How to store brownies to keep them fresh and moist?

Bought or baked too many brownies and wondering the best way to store them? How to store brownies to keep them fresh and moist?

the short answer

Store brownies at room temperature tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or sealed in an airtight container or cake stand. If they have a perishable frosting (eg, cream cheese frosting) or include fresh fruit, store the brownies in the refrigerator.

That’s the short version.

Interested in learning more? Here’s what we cover next:

  • more details on brownie storage
  • when it makes sense to refrigerate brownies
  • Is freezing brownies an option?

keep reading

freshly baked brownie

How to store brownies?

The best way to keep your brownies fresh and moist is to store them tightly wrapped or sealed in a container at room temperature.

The exception here is brownies glazed with cream cheese frosting (and other dairy-based frostings) or ones that include fresh fruit. Those brownies need to sit in the fridge.

The goal here is to keep the brownies from drying out. That’s why brownies bought at the store or ordered online come in plastic containers and are often individually packaged.

How to Store Brownie: Freezer Bag
How to Store Brownie: Freezer Bag

When storing homemade brownies, you have a couple of options:

  • Using an airtight container or a cake holder. The upside is that the containers work well for both frosted and non-frosted brownies. The downside is that the extra space in the container (and therefore air) speeds up drying. And nobody likes a dry brownie. Therefore, try to use the smallest container possible in which the brownie will fit.
  • Placing them in a freezer bag. Reusable freezer bags are great because there’s little air inside after squeezing out the excess, so the brownies don’t dry out as quickly. The only downside is that storing frosted brownies in a freezer bag is not an option unless you want to completely ruin the frosting.
  • Wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. The downside to this solution is that the wrapper eventually ends up in the trash can, producing waste. Also, it only works for brownies without frosting.

For extra points, you can put off cutting the slab into individual brownies until you’re ready to serve them. This is because a whole slab retains moisture a bit better than cut brownies due to the smaller surface area and less exposure to air.

Now, if your brownies are super moist, consider placing a paper towel under them to trap the extra moisture. You want the bottom to be moist, not wet.

How to Store Frosted Brownies: Cake Carrier
How to Store Frosted Brownies: Cake Carrier

Do the brownies need to be refrigerated?

Regular brownies don’t need refrigeration, but if yours includes fresh fruit or a perishable frosting, store them in the fridge.

You should also consider refrigerating your brownies if they are dense and fudge shaped. The high moisture content can cause them to grow mold prematurely if they become contaminated.

On the other hand, light and airy brownies keep perfectly well at room temperature for at least 3-4 days. So if you don’t need more time than that, refrigeration is not necessary.

Related: How long do brownies last?

You can of course put brownies in the fridge no matter the type, as it helps them last a few more days.

The thing to remember is that your refrigerator tends to dry out food, which is why it’s essential to wrap or seal brownies well first. An airtight wrapper or seal also protects the candy from picking up any odors.

Now, all of the above applies to almost all homemade and store-bought brownies, but there are a few outliers.

For example, I found a vendor online that specifically asks not to refrigerate their brownies. I imagine there might also be some brownie recipes that you shouldn’t refrigerate for some reason.

So it’s best to check for storage instructions provided with the recipe or package.

Lastly, if you have a lot more brownies than you can consume before they go bad, you may have thought about freezing them. Let’s talk about it.

Just Brownie Frosting: Prep for Storage
Just Brownie Frosting: Prep for Storage

Can you freeze brownies?

Brownies freeze well, and freezing is the way to go if you need yours to last as long as possible.

Just like freezing any other baked goods, the most important thing is to wrap the brownies well and squeeze out any extra air.

If you’re freezing for the short term, like a couple weeks tops, a freezer bag should be good enough. But if your brownies can stay frozen longer, an extra layer of protection is needed.

The default choice here is plastic wrap or freezer wrap, either of which will wrap the candy tightly. Once wrapped, place the baked good in a freezer bag.

(Of course, wrapping the brownies helps them retain better quality no matter how long they sit in the freezer.)

As you can imagine, freezing a whole brownie slab will give better results than freezing it cut into squares. That works for the same reasons that storing a whole brownie is better than storing it cut up.

When it comes to frosted brownies, whether or not they freeze well depends on how well the frosting holds up to freezing and thawing. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to freeze brownies unfrosted and make a fresh frosting when the fudge is thawed and ready to serve.

Speaking of thawing, you can defrost brownies on the counter, and it takes anywhere from an hour to 3-4 hours. It all depends on how thick and dense the brownie is: thinner and airier ones defrost faster.

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