How Long Do Cupcakes Last? 3 Effective Storage Techniques

How Long Do Cupcakes Last? 3 Effective Storage Techniques

Last Updated on March 6, 2022 by Lindy V.

One of the cupcakes’ biggest downsides is that they don’t last very long. But, how long do cupcakes last? And, how can you make them last longer?

Today, we will look at exactly what affects the shelf life of cupcakes and how to prevent them from going off. And, we have included three different techniques you can try to help preserve them

What Is A Cupcake? And How Long Do Cupcakes Last?

So, as you might already know, cupcakes are small versions of cakes baked in a special cupcake or muffin pan. These cakes are also often baked inside of cupcake wrapper, which helps insulate moisture and neaten the overall look of the treat.

Then, the cupcakes are decorated with frostings and garnishes. There are also tons of different frostings available, but they all have two functions. The first is to add flavor and moisture to the cake itself. And the second is to prevent the cake from drying out by forming a protective layer.

Cupcake flavors

The cupcake itself can vary from plain old vanilla and chocolate to extremely unique and truly one-of-a-kind flavors. You can make their flavor tropical fruit, caramel, coffee, or even pumpkin spice. This is literally all using a simple pound cake recipe!

And naturally, you can also make a variety of cakes types like carrot cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, and tiramisu cupcakes. If you can think of it, you can make it!

how long do cupcakes last

How Long Do Cupcakes Last?

How long do cupcakes last? Well, this depends on a lot of different factors! But, how you store them will probably affect their shelf life the most.

Cupcakes can last anywhere between 2-5 days. However, using proper storage techniques, you can make them last for up to a week!

Here are some of the main factors that influence how long cupcakes will last.

  • The storage method
  • Storage temperature
  • The ingredients used
  • Weather conditions
  • Whether the cupcakes are store-bought or homemade

How Do You Store Cupcakes Properly?

Room temperature

When storing cupcakes at room temperature, make sure to store them in an airtight container and a cool, dry, and dark place. Store the cupcakes out of direct sunlight and make sure they are not exposed to any excessive moisture.

If your cupcakes have a highly perishable icing, like a meringue-based one (that contains eggs), you have to store the cupcakes in the fridge. Alternatively, only add the frosting once you are ready to serve the cupcakes.


Moisture is not a cupcake’s friend, but the cool temperatures make the cupcakes last longer. However, the dry air in the fridge also causes cupcakes to dry out. So, how do we prevent all of these potential problems?

The simplest answer is to store the cupcakes in an airtight container. This will help prevent the cupcakes from drying out and protect them from the moisture inside of the fridge. And, the colder temperatures will also slow the deterioration of these cakes.

How long do cupcakes last in the freezer? How to freeze them?

Cupcakes freeze very well! You can keep some cupcakes on hand in the freezer for between 4-6 months. Perfect for when unexpected guests show up!

The best way to store cupcakes in the freezer is to wrap each cupcake (without frosting) individually with plastic wrap, then another layer with foil. The foil will help prevent freezer burn.

Cupcakes can also be frozen with the frosting, but we recommend using fresh frosting on the cupcakes. Frozen frosting that eventually gets defrosted doesn’t have a very appealing texture, and sometimes even separates completely.

How to thaw frozen cupcakes?

Frozen cupcakes will save you when you are in a pinch! And, to defrost them is easy!

Simply defrost your cupcakes by thawing them at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the temperature. Cupcakes can also be thawed overnight in the fridge.

The fridge method works a lot better and will prevent drastic changes in the texture and flavor.

How Long Do Cupcakes Last That Is Homemade?

Well, this comes down to exactly how you stored the cupcakes and what ingredients you used. If properly stored, homemade cupcakes can last between 2-3 days, but potentially up to 5.

These cupcakes have a shorter shelf life as compared to store-bought ones because they often contain stabilizers and preservatives.

Top Shelf Elements 24 Cupcake Carrier

How Long Do Cupcakes Last That Are Store-bought?

So, store-bought cupcakes conveniently have use-by dates printed on each package. They also include sell-by dates. The sell-by dates indicate the date the cupcakes will still be in relatively great condition.

The use-by date, however, lets you know when the cupcakes will no longer be good to eat. This use-by date isn’t the expiry date, and you will have to monitor the cupcakes further for signs of expiration.

Store-bought cupcakes usually have a use-by date of 5-7 days. This is long because again, these cupcakes often have added preservatives and stabilizers.

How Long Do Cupcakes with Sprinkles Last?

Sprinkled cupcakes have a slightly shorter shelf life than other cupcakes. It’s not that they go bad quicker, but they won’t necessarily look like they did after a day or two!

The sprinkles absorb moisture, which means they will get soggy and melt into the icing. So, if you want them to last longer, only add the sprinkles before serving!

And remember, just because the sprinkles melted, doesn’t mean the cupcake has gone bad!

How Long Do Cupcakes Last Without Being Refrigerated?

Depending on how you store the cupcakes outside the refrigerator and what ingredients you used, cupcakes stored in an airtight container should last 2-3 days without being refrigerated. Cupcakes stored in the fridge will however last up to a week.

Read more about How Long To Cool Cupcakes Before Frosting?

How Do You Know If Cupcakes Have Gone Bad?

  • The texture of the cupcake will change. It will be dry, crumbly, and possible very hard. So, try breaking a cupcake in half to give the batch a test.
  • Although you don’t want to hear this one, cupcakes with fruity fillings usually become wet and slimy. Discard these cupcakes immediately.
  • And then, our biggest enemy in the kitchen, mold. If you notice any sign of mold, immediately throw the cupcakes away.
how long do homemade cupcakes last?

How Long Do Cupcakes Last? Conclusion

If you found this article helpful and now know all the answers to how long do cupcakes last, then make sure to check out some of our other informative articles too!


How long do sprinkled cupcakes last?

Cupcakes with sprinkles will also last between 2-5 days, depending of whether they are store-bought or homemade. What will drastically affect their presentation life (how long they still look good for) is the sprinkles themselves. Once they absorb moisture, they will melt and stain the frosting.

How long do store bought cupcakes last?

These cupcakes contain stabilizers and preservatives, which makes them keep extremely well, even at room temperature. They will last roughly 5 days at room temperature, possibly longer. 5-7 days are merely their use-by date, not actually their expiry date.

How long do homemade cupcakes last?

Homemade cupcakes will last between 2-4 days. Buy, you can use effective storage techniques and make them last up to a week.

How long do cupcakes last without refrigeration?

Without refrigeration, cupcakes will last between 2-5 days. This mostly depends on how they are stored and whether they are store-bought or homemade. Store-bought cupcakes will last longer because they often contain stabilizers and preservatives.

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