There’s nothing better than the taste of warm, fresh muffins for breakfast—or a sneaky afternoon snack. It doesn’t really matter what they have inside, nuts or dried fruits; if they’re fresh, they’re fantastic!
And that leads us to one of the most common problems people have with muffins: storage. Once you’ve baked a fresh batch and it’s out of the oven, you’re in a race with time before it loses its freshness.
Within a day or two, you’ll end up with crumply or mushy muffins.
So, how to keep muffins fresh? Read on to discover five tips that’ll help you slow the aging process and enjoy the muffins a tad longer!
1. Cool Your Muffins the Right Way
Before you even get to the storage stage, you need to treat your muffins the right way when they’re done baking.
After you take the muffins out of the oven, wait for about three to five minutes before doing anything.
This gives the muffins time to set so they don’t lose shape when you take them out of the tin. It also gives it time to let some of the steam out, as it could leave soggy if stored immediately.
When they’re completely cool, remove them from the muffin tin, whether they have a paper liner or you baked them right in the pan.
Carefully set them on a wire rack to cool completely. Now you’re ready to store them…or enjoy!
2. Store on the Counter
If you’ve baked the night before and know that your friends, family, or just you will devour them the next day, use this easy method to keep them fresh overnight.
Spread a clean tea towel on your kitchen counter. Leave the muffins on the wire rack—when they’re completely cool, place the rack on top of the tea towel. Cover with another clean tea towel.
This is a great way to keep muffins fresh so that you can enjoy them in the morning. Unless they’re gone before then!
3. Store Muffins in a Bread Box
I have a beautiful bread box in my kitchen, and it’s ideal for keeping muffins fresh. Place a clean tea towel in the bottom of a bread box.
Place cooled muffins on the towel without layering them (consider a bread box with a shelf for extra storage space). Then, carefully drape another tea towel over the top.
Close the bread box, and the muffins will stay fresh without drying out for up to three days.
This is a great way to store a smaller batch of about six to eight muffins. If you bake a dozen, your family is sure to eat a few before you even get a chance to think about storing them and keeping them fresh!
4. Store in a Lidded Container
When it comes to storing muffins and keeping them fresh, Tupperware on its own (or any container with a lid), isn’t going to do the trick.
Putting muffins into a sealed container, without something to absorb the moisture, is just going to trap that moisture inside and make the tops of the muffins sticky and wet.
Place a layer of paper towel into the bottom of the container. Carefully place your muffins on top and cover with another sheet or two of paper towels.
Now, you can use the lid to seal the container, letting the paper towel do the trick to absorb any of the moisture. Store at room temperature, and your muffins will be nice and fresh for up to two or three days.
If you don’t have a large enough container, you can use one or two zip-lock storage bags. Using the same concept, carefully place the muffins in the bag with a paper towel, seal them, and store them.
5. Freeze Your Muffins
Another way to store muffins to keep them fresh is by freezing them. Freezing is a great way to have muffins on hand all the time—just pull one or two out of the freezer whenever you’re craving some of your baking.
To freeze, place them in a plastic container on top of a couple of pieces of paper towel—make sure it’s a single layer of muffins, as you don’t want to crush them!
Cover with a few more paper towels and then cover with the lid. Place the entire container into the freezer. Muffins will freeze well for up to 3 months.
Muffin Storage Methods to Avoid
There are a few storage methods that you should avoid when it comes to muffins. For instance, never refrigerate muffins!
The cool temperature of the fridge changes the texture of muffins and makes them dry out faster rather than keeping them moist.
An exception to the above rule: if you’ve baked savory muffins that have cheese or meat in them, you’ll need to refrigerate them.
For storing in the fridge, use the method of storing in a sealed container with a paper towel.
Also, never wrap individual muffins in plastic wrap. The wrap will tightly seal in the moisture, but it’s going to make your muffins soggy!
Finally, never plate and cover in plastic wrap. It may seem like a good idea to just place muffins on a decorative plate and cover it with wrap until the next day.
However, as with wrapping them individually, the plastic wrap completely traps in the moisture, and with nothing to absorb the damp wetness, you’ll end up with soft and soggy muffins.
Reviving Old Muffins
So, you’ve forgotten to store your muffins properly, and now they feel and taste a bit odd. What to do? How to bring back that just-baked warmth and tenderness?
Well, for your first trick, try lightly toasting your muffins in the oven. Preheat it to about 350°F (175°C) and place the muffins on a baking sheet.
Warm them up for about five to ten minutes, then take them out. This trick helps revive the crust, giving your muffin a warm, crispy exterior.
For something a bit different and quicker, you can cut the muffins in half, drizzle some milk or water, and bake at a low temperature, 300°F for instance.
Another trick that I love is microwaving with some added moisture. Place your muffins on a microwave-safe plate and surround them with a damp paper towel.
Microwave for less than 30 seconds and enjoy! The steam from the towel helps moisten the muffins and warm them up!
What to Do With Old Muffins
If you still don’t like how your muffins taste after the reviving process, don’t throw them out! From sweet to savory, stale muffins could still offer you something new.
For instance, you could try muffin bread pudding. Tear the muffins into small pieces and soak them in a mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, and just a smidge of vanilla extract. You can also add some extra treats like chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruits for flavor.
For a savory twist, cube your muffins, toss them with olive oil and some seasonings, and bake in the oven until they’re crispy croutons. For more tricks, check out what I got here.
Final Tip: Bake Muffins When You Need Them!
If you’re like my family, we love muffins, and I bake them two or three times a week. Our favorite muffins are date and bran—perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack!
I make up a batch of batter, doubling the recipe, and store it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge, where it’s good for up to one week.
Even on busy mornings, it only takes me a minute to scoop batter into muffin cups and bake just as many as we need that day. This means we always have fresh muffins…and I don’t need to worry about keeping them fresh!
These are the methods I use to store my baked muffins and keep them fresh so my family can enjoy them for a few days! Happy baking (and storing)!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.