Growing up, my family always kept some English muffins around, whether they were in the pantry or the freezer. It’s no surprise why. They’re perhaps one of the best additions to a weekend (or weekday) breakfast.
These small, round, sourdough pieces of airy goodness are frequently eaten with either sweet or savory toppings, which can include jam or honey, sausage, egg, bacon, and/or cheese. And, of course, English muffins are an integral part of the famous Mcdonald’s breakfast sandwich – the McMuffin.
While they’re known as “English muffins” in the United States, they are known simply as muffins in England. And conversely, the muffins as we know them in the United States – the cupcake-like quickbread ones – are called American-style muffins. But, no matter which side of the pond you live on, one thing is for certain – English muffins are delicious.
So delicious in fact, that it’s really easy to have eyes bigger than your stomach and get too many. What do you do if you’ve got a bunch that you can’t eat right now. Can you freeze English Muffins to extend their shelf life? You can!
In this guide I’ll explain exactly how to prepare them for freezing. I’ll also tell you how to defrost them for the best results.
Can English Muffins be Frozen?
So, if you happen to have a lot of extra English muffins and you’re worried that they may go stale, you may be wondering if you can freeze them. The good news is that yes, you can definitely freeze English muffins. In fact, English muffins freeze exceptionally well. It’s no surprise now looking back and understanding why mom always kept them in the freezer!
Like other types of bread, freezing English muffins is a great way to prevent them from going stale.
So whether you have an opened pack you’re afraid might go bad, or you want to keep a couple of extra packages in the freezer, you can store them in the freezer and they will retain their quality for some months.
How Long Do English Muffins Last in the Freezer?
How long English muffins can last in the freezer depends on a couple of things.
If they’re frozen properly (more on that later), then you can expect them to keep their top quality between three and six months.
However, if they’re not kept air-tight then that time could shrink. Also, another thing that can impact how long English muffins last in the freezer is if you’re storing them unheated and/or by themselves.
If you plan on freezing them pre-assembled, i.e. if you freeze an entire breakfast sandwich, then the lifespan will likely be determined by the other ingredients that don’t freeze as well. This could range from just a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
How to Freeze English Muffins
If you want your English muffins to last the longest at the highest quality, then it’s important to make sure that you freeze them properly. Also, it can differ if they’re store-bought or homemade English muffins. This is how you freeze English muffins:
Step 1: Preparing the English muffins to be frozen
Similar to other foods, the sooner you freeze English muffins the better. So, if you made a fresh batch of muffins, first, allow them to completely cool down before you prep them for freezing. As for the store-bought version, you should freeze them as soon as possible. So, if you buy a couple of extra packages, I recommended freezing them as soon as you bring them home.
Then, you should decide whether to pre-slice them or to freeze them whole. You can save a bit of time and make it a bit easier on yourself if you slice them beforehand and it won’t affect their quality either.
One last consideration you should take into account is if you want to prepare it with toppings or make it into a premade sandwich or meal. Again, this will save time and can be a super convenient snack or morning meal. But you should be careful when considering which toppings to use. Some ingredients make for better frozen additions than others.
For example, toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, or other vegetables that don’t retain their texture when frozen should be avoided. Things like cheese, meat, and scrambled eggs work much better as toppings when you plan on freezing them. My personal favorite is a copycat of the sausage egg Mcmuffin with cheese. It freezes very well and makes for a great breakfast whenever I need it.
Once you’ve figured out how and what you’ll be freezing, it’s time to get them prepared to be stored in the freezer.
Tightly wrap each individual English muffin (or prepared sandwich) separately in plastic wrap.
While you can wrap them as a batch, they won’t stay good as long because of the pockets of air that will be trapped. So it’s much safer to wrap them individually.
Also, it allows you to easily take as many as you need without having to defrost the whole bunch. And if you pre-sliced them, you can keep the two halves together. They won’t be difficult to separate when you thaw them.
Step 2: Freezing the English muffins
After you have tightly wrapped them, you need to bag them and then place them in a suitable spot in the freezer.
You need to use a freezer bag for the best results. Not only does it offer more protection and the ability to squeeze out extra air, but it’s the most convenient option too. You can simply unzip it and take as many muffins as you’d like.
After you’ve squeezed out all the air (or at least as much as you can), seal the bag and then put the bag in a suitable place in the freezer. The safest place for English muffins is in the coldest spot in the freezer. Usually somewhere in the back of the freezer is the best. Since it’s the coldest and with the least temperature fluctuations, it will allow the English muffins to stay fresher, longer. Also, avoid storing them near foods that may have strong odors as they potentially could absorb some of those flavors.
Don’t forget to label them with the date that you put them in the freezer. This is important to remember how long they’ve been frozen.
You should thaw them and eat them before their quality begins to suffer. For English muffins by themselves, you can expect them to be at a high quality for six months, but then after that, they’ll likely start to degrade. For premade sandwiches, you should consume them within a few weeks to a month. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that sooner is better and eat the oldest muffins first, which is important if you’re one that frequently cooks and freezes English muffins.
How to Tell if English Muffins have Freezer Burn
Like other foods, it’s pretty easy to tell if English muffins have succumbed to freezer burn.
If ice is starting to form on the outside and inside of the plastic bag then there is a good sign that the English muffins have freezer burn. But, you should still check the muffins themselves to be sure. The biggest giveaway is discoloration. Typically freezer-burned areas will turn very white.
As for preassembled English muffin sandwiches, look at the state of the toppings. If they look discolored or dried out, then they’re most likely freezer burned.
However, if the whole thing isn’t freezer-burned then you can still salvage it. If it’s only a small bit of it then you can remove it and eat the rest. Freezer burned food is safe to eat, but it has a bad taste and weird texture so it’s best to avoid it if you can.
How to Defrost English Muffins
As a bread product, English muffins thaw considerably well compared to other foods and you have a couple of different methods that you can choose from. From fastest to slowest the methods are microwave, toaster oven, countertop.
In the Microwave
While defrosting English muffins in the microwave is very fast, it can leave the muffin a bit dry. However, to prevent this you can wrap the muffin in a paper towel when you microwave it. So, to do it, simply wrap each English muffin in a paper town and start by heating them for 20-30 seconds. The exact time will depend on the power of your microwave, however. So you may need to experiment a little bit to get it right. And if you’ll be toasting them they don’t need to be 100% defrosted. It’s fine if you finish them in the toaster or toaster oven even if they’re still a little cold.
In a Toaster Oven
You can defrost them in the toaster oven as well, but you should be careful not to use too hot of a setting. This may leave you with a toasted exterior and frozen center.
At Room Temperature
If you have time, the best way is to leave them out for a couple of hours on the countertop. This allows them to return to their original state and you can go from there.
Lastly, you can also forgo defrosting altogether, particularly if they’re premade sandwiches. You can simply put them in the toaster oven or microwave and then eat them directly after.
Can You Refreeze Defrosted English Muffins?
It’s safe to refreeze English muffins, like other bread. However, the end product is likely to be drier and ultimately lower quality. Avoid refreezing them if you can.
Other Storage Methods for English Muffins
You can keep English muffins at room temperature for about two weeks if they are tightly closed in the original packaging.
If they’re opened then they can last for about three to seven days if they are kept in a sealed container or plastic bag.
For the best results, it should be in a cool, dark place. So put the sealed airtight container or bag in the pantry, bread box, or the fridge ideally.