Can you relate to this story? You go to a doughnut store and see no less than 5 different flavours you want. How do you choose one? You don’t. You buy all 5 and worry about how you’re physically going to eat 5 doughnuts later.

So you’re stuck with 5 doughnuts. You think… I’ll put them in the fridge or freezer and have them another day. Genius!

Is that going to work? Is that going to keep them fresh?

What is the best way to store doughnuts in the short and long term?

Let me make it clear up front – doughnuts are meant to be eaten the day they were made. And every day matters.

A good doughnut shop or market stand will only make enough doughnuts for the day. They won’t sell day-old doughnuts, unless they make it clear they are a day old and cut the price. Even still, most will avoid that as it lowers their standards.

Unfortunately, some cafes will sell old doughnuts and cronuts that they have received from a supplier. They can’t afford to discard old stock. And perhaps, they don’t get deliveries every day.

Doughnut stored in the fridge for too long
Doughnut stored in the fridge for too long

An old doughnut is disappointing and doesn’t give you the correct doughnut flavour.

The next day, the freshness is gone. It will not be as soft. A chewy doughnut will be too chewy. Soft doughnuts will taste wrong. The glazing and icing won’t be as nice or could even be ruined. 

There are countless varieties of doughnuts and some will keep better than others. So I can’t cover every single one here. I’ll have to generalise.

Good way to store an iced doughnut

Most doughnuts, such as cinnamon doughnuts, glazed doughnuts and iced doughnuts, can be stored out of the fridge. Like any food, oxygen is the enemy. They will keep best in an airtight container. Next best is on a plate with cling wrap – ensure it is airtight. It would be better if the cling wrap didn’t lie on top of the doughnut, so a suggestion would be to place it flat in a bowl that’s deep enough that when you put the cling wrap on, it doesn’t touch the doughnut.

If you’ve bought doughnuts that come in a box, take them out of the box for overnight storage. Boxes aren’t airtight. Same with a paper bag. Take them out. A box and bag will also become greasy from the cooking oil if you leave it too long.

Some icings will go runny out of the fridge after a short while. This is true of small, iced supermarket doughnuts. Other doughnuts will show a dimpled effect on the icing. I believe this is the icing soaking into the doughnut.

If the doughnut has any type of cream, custard or any other dairy-based product, you need to put it in the fridge. Dairy should be kept chilled. Again, keep it in an airtight container or under cling wrap.

Can I freeze a doughnut?

Yes, you can freeze a doughnut but it won’t be as nice once it’s thawed. The cold temperature changes the consistency of the dough. Cake-style non-yeast doughnuts will freeze better than their yeast-raised counterparts.

Ruined icing thanks to cling wrap
Ruined icing thanks to cling wrap

There are so many doughnut fillings that it’s difficult for me to start mentioning any. Some fillings will freeze and thaw better than others. I wouldn’t let them stay in the freezer longer than 3 months, so write a date on them somewhere.

Be aware that some doughnuts you buy have already been frozen and thawed. How do you know which ones? You won’t, except for boxed supermarket doughnuts which say it in fine print. A good doughnut store won’t freeze their doughnuts, but a café might.

You can pop your cinnamon or jam doughnut in the microwave for a brief zap. That might soften them up a bit. Don’t do that to an iced or glazed doughnut.

So, remember all that next time you buy 5 doughnuts in one go.