Bagels are a great food to keep around the house. You can use them for breakfasts and snacks. You can change them up with a variety of bagel flavors and different bagel toppings of your choice.
When you’re in a rush, a bagel is your friend. It toasts up nicely and some people even like to enjoy them without toasting them. You can heat them up, have them cold, or just eat them soft at room temperature if you like. They are so customizable!
They are filling and can be a great choice! We love them for breakfast but nothing beats a peanut butter and jelly bagel for a snack, either!
But how long do bagels last? Bagels can last anywhere from 2 days to 6 months, depending on where they came from, how they are packaged, and how they are stored. Don’t be overwhelmed by that huge range of numbers, it’s pretty simple to keep it straight when you know the details.
In this guide, we will walk you through just how long bagels last. We will break down all of the details and talk about various types of bagels, different packaging, and different storage, so you can know just how long your bagels will be good – and how to keep them that way.
Stick with us to learn how long bagels last and more!
How Long Do Bagels Last? A Complete Guide
This guide is meant to share with you all of the details about bagels and how long they last.
What you should know is that store bought bagels like Thomas Bagels may last slightly longer than bagels that you purchase from a bakery or even somewhere like Panera.
This has to do with how fresh they are, how they are processed, and even how they are packaged.
The packaging and how they are made can make a difference here. In addition, how they are stored can also make a difference so we will touch just slightly on some of that detail as well.
Before we get started, we created a table for you that you can use as a convenient reference to clarify how long bagels last with the details you should know.
The nice thing about bagels is that you can extend their shelf life a little bit by storing them in the fridge or even the freezer.
Bread is one of those products that you have to be very careful about when storing it.
It should always be stored in a cool, dry place and preferably somewhere airtight. If you use a breadbox, this is a good spot for your bagels for a few days to a week. The same can be said for a closed pantry or cabinet (as long as you can be sure they’re critter-free).
You want to keep your bagels away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight to keep them fresh and delicious as long as possible!
Here’s a chart showing you how long you can expect your bagels to last by storage method (and where you got your yummy goodies):
|Bagel Details||Pantry Storage||Refrigerator||Freezer|
|Homemade Bagels||5-6 days||10-14 days||6 months|
|Store bought Bagels (e.g. Thomas Bagels)||5-7 days||7-14 days||6 months|
|Bakery Bagels (e.g. local bakeries, Panera)||2-3 days||5-7 days||6 months|
This chart shows you a pretty good example as to how different types of bagels might hold up compared to others.
We also want to point out that these are the expected maximum timeframe that your bagels may last. It is possible that your bagels will start to feel and taste stale before this amount of time has passed.
The important piece we want you to remember specifically is that it really matters if you store them properly. This will determine how long your bagels’ shelf-life really is!
How Do You Make Bagels Last Longer?
We can’t say this enough. The manner in which you store bread determines how long your bread lasts.
You might have a nice cool, dry spot that actually will let you store your bagels at room temperature for 2 weeks instead of 5 days. That’s awesome if you do!
But if you want your bagels to last as long as possible, you can try freezing them. We won’t get into too much detail here, since we have a full guide on it, but you’ll want to put your bagels in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container.
Remember that these timeframes that we provide you are just general guidelines and not necessarily an exact date estimate of when it’s time to toss the bagels. We will cover some tips in a bit about how to tell if your bagels are bad.
If your bagels aren’t showing any signs that they have gone bad, you don’t necessarily have to toss them just because it’s been 5 days.
Remember that they might start to turn stale or harden after just a couple of days but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the bagels are bad.
Other Ways to Make Bagels Last Longer
However, if you want to get the most out of your shelf life and don’t want to resort to freezing, you can use some tips for extending the shelf-life of your bagels:
Take a look at these options:
- Always store bagels/bread products in a cool, dry location
- Store them in an airtight container
- Keep away from heat or direct sunlight
- Keep away from moisture
- Try storing your bagels in a paper bag and then a plastic bag. The paper bag reduces moisture and the plastic helps to prevent it from drying out.
- Storing or wrapping bagels individually may help
- Store them in the fridge (but be mindful that this could dry them out a little)
- Heat or toast the bagels to mask any staleness or hardness
All of these are tips that you can put to use on a case-by-case basis to try to help your bagels stay fresh and delicious for longer.
In general, you can expect your bagels to last a total of about 5-7 days, with the potential to increase that if you turn to extended solutions. Sometimes, the flavor of bagel might even make a difference as to how long it lasts.
Also, if you make your bagels fresh and homemade, be sure to let them cool before you pack them up for storage.
If you wrap up a warm bagel, it will produce moisture in the packaging that can lead to dryness or mold and essentially ruin your hopes and dreams of enjoying those bagels for several days.
More Things to Consider About Making Bagels Last
Consider this: A fresh bagel from the Panera bakery that has blueberries in it might not last as long as a traditional plain bagel from the store. Those differences in ingredients and additives might affect the overall shelf-life of the bagel.
We recommend that you keep bagels in the pantry for as long as possible before turning to other options.
While you can store them in the fridge, the cold air could dry out your bagels and make them stale faster than if you just stored them away outside of the fridge. Yes, they stay good longer but the staleness might be a problem for you.
To get the longest shelf-life, we recommend following the tips we shared above and making sure they are stored in a dry location at all times.
You will also notice that despite our table shared above, a bagel may last for you even longer or even less time than what the table states. All of this relates back to minute details like how the bagel is stored, how the bagel is made, and even the ingredients in the bagel.
To keep bagels fresh, avoid the fridge if at all possible. If you’re just storing them overnight, then you can easily just use a plastic bag and store them on your counter top.
However, the longer they are stored, the more important it is to be sure that you store them properly to keep them fresh as long as possible.
You want to eliminate air, heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. These are all essential things! Leaving them at room temperature is just fine but be sure they are in a dry location that will protect them from moisture that seeks to harm them.
Do Bagels Last Longer in the Fridge?
Are you ready for this answer? It’s a bit complicated. Ultimately, bagels will last longer in the fridge but it doesn’t mean they will be great quality all the same.
Storing a bagel in the fridge can extend its shelf-life, but it may suffer a little dryness.
The fridge is a great idea if you are concerned a bagel won’t get eaten before going bad.
If you notice one already seems to be “aging” a bit and there are two left in the bag, it’s not a terrible idea to pop the bag in the fridge so you can safely wait a couple more days before eating the next one.
Storing bagels in the fridge might extend the shelf life for several more days. The fridge does help to preserve a bagel and keep it from going bad. The downside to storing bagels in the fridge is that they can become hard or stale.
The cold air of the fridge actually is more likely to dry out your bagels than simply storing it in the pantry. The problem is that the pantry will only allow you to store bagels for so long before they turn bad.
The good news is that there are typically some minor things you can do if your bagel does seem hard or dry when you are ready to use it. More often than not, toasting will go a long way to renewing a dryer or slightly stale (but still safe to eat) bagel so that it still tastes great!
Is Refrigerating Bagels Worth it?
We don’t want you to think that you can’t use the fridge. You CAN use the fridge and it really does extend the shelf-life.
We just want to be sure that you understand that the fridge can degrade the overall quality of your bagels. This may just lead to extra steps that you have to take to revive them before you chow down.
As we said, bagels can last longer in the fridge but it’s just not a great idea to store your bagels in the fridge unless you think you need to.
They typically can last for several days stored in the pantry, if you store them properly and the results are so much better if you are able to just use the pantry overall.
If bagels tend to go ignored for a week, you might benefit more from storing your bagels in the fridge than a household that will devour a pack in a couple days.
How Do You Know if a Bagel Has Gone Bad?
When you purchase bagels from the store, they are often stamped with a shelf-life date, a best-by date, or possibly even an expiration date.
Just be aware that this date for bagels is typically a best-by date. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your bagels are rotten after that date and have to be tossed.
We also want to point out again that just because your bagels are stale or hard does not necessarily mean they are bad.
It’s interesting because many of us don’t care for bagels or bread when it reaches this stage. Luckily there are some minor things you can do (like toasting and covering your bagel with a yummy spread) to refresh a hard bagel.
Hardness, mild staleness, or dryness just mean that they’ve lost some of their freshness or that the environment in which they were stored wasn’t ideal. Remember this can happen in the fridge.
You don’t have to consider the bagels hopeless or spoiled in this case, you just might have to give ’em the works to make them tastier!
Bagel Gone Bad – What to Look For
There are a few tips for knowing if a bagel has truly gone bad.
As a fairly obvious example, mold is a sure sign that your bagels are bad. This is probably one of the most recognizable signs that you can look for.
Mold on a bagel might show up as white, greenish-blue, or black spots. The color can vary but it still will look like mold all the same.
If you pull out one moldy bagel, we recommend tossing the whole package/any that were stored together. While it may not show on other bagels yet, it is possible that the mold spores are present there and just haven’t produced for your eyes yet.
Another good indicator of whether or not bagels are bad would be the smell. If you open the package and something smells bad or off, we recommend tossing the bagels.
Don’t overthink it; that off smell will catch your attention. Something just won’t smell right to you and this is a sign that your bagels are possibly going bad. Sometimes, you can even smell mold before it visibly shows up.
When sniffing your bagels just be careful because you certainly don’t want to inhale or sniff mold spores if they are present on the bagel!
We hope that you have found this guide to be a useful and informative resource to bagel shelf-lives. There are a lot of factors to understand and be aware of.
Now you should know all of the little details you can look for, though!
We invite you to take a look at the following question and answer section for some additional bagel information.
How Should You Store Bagels?
We recommend a paper bag or wrapper of some sort and then a dish or storage bag. This helps the bread breathe while also keeping out air and moisture that might negatively affect your bagels.
It’s best to keep them in a cool, dry area and away from heat, moisture, or sunlight.
What Do You Do if Your Bagel is Stale?
You can revive that poor, hard bagel!
We actually recommend microwaving them in this scenario to soften them slightly. You can add a touch of butter or just sprinkle a few drops of water on the plate around the bagel. Heat it for about 30 seconds and voila!
There’s also the toaster or toaster oven! Let that bagel get a little crispier and smear on some cream cheese.
Can You Eat Expired Bagels?
Keep in mind that any date stamp on your bagels is more likely a best-by date than an expiration date. Your bagels should still be safe to eat as long as there are no signs that they have gone bad.
Check for mold or signs of excessive staleness or expiration. If your bagel looks and smells fine and only a little time has passed since the expiration date, your bagels are likely safe to eat.
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