Let’s say you find yourself with a substantial number of doughnuts. Perhaps you took full advantage of one of those buy-a-dozen-get-a-dozen-free deals, or tried making them yourself and they immediately turned out perfectly, or it was more of a Homer Price scenario.
Never mind how you ended up with this fried dough windfall; you now find yourself in a position where you have more doughnuts than you know what to do with, and can’t (or don’t want to) give them away. What do you do?
Considering its role as a long-term repository for leftovers, you might think about popping them in the freezer. But…is that even allowed? Conventional doughnut wisdom (and signs) tells us that these treats are at their peak when they’re hot and fresh out of their oil bath. So is the freezer even an option—like, as a last resort? If so, what’s the best way to freeze doughnuts, and when should you do it? Here’s what to know.
When to freeze doughnuts
First of all, yes: it is possible to freeze doughnuts. (Although technically, it’s possible to freeze most things.) And it does matter when you do it. Common sense tells us that freezing doughnuts that are already stale to begin with isn’t a great idea if you care about things like taste and quality. But it’s also possible to freeze doughnuts too soon.
As Miles Sao, owner of Heroes Donuts in Martinez, Georgia recently told Southern Living, you want to let the doughnuts cool down before you store them—whether they’re going in the freezer or an airtight container where you hope to keep them fresh for a few days. Storing doughnuts before they have a chance to come to room temperature will cause them to sweat and turn soggy. No, thank you.
How to freeze doughnuts
Once the doughnuts are room temp, it’s time to start packing them. Instead of some type of plastic sealed container, you’re going to use large (gallon-size) freezer bags. Depending on how many doughnuts you have to freeze, you can arrange them in a single, flat layer in the bag and freeze them that way (making sure they stay flat in the freezer).
For bigger doughnut loads, you may need to stack them on top of each other—just use a piece of wax paper between each layer so they don’t stick together. But what about ones with icing? Here’s a pro tip from Tamara Gane at Southern Living:
If you’re freezing frosted donuts, arrange them in a single layer and put them in the freezer for about an hour, or until the frosting freezes, first. This will prevent the frosting from sticking to other donuts or the freezer bag.
Once the bags are packed, remove any excess air, then pop them in the freezer to be enjoyed later, at a day and time of your choosing. They are usually good for up to three months.
How to defrost doughnuts
You have two options here. The first is removing the doughnuts from the freezer the night before you want to eat them, and allowing them to defrost sitting on the counter, according to Epicurious.
But sometimes doughnut emergencies come up and you may not have the time to wait overnight. In this situation, pop the doughnut in the microwave for 10 seconds, then check to see how it’s doing. If it needs more time, continue to heat it for a few seconds at a time to prevent the doughnut from overcooking and getting hard and gross.