Rice pudding is a satisfying and healthy dish made using milk and white rice. Enjoyed as a dessert or as a side dish, rice pudding is the perfect snack for kids and kids at heart alike! But how long will rice pudding keep? Can you freeze rice pudding?
Milk and rice are quite sensitive to temperature changes so flavor and texture changes are likely when you freeze the pudding. Still, rice pudding keeps surprisingly well in the freezer so no need to worry if you made a large batch. However, if you’d like to maximize the shelf life of the pudding prior to freezing, we’ll be sharing a couple of storage tips later in this post!
Easy Homemade Rice Pudding
Using the freshest ingredients is key to prolonging the shelf life of rice pudding. Here is a simple rice pudding recipe to get you started.
You will need:
1-quart whole milk
1 cup short-grain or long-grain white rice
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more as needed
A pinch salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Chopped nuts, dried or fresh fruits, nutmeg or cinnamon and other toppings
Heat a medium saucepan then pour the milk, rice, and sugar. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat then season with salt. Stir the mixture well until the sugar has dissolved completely.
After bringing the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to a bare simmer. Leave the saucepan uncovered as you simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the white rice is nice and tender.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the vanilla or almond extract then add more sugar or salt when needed. Place a ladleful or two in a bowl, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
Image used under Creative Commons from Brad Greenlee
How to Freeze Rice Pudding?
Now to prep the rice pudding for freezing, wait until the dish has cooled completely to room temperature. Once the rice pudding has cooled completely, pour the dish into a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid. Leave about two inches of space so the pudding has room to expand while it freezes. Cover the container with cling wrap before sealing with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
If you are pressed for time, you can accelerate the cooling process by giving the sealed container an ice bath. Just pour the still-warm rice pudding into a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid then cover with cling wrap. Close the airtight lid then submerge the container in ice water. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes before storing in the freezer. Never re-freeze the thawed rice pudding.
Traditionally, rice pudding is made using whole milk. Since whole milk has a short shelf life, freezing the dish for long-term may affect its flavor and texture. To minimize the flavor or texture changes, consider using other milk substitutes such as evaporated milk, coconut milk, or sweetened condensed milk. These milk substitutes may alter the cooking times of the dish so make the necessary adjustments in the recipe.
Type of White Rice
The texture of the rice pudding will also depend on the type of white rice you used for the dish. Short grain white rice yields a more watery consistency while long grain rice makes for a denser, slightly drier pudding.
Exclude the Toppings
If you have leftover rice pudding, do not add the toppings as you prep the dish for freezing because these ingredients will turn bad much more quickly than the rice pudding. Just freeze the toppings in a different container and when you’re ready to serve, sprinkle the thawed toppings over the defrosted rice pudding.
Exclude the Milk
Since milk goes bad quickly, it is possible to prepare the pudding without it to extend its shelf life. Just prepare the rice pudding as you normally would but replace the milk with plain water. Prep the cooled rice pudding for freezing. Once you are ready to serve, reheat the rice pudding on the stove, gradually stirring in the milk until smooth and thick.
Divide into Serving Portions
Want to make thawing frozen rice pudding less of a hassle? Try dividing the leftover rice pudding into serving portions so you don’t have to defrost an entire tub of the dish. Remember, you cannot re-freeze the thawed rice pudding!
Prepare several packets of resealable plastic bags. Pour the cooled rice pudding into each of the resealable plastic bags, making sure to leave a couple of inches of space to let the pudding expand as it freezes. Seal then write the storage date. Store flat in the freezer.
Whenever you are craving for a soothing bowl of rice pudding, take a couple of bags of frozen rice pudding then thaw before reheating!
Image used under Creative Commons from Bex Walton
Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions
Frozen homemade rice pudding will keep in the freezer for at least 3 months. However, we don’t recommend waiting this long before consuming your supply. You have to finish the rice pudding as soon as possible for optimal flavor and texture.
To thaw the rice pudding, just transfer the frozen dish to the fridge. Leave the frozen rice pudding to thaw overnight. Once the rice pudding has thawed completely, it’s ready for reheating unless you enjoy the pudding cold. Never defrost the rice pudding at room temperature. The pudding will go bad much more quickly if thawed this way.
To reheat the pudding, just simmer the dish over low heat in a saucepan. Pour the dish into a bowl, add a handful of toppings and enjoy! You can also reheat the rice pudding in the microwave. Just make sure to place a cup of water before reheating the pudding so it won’t dry up.
Who knew freezing rice pudding is this easy? Keep our freezing tips in mind if you want to extend the shelf life of the pudding and minimize texture or flavor changes!