How Long Do Bagels Last? What’s The Best Way to Store Them?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 28th, 2022

Have you bought a few extra bagels than usual and are curious how long they will last before they become stale? Also, what is the shelf life of bagels?

Or perhaps you’re curious about the best way to store them so they stay fresh for as long as possible. So how do you keep bagels?

brown doughnut with white cream

If either of these scenarios seems similar, this essay is for you. We’ll go through the following topics:

  • Bagels have a shelf life that varies depending on where they are stored.
  • How to store bagels at home: Should they be left on the counter (at room temperature), refrigerated, or frozen?
  • determining if your bagels are beyond their prime and should be tossed
  • Do you want to learn more? Continue reading.

While this article focuses on store-bought bagels, the same criteria apply to handmade bagels.

What is the shelf life of bagels?

Most fresh bagels will hold their freshness for 2 to 5 days if kept on the counter and sealed. You gain an extra day or two of storage if you put them in the fridge, but they frequently get stale faster. Finally, frozen bagels keep their quality for at least 3 months.

Those calculations are pretty safe and apply to the majority of bagels. For example, certain bakeries create bagels that can be stored for up to 10 days, but your average bagel will harden after 2 to 3 days.

Your unique tastes are just as crucial as the rules mentioned above. For example, if you prefer the crisp crust and chewy inside of a freshly baked bagel but don’t like them sitting on the counter for more than a day or two, try freezing any leftover bagels and see how it goes.

Bagels, like bread, require appropriate storage in addition to knowing the approximate shelf life.

Bagel DetailsPantry StorageRefrigeratorFreezer
Homemade Bagels5-6 days10-14 days6 months
Store-bought Bagels (e.g., Thomas Bagels)5-7 days7-14 days6 months
Bakery Bagels (e.g., local bakeries, Panera)2-3 days5-7 days 6 months

Do Bagels Keep Better in the Fridge?

Are you prepared for this response? It’s a little tricky. Bagels will survive longer in the fridge, but that doesn’t imply they’ll be of higher quality.

A bagel may be stored in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life, although it may get slightly dry.

Keep it in the fridge if you’re worried a bagel won’t be eaten before it goes bad.

If you notice one is already “aged” and has two remaining in the bag, it’s not a bad idea to put the bag in the fridge so you can safely wait a couple of days before eating the next one.

Refrigerating bagels may increase their shelf life by several days. In addition, the fridge does assist in preserving and protecting a bagel from turning stale. However, the disadvantage of keeping bagels in the refrigerator is that they might get hard or stale.

The cold air inside the refrigerator is much more likely to dry up your bagels than simply putting them in the pantry. The problem is that you can only keep bagels in the pantry for so long before they go bad.

The good news is that you can usually do a few simple things if your bagel appears hard or dry when you’re ready to use it. Toasting will frequently go a long way toward reviving a dried or somewhat stale (but still safe to eat) bagel that tastes delicious!

Is it worthwhile to keep bagels refrigerated?

It would help if you didn’t think you couldn’t use the refrigerator. However, you CAN use the refrigerator, which prolongs the shelf-life.

We want to ensure you’re aware that the fridge might reduce the overall quality of your bagels. This may require additional actions to bring them back to life before eating.

As previously said, bagels can stay longer in the fridge, but it’s not a good idea to put your bagels in the fridge unless necessary.

They can usually be stored in the pantry for several days if properly stored, and the results are far superior if you use the pantry as a whole.

If your bagels are likely to go unnoticed for a week, putting them in the fridge may be more beneficial than storing them in the freezer.

How to Keep bagels Fresh overnight?

The answer is easy if you only wonder how to keep bagels fresh overnight. But, first, don’t store your bagels in the fridge since it will cause them to grow stale faster.

Placing bags in a paper bag at room temperature is suitable for an overnight stay on the counter. The paper bag aids in the preservation of the crust and flavor, but it provides little protection so that they won’t survive more than a day.

Before we recommend freezing your bagels:

If you want to get the most out of your shelf life and don’t want to freeze your bagels, here are some ideas for prolonging their shelf life:

Consider the following options:

  • Always keep bagels and bread in a cold, dry place.
  • They should be kept in an airtight container.
  • Keep away from direct sunshine and heat.
  • Keep dampness at bay.
  • Try keeping your bagels in a paper bag first, followed by a plastic bag. The paper bag absorbs moisture, while the plastic keeps it from drying out.
  • Individually storing or packaging bagels may be beneficial.
  • Please place them in the refrigerator (but be mindful that this could dry them out a little)
  • To cover up any staleness or stiffness, heat or toast the bagels.

All of these are suggestions that you may employ on an individual basis to assist your bagels to stay fresh and flavorful for longer.

In general, you should anticipate your bagels to last 5-7 days, with the ability to extend that if you use extended solutions. Sometimes the flavor of the bagel might even affect how long it lasts.

Also, if you prepare your bagels fresh and from scratch, allow them to cool before packing them up for storage.

how to keep your bagels fresh for a few days

A plastic bag is your best choice if you won’t be eating them for at least a few days.

Place the bagels in a plastic bag and squeeze out as much air as possible without smashing them. Then, use a rubber band or twist knot to close the bag. If you want to consume them within the next several days, keep them at room temperature. Alternately, freeze them.

How to keep your bagels fresh for several months

Bagels may be kept fresh in the freezer for several months, so there’s no need to rush. However, it would help if you kept in mind that they will be as fresh or stale when they come out of the freezer as they were when they went in.

How to Defrost Bagels

If you leave the bagels out, you can have some issues when it comes time to thaw them.

If you defrost them at room temperature, they may get stale as they thaw. Instead, slice the bagels before freezing them. Then, place them in the toaster oven.

They will thaw and toast simultaneously, giving you a perfect, crispy mouthful.

However, once they’ve been defrosted, there’s no turning back. If you refreeze bagels, they will lose their freshness, so take what you eat immediately.

What you should not do to your bagels

Believe it or not, it would help if you avoided a few things when preserving bagels. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these facts, so please help spread the information to your friends!

  • Bagels should not be refrigerated. Many people believe that bagels will stay longer in the refrigerator. But it is just not the case. The refrigerator encourages staling.
  • Bagels should not be wrapped too tightly. The crust softens as a result of this. And, as we all know, bagels are famous for their crisp, chewy exterior. For bagel storage, avoid using aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  • Do not be tempted to throw out bagels. Even if you buy bagels and then discover you can’t eat them, don’t toss them away or let them mold. Simply put, freeze them (instructions above).

Do Bagels Expire? How Can You Tell If Your Bagel Is Bad?

Mold will eventually develop on bagels. Those without preservatives may get moldy within a week or two, while others may keep for a more extended period. However, most bagels grow stale after only 3 to 4 days of storage, and most people toss them at that point.

Of course, bagels can be eaten even after hardening if there is no mold or other visual or odor alterations. The problem is that stale bagels taste mediocre at best, so stale baked items frequently wind up in the trash can.

What Should You Do If Your Bagel Is Old?

You can bring that sad, hard bagel back to life!

There are two methods for reviving stale bagels:

  • They should be toasted. Bagels can be toasted in a toaster oven or a regular oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and let it there for 4 to 5 minutes. If they’re extremely dry, spray them with water (or even immerse them in hot water) beforehand. To learn more about toasting bagels, visit the Serious Eats website.
  • Microwave them while covered with a moist paper towel. That’s another way to soften that firm and dry bagel. Begin with microwaving the bagel for 20 seconds and see how it goes from there. Continue in 10-second increments if more time (or moisture) is required.

If you frequently wind up with stale bagels, experiment with both approaches to find which works best for you.

If you need a fresh bagel for breakfast on a hectic weekday morning, resurrecting your stale bagel in the microwave is a must-try.

Can You Eat Old Bagels?

Remember that any date stamp on your bagels is likely to be a best-by date rather than an expiration date. As long as there are no symptoms of deterioration, your bagels should be okay to consume.

Examine the food for mold or symptoms of staleness or expiry. If your bagel looks and smells OK, and only a little time has gone since the expiration date, it is safe to consume.


Editorial Staff

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