Pudding is one of my favorite snacks from childhood. I remember my mother serving it weekly as an after-school snack or as a dessert before bedtime.
Because of those seemingly small moments, I always associate pudding with home.
However, now I worry about keeping it fresh. Of course, it’s nice to have fresh pudding on-hand constantly, but how long does it last in the fridge?
The answer to this question depends on the type of pudding and how it is made.
Homemade pudding has a different shelf-life than store-bought pudding or instant mix. So, it’s important to know how to store every variety.
Generally, store-bought pudding lasts for approximately 6 months and instant pudding lasts for about a year after the best-by date. Dairy-based homemade pudding lasts for about a week, on average, if refrigerated. Meat puddings last from 11 days to 1 year, while vegan puddings last for 7 days.
Part of keeping fresh pudding in the fridge is knowing the rate at which it spoils and how to properly store it.
Continue reading to learn about how each pudding fairs in the refrigerator and some top-notch storage tips.
Store-Bought Vs. Homemade Pudding
Store-bought pudding lasts much longer than homemade pudding. This occurs because it’s sealed in individual cups and is sealed with manufacturer-level technology.
Some brands also use preservative products like palm oil to increase the shelf life of pudding.
|Signs of Spoilage
|Unopened in pantry
|6 months after the best-by date
|Watery or lumpy texture, smell of rotten dairy
|Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix
|In original packaging in pantry
|Up to 1 year after best-by date
|Moisture, chalky texture, discoloration, hardened
|Air-tight container in the fridge at 35-40°F
|Watery or lumpy texture, odor, crusty film at surface
How Long Does Store-Bought Pudding Last in the Fridge?
Most premade puddings do not require refrigeration. Instead, you can leave them in your pantry or root cellar.
Store-bought pudding will have an expiration date on the packaging, which is usually a month ahead of the date it’s bought.
If the pudding cup is unopened, it is likely still edible even 6 months after the best-by date.
However, the preventative measures of store-bought pudding are only effective while the pudding cup is still sealed.
After opening, pudding will last from 3-5 days if refrigerated at 35-40°F. If you want to know how long opened pudding can sit at room temperature, check out this article from smarthomemaker.com.
How to tell If Store-Bought Pudding is Bad
If the pudding appears watery or lumpy when you break the seal, the pudding pack has expired.
Additionally, might be an odor present that resembles rotten dairy. It’s important not to eat expired pudding because it is made with dairy, which can cause food poisoning.
How Long Does Jell-O Pudding Last in the Fridge?
If you want an intermediate step between store-bought and homemade pudding, Jell-O is your go-to ingredient.
Most Jell-O puddings come in the form of a powdered mix, which allows you to control the other ingredients you use.
Additionally, Jell-O pudding boxes come with instructions on the packaging. This gives you a worry-free option to make virtually homemade pudding in an instant.
Even though the Jell-O Mix doesn’t need to be refrigerated, you must refrigerate the pudding after it’s made.
This is because most Jell-O recipes call for dairy products like milk, eggs, and butter. By storing your Jell-O pudding at a constant temperature of 35-40°F, it will last for 7-9 days.
To make sure the pudding stays at a constant temperature, try storing servings in individual containers. This method allows you to only take out the portions you intend to eat.
How Long Does Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix Last?
Boxes of instant pudding, like Jell-o or Simply Delish, pudding mix can be safely stored in the pantry.
There will be an expiration date on the box, but you can often use the mix for a year after the best-by date.
How to tell if Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix is Bad
If the box has been exposed to moisture or if the powder has hardened, it is best to discard it. The powder might also appear discolored or chalky if it has expired.
The ramifications of using an expired pudding mix are less severe since you’ll add the dairy upon cooking.
However, an expired mix will cause the pudding to taste bitter, so it’s best to discard it and start from scratch.
Homemade Milk-Based Puddings
Because milk is an integral ingredient, these puddings last for a shorter period than other types.
Even though milk is heated during the cooking process, it does not get to a high enough temperature to negate concerns about spoiled dairy.
Continue reading to learn about different popular dairy-based puddings and how long they’ll last in the fridge.
How Long Does Rice Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
Also known as traditional pudding, rice pudding is made with only four ingredients: rice, milk, sugar, and eggs. Stored at 35-40F, rice pudding lasts for about 3-5 days.
Though these ingredients keep longer separately, they have a shorter shelf life when combined.
Because the rice is cooked when incorporated into the pudding, it’s liable to develop a soggy texture if kept for more than 5 days.
It is important to store it in an airtight container for best results, as exposure to excess moisture will prompt spoilage.
One of my favorite methods for storage is to keep portions in individual, airtight containers.
This enables me to enjoy rice pudding throughout the week and not worry about unnecessary exposure when I open the container.
How Long Does Banana Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
While the fresh bananas in banana pudding make it a refreshing, indulgent treat, it also causes it to spoil quickly.
When refrigerated at 35-40F, banana pudding lasts for 3-4 days at 35-40F.
Even though banana pudding is made with vanilla pudding instant mix and condensed milk, it has a short shelf life.
This is due to the use of at least 14 slices of fresh banana.
In addition to the bananas ripening before being used, they will continue to brown even after being combined with pudding.
After 3 or 4 days, the pudding will begin to discolor and emit an odor of rotten fruit. At this point, it is best to discard the leftovers.
How Long Does Chocolate Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
As a childhood classic, chocolate pudding is one of the most commonly used homemade flavors.
Although chocolate pudding is one of the most prevalent premade flavors, there’s nothing compared to making it from scratch.
Homemade chocolate pudding lasts for 5-7 days in the refrigerator at 35-40°F. Unlike banana pudding, chocolate pudding omits fresh produce and can last a few days longer.
The core ingredients of this classic dessert include cocoa, sugar, cornstarch, and milk.
Since it contains fewer dairy products than most other puddings, there is an advantage to keeping a batch on hand throughout the week for an easy treat.
How Long Does Vanilla Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
Another classic and staple in numerous desserts, vanilla pudding is fortunately easy to make at home.
The question is, how long will it last once refrigerated? Luckily, vanilla pudding is one of the easiest varieties of homemade pudding to keep at home.
Stored properly at temperatures between 35-40°F, vanilla pudding lasts for about a week. Because vanilla pudding lacks fresh fruit, it lasts longer in the fridge.
Try storing it in individual containers to minimize exposure incurred from opening and closing a single container. This way, you will be able to optimize its shelf life.
Best Vanilla Pudding Recipe
While most people use eggs and milk to make vanilla pudding, I love adding butter for a creamier consistency.
Try out this recipe for a smooth, decadent treat that’s sure to put a smile on everyone’s face:
1. Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Add two whole eggs and the yolk of a third to the bowl; whisk for 30 seconds.
3. Transfer to a saucepan and place over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens.
4. Remove the pan from heat. Add cubes of unsalted butter and fold into the mixture. The butter will melt as you stir.
5. After adding the butter, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and whisk.
6. Let mixture cool and transfer to a fridge-safe container. Place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
I love this recipe because the butter adds an edge to an otherwise classic dish. Also, ensuring the plastic wrap is in contact with the surface of the pudding helps prevent the top layer from crusting.
How Long Does Pudding Pie Last in the Refrigerator?
Instead of just enjoying pudding as is, you can take your dessert to the next level and use it as a pie filling.
Chocolate pudding is the most popular pudding used for pie filling and complements a variety of flavors.
Whether you want to accent with fruit or enhance with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, chocolate pudding is a must.
While chocolate pudding lasts longer when stored independently, chocolate pudding pie only lasts for 2-3 days when refrigerated.
The shortened shelf life is due to the pudding sitting in a dough crust, rather than an airtight container.
The moisture from the chocolate pudding will cause the crust to fall apart, so pudding pies are best fresh.
Typically, when people think of pudding their mind races to sweet, fruity flavors enveloped in a silky consistency.
However, there are numerous savory puddings that achieve the same heavenly texture with ingredients like meat, beef blood, offal, and grain.
Because the core ingredients are typically meat-based, these puddings have different shelf lives than their sugary cousins.
How Long Does Black Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
Emblematic of British and Irish cuisine, black pudding is made from pork or beef blood as well as different animal fats.
Additionally, oatmeal or groats are added for texture.
If kept refrigerated after opening, black puddening can last for up to 11 days in the fridge.
Black pudding has a remarkably long shelf life because the meat is well-cooked and then kept in a casing.
The packaging will have the best information regarding storage and sell-by dates. However, black pudding is generally best stored in typical fridge temperatures, ranging from 35-40°F.
Because of the specific ingredients and method of casing black pudding, it’s best to leave making it to the professionals.
Black pudding is almost exclusively sold in Europe and can be found at the local grocers.
Can You Eat Black Pudding After the Best-By Date?
If the packaging is unopened, black pudding is usually safe to eat within 5 days of the best-by date.
The sealed casing protects the pudding from air and moisture, so it is extremely effective at keeping food fresh.
However, always monitor for signs of spoilage before eating foods after their expiration dates.
Signs Black Pudding is Spoiled
Watery pockets, as well as bright and dark marks, are visual signs that black pudding spoiled. If you happen to eat a piece, the taste will be bitter, instead of sweet or savory.
Additionally, a sour or sewage-like odor might be present if mold or bacteria has started to grow. If you notice any of these signs, discard the pudding immediately.
What Happens if Expired Black Pudding is Ingested?
Because of the blood and meat, eating expired black pudding can be extremely dangerous.
While you might get lucky with a mild bout of food poisoning, it can lead to serious ramifications like hospitalization.
Foodandnutrition.org also notes that cases of H5N1 have been potentially traced to the consumption of raw blood.
While there are many potential adverse outcomes from consuming meat by-products, eating black pudding from reputable sources is considered safe.
How Long Does White Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
Known in Scotland, its homeland, as mealy pudding, white pudding will last for about 7 days when refrigerated.
To store properly and maximize longevity, wrap white pudding in plastic wrap or seal in an air-tight bag.
The key to keeping white pudding fresh is to prevent exposure to moisture or air.
White pudding uses mostly the same ingredients as black pudding except for blood. Additionally, some variations of white puddings are made with pork liver and breadcrumbs.
How Long Does Bread Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
While bread pudding does not always have meat, ingredients like suet and bacon bits are occasionally added.
Either savory or sweet, bread pudding is a great homemade treat for holidays and dinner parties.
Unlike other homemade puddings, it uses bread as a base, like stuffing, and incorporates milk, eggs, sugar, and dried fruit.
I love making bread pudding because it provides great leftovers for the following week.
Bread pudding keeps in the fridge at 35-40°F for 5-7 days, and the longer it sits, the more its flavors saturate.
Bread pudding is a leftover that gets better with time, so I love making it for events since I get to take it home.
How Long Does Christmas Pudding Last in the Refrigerator?
Christmas pudding is known for lasting a long time. If properly stored and refrigerated, Christmas pudding can last for either 2 weeks or 2 years!
The discrepancy lies in whether you soak the pudding and alcohol or not.
If you omit the alcohol and use eggs, Christmas pudding will last in the fridge at 35-40°F for about 9 days.
If you choose to use alcohol as a preservative, Christmas pudding can last anywhere from 1 to 2 years.
Also, it’s not necessary to store Christmas pudding in the fridge using this method. If you choose, you can still store the pudding in an air-tight container in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
Or you can wrap it and keep it in a cool, dark place, like your pantry or root cellar.
Its notable shelf life is due to it being socked in alcohol with high sugar content. Also, instead of using fresh fruit,
Christmas pudding uses pieces of dried fruit, which keeps longer.
What is the Best Way to Store Christmas Pudding?
If you want to keep your Christmas pudding for the long haul, you must follow the proper steps for storage:
1. To start, soak the pudding in brandy. Make sure that the pudding becomes saturated, and that the alcohol doesn’t run off the surface. When you’ve added enough, the pudding will become soft.
2. Wrap the pudding in a layer of aluminum foil and then in a sheet of plastic wrap.
3. Find a cool, dark, and dry place to store. This can be the pantry, root cellar, or even the fridge.
Once stored, you can unwrap and serve portions of the pudding intermittently. When finished, simply rewrap the pudding, and return it to its storage place.
While it might be tempting to add more alcohol, I would advise not doing so.
Adding too much alcohol will cause the pudding to deteriorate, and it can even become flammable.
If you feel it’s needed, you can add a drop or two more of brandy before restoring.
Refrigerator Vs. Pantry
The debate of whether to store Christmas pudding in the fridge is centered on the pudding’s ability to mature.
Storing the pudding in a pantry, rather than the fridge, will provide a slightly warmer temperature overall; this will allow the flavors to intermingle.
Keeping the pudding in the fridge is still a viable option, but the cold temperature will thwart the maturation process.
Without dairy or other animal products, it seems like vegan pudding should keep for nearly an eternity in the fridge.
However, most vegan puddings only last for about 7 days. Even though animal products are omitted, other products like produce and plant milk contribute to shorter shelf lives.
Even though it uses coconut milk instead of dairy, chia seed pudding only lasts for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Its shelf life is partially due to the longevity of chia seeds.
While chia seeds last for up to 3 years when fresh, they deteriorate quickly after being cooked.
Additionally, moisture expedites the decay of chia seeds. Since they’re combined in coconut milk and yogurt when made into pudding, there’s no way to prevent these effects.
In some cases, you may be able to eat chia seed pudding after 7 days. This range doesn’t mark expiration, but rather the optimal time to eat chia seeds at their freshest.
How to Tell if Chia Seed Pudding is Bad
Some signs chia seed pudding has expired include a watery texture and an off-putting odor.
Spoiled chia seed pudding will smell faintly like rotten fruit. Additionally, if you accidentally ingest it, it will taste sour.
Now you know how long each variety of pudding lasts in the fridge and can confidently serve your favorite snacks to your family!
Whether it’s a sweet before-bedtime snack or a savory complement to breakfast, you’re ready to make pudding a regular staple in your diet. Happy cooking!
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.