How long do the cupcakes last?

Here’s everything about the shelf life, storage and spoilage of cupcakes. Learn how long they last, when to throw them away, and how to store them based on the type of cupcakes you have.

Have you baked or bought a bunch of muffins and you’re not sure how many days they keep their quality? How long do the cupcakes last?

Or maybe you want to know what is the best way to store them. If you leave them on the counter as is, they either dry out or get soggy, and eating them is quite a painful experience.

Want to know more about handling homemade and store-bought cupcakes? Keep reading.

There are tons of cupcake recipes. Because of this, it’s impossible to establish exact holding times and practices that are ideal for the cupcakes you have on hand right now. Instead, I cover general principles so you can figure out what’s best for your leftovers.

Pile of raspberry muffins

How long do the cupcakes last?

The muffins last from 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 muffins and those with mostly dry ingredients can be eaten longer. If you need more time, freezing is your best option in most cases.

The shelf life of the muffins depends entirely on the ingredients.

Popular muffins with fresh fruit, like blueberries, raspberries, bananas, and a dozen other options, often have chunks of fruit on the top. These muffins don’t last more than 1-2 days on the counter before the fruit develops mold.

If the pieces of fruit are hidden inside, and the surface is dry, they tend to retain their quality for 3-4 days.

If you are unsure about the shelf life or storage practices of your cupcakes, please refer to the recipe

Muffin pan before baking

There are also muffins with melted chocolate, nuts, oats, dried fruit and the like. These are (usually) not particularly wet and can last up to a week.

Finally, there are savory muffins that usually include cheese, meat and chopped vegetables. They usually require refrigeration and usually keep for 4 to 6 days.

Ultimately, there is no single answer to the question about how long cupcakes last. Grab whatever cupcakes you have on hand and try to fit them into one of the above categories. Or use the table below.

Counter Fridge Freezer
Sweet muffins with fresh ingredients 12 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
salty muffins 4 – 6 days 3+ months
freshly baked cupcakes

How to Store Cupcakes to Keep Them Fresh

Main article: How to store cupcakes?

Sweet muffins retain their flavor best if you store them in an airtight container on the counter. Place a sheet of kitchen paper under them and another on top to trap any extra moisture. Salted muffins usually require refrigeration. Again, a plastic container and a couple of paper towels is all you need.

Although many guides tell you that you should never refrigerate cupcakes, this is not true.

It’s true that most popular recipes keep better if the muffins are on the counter (same goes for muffins, as I write about in my article How long do muffins last), but a few others (I’m looking at you, savory muffins ) are better in the fridge. Especially if you load up your cupcakes with dairy or meat (eg ham, sausage, chorizo, and the like).

It is better to check what the author of the recipe says about preservation. And if you buy the muffins at the bakery, don’t hesitate to ask the clerk if you should refrigerate them.
Cupcake batter and two raspberries

Before we move on to storage tips, there is one thing that many aspiring pastry chefs forget, and that is to let the cupcakes cool before putting them anywhere. If you don’t, cupcakes often end up with a soggy base, and no one likes soggy baked goods.

To avoid this, remove the muffins from the pan (and from the paper or silicone liners, if using them) about 5 to 10 minutes after they are finished baking. Place them in a single layer, if possible on a wire rack, so that moisture escapes. This releases all the steam inside and leaves the muffins moist, not soggy or soggy.

Once cooled, transfer the muffins to a bread bin or an airtight container lined with a kitchen towel or kitchen paper. Cover that layer of cupcakes with another towel to collect moisture from the top.

If you don’t have a suitable container, use freezer bags. Again, make sure there are towels under and over the muffins.

Cupcakes ready to store

How do you know if a cupcake is bad?

Throw away the cupcakes that

  • have mold. If there is any lint on the surface, it’s time to let it go.
  • They have been stored for too long. If yours are a couple of days past the recommended storage period, discard them for safety reasons. It may still be eatable, but you never know.
  • It smells or tastes bad. If either of the two cases occurs, they are finished.

Last but not least, consider the quality of that old cupcake.

If it’s somewhat stale and tastes mediocre at best, it’s probably not worth keeping or eating. If it’s your sweet (or salty) treat, make sure it is.

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