Here’s everything you need to know about storage, shelf life, and going bad of zucchini bread.
Just baked your first zucchini bread and not sure whether you should refrigerate it or not? How to store zucchini bread?
The safest way to store zucchini bread is to refrigerate it. Some zucchini breads stay safe on the counter at room temperature, but the majority require refrigeration. If yours is moist, keep it in the fridge.
That’s the short answer if you’re in a hurry.
Interested in learning more? Here’s what we cover below:
- storage practices for zucchini bread
- when refrigerating zucchini bread isn’t necessary
- shelf life of the treat
How to Store Zucchini Bread
Store zucchini bread in an airtight container, a plastic bag, or wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. No matter what you choose, make sure the bread is covered.
A good cover prevents the treat from drying out and picking up smells from other products. The latter is especially important if you decide to refrigerate it.
(In most cases, that’s what I recommend.)
Also, if your zucchini bread is well wrapped, you can just chuck it in the freezer if you need it to last more than a few days. I flesh out the details in my Can you freeze zucchini bread? article if you’re interested.
Last, placing a paper towel underneath the bread is a good idea if the baked good seems too moist for your liking. That towel will soak up any extra moisture so that you don’t end up with a drenched base.
Some zucchinis yield more liquid than others, and some recipes ask you to leave that liquid in. If both are true, your zucchini bread might end up wet, not moist. And that’s when paper towels come in handy.
Now, let’s talk about whether or not you should refrigerate zucchini bread.
Does Zucchini Bread Need to Be Refrigerated?
If your zucchini bread is pretty moist, which is what most recipes produce, you should keep it in the fridge. It’s okay to leave zucchini bread at room temperature only if it’s a relatively dry baked good, similar to regular bread.
That’s the easiest way to think about storing this treat: it goes in the fridge if it’s moist. Or sort of moist.
Now, every recipe is slightly different. They range from super moist ones on one end to regular-bread-like ones on the other. But the vast majority brings in a lot of moisture, so storing it in the fridge seems to be a reasonable general recommendation.
That said, if the texture of your zucchini bread reminds you of regular ol’ bread, chances are you can leave it on the counter with no problem.
(Cornbread is quite similar in that regard. Traditional cornbread can sit at room temperature, but cornbread with extra veggies and such needs refrigeration.)
If you’re wondering what recipe bloggers say about the issue, everyone has their own recommendation:
- John from Preppy Kitchen recommends refrigeration but says it’s okay to leave it on the counter overnight.
- Amanda from The Wholesome Dish suggests refrigeration from the get-go.
- Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction says it’s okay to store her zucchini bread muffins at room temperature for 3 to 4 days or a week in the fridge.
- Simple Recipes recommends storing the bread at room temperature.
Of course, each recipe is slightly different, so storage instructions differ too.
If your recipe comes with storage instructions, follow them.
I think zucchini bread is a bit similar to bread pudding or apple pie, both of which are better off when in the fridge. That’s why I recommend refrigeration unless the treat is rather dry or your recipe specifies otherwise.
(And even if it meets either condition, you can still successfully store it in the fridge.)
Related: How to store bread pudding?
Related: How to store apple pie?
How Long Does Zucchini Bread Last?
Zucchini bread lasts at least 3 to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container or plastic bag. If it’s of the drier variety, it can safely last up to a week. If you need more time, you can freeze any leftover zucchini bread.
The 3 to 4 days period is the standard recommendation for leftovers, and often you can get away with storing the treat for a day or two longer if you refrigerate it.
That said, if you know upfront that you probably won’t finish the loaf within that period, it’s much better to freeze the leftovers. This way, you don’t have to worry about them going bad, and you never risk food-borne illness from eating week-old zucchini bread.
Or you can divide the recipe in half, bake one mini zucchini bread now, and use the remaining zucchinis next week for another mini zucchini bread. That’s an option because zucchinis last longer than zucchini bread.
Related: How long do zucchinis last?
How to Tell if Zucchini Bread Is Bad?
Discard your zucchini bread if:
- There’s mold. If you notice any mold on the surface, throw out the whole thing right away.
- You store it for more than a week. If yours sit in storage for more than seven days, discard it no matter what.
- It smells or tastes off. While it’s impossible to describe how zucchini bread should smell or taste because every recipe is different, if anything seems out of place, discard the whole thing. Better safe than sorry.
Last but not least, if you’re not sure everything is okay with the treat, assume it’s not.