Making Panettone Last Longer (Quick Tips)

How Long Does Panettone Last?

For many of us, nothing quite makes the holidays complete like a delicious slice of panettone.

Whether it’s the traditional variety with flavors of orange, lemon and raisin or more adventurous flavors like chocolate, (yummy!), the taste and texture of this timeless Italian classic is unmatched.

Some would argue that it’s cake, while just as many would proclaim it as bread, but no matter how you slice this brioche-like treat, it’s important to know that, just like the holiday season, it won’t last long!

Panettone can be a very challenging bread for the novice baker, which is why most of the time when you see one at a holiday party, it’s likely store-bought.

Even though that’s the case, it doesn’t mean that it’s any less delicious than homemade!

In fact, most of us probably wouldn’t be able to tell if we’d eaten a homemade or a store-bought panettone since the latter are manufactured to have a long shelf life. 

How long a panettone lasts depends upon if it’s homemade or store-bought. If homemade, you can expect a panettone to last about five to seven days. For a store-bought panettone, if unopened, they can have a shelf very long shelf life, up to six months but once opened and sliced, you should consume it within a week to ensure the best taste and freshness possible. 

How Do You Store a Panettone?

Before storing a homemade panettone, you’ll want to make sure that it’s at least cooled to room temperature before wrapping it.

Once it has, storing your panettone is pretty easy. All you need to do is cover the bread in plastic wrap, a resealable plastic bag or aluminum foil.

For store-bought panettone, once you’ve sliced it, the clock is ticking on the freshness of this delectable bread. Eating it within a couple of days will mean enjoying it at its peak freshness, but since you probably won’t eat it all right away, you’ll need to wrap it tightly in the bag it came with. In addition, try to keep it away from any source of heat (or sunlight) in your kitchen as well.

In the case of homemade, your panettone will keep for up to a week and with a well-made store-bought, it’s possible for it to remain edible for up to a month. 

But again, any panettone (whether homemade or store-bought) will be freshest (and most delicious) those first few days after being sliced. 

Type of Panettone Temperature before Storing Wrapping Material Freshness Duration
Homemade Room Temperature Plastic wrap, resealable plastic bag, aluminum foil Up to 1 week
Store-bought N/A The bag it came with Up to 1 month (if well-made)

Does Panettone Need to Be Refrigerated?

Whether your panettone is homemade or store-bought, it’s generally not a good idea to stick in the fridge. If you do, you’ll find that it will begin to taste stale quickly.

While you can extend the shelf life of panettone in the refrigerator, the tradeoff in terms of how it affects the taste of the bread will not be worth it.

Refrigeration will have the effect of sucking out moisture from the bread. This means it will begin to taste stale much sooner than if you’d left out and wrapped it properly.

If you need to extend the shelf life of your panettone beyond a few days, consider freezing the bread instead of tossing it in the fridge.

Type of Panettone Recommended Storage Effect on Taste Shelf Life Extension
Homemade and Store-bought Room Temperature Not recommended N/A
Homemade and Store-bought Refrigeration Will taste stale quickly Not worth it
Homemade and Store-bought Freezing No effect on taste Recommended for longer shelf life

How Long Can You Keep a Panettone?

If you love it as much as I do, not for long!

I’m only kidding (not really) but if you’ve successfully baked your own panettone, congratulations are in order, it’s no easy feat!

The only hurdle you’ll have remaining is whether you’ll have any leftover after making it.

Around our house, panettone goes extremely quickly, but if you have any leftover, simply follow our instructions from earlier in the article and you can expect your panettone to last for as long as a week. To enjoy it at its absolute freshest, though, it’s best to eat it within a day or two.

For a store-bought panettone, as long as you keep it tightly wrapped in its original packaging, it’s not unusual for it to keep for up to thirty days or longer. Ideally though, you wouldn’t want to wait quite that long to enjoy it since any panettone is going to be at its peak freshness those first couple of days after being sliced.

Type of Panettone Shelf Life Ideal Freshness Duration
Homemade Up to 1 week Within a day or two
Store-bought Up to 30 days Within a couple of days

How Does Panettone Stay Fresh for So Long?

The reason panettone remains fresh for long periods of time is due to the process used to make it and the high percentage of butter contained in most recipes.

The process used to make the dough panettone (known as curing and proofing) lasts for several days. This “double rising” process is very similar to how sourdough is made and is the main reason that panettone can keep long enough to be shipped around the world even after being made months earlier.

As for butter, it imparts a rich, full flavor on the palate which can keep panettone tasting fresh for quite a while. 

Factors Explanation
Process used to make Curing and proofing (double rising) similar to Sourdough
High percentage of butter Imparts rich, full flavor, helps in keeping panettone fresh for a longer time

Does Panettone Go Stale?

Yes, panettone can go stale quickly if not properly stored.

If your panettone is homemade, you’ll need to wrap it tightly in either plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or slice it and store it in an airtight container.

If your panettone is store-bought, keep it tightly wrapped in its original packaging. Often, the packaging used in commercially produced panettone is specially designed to extend the bread’s shelf life, so be sure and use it if possible.

Also, whether your panettone is homemade or store-bought, you’ll want to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct heat or sunlight.

Lastly, refrigerating your panettone will cause it to go stale more quickly so avoid it. Refrigeration isn’t required for panettone to remain fresh.

Type of Panettone Proper Storage Effect on Freshness
Homemade Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or store in an airtight container Will stay fresh
Store-bought Keep tightly wrapped in original packaging, in a cool, dry place away from direct heat or sunlight Will stay fresh
Refrigeration Not recommended Will cause panettone to go stale quickly

How Long Does Panettone Last Unopened?

Unopened, store-bought panettone can last for a considerable time, sometimes as long as six months after the “best by” date stamped on the packaging!

However, it’s often best enjoyed within thirty days of the date displayed on the packaging to ensure the maximum freshness possible. Once you’ve sliced it, try to eat it within a week.

Type of Panettone Shelf Life (unopened) Ideal Freshness Duration
Store-bought Up to 6 months (after the “best by” date) Within 30 days (of the date displayed on packaging)
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