Baked or bought a bunch of muffins and not sure for how many days they retain quality? How long do muffins last?
Or maybe you want to know what’s the best way to store them. If you leave them on the counter as-is, they either dry out or become soggy, and eating either is a rather painful experience.
Want to learn more about handling homemade or store-bought muffins? This article is for you. In it, we’re going to cover:
- the shelf life of muffins, depending on the ingredients and where you store them
- storing muffins and if putting them in the fridge is always a bad idea
- freezing muffins
- when to throw out your old muffins
Let’s get started.
There are a gazillion recipes for muffins out there. Because of that, it’s impossible to come up with exact storage times and practices that are ideal for muffins that you have on hand right now. Instead, I cover general principles so that you can work out what’s best for your leftovers.
How Long Do Muffins Last?
Muffins last for 2 to 7 days, depending on the ingredients and where you store them. Sweet muffins with fresh fruit keep for only a couple of days, while savory ones and those with mostly dry ingredients stay safe to eat longer. If you need more time than that, freezing is your best bet in most cases.
How long your muffins are good for depends entirely on the ingredients.
Popular muffins with fresh fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, bananas, and a dozen other options, are often topped with fruit pieces. These muffins don’t last more than 1 to 2 days on the counter before the fruit grows mold.
If the fruity goodness is hidden inside, and the surface is dry, they tend to retain quality for like 3 to 4 days.
If you’re not sure about the shelf life or storage practices for your muffins, consult the recipe
Then there are muffins with melted chocolate, nuts, oats, dried fruit, and the like. Those (usually) aren’t particularly moist and can last for up to a week.
Last but not least, there are savory muffins that often include cheese, meat, and chopped veggies. Those usually require refrigeration and tend to keep for 4 to 6 days.
All in all, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the muffins shelf life question. Take the muffins you have on hand, and try to fit them into one of the mentioned categories. Or use the table below.
|Sweet muffins topped with fresh ingredients||1 – 2 days||3+ months|
|Sweet muffins with fresh fruit inside||3 – 4 days||3+ months|
|Sweet muffins with mostly dry ingredients||5 to 7 days||3+ months|
|Savory muffins||4 – 6 days||3+ months|
How To Store Muffins To Keep Them Fresh
Sweet muffins retain the best flavor if you store them in an airtight container on the counter. Place a sheet of paper towel below them and top them with another one to catch any extra moisture. Savory muffins usually require refrigeration. Again, a plastic container and a couple of paper towels are all you need.
While many guides tell you that you should never refrigerate muffins, that’s not quite the case.
True, most popular recipes keep better quality if muffins sit on the counter (same goes for cupcakes, as I write in my How Long Do Cupcakes Last article), but some of the others (I’m looking at you, savory muffins) are better off in the fridge. Especially if you load your muffins with dairy or meat (e.g., ham, sausage, chorizo, and the like).
It’s best to check what the recipe’s author says about storage. And if you’re buying your muffins in the bakery, don’t hesitate to ask the clerk if you should refrigerate them.
Before we get to storage tips, there’s one thing many aspiring bakers forget about, which is letting the muffins cool before you put them anywhere. If you don’t do that, muffins often end up with a wet base, and nobody likes soggy baked goods.
To avoid that, take the muffins out of the pan (and paper or silicone liners, if you use those) about 5 to 10 minutes after you finish baking. Place them in a single layer, possibly onto a wire rack, to allow the moisture to escape. This way, all the steam inside is released, and the muffins are moist, not wet or soggy.
Once cooled, transfer the muffins into a bread box or airtight container lined with a tea towel or paper towels. Top that layer of muffins with another towel to catch the moisture from the top.
If you don’t have a suitable container, use freezer bags. Again, make sure there are towels below and above the baked goods.
How To Freeze Muffins
Most muffins freeze surprisingly well, and freezing them takes little time and effort. All you need is a couple of freezer bags or plastic containers and some free space in the freezer.
To freeze your muffins, do the following:
- Let them cool. If your kitchen still smells like just-baked-muffins, it’s probably too soon. Make sure those muffins are room temperature both outside and inside.
- Place them in containers or bags. If your muffins are moist on the outside, or sticky, consider freezing them individually so that they don’t stick. For regular muffins, you can freeze as many as you like in a single bag or container. If you’re using a bag, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it.
- Chuck everything in the freezer.
One thing worth noting is that if you’re expecting the muffins to sit in the freezer for a prolonged period, like a month or more, it’s better to go with a bag, as these don’t allow nearly as much cold air near the muffins as containers do.
It’s best to freeze muffins in a single layer so that that none of them get crushed. Also, if you’re afraid other food products might squash them, go with a container or place that bag in one.
How long can you freeze muffins for, you ask? 3+ months is a pretty safe bet and should be enough for most of us. If the muffins sit in the freezer for longer, thaw them and assess the quality, chances are they’ll e quite alright.
Speaking of defrosting, let your frozen muffins to room temperature on the counter. That might take between an hour to maybe three hours, depending on the size and what’s inside (the more moisture inside, the longer they thaw).
Once your muffins defrost, make sure to eat them the same day.
How To Tell If a Muffin Is Bad?
Throw out muffins that:
- Are moldy. If there’s any fuzz on the surface, it’s time to let them go.
- Sit in storage for too long. If yours sits around for a couple of days past the recommended storage period, discard it for safety reasons. It might still be safe to eat, but you never know.
- Smell or taste off. If either is the case, they’re done for.
Last but not least, consider the quality of that old muffin.
If it’s kind of stale and tastes so-so at best, it’s probably not worth keeping around or eating. If it’s your sweet (or savory) treat, make sure it’s one.