How Long Will Cupcakes Last Before Going Bad | CoachSweetTooth

It's no secret that cupcakes are delicious, but how long will cupcakes last before going bad? Here is a guide to help you determine how long cupcakes will last.

I wished we lived in a world where cupcakes could last forever. Until that happens, though, cupcakes will continue to go bad in a relatively short time.

Plain cupcakes can last for up to a week in the pantry. If you add cream, fruit, or custard to the mix, this time span becomes drastically shorter to only about one or two days. Keeping cupcakes in the fridge or freezer can increase the life of a cupcake by a few days to three months.

Everyone has the right to enjoy a good cupcake. That is why I have decided to write about the shelf life of various types of cupcakes, how to store them, and what things cause them to go bad.

I know how heartbreaking it can be to throw away delicious-looking cupcakes that have gone bad. As a baker myself, I can provide you with accurate information on the expiry dates of cupcakes so that you can have a safe and enjoyable eating experience.

Table of contents


How Long Do Cupcakes Last?

The shelf life of a cupcake depends on various factors including the ingredients used to make them as well as the temperature they are stored at. Each storage option comes with its own set of conditions and issues so you need to understand how to properly store your cupcake in each area.

Room Temperature

The best way to store cupcakes is to store them at room temperature. However, it is not enough to just place them on your kitchen counter. When we talk about room temperature, we mean a temperature between 68 to 77 degree Fahrenheit. This temperature is actually quite cool. This means that you cannot leave your cupcake out on the counter or kitchen table if temperatures are soaring and you do not keep the air conditioning consistently.

Most cupcakes, whether they are frosted or unfrosted, can easily survive one to two days at room temperature and remain fresh. However , room temperature is not ideal for all cupcakes.

Cupcakes that contain cream, cream cheese, ganache, custard, dairy fillings, or fruit filling need to be stored in the fridge once they have cooled down.

In addition, places which have a lot of humidity are also not ideal for storing cupcakes. If you live in a state that has hot and humid weather, it is best to keep your cupcake in the fridge.

However, if you are not dealing with these issues, then it is perfectly acceptable to keep your cupcakes out. However, pay attention to these tips:

●        Make sure you seal your cupcakes inside airtight containers to prevent them from getting dry and to keep them fresh.

●        If the cupcakes are frosted, do not try to stack them one over the other as that can ruin the frosting.

●        If you do not have airtight boxes, you can wrap up the cupcakes with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

●        One very important thing to keep in mind is to ensure that the cupcakes have cooled off completely before you store them. Storing warm cupcakes will create condensation inside the container and make them soggy, which will give them a very unappealing texture.


A lot of bakers do not like the idea of storing their baked items in the fridge and there are plenty of reasons for that. The refrigerator can easily dry out cupcakes which is why you should try to avoid keeping your plain cupcakes in it.

However, the same is not true for cupcakes that are topped with cream cheese, diary fillings, or fruit. For these kinds of cupcakes, it is necessary to be refrigerated as they can go bad at room temperature in a short time.

Another reason why you should keep your cupcakes in the fridge is that it increases the life of your cupcake and makes them last to easily a week.

When putting your cupcakes in the fridge, it is doubly important to seal them in an airtight container. Otherwise, they may go dry if they are left out standing on the fridge tray.


Freezer can help your cupcake last forever. Although this is technically true, I cannot really guarantee the flavor and texture of a cupcake a year down the road.

When it comes to freezing your cupcake, I recommend that you consume them within three to six months. After that, the cupcakes will not be the same quality. In fact, some cupcakes may start deteriorating even earlier so it is best to consume them within three months.

You can just as easily freeze frosted cupcakes as plain cupcakes. However, to ensure the very best taste and results, I suggest you opt to top the cupcake with freshly made cream, fruit, or topping.

When it comes to defrosting your cupcake, just take it out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes to thaw. After that, you can enjoy them as always.

Frosted and Filled Cupcakes

Frosted and filled cupcakes tend to spoil easier than plain cupcakes.

Anything that contains fresh fruit, dairy elements, or eggs cannot be stored at room temperature for a long time. Cream and dairy toppings and fillings will melt and the fruit will turn slimy.

If you are baking cupcakes at home, then you can store the plain cupcakes at room temperature and store the frosting and filling in the fridge (or even better, prepare them fresh when you have to use them). Whipped cream, buttercream, cream cheese and chocolate ganache are a haven for bacteria and if left on the counter, they can spoil easily and lead to food poisoning if you eat them.

You also have the option of freezing your cupcakes if you want to eat them for weeks. When freezing the baked goods, it is best not to fill or frost them as the dairy products will get a grainy texture and the fresh fruit will become mushy once you defrost them.

Home-baked and Store-bought Cupcakes

Store-bought cupcakes often last longer on the counter or in the fridge since they contain preservatives and artificial ingredients. The preservatives give the cupcakes a longer life as well as retain their flavor and freshness.

If you are making cupcakes from boxed cake mixes, they will also contain the same preservatives, so you can expect them to last longer as well. However, make sure to exercise caution when it comes to frosting.

Cupcakes that are purchased from bakeries or are homemade have a shorter life since they contain natural ingredients and do not have preservatives.

How Can I Tell If My Cupcake Has Gone Bad?

If you have baked too many cupcakes or bought too many from the store to eat all by yourself, and then forgot to store them properly, there are ways you can find out whether they have gone bad.

Some of the main signs are:

●        The texture of the cupcake has gone dry, tough, and hard

●        The ingredients are mushy, slimy, and wet.

●        The dairy fillings and toppings have gone sour

●        The taste of the cupcake has gone off

You will also need to pay attention to other things like:


Check your cupcake for mold or a bluish-green fuzz. Make sure to check the base of the cupcake as mold is often hidden there even though your cupcake may seem fine on the top. If you see any sign of mold, do not hesitate in throwing out that cupcake.

Nasty Odor

If your cupcake has dairy frosting or filling, it will emit a sour smell if it has gone bad. Even the smell is nasty enough to repel even the biggest cupcake lover so you need to discard these immediately.

Bad Texture

If your cupcake appears to look fine, you will need to check its texture. A prolonged stay on the counter will probably have dried it out and given it a stale texture. The frosting will probably have lost its shape as well, so you need to be safe and throw those out.

Improperly Stored

If you have a strawberry-filled cupcake that has been resting out on the counter for over a week and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with its appearance and texture, you should still throw it out for the sake of your health. The cupcake might still be fine but you should better be safe than sorry.

 When it comes to finding out whether your cupcake has gone bad, you need to use your common sense. Any strange smells or signs of mold and you should throw away the cupcake immediately.

Although eating a dried out cupcake may not harm your health, it won’t taste as good as a fresh cupcake. Instead of adding extra calories to your body for something you are not even enjoying, whip up a batch of fresh and delicious cupcakes and have it all, guilt free. 


Lori Gilmore

Lori Gilmore

Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.

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