Sounds familiar?

In this article, we’re going to cover the shelf life and storage options for donuts. If that’s what you’re looking for, read on.

Donut topped with sprinkles
Donut topped with sprinkles

How Long Do Donuts Last

Unfilled donuts keep decent quality for about two days on the counter and up to a week in the fridge. If you need more time, you can freeze them. Filled donuts keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.

If you ask any baker or clerk at the bakery about how many days you can store their donuts, you will be (most likely) met with a blank stare. Nobody buys more donuts than they plan on eating that day, right?

But if you bought too many, or half of your guests didn’t show up, there will be leftovers. And you probably don’t want those to end up in the trash can.

When it comes to storage time, the most important aspect is if your donuts are filled or not.

Plain unfilled donuts don’t go bad easily, but don’t expect them to taste as great as fresh donuts after they sit in the fridge for a couple of days.

If your donuts sat in the fridge, let them warm up to room temperature before eating. 15 to 20 minutes is usually enough.

When it comes to filled donuts, storage time is quite limited. That’s because the filling is much more prone to spoilage ([PP]), and it’s difficult to tell if it’s still okay to eat or not.

Because of that, you should err on the side of caution and throw out any filled donuts after you store them for more than four days.

Two donuts

How To Store Donuts To Keep Them Fresh

Unfilled donuts can sit on the counter or in the fridge, depending on when you plan on eating them. Filled donuts need refrigeration unless you’re going to eat them the day you buy them.

That’s donuts storage 101.

For donuts that sit on the counter, cover them, but also let them breathe.

If they’re in a paper bag you brought them in, leave it half-open. This way, the icing won’t get runny ([PP]).

Another thing to remember is not to leave the donuts in a warm spot. That means away from heat sources like an oven, but also not in direct sunlight. Again, the heat might melt the frosting, and we’re trying to avoid that.

Try to freshen your somewhat stale donuts by microwaving them for up to 30 seconds. Watch out that the icing doesn’t melt, though.

For refrigerated donuts, make sure they’re sealed tightly sealed in a freezer bag or airtight container.

Also, consider placing the donuts on a paper towel that will soak any moisture that cannot escape. Otherwise, you might end up with soggy donuts, and nobody likes that.

Last but not least, let’s talk about freezing.

Eating a donut

Can You Freeze Donuts?

You can freeze unfilled donuts, just like you can freeze bread. But doing the same with a filled donut won’t work nearly as well.

Most fillings, no matter if they’re cream-based or not, don’t freeze particularly well.

Because of that, if you freeze such a donut, the “flesh” will be just fine after defrosting, but the filling won’t. And eating a donut with a filling that’s kind of yuck is no fun. Don’t do it.

If you’re baking or frying your own donuts, you can take advantage of that knowledge.

The easiest way to go about that is to prep a big batch of filling-free donuts and freeze them. Then, whenever needed, you defrost how many you need, whip some fresh filling, and add it to those donuts.

If you’re planning on freezing homemade donuts, consider skipping the frosting either, and adding it only after thawing the baked goods.

Chocolate topped donut
Chocolate topped donut

How To Freeze Donuts

Freezing donuts is quick and straightforward, and you don’t need much to get it done. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. (Optional) Pre-freeze the donuts. If your donuts are glazed or you want the icing to stay fairly intact after freezing and thawing, pre-freeze them. Grab a cookie sheet and line it with a silicone mat, wax paper, or whatever else that will make removing frozen donuts easy. Place donuts on that sheet and let them freeze until solid (overnight is enough).
  2. Place the donuts in a freezer bag or container. If you skipped pre-freezing, try to put them in a single layer so that icing from one donut doesn’t touch the icing from the one next to it. This way, your donuts should look pretty okay after defrosting, even if you need to remove one or two from the bag without defrosting them all.
  3. Freeze. Add a label with the name and date if you like, and place everything in the freezer.

For best results, try to eat those donuts within a month or so.

When it comes to defrosting, thaw donuts on the counter. After about an hour or so at room temperature, they should be okay to eat.

If you’re short on time, you can try the defrosting program on your microwave. Watch out that it doesn’t completely melt the frosting, though.

Last but not least, thaw only as many donuts as you need for the day. And try not to eat like more than a couple. Just saying.

Donut on a plate


  • You can store unfilled donuts for two days on the counter, and for up to a week in the fridge.
  • Filled donuts require refrigeration if you’re not going to eat them the day they were baked. Throw them out after 4 days of storage.
  • Unfilled donuts freeze okay, so if you have way more donuts than you need, that’s also an option.