Here’s all about the shelf life, storage, and going bad of brownies. Learn how long they last, when to throw them out, and whether you should refrigerate them or not.
So you got a bunch of brownies, and you’re worried they’ll go bad. How long do brownies last?
Or yours sit in storage for a couple of days already, and you need to know how to tell if they’re still good to eat.
If so, you’re in the right place. Read on.
How Long Do Brownies Last?
Typical freshly baked bakery or homemade brownies last 3 to 4 days at room temperature, and up to a week in the fridge. But there are also some online sellers that offer brownies that keep for up to 2 weeks on the counter and up to a month in the fridge.
When it comes to the shelf life of brownies, there aren’t any hard and fast rules.
Generally, your homemade brownies should last at least 3 days to 4 days in the pantry, and up to a week in the fridge. But please remember that, in some cases, brownies need to be refrigerated right away. Pretty much the same basic rules apply to bakery-bought brownies.
Of course, these guidelines are super generic, and some types of brownies will last much longer, while others will taste so-so after 3 days of storage. Generally, the more sensitive the ingredients, the shorter the shelf life.
If you don’t want to buy brownies in the bakery, but you feel like making them from scratch takes too much time, consider buying a premade mix. Brownie mix lasts for over a year and cuts the time needed to bake that brownie in half (or more).
When it comes to brownies ordered online, the storage periods are all over the place.
Sometimes the suggested storage time is around 5 days, other times it’s 7 days in the pantry and 30 days in the fridge. That’s why it pays to read storage instructions if you’re ordering online.
If you need to store brownies for a prolonged period, you can always freeze them.
Please note, however, that different types of brownies yield various results. Thus if you’re consistently baking the brownies following the same recipe or buy in the same place, it makes sense to test freezing them, in case you ever need to buy or bake in bulk.
Brownies Shelf Life
|Homemade brownies||3 – 4 days||7 days|
|Bakery-bought brownies||3 – 4 days||7 days|
|Brownies ordered online||5 – 14 days||7 to 30 days|
Please note that the periods above are estimates only, and since there are tons of recipes for brownies, in some cases those periods will be widely off.
How To Tell If Brownies Have Gone Bad?
Brownies will degrade over time so if you keep a batch of this dessert in the fridge or pantry for a prolonged period.
Look out for slight changes in color or appearance. If the color or aroma of the brownies seems off, err to the side of caution and discard them.
Moist brownies have the tendency to get moldy so if you are seeing the presence of mold, throw the brownies in the trash.
Last but not least, if you already store brownies for much longer than you usually do, it’s probably better to throw them out. Better safe than sorry.
How to Store Brownies
Main article: How to store brownies?
While there are quite a few types of brownies out there, the storage instructions remain quite similar.
First and foremost, you want to prevent the brownies from drying out. That’s why brownies ordered online are often individually packed, and why bakeries often sell brownies in plastic containers.
If you bake your own brownies or buy them in a bakery without a container, you can store them in an airtight container, ziploc bag, or wrap them with plastic wrap.
When it comes to homemade brownies, one more piece of advice. Instead of cutting the slab into squares right after the brownie has cooled a bit, you can store it whole. Or maybe cut into a few large pieces and put each one in an airtight container.
This way there’s less surface area and the brownie dries out more slowly. Then you cut the pieces into squares right before serving.
Now that we have covered how, it’s time to talk about where to store brownies.
Do Brownies Need to Be Refrigerated?
If your brownies have a dairy-based filling or frosting, you have to refrigerate them. Otherwise, it’s up to you to decide if you want them in the fridge or not. In general, light and airy low-moisture brownies keep best on the counter (in an airtight container), while those denser ones fare better in the refrigerator.
Generally, you can choose between the fridge and the pantry. And each one has its own pros and cons and works better for some types of brownies than others.
Let’s start with the pantry or the kitchen. Room temperature works best for those lighter and airier brownies, with fairly low moisture content. That means those without a super-moist filling or heavy frosting.
Dense brownies with high moisture content are best stored in the fridge. Those fudge-like brownies typically contain more eggs, and the filling is often thick and creamy. The refrigerator is also a must for any brownies that contain dairy-based filling or frosting, or have any temperature-sensitive ingredients.
When storing brownies in the fridge, always remember to keep them sealed tightly. Otherwise, they can pick up smells from other food, and that’s definitely not what you want.
If you’re ordering brownies online, the storage instructions often come with your order, so you don’t have to guess. Alternatively, take a minute and check the website for instructions. It’s important because some companies specifically ask not to refrigerate their brownies.
If you’re following a recipe online, make sure to check the storage instructions too.
Can You Freeze Brownies?
Main article: Can you freeze brownies?
If you don’t expect to eat the brownies within a reasonable time, freezing is your best bet. Once again, different types of brownies freeze differently.
Classic and cake-like brownies usually don’t freeze that well because of low moisture content and density. They often turn crumbly or grainy upon thawing. But dense, fudge-like brownies freeze quite well, and so does cheesecake (here’s my article on how long cheesecake lasts in the fridge).
When it comes to how to freeze brownies, the most important thing to do is to protect them from the cold air as much as you can.
To do that, you can use freezer bags. Alternatively, wrap the slab or squares using cling wrap and cover with aluminum foil. Add a label with the name and date if needed.
Brownies can last at least 1 to 2 months in the freezer without a big loss of quality, possibly much longer. When you’re ready to defrost your frozen brownies, the fridge is the way to go.