Should Cupcakes Be Refrigerated Overnight?

Cupcakes are relatively easy treats to prepare. But as easy as they might be, they still take time as many steps are involved, which is why most of us prefer to bake them in advance. 

With dozens of cupcakes ready on hand, not needed until the next day, you’re thinking to yourself, “Uh… what now?”  

Well, putting them in the fridge is definitely an option. Is it the best one though? Not necessarily.

I’m Angie, I’ve been baking cupcakes for over 10 years and I had the opportunity of starting my own cupcake business last year. With all that experience under my belt, I can definitely say that I know a thing or two about cupcake storage 😉

In this article, I will explain to you why you should or should not refrigerate cupcakes, how to do so, and for how long. 

Now let’s get baking!

Should you refrigerate cupcakes overnight?

No … I mean yes! … but no … yes?

The answer to this question really depends on what other storage options you have, what kind of cupcakes you are talking about, and whether or not they’re frosted.

Technically speaking, you can refrigerate any kind of cupcakes overnight. However, your cupcakes are prone to drying out because the cooling mechanism of the fridge removes any moisture or water vapor. That said, one night is not going to make a huge difference.

If freezing is an option, definitely freeze your cupcakes instead of refrigerating them. Freezing your cupcakes will keep them nice and moist, you can also keep them for up to three months in the freezer. 

If you’re using regular American buttercream frosting, there’s really no need to even refrigerate them unless you live in a very hot country and your butter starts to melt. Cupcakes with buttercream frosting can be left out at room temperature for up to two days. If you are using frosting with dairy or eggs in them, refrigeration is necessary. 

Frosted cupcakes tend to dry out slower because the frosting acts as a barrier between the top of the cake and the cool air. 

How to Refrigerate Cupcakes?

To refrigerate cupcakes, you want to make sure to have cooled them to room temperature. Freshly baked cupcakes should not be put immediately in the refrigerator as they can heat up other foods stored and cause spoilage. The rapid cooling may also cause your cupcakes to shrink too quickly and separate from the cupcake liners.

Whether you are freezing frosted or unfrosted cupcakes, you’re going to need a container to put them in. An airtight container can really lock in the moisture of your cakes and prevent them from drying. Plus, you can prevent your cakes from smelling like other things in your fridge.

Find a container that is spacious and deep enough to hold your cupcakes without the top lid smushing the cake. Give each cupcake the space it needs so they won’t squish into one another and it will give you a much easier time when you try to remove them. 

If you don’t have a container, you can also wrap your cupcakes in plastic wrap. Again, just make sure to use a deep enough trap and avoid contact between the cupcakes and your plastic wrap.

How long can you keep cupcakes refrigerated?

Generally speaking, you can keep your cupcakes refrigerated for up to four days in the fridge. If your cupcakes are made of or topped with fresh ingredients such as fruit or cheese, you should eat them within two days. 

Final Words

I don’t know about you but whenever I make cupcakes, they’re gone within a day, before I even get a chance to eat one. Storing cupcakes in the refrigerator is safe and common, but I don’t personally recommend doing so. If you must keep your cupcakes I recommend you keep them in the freezer instead. 

I hope you’ve found what you’re looking for! If you have any other questions regarding refrigerating cupcakes, feel free to comment and let me know. I will get back to you as soon as possible!

About Angie
I am a self-taught baker. I’ve been baking for over 10 years and started my own home baking business as a side hustle. I was born in Hong Kong and spent a pretty big chunk of my life in Canada. If you’re ever looking for me, I am probably there whisking vigorously away in the kitchen.

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  • Judy

    I frosted cupcakes today to be given to a friend tomorrow. The frosting contains butter and some milk. It’s a caramel type frosting. Is it OK to store these overnight in the refrigerator without them going stale? They are in a container. Or can I just keep them on the counter till I leave tomorrow morning

    • Michelle

      Hi Judy,
      I 100% recommend storing the cupcakes in the refrigerator. They should not become stale after a single night in the fridge.

  • Sherry G. Smith

    Thanks Angie! I have to bake cupcakes for my church sometimes. I’m learning about the do’s and don’ts for them. I’m a chef/pastry chef. So, I was so used to baking cakes. Cupcakes are a different type of project…. Thank you

    • Michelle

      Hi Sherry,
      Glad we could help!
      Happy baking,

  • Gail

    Thank you, answered my question????

    • Michelle

      Hi Gail,
      So happy to hear that!
      Happy baking,