Because who wants a stale doughnut?

Nothing is better than coming home to find a box of fresh doughnuts on the counter — that is, until the doughnuts lose that perfect, melt-in-your-mouth texture a couple days later. While you can't exactly prevent doughnuts from going stale (unless you eat them all at once), you can slow down the process and keep them mostly delicious.

What Makes Doughnuts Go Stale, Anyway?

So here's the bad news: A doughnut will never be as good as it is at the moment it's created. Once it's done, a doughnut is already in the process of going stale. According to Scientific American, baked goods are comprised of two types of molecules: gluten, the wheat flour protein, and starch. Once baked goods are exposed to air, the starch molecules begin to crystallize, and in order to do that, they take water from the gluten. This alters the baked good's structure so that it becomes rigid and dry — in other words, stale.

How to Store Doughnuts So They Stay Fresh

No matter what kind of doughnut you're storing — be it yeast, cake, or brioche — the main thing you're gonna want is airtight storage. Allrecipes senior editor and resident baking wizard Darcy Lenz says doughnut storage can be as simple as a zip-top bag with the surplus air squeezed out, but you can also use plastic wrap, or lidded plastic or glass storage containers. Of course, you can use your preferred storage method, but be sure air isn't flowing inside. And keep the sealed doughnuts away from sunlight, which can dry doughnuts out even faster or even cause condensation that leads to mold. Doughnuts stored this way at room temperature will last for 1-2 days.

Donut with sprinkles
Photo by Meredith

How to Store Filled Doughnuts

Filled doughnuts are a different animal since going stale isn't the only way they can deteriorate. Dairy-based fillings are likely to go bad at room temperature, and jelly fillings can grow mold. It's best to refrigerate any leftover filled doughnuts in an airtight container. Refrigerated doughnuts will keep for 3-4 days.

Should I Store Doughnuts In the Fridge?

As noted above, you should absolutely store any filled doughnuts in the refrigerator to prevent the filling from going bad or growing mold. Unfilled doughnuts can also go in the fridge — it's not required, but it may add a few days to their lifespan. Additionally, storing regular doughnuts in the fridge will give them a firmer texture.

Can I Freeze Doughnuts?

Absolutely. Unfilled doughnuts will freeze better than filled doughnuts, but both can be preserved by freezing. Doughnuts will last for up to three months in the freezer.