How long does bread last in the freezer? (+3 Ways to store)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does bread last in the freezer?”, and how to store bread. We will also discuss what are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing bread, and how to defrost it.

How long does bread last in the freezer?

Bread will last 3-6 months in the freezer depending on what type of bread It is and how it is stored (1). Freezing temperatures halt the growth of microbes to perform the preservative action (2). What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing bread?

Benefits of freezing breads

  • The fundamental benefit of freezing bread at temperatures below -18 °C (0 °F) is that it suppresses microbiological activity and enzymatic reactions, successfully keeping its freshness, taste, and texture for an extended length of time (2). 
  • It also inhibits mold growth and stalling while retaining quality after freezing. 

Drawbacks of freezing breads

  • Freezing can cause some moisture to form ice crystals within the bread, producing textural changes and a little loss of quality (3). 
  • Because of water migration, the bread may become slightly drier than fresh bread when thawed (4). 
  • Furthermore, it might develop off-flavors by absorbing scents in the freezer if not carefully stored in sealed containers. 

What factors influence the shelf-life of bread?

Type of bread and ingredients used 

Store-bought sandwich, a loaf of bakery bread has preservatives added to extend its shelf life. These preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and sorbic acid.. Therefore, these bread types are sold at room temperature (5). 

Breads containing lipids undergo lipid oxidation, a complex process initiated by the reaction of fats with oxygen in the air. This reaction is promoted by oxygen and light, which lead to the formation of free radicals and peroxides that cause off-flavors, staleness, and rancidity in the bread (13).

To minimize that, packaging is vital in countering lipid oxidation in bread with lipids. Moisture and gas barriers prevent moisture loss and hinder oxygen permeability, slowing lipid oxidation. 

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) adjusts gas composition to extend shelf life by reducing oxygen levels and increasing carbon dioxide levels, inhibiting lipid oxidation and microbial growth (13,14).

Gluten-free bread is sold in the refrigerated section because it is highly prone to spoilage due to high moisture content and low preservative levels (6).

Breadcrumbs and crackers last the longest due to lesser moisture levels.  Refrigerated dough for biscuits and rolls is susceptible to rancidity due to high oil content. Homemade bread that lacks any preservatives and contains perishable ingredients like eggs and milk, has a shorter shelf-life comparatively (7).

How to store bread in the freezer?

Any type of bread including bagels and banana bread can be frozen for an extended shelf-life. Before freezing the bread, cut it into slices. Frozen bread cannot be cut. Besides, defrosting doesn’t take much time, so freezing pre-sliced bread is preferred (8,9,15).

  • Unopened loaves of bread can be directly tucked in the freezer without any additional packaging.
  • To freeze leftover bread, transfer it to a freezer bag, squeeze out the air from the bag before storing. 
  • Make sure the bread is not damaged by pressure or smashed by other products in the freezer. To avoid this, it is recommended to store it in an air-tight container.
  • Store unopened commercial bread in its original packaging to preserve freshness, prevent staleness, and avoid exposure to external elements that could lead to textural changes and microbial spoilage. When bread is exposed to the external atmosphere or handled, it becomes susceptible to moisture absorption, leading to textural changes and microbial spoilage.

How to defrost bread?

In the refrigerator

Move the frozen bread from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw for some time (10).

In a toaster oven or a sandwich toaster 

Defrost your frozen bread in the toaster. If you do not want a toast, heat the appliance and turn off the what before putting the bread slices in it. 

How to tell If the bread has gone bad?


If you see mold spots or patches on the surface of the bread of white, pink, green, or black color, discard the whole bread. Molds that cause bread to spoil are Rhizopus, Penicillium, Eurotium, Aspergillus and Monilia (10). 

Unpleasant odor 

If the bread gives off a funny smell, it is best to discard it rather than trying to revive it. Note that you should never sniff bread that has visible mold spores. The spores can cause complications upon inhaling (10,12).

Strange taste 

Trust your taste buds. If there is something off about the taste of the bread, get rid of it (11,12). 

Hard texture 

The hard texture is the result of improper sealing. The bread loses its moisture, becoming dry and stale. The crumb loses its softness and becomes hard. Such bread is not unsafe to eat. However, it can be discarded for quality reasons (12). 


In this article, we answered the question “How long does bread last in the freezer?”, and how to store bread?. We will also discuss what are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing bread, and how to defrost.


1. Food labeling and product dating. USDA.

2. Freezing and Food Safety. USDA, 2013

3. Burton,P., Lightowler, H.J. The impact of freezing and toasting on the glycaemic response of white bread. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008, 62(5):594-9.

4. Phimolsiripol, Y., et al. Effects of freezing and temperature fluctuations during frozen storage on frozen dough and bread quality. J Food Engineering, 2008, 84(1):48-56

5. Thomas, L., Delves-Broughton, J. Preservatives: Permitted Preservatives – Sorbic Acid. In book: Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology. Elsevier, 2014.

6. Šmídová Z, Rysová J. Gluten-Free Bread and Bakery Products Technology. Foods. 2022, 7;11(3):480.

7. Coorey, Ranil, et al. The impact of cooling rate on the safety of food products as affected by food containers. Compr. Rev. Food Sci. 2018, 17, 827-840.

8. Bread, Fresh Or Frozen. USDA, 1998.

9. How long can I store bread?. USDA, 2023.

10. Saranraj P., Sivasakthivelan, P. Microorganisms Involved in Spoilage of Bread and Its Control Measures. 2015.

11. Legan, J.D. Mould spoilage of bread: the problem and some solutions. Int Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 1993, 32(1-3):33-53

12. Iurie, R. Bread rope spoilage development. J Engineering Science, 2023, 2,185- 95.

13. Upasen, S., Wattanachai, Piyachat. Packaging to prolong shelf life of preservative-free white bread. Helyon, 2018, 4.

14. Barriuso, B., Astiasarán, I., Ansorena, D. A review of analytical methods measuring lipid oxidation status in foods: a challenging task. Eur Food Res Technol, 2013, 236, 1–15.

15. David, A. et al. The Influence of Storage Temperature on the Bread Quality. Bulletin of University of Agric Sci and Vet Med Cluj-Napoca Agric, 2012, 69(2):1843-5386.

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