Banana pudding is a magical dessert—not just because its sweet, fruity flavor and custard-like consistency make it the ultimate comfort food, but because it has a way of vanishing right before the eyes of even the pickiest eaters.
But what is one to do with those left over portions? Can you freeze banana pudding?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, definitely.
If by some freak of appetite you find yourself with leftovers the next time you whip up a delicious batch of banana pudding, you’ll be pleased to know that freezing it for future enjoyment couldn’t be simpler.
Read on as we go over the finer points of storing banana pudding in the freezer and offer a few choice tips for keeping it creamy and delicious until you’re ready for round two.
Can You Freeze Banana Pudding?
Yes, you can freeze banana pudding. Freezing is an excellent way to preserve banana pudding for up to a month.
The question “Can banana pudding be frozen” speculates whether the dessert is subject to the same basic laws of physics as other edibles. You can freeze just about any food, provided you’re willing to accept that it will go through some unavoidable changes.
Allow us to clarify; between the natural moisture in bananas and the milk you add to get that much-desired richness, banana pudding has high water content. Foods that are full of water freeze exceptionally well. When it comes to thawing them out; however, results can be mixed.
As your thick, velvety pudding passes the freezing threshold, the water in it will begin hardening into tiny little ice crystals, giving it a frosty texture, not unlike that of freezer-burned ice cream. The ice will melt once you defrost it, of course, but it will rob the dessert of some of its original smoothness when it goes.
Vegan-friendly puddings made with soy or almond milk could suffer an even more frightful fate, as these sorts of milk substitutes tend to de-constitute and become watery when they warm up.
That’s not all. When exposed to air for prolonged periods, bananas undergo a process known as oxidation, which causes them to turn a rather sickly shade of brown. This mercifully won’t affect the flavor, but it can be pretty unappetizing to see.
Put simply, your banana pudding may not be quite the same after it’s been given the arctic treatment. Freezing isn’t an ideal method of preservation for foods like pudding, but hey, sometimes you don’t have any other choice.
That’s not to say that it will be bad by any stretch. Defrosted banana pudding should still be worthy of another go-around, particularly if you dress it up with fresh banana slices, a few vanilla wafers, and a dollop of whipped cream.
Is anybody else’s mouth watering?
How To Freeze Banana Pudding
Ready to freeze banana pudding?
Place the to-be-continued portion of your pudding in an airtight food storage container, being sure to scrape the sides of your serving dish thoroughly so as not to waste even a single glob of the good stuff.
But wait! Don’t put that lid on just yet.
Before you cover your confection, grab a slice of lemon, squeeze the juice over the pudding, and give it a good stir.
If you’ve ever had to deal with the nightmare that is next-day guacamole, you probably learned the hard way that a spritz of citrus can go a long way towards staving off oxidation. A little citrus preserves the attractive color of fruits that are prone to devolving into mushy brown messes.
Another way to take advantage of the benefits of citric acid is by dipping your banana slices in a little lemon or lime juice before you incorporate them into homemade banana pudding.
Now you’re ready to snap that lid onto your container and make some room for it in an easily accessible part of your freezer (right next to that bag of peas that’s been in there since the Nixon administration is a good spot).
Remember to jot down the day’s date somewhere on the container, so you’ll know what it is and how long it’s been sitting in storage.
Defrosting Frozen Banana Pudding the Right Way
When it comes time to defrost your pudding, the easiest way to go about it is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it sit there overnight to thaw out gradually. By the next morning, it should have reached perfect eating temperature—but don’t forget to perform a taste test or seven just to make sure.
If you’re in a hurry, (you’d be surprised how common pudding-related emergencies are), speed things along by submerging the freezing container in a larger container full of cold water.
Just make sure the water you use is no warmer than room temperature, as adding heat to the equation can complicate things, both texturally and in terms of taste.
If you end up with leftovers of your leftovers when it’s all said and done, resist the temptation to refreeze them. There’s nothing more you can do for them at this point. The only option left is to dump them down the garbage disposal, say a little prayer, and get on with your life.
One last thing: it should go without saying, but you should never attempt to defrost frozen banana pudding by zapping it in the microwave.
Remember what we said about introducing heat? That goes triple for microwaves. Plus, just imagine the look on Julia Child’s face if she found out you were microwaving pudding. Tsk tsk.
How Long Does Banana Pudding Last in the Freezer?
When properly stored and frozen, banana pudding will keep for around a month or so. However, it’s best to reuse it within one-to-two weeks, if possible. After that, it will lose more and more of its pizzazz, eventually degenerating into a rock-hard, unrecognizable banana-scented mass.
Two weeks is a relatively long shelf life for a dish that’s predominantly dairy. It’s especially long compared to refrigeration, which will buy you three to four days tops and letting it sit out on the countertop, which will result in your or your family eating half a pound of leftover banana pudding before midnight.
How To Tell if Your Frozen Banana Pudding is Bad
Trust us, you don’t need a guide to help you with this one. If your banana pudding is any color other than a pale brownish-yellow, don’t eat it. If it smells like spoiled milk or the inside of your freezer, don’t eat it. If it talks to you, call the Ghostbusters.
What To Do With Frozen Banana Pudding
One cool thing about freezing banana pudding is that it transcends its former one-dimensional nature and attains blissful ubiquity as an all-purpose additive and enhancer. Or something.
Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas for putting your pudding to use after putting it on ice.
Savor it As-Is
Thaw out your frozen pudding, grab a spoon, and go to town. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with banana pudding that’s been on vacation in the freezer for a few days.
Make Your Own Pudding Pops
Rather than banishing your beloved pudding to a boring old Tupperware container, pour it into a popsicle mold or row of small drinking cups and insert a wooden stick into each serving.
In a few short hours, you’ll have a tasty treat that invokes all the unbridled joy of a July afternoon, no matter what time of year it happens to be.
Add it to a Milkshake
Throw the frozen pudding into a spacious blender with a splash of milk and blend it until it’s super-duper smooth. If you’re feeling froggy, top your shake with a mound of whipped cream and a cherry and put on “At the Hop” by Danny & The Juniors.
Bake Some Hassle-Free Bread Pudding
This one’s such a cinch even your dog could do it (getting it to hold onto a whisk is another story).
Beat three large eggs and add two cups of whole milk, half a cup of sugar, and two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, along with a pinch of salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold the mixture into your fully-defrosted pudding and pour the whole shebang over a pan full of buttered bread cubes. Bake uncovered at 375℉ for about half an hour, or until the bread just begins to brown.
Done, Banana bread pudding made easy.
Can you freeze banana pudding? You bet you can. And now you know how.
While freezing should never be your go-to strategy for saving uneaten pudding of any kind, it can be done with a high degree of success so long as you don’t push the constituent ingredients past their natural limits.
So forget what the doubters say. Go ahead and make more banana pudding than you could ever realistically put away at one time, knowing that if it doesn’t perform its usual disappearing act, it will always have a home in your icebox.
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