Nothing beats the sweet aroma and flavorful yumminess of a freshly baked donut. Unfortunately, eating a donut straight out of the oven isn’t always an option. Sometimes the pastry can be a few days old and you may find yourself questioning its integrity, which takes us to today’s topic…
Do Donuts Go Bad?
Yes, donuts do go bad. They can grow old, get moldy, and turn stale in just a couple days. While how long it takes for this to happen may vary based on the ingredients used, all donuts will go bad if not stored properly. However, those stored in the pantry will have a significantly shorter shelf life than a pack well wrapped and stored in the refrigerator.
Donuts tend to spoil much faster than many other kinds of bread because usually, they don’t contain preservatives, which makes them more vulnerable to spoilage. Without preservatives, the starch in donuts starts to crystallize causing the munchies to form rigid crumbs or a leathery crust. Some grow mold too depending on how long they have been stored.
How Long Do Donuts Last?
Usually, regular donuts such as plain, glazed, topped, or powdered will retain their quality for about one or two days at room temperature. In the refrigerator, the donuts will stay good for six to eight days.
If you have cream-filled donuts, then you must ensure they stay refrigerated all the time. These types of donuts will keep fresh for three to five days.
Whether you are storing your donuts in the pantry or refrigerator, always keep them well wrapped. Not only will it prevent them from soaking up moisture from the air and odors from the nearby food items but it will also protect them from contamination by microbes that may accelerate spoilage.
It is important to note that store-bought donuts will likely not have a label to indicate how long they will stay good for. So it is up to you to use your senses to figure out what state the donuts are in. If you see anything you dislike, it’s best to not buy them. We will dig a little bit more on how to identify spoiled donuts in the next subtopic.
Here is a brief summary of donuts’ lifespan.
|Type of Donuts||Lifespan|
|Regular donuts||6 to 8 days||1 to 2 days|
|Cream-filled donuts||3 to 5 days||Not recommended|
4 Tips to Tell if Donuts Have Gone Bad
If your donuts have been sitting in storage for some time, it’s important that you inspect them for any signs of spoilage before consumption. For the most part, spoiled donuts will exhibit the same signs as any bread that has gone bad. These will include:
Donuts develop mold because of the rich organic compounds found in them. Mold spores can grow anywhere provided there is moisture and organic material.
If the container in which your donuts are stored is not closed properly and moisture happens to sneak in, mold spores will settle on the pastry and begin to multiply. Sugar and carbohydrates will fuel the breeding of these spores and your donuts will grow visible mold in no time.
If you see gray or white spots or any other suspicious growth on the surface of your munchies, you should toss them out.
2. Horrible Taste
Fresh donuts will always taste that – fresh. They are sweet. Flavorful. And every bite is delightful. If yours taste like feet and doesn’t give you that satisfaction we look for in a donut, something is wrong.
Unless the unpleasant taste is from a secret ingredient you added intentionally, chances are the donuts have gone bad and you should discard them. Okay, even if the pastry is not spoiled, what’s the point of finishing it if you are not enjoying it?
3. Bad Smell
Like taste, if the smell of your donuts is off, that’s a sign that their quality has deteriorated. You should get rid of them.
4. Prolonged Storage
Most donuts will keep fresh for up to eight days when stored in the refrigerator and two days tops when left out. If yours have been in storage longer than that, you should throw them out. Even if they don’t show any signs of spoilage, they still may not be safe to eat.
5 Tips to Store Donuts
Donuts go bad quickly because they contain butter, sugar, and fat. In this section, we share some foolproof tricks that you can use to store your munchies fresh and delicious. Keep reading!
1. Don’t Keep Donuts at Room Temperature for Too Long
Unless you plan on eating your donuts in less than two days, always store them in the refrigerator. But if you do keep them on the kitchen counter, make sure they are in an airtight container or storage bag. It will prevent them from drying out, which will help them stay fresh.
If you are using storage bags, be sure to squeeze out any excess air from the bag. Do this gently though so you don’t damage the donut toppings.
2. Pick a Cool, Dry Spot
This applies to donuts stored at room temperature. You need to choose a storage area that is away from heat sources or direct sunlight. These two will not only cause the donuts to go stale; they will also melt that delicious topping off the donuts.
3. Keep Filled Donuts in the Fridge at All Times
While regular donuts can keep fresh for up to forty eight hours at room temperature, their filled sisters are a different animal altogether. Because the latter are usually made from dairy products, they go bad quickly, hence they should never be left sitting out. Store any leftover filled donuts in the fridge, in an airtight wrap.
4. Freeze Donuts for Long-Term Storage
If you can’t eat all your donuts within a week, putting them in the freezer would be a great option. Here, they will stay fresh for two to three months. Keep in mind, however, that the quality of the donuts will degrade over time. So, do not freeze them for more than three months.
An important thing to remember when storing your donuts in the freezer is to use airtight containers. You don’t want the pastry absorbing moisture and becoming soggy.
5. Store Donuts Away From Strong-Scented Foods
Donuts can absorb smells and flavors from food items stored near them. For that reason, it’s crucial that you store them away from any foods that give off strong odors. Keeping the donuts sealed can help minimize the smells, but this may not help much if the surrounding smells are stronger than your donuts’ scent.
For more insights on how to store donuts properly, check out this video:
The Risk of Consuming Bad Donuts
It is unlikely that one will consume donuts that have gone bad because, for starters, they taste horrible. However, if you accidentally ingest a few spoiled ones, you will probably not experience adverse side effects.
But how your body responds to such donuts will also depend on what the issue with the donut is. If the pastry has mold or has become stale, you may experience digestive system disorders or worse as a result of food poisoning.
If you have diarrhea, chills, fever, nausea, stomach cramps, or other symptoms of foodborne illnesses that last for more than two days, seek medical attention right away.
Before eating donuts that have been in storage for some time, inspect them for signs of aging. Toss out any donut that doesn’t seem safe to eat. Stale donuts are not as flavorful as fresh ones anyway, so there is really no point in eating them.
Can You Freeze Donuts?
Well, it depends on the type of donuts. Plain and powdered donuts will freeze well and you will not have trouble thawing them because they don’t have any topping that can be ruined by the defrosting process.
Things can be a little different for glazed and topped donuts. While they will freeze nicely, the topping can melt when you defrost them, making things a little messy.
Now, with that out of the way, it is up to you to decide whether you want to freeze your donuts based on the type you have.
The process is quite straightforward. All you need to do is put the donuts in airtight containers or freezer bags, loosely packed, then place them in the freezer. And as we mentioned earlier, make sure to pick a spot where they won’t absorb smells from other foods.
When it comes to thawing, leave the donuts on the kitchen counter for twenty to thirty minutes. Keep them uncovered to allow the moisture to evaporate so the donuts won’t get soggy.
Donuts don’t have a very long lifespan, but there are things you can do to make them stay fresh longer. One of the most effective ways is to store them in the refrigerator where they can stay fresh for up to a week. But if you want them to last even longer, freeze them. If your donuts become stale, discard them.