How to Store Leftover Baked Goods

Apple Pie in a white ceramic pie plate
Apple Pie

With the holidays upon us, you’re probably whipping up all kinds of breads, cakes, pies and cookies. Or, you might be receiving baked treats as gifts. With all those goodies around, you might be wondering how to keep them fresh. Today, I share how to store leftover baked goods. Let me know if you have additional questions by asking in the comments.

How to Store Leftover Baked Goods

Stenciled pie dough with an embossed rolling pin
Whole Wheat Pie Dough

How to Store Pie

Pie dough can be left in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using. Here is my ultimate guide to pie crust, in case you need additional pointers!

Custard and cream pies don’t freeze well. Store them in the fridge and enjoy them within a few days. If you can’t eat it all, share with a neighbor or loved one! 

Fruit pies can be kept covered at room temperature for about two days and can be kept in the fridge for about two more days. Make sure to keep them covered. Wrapping in foil works well.

Fruit pies also freeze well. You can freeze them for a few months (wrap them in plastic once they are frozen to help avoid freezer burn). Thaw them completely and then warm them in the oven before serving.

Pies like pecan and pumpkin should be kept in the refrigerator because they contain egg in the filling. They will last a few days in the fridge and can be warmed up before eating.

Pumpkin and pecan pie can be frozen, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Freezing can affect the texture and the filling may separate from the crust. You can freeze them wrapped in plastic, but don’t expect fresh results when thawed.

Peach Rye Cake on a plate with a serving utensil
Peach Rye Cake

How to Store Cake

Freezing frosting and cakes will prevent them from getting stale. There are exceptions (check out my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes, for more details on those), but you can often bake a cake ahead of time and freeze it to preserve the results.

Cool your cake layers and freeze immediately to lock in the moisture. Wrap them very well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to assemble, defrost on the counter, still wrapped, for about an hour.

Buttercream and other frostings will freeze for up to two weeks unless otherwise noted. Wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. Defrost for a few hours at room temperature when ready to use and remix in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

Heart shaped sugar cookies on a cooling rack
Sugar Cookies

How to Store Cookies

Most cookies will keep at room temperature. Storing them in an airtight container will keep them fresh. 

Cookies that need to be stored for more than about a week should go in the freezer. Freeze the cookies individually on a baking sheet before storing them in a bag or airtight container.

Thaw cookies at room temperature. You can then place them in the oven for a few minutes to warm them up.

Most cookie dough also freezes well, including shortbread, gingerbread, drop cookies and sugar cookies. Drop cookies can be frozen on a cookie sheet and then stored in a freezer bag. Remove them from the freezer and place on a baking sheet to thaw slightly while you preheat the oven to bake them.

Raisin Pecan Bread in a cloche on parchment paper
Raisin Pecan Bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

How to Store Fresh Baked Bread

I’ve found that the best way to keep bread fresh once it has been cut is to store it cut-side down on a flat, nonporous surface like a plate or a clean countertop. Don’t store inside foil or plastic, which traps humidity and softens the crust by allowing it to absorb water.

Breads made with whole-grain flour and those made with dough that has been well aged stay fresh longest. Use day-old bread for making bread crumbs in the food processor, or try bread salad, bread pudding, french toast or croutons.

Banana Bread with Swirls of Nutella | ZoeBakes by Zoë François
Banana Bread with Swirls of Nutella

How to Store Other Baked Goods

Store muffins and quick breads in an airtight container. If it will be more than a few days, put them in the freezer, where they will last a few months.

Homemade whipped cream is best used right away, but if you whip it properly, it should last for a few hours up to a couple of days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. If you’ve made too much and have no use for it anytime soon, you can actually freeze it in individual portions. The Kitchn has a genius technique for doing this and you can learn more about it here.

Here’s how I make perfect homemade whipped cream. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 2 cups (480ml) heavy whipping cream, 1-2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat on medium speed (you read that right) until just thick—it will start to leave marks from the whisk in the cream. 
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using the whisk attachment, continue whipping by hand for several seconds until the cream reaches the desired consistency. This way you can ensure the mixer won’t take it too far. Makes about 3 cups / 720 ml.

Brownies and bars can be stored much like cookies. Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. For longer times, freeze them individually.

Now that you know how to store leftover baked goods, let’s make some tasty desserts!

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3 thoughts to “How to Store Leftover Baked Goods”

  1. Up until the pandemic I would host a sugar cookie decorating party for my nephews and their friends. I always made too many. The ones that didn’t get decorated get pulverized in a food processor and stored in freezer bags in the freezer. These get used for making cheesecake bases, and also for dusting cake pans. Maida Haetter recommended using fine bread crumbs for dusting cake pans to prevent a floury residue on cakes. The sugar cookie crumbs work well, too.

  2. Thank you for all of your tips, Zoe! Question for clarification – did you mean that “pies like pumpkin and pecan should be kept in the refrigerator” (not freezer)?

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