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Exactly How To Reheat Donuts – I Test 6 Methods [Pics]

Found yourself with some leftover donuts?

I’ve personally tried and tested six different reheating techniques to find out which one delivers the softest donut.

I also looked at how best to store the donuts to keep them fresh for as long as possible.

The best way to reheat donuts is in the microwave, if your donut is still relatively fresh you can simply pop it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to warm it. If the donut is stale, cover it with a damp paper towel before microwaving. I also enjoy frying my donuts to reheat them.

A note on my experiment

To figure out the most effective and convenient way to reheat donuts, I tried six different methods including:

The result from the microwave were the best, hands down.

I ended up with a soft, warm, delicious donut. And it worked well even if the donut had gone a little stale.

I enjoyed the oven-warmed donut too. The glaze had a bit of a crunch to it, although it wasn’t as soft as the donut from the microwave.

The frying pan method was fun, but messy. And the air fryer was good for fresh donuts.

Reheating donuts in the microwave

Place your donut on a microwave-safe plate and warm it for 10 to 20 seconds. If the donut is starting to go stale, cover it with a piece of damp paper towel before microwaving it to introduce steam. Let the donut rest for a few seconds before serving.

How to reheat donuts in the microwave:

  1. Place your donut on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. (Optional) If stale, cover with a piece of damp paper towel for added moisture.
  3. Microwave the donut for 10 to 20 seconds.
  4. Once warm, let the donut rest for 10 seconds and then serve immediately.

Check your donut at the 10-second mark to see if it is warm to the touch. Different microwaves heat at different rates, and you don’t want to over-microwave your donut because it will dry out.

If the donuts have gone hard, the damp paper towel will create steam in the microwave and help re-moisturize the donut.

Be mindful that the donuts heated can get really hot.

And icing could burn your fingers, and the filling could burn your mouth if you bite right in.

But that doesn’t mean you should let the donut sit around for too long! The donut will start to cool quickly, and one it does, it will become like cardboard. I’m not joking.

My verdict

Pros: quick and easy, and the donut was super soft (even the stale ones) with a melty glaze.

Cons: it can be easy to overheat to donut by accident and the donut doesn’t stay hot for long.

Reheating donuts in the oven

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Place your donut onto the oven’s wire rack or a baking tray, and warm it for 3 to 4 minutes. If the donut is stale, sprinkle it with water and cover it with foil before heating. Once warm, serve immediately.

How to reheat donuts in the oven:

  1. Set your oven to 350°F (180°C) and allow it to preheat fully.
  2. Place your donuts onto the wire rack or a baking tray.
  3. Heat the donuts for 3-5 minutes.
  4. (Optional) For stale donuts, sprinkle them with water and cover them with foil.
  5. Once warm, serve the donuts immediately.

Depending on the type of donut you’re reheating, consider lining the baking tray with parchment paper to catch any melted toppings.

Pro tip: if you prefer a super soft donut, then wrap it completely in foil while it’s heating. Just be careful that the foil doesn’t stick to any icing.

My verdict

Pros: you can heat lots of donuts at ones and the glaze gets crunchy.

Cons: it’s a bit slow and the stale donuts didn’t soften as much as I’d have liked.

Reheating donuts in a frying pan

In a lightly butter-greased pan, fry your donut for a minute on each side using medium heat. For stale donuts, add a splash of water to the pan at the end, and cover it with a lid for an additional minute to steam and soften the donut. Once warm, serve immediately.

If you don’t want to warm up the glaze, cut the donut in half horizontally, and warm each piece cut side down for one minute.

How to reheat donuts in a frying pan:

  1. Lightly grease a pan with butter.
  2. Set your stove plate to medium heat.
  3. Fry your donut on each side for one minute (alternatively, cut the donut in half and fry both pieces cut side down).
  4. (Optional) For stale donuts, sprinkle water in the pan and cover with a lid for a further minute.
  5. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.

I highly recommend using butter over oil when you’re reheating donuts. The butter will soak into the donut giving it a decadent flavor boost.

Pro tip: to change up the texture of your donut, sprinkle powdered sugar over it before you fry it. This results in a caramelized, crunchy outer coating. YUM.

Glazed donuts, in particular, hold powdered sugar well.

Another option for plain donuts is to shallow frying them in a layer of oil for that freshly made taste (but never try this with glazed, filled, or sugared donuts).

My verdict

Pros: the donut was undeniably delicious.

Cons: frying didn’t soften the stales donuts much, and it was messy!

Reheating donuts in the air fryer

Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C). Line the fryer basket with parchment paper and place the donut inside it. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes and serve. To avoid burning yourself on the glaze, fold up the corners of the parchment paper to help you lift the donut easily from the basket once it is warm.

The parchment paper also prevents mess if the topping of your donut starts melting.

How to reheat donuts in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat your air fryer at 350°F (180°C).
  2. Line the fryer basket with parchment paper, with the corners folded up.
  3. Fry the donut for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the basket by lifting out the parchment paper.
  5. Serve immediately.

The air fryer makes donuts very hot. If you see any steam, rest the donut for a few seconds before serving.

Monitor your fryer closely to avoid burning the donut or overheating it (which will dry it out).

My verdict

Pros: it’s really quick (but not as quick as the microwave) and the donuts retain the heat well.

Cons: if the donuts are already stale, the air fryer won’t soften them as much as the microwave.

Fun things to do with leftover donuts

Don’t fancy reheating your donut?

Throwing out donuts is criminal. There’s always something delicious you can make with even the stalest donut!

A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to salvaging these sugary delights, so I’ve compiled a list of mouthwatering treats you can make with leftover donuts:

  • Leftover donut bread pudding. Adding some butter, cinnamon, eggs, and vanilla will culminate in a truly mouthwatering desert.
  • Donut French toast. French toast is already amazing. Switching up regular bread for donuts amplifies this breakfast favorite to a whole new level. Pass the maple syrup.
  • Chocolate donut pudding. A baked, gooey, chocolatey pudding served with ice cream. You literally can’t go wrong.
  • Leftover donut waffles. A few minutes in the waffle iron and any number of topping to choose from. This is a stellar way to save your ailing donuts.
  • Donut trifle. Adding donuts to a trifle allows them to soak in moisture and delivers them from staleness. A perfect, easy-to-make treat.

Related: How To Reheat Bread Pudding

How to store donuts

To store donuts, place them in a tightly sealed, airtight container. To keep them extra fresh, wrap each donut individually in plastic wrap to lock in moisture. You can keep donuts at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Fresh cream-filled donuts can only be kept in the fridge because the cream will sour quickly at room temperature.

For longer term storage, you can also freeze the donuts.

Related: How To Store Churros

How to freeze donuts

  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
  2. Place your donuts on the cookie sheet in a single layer, making sure they’re not touching.
  3. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 2-3 hours, or until the donuts freeze solid.
  4. Once the donuts are frozen solid, transfer them to a big freezer bag and squeeze as much air out as you can.
  5. The donuts will keep for 2-3 months.

Top tip: if you have a straw handy, you can use this to suck the air out of the bag. It’s like a homemade vacuum sealer. 

The flash freezing on a cookie tray helps set any glaze on the donuts and makes sure they don’t stick together in the freezer, so you can easily take one out at a time.

Alternative freezing options

If you don’t have room in your freezer to do the flash freezing, you can use wax paper to protect the glaze on your donuts instead.

Take your freezer bag and cut two squares of wax paper just smaller than the bag.

Pop one sheet of the wax paper into the freezer bag, then put the donuts on top. Try to keep the donuts from touching.

Then, put the second piece of wax paper on top of the donuts and seal the bag, getting as much air out of it as you can.

The glaze on the donuts won’t stick to the wax paper anywhere near as much as it would stick to plastic.

How to reheat frozen donuts

The best way to reheat frozen donuts is to microwave them straight from frozen. Heat the donuts in 10-second intervals until they’re soft and warm. You can also thaw donuts on the counter at room temperature. If you do this, wrap the donut in a protective airtight layer to keep it moist.

If you use the room temperature method and end up with a stale donut, cover it in a damp paper towel and nuke it for 10 seconds in the microwave. This will soften it up.

How long do donuts last?

Are you wondering how long you can keep your donuts for? Take a look at the following guidelines.

  • Room temperature: Donuts can be stored at room temperature for 1 to 2 days before moving them to the fridge. However, if the donut is filled with a perishable product like cream, it should be stored in the fridge from the get-go.
  • Refrigerated: Donuts stored in airtight containers in the fridge can be kept for up to a week, although they will turn stale over time.
  • Freezer: Donuts kept in air tight packaging will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer.

Read Next: How To Reheat Cinnamon Rolls

The Best Way To Reheat Donuts

I’ve tried four different reheating techniques to establish which is just right for a soft, fresh donut.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: donuts, reheat donuts
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 452kcal


  • 1 portion donuts glazed, filled, powdered


  • Place your donut on a microwave-safe plate.
  • (Optional) If stale, cover with a piece of damp paper towel for added moisture.
  • Microwave the donut for 10 to 20 seconds on medium-high heat.
  • Once warm, serve immediately.


Check your donut at the 10-second mark to see if it is warm to the touch, as different microwaves heat at different rates, and you don’t want to over warm your donut and dry it out.
If the donuts have been stored for a while, adding a damp paper towel helps restore softness.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 452kcal

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