How to store bread pudding? Do you refrigerate it?

Baked your first bread pudding and not sure if you should refrigerate it or not? How to store bread pudding?

the short answer

After your bread pudding cools to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container or cake stand and put it in the fridge. If you don’t have a large enough container, cut the pudding into smaller pieces and place in containers or wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap.

That’s the 2 sentence answer in case you’re in a hurry.

Interested in the details? Here’s what we cover next:

  • storage practices for bread pudding, including what to do with the sauce or topping
  • how long does bread pudding last
  • Ways to Reheat Leftover Bread Pudding

keep reading

freshly baked bread pudding
freshly baked bread pudding

How to Store Bread Pudding

After cooling your bread pudding to room temperature, place it in an airtight container or wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Covering the dessert ensures that it doesn’t pick up any odors and doesn’t dry out, plus it prevents cross-contamination.

Refrigeration is necessary because bread pudding is a super moist baked good, which means it can quickly mold if it sits on the counter.

Of course, bread pudding tastes best warm, so it’s always a good idea to reheat it before serving (more on that later). Simply taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes before consuming it will not work.

How to Store Leftover Bread Pudding
How to store leftover bread pudding: an airtight container

Should you store bread pudding covered or not?

The answer to that question depends entirely on what sauce or topping you are adding to your bread pudding.

If it’s ice cream, you add it just before serving dessert. That’s a no-brainer. If you leave it in the fridge, it will melt completely.

If the topping doesn’t last long without losing quality, you should make it fresh and add it before serving as well.

A good example here is homemade whipped cream. If you don’t stabilize it, homemade whipped cream only maintains quality for a day or so. That means that topping your bread pudding effectively reduces the storage time of the dessert to just 16 to 24 hours.

Lastly, if it’s a custard or any other that keeps well in the fridge, you can add it to your bread pudding before storing, store it separately in a sealed container, or whip up a fresh batch before serving. That is your call.

Does bread pudding need to be refrigerated?

You should refrigerate the bread pudding after it cools to room temperature. That’s because it’s a dessert loaded with eggs and milk, and therefore very moist.

As you probably know, moisture combined with room temperature storage is a surefire recipe for mold growth. That’s what we’re trying to avoid, and that’s why you keep bread pudding in the fridge.

I’ve read in a few places that you can keep it on the counter for a couple of days, but I wouldn’t risk it. It might as well be moldy the next day.

Plus, most reputable recipe sites and bloggers suggest refrigerating leftovers as well (here’s Preppy Kitchen, Whimsy, and Life, Love, and Sugar Talking Bread Pudding).

bread pudding preparation
Bread pudding preparation: cubed bread and ready mix

How long does bread pudding last?

Bread pudding keeps for 4 to 5 days sealed in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. If using containers isn’t an option, you can wrap everything tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

If those 4-5 days aren’t enough, you can freeze the leftovers.

The good news is that you can make bread pudding ahead of time. If you reheat it and add a fresh topping just before serving, hardly anyone will know the difference.

Like most cakes, pies, and desserts, there’s nothing else you can do to extend shelf life besides freezing leftovers. Let’s discuss that option.

Can bread pudding be frozen?

Main article: Can you freeze bread pudding?

You can freeze bread pudding, and it freezes pretty well.

The whole procedure is super simple: you divide the dessert into portions, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and freeze it in a freezer bag. Since bread pudding is quite moist, a good wrapper is important because it prevents or at least reduces freezer burn.

Once frozen, the bread should retain its quality for at least one to two months.

When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw it and reheat it before serving for the optimal experience.

I highly recommend thawing bread pudding in the refrigerator, the same way you thaw any other food that requires refrigeration. Depending on the quantity, the process lasts between 4 and up to 12 hours.

To make things even easier, I recommend thawing the bread pudding overnight.

Once it’s cold but no longer frozen, it’s time to reheat the bread-based dessert. Let’s talk about how.

How to reheat bread pudding?

There are a couple of ways to reheat cold bread pudding. The most popular include:

  • In the oven. Preheat your oven to approximately 350°F (~180°C) and heat the dessert for 10-15 minutes. Cover it with aluminum foil so it doesn’t get too dry. If you want a crispy top, remove the foil during the last 1-2 minutes of heating.
  • In the microwave. Place the bread pudding on a microwave-safe plate and start by heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then switch to shorter 15 second bursts and continue bombarding it until it warms up completely.
How to reheat covered bread pudding
How to Reheat Bread Pudding: Covered with Foil Ready for the Oven

The oven works best if you’re reheating a large slice, while the microwave works great for quickly reheating small slices.

If you need to microwave a large portion, cut it into smaller portions and spread out on a plate, or double the interval length but reduce power to 50%. Either will help to reheat the dessert more evenly.

Of course, other popular reheating methods can work just as well.

For example, if you use an air fryer, you can use it to heat up cold leftovers in a similar way to baking. The differences here are that you have to use a slightly lower temperature and half the reheat time.

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