Step away from the fridge
You can never go wrong with a fresh doughnut, served straight out of the fryer or still warm with glaze. But sometimes, you've got to plan ahead and pick up a box of doughnuts the day before an event, so your guests (or, let's be real, you) can enjoy these baked goods bright and early. Or maybe you've somehow been left with a box of leftover doughnuts from the office. This is why it's good to know how to keep doughnuts fresh overnight, so you can prevent your favorite doughnuts from getting stale and happily enjoy them even when they're not fresh out the oven.
The good news is that storing doughnuts properly is pretty straightforward. You don't have to make space in your fridge for a box. In fact, Jen Greif, pastry chef at Dough in Tampa, Florida, recommends against it. "To best keep doughnuts overnight, wrap them in a napkin and store in a paper bag," she wrote in an email.
And unlike bread or croissants, which you should freeze as soon as you know you won't be eating them in a day or two, doughnuts probably shouldn't be frozen. "While you can freeze doughnuts, I would not recommend due to the fact that the icing will melt and become tacky," Greif wrote. "They just won't be the same as fresh!"
If your doughnuts have gotten stale, the best way to soften them is to put them in the microwave. Greif recommends nuking them at 15 second intervals. And though it's not a fancy solution, microwaving your doughnut to reheat it or revive it is kind of the industry standard. Even the folks at Krispy Kreme suggest that you reheat their signature original glazed doughnut in the microwave at five-second intervals. "While it's not exactly like having one in our stores," they write, "some say it's pretty close!" (Just keep in mind that if you're reheating a doughnut with jelly inside that the filling will get very hot, and if it's got a glaze or frosting, that'll probably melt a bit.)
If you don't have a microwave, or are just feeling like you should accept the stale doughnuts for what they are, you can always use your leftover doughnuts to make doughnut French toast. But if you store them correctly, hopefully you'll be able to enjoy these doughnuts for as long as possible—or until you get your hands on a fresh batch.