Does Carrot Cake Need to be Refrigerated?

Ah, carrot cake. The one cake that makes you feel a little less guilty about eating it – right? A lot of people love carrot cake. But whether you bake it or buy it from the store, it should be left in the refrigerator.

Hello! I’m Michelle, and I’m a self-taught baker. Carrot cake is one of my Dad’s favorite desserts of all time. So, needless to say, I make it pretty often. Not only have I mastered the recipe, but I’ve figured out the best storage options, too.

If you’re planning to make a carrot cake anytime soon, it’s essential to know how to store it. Carrot cake is different from many other cakes and requires separate storage rules. Knowing how to store it correctly will mean the difference between a moist, delicious cake and a dried-out wreck.

Let’s dive into carrot cake!

Does Carrot Cake Need to be Refrigerated?

The quick answer is yes, carrot cake needs to be refrigerated, whether frosted or unfrosted. However, some people say it’s okay to leave unfrosted carrot cake at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

My suggestion? Always play it on the safe side. Stick your frosted or unfrosted carrot cake in the fridge.


If you’re going to leave your unfrosted carrot cake at room temperature, ensure it is away from direct sunlight, humidity, and excessive heat. Any cake will deteriorate in that kind of environment.


Frosted carrot cake must be refrigerated. This is especially true if you’re using the notorious cream cheese frosting typical to carrot cakes. Cream cheese frosting spoils rather quickly. So, I wouldn’t recommend leaving it at room temperature for longer than two hours.

How to Store Carrot Cake (3 Ways)

Storing your carrot cake is vital for the quality of your carrot cake. Here are a few ways to keep it correctly.

1. At Room Temperature

While I don’t think carrot cake should ever be stored at room temperature, some people will leave their unfrosted treat on the countertop until it’s ready to be frosted. If this sounds like you, make sure your carrot cake is covered and doesn’t stay out for longer than 24 hours.

I suggest purchasing a high-quality cake holder to keep air, bugs, and other undesirables away from your tasty baked goods.

2. In the Fridge

The refrigerator is the best option for your carrot cake – unfrosted and frosted. In the fridge, carrot cake should last up to a week.

When storing in the fridge, you can use a purchased cake holder. It will be the most convenient option as you simply have to pop off the lid, slice the carrot cake, and indulge.

However, you can always opt to place it on a plate, baking sheet, or other solid surface and cover it with a layer or two of plastic wrap.

The goal is to keep the carrot cake from getting dried out. After all, the fridge is a great place to store items for longer; but it’s also infamous for drying out these beloved items, especially baked goods that aren’t appropriately covered.

3. In the Freezer

You also have the option of storing your unfrosted or frosted carrot cake in the freezer. However, this could alter the texture of your carrot cake. So, it should only be used if you’re not planning to frost or consume the carrot cake for quite some time (up to six months).

If storing unfrosted in the freezer, allow the carrot cake to thaw in the fridge overnight. You can thaw at room temperature, but be careful. If you leave it at room temperature too long, it can become mushy and crumbly and difficult to frost.

If storing a frosted carrot cake, you can store the whole cake or slice it up and package it separately. This is the best option if you only want to consume a slice here and there rather than devouring the whole cake at once.

Regardless, always make sure your cake (or cake slices) are wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. If you have room, place the wrapped cake inside an airtight container. This will fend off dryness and freezer burn, leaving your cake moist and tasty.

How to Tell Carrot Cake Has Gone Bad (3 Signs)

Eating rotten carrot cake will make you sick – especially if it’s frosted with cream cheese frosting. That said, it is imperative to know how to tell whether your carrot cake has gone bad. Don’t worry – it’s pretty easy.

1. Pungent Smell

Cream cheese is a dairy product. Do I need to say anything more? When dairy products go bad, they give off a horrible odor. So, to tell whether your carrot cake is still good or not, sniff it. If it’s emitting a foul odor, it’s time to get rid of it.

2. Change in Texture

A change in texture is also a significant indicator that your carrot cake has gone bad. The texture can become incredibly crumbly and dried out, rendering it challenging to eat.

To put it simply: if your carrot cake has anything but the desired original texture, think twice before eating it.

3. Mold

One of the main draws to carrot cake is the presence of fresh carrots. Yum! However, they’re also the ingredient that can take your carrot cake down. 

Over time, the carrots mixing with the other ingredients and moisture will create the perfect environment for bacterial growth, resulting in moldy spots. Check your carrot cake inside and out for signs of “colorful friends,” otherwise known as moldy enemies.


While uncovered carrot cake can sit out, I think it’s best to toss it into the fridge. If you still want to learn about whether or not carrot cake needs to be refrigerated, check out these handy questions.

Do I need to refrigerate carrot cake with cream cheese icing?

Cream cheese spoils quickly, so you need to refrigerate your carrot cake with cream cheese icing within two hours. Otherwise, your cake will likely go bad.

How do you store a baked carrot cake?

Whether you’re storing it at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer, you need to make sure your carrot cake is covered. This will ensure that it doesn’t get dried out due to the air.

Should carrot cake be served warm or cold?

Carrot cake can be eaten cold, warm, or at room temperature. However, most people prefer it slightly chilled. This is the most common temperature for carrot cake as it provides the best texture.

Final Words

In my opinion, carrot cake – frosted and unfrosted – should always be stored in the fridge. This type of cake utilizes fresh carrots and cream cheese frosting, both of which tend to spoil quickly. The freezer is also a great runner-up for long-term storing.

Do you love carrot cake as much as my dad? How do you store it?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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