How Long Can Pudding Sit Out? [Different Types Of Pudding]

When I was young and in elementary school, the teachers stressed daily to all students that we must eat all food in front of them.

Even school monitors in the cafeteria were stationed throughout to ensure we didn’t “accidentally” throw any food out.

The result is a relationship with food that at times could have been much more healthy.  

In college, I bought my food for the dorm and didn’t purchase the meal packages. I also didn’t have much money, so I tried to stretch my food for as long as possible.

My relationship with food was forever changed after I managed to food poison myself twice. 

How do you handle food? Leftovers? How do you know when something needs to be thrown out?  Today we will discuss pudding and appropriate serving guidance.

Generally speaking, any variety of homemade pudding should not be left out for more than 2 hours since it is made from perishable ingredients. This includes corn, chia, and bread pudding.

However, jello pudding can be left out for 3 hours maximum, and if unopened, store-bought jello pudding can be kept in the pantry until its expiration date. Prepared pudding can be kept in the fridge for up to one week, while packaged pudding will keep for several months.

Types Of Pudding

The most readily recognizable type of pudding is instant or cooked usually including milk. But there are actually other kinds of puddings that you may wish to try.

Some versions of pudding are corn pudding, chia pudding, bread pudding, diplomat pudding, hasty pudding, and Indian pudding. 

Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding is a creamy and rich culinary dish composed of corn stew, water, thickener, optional flavoring, as well as any type of additional ingredients that add to the overall taste and texture.

It is traditionally used as a staple of food by rural northern and southern United States, especially in Appalachian communities. 

Chia Pudding

A growing number of healthy recipes are including chia seeds as an ingredient. This includes muffins and overnight oats, and even chia seed water.

There are many recipes that use chia seeds, such as chia pudding.

Chia pudding will also be right up your alley if you’re a fan of overnight oats. This pudding is made by soaking chia seeds in your plant milk of choice, creating an earthy, filling dessert.

In the mornings, it is often topped with natural sweeteners and fruits to make it a more enjoyable and fresh way to start the day. 

Bread Pudding

Custard and stale bread make up bread pudding, a dessert.

For those who’ve never tasted it, wet bread (despite its stale state) might not sound appetizing, but the indulgent dessert is an absolute favorite for good reason: Bread pudding is very easy to make, very attractive to serve, and absolutely delicious.

It is traditionally flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg and contains raisins and nuts. 

Diplomat Pudding

There is a cold dessert prepared in a mold called a Diplomate au Bavarois, which is known as the diplomat pudding. The dessert can be prepared in two ways.

The more popular method for making Lady Fingers consists of soaking the ladyfingers in rum or Kirsch flavored syrup, layering them with candied fruit, apricot jam, a custard, or Bavarian cream.

This will then be refrigerated, and subsequently removed from the mold, and covered with custard cream or fruit sauce.

Hasty Pudding

There is a very simple way to make hasty pudding, which is to cook cracked grains of cereal in milk or water until they form a dense form such as oatmeal or porridge.

You don’t need to use any crazy ingredients to make it and it is very cheap and filling. There was a time in history when hasty puddings were common breakfast foods for the poor.

This is because they were easy to make, and they sustained the body until lunchtime.

There are different types of hasty pudding that are made with corn and water in the American Colonies, but this is the one that has become most frequently associated with the term “hasty pudding” today. 

Indian Pudding

A typical Indian pudding consists of cornmeal cooked in scalded milk and sweetened with molasses, then allowed to thicken slowly, then baked until set before serving.

A creamy sauce, ice cream, or whipped cream is typically served over it along with a hard sauce, cider sauce, heavy cream, or whipped cream.

One can also serve the sliced apple with ice cream as one’s favorite breakfast dish.

Cooking Pudding

When you are serving pudding at a party or just want to make a dessert for yourself, you will find that it will usually last from about 3 to five hours.

You should allow the pudding to cool down completely before you begin serving. 

The longer you allow it to sit out, the more it will taste like pudding because the gelatin will have settled and become smooth.

It is not a good idea to overheat your pudding, so only heat it to the maximum it will reach. You will know when it has been cooked enough by its texture.

Once you have finished cooking it, you can let it cool down in the refrigerator for about an hour to ensure that it will be easy to serve.

If you are serving it in a bowl, you will want to place it on a pot filled with cold water and brought to a boil. 

As the pudding mixture begins to boil, you will add sugar, egg whites, and salt. Once the boiling subsides, remove it from the heat and cool down to about room temperature.

Although some people believe it is not a problem if you let it sit out on the counter overnight, it would be better to sit in your refrigerator until it is cold.

How long you cook your pudding will depend on your personal taste. Some people prefer their pudding to be cooked for a longer time, while others are okay with it being just a few minutes then left on the counter. 

How Long Can Pudding Sit Out At Room Temperature Once Cooked?

The cooked pudding should sit out no more than 3-4 hours max since it is made from perishable ingredients.  It is best to store your pudding in the refrigerator. 

Keep in mind pudding is composed of milk and eggs.  Therefore guidance needs to consider how volatile to temperature those two primary ingredients are. 


Does pudding need to be refrigerated? 

Packaged pudding does not necessarily need to be refrigerated, although it is recommended.

However, if you bought the pudding from the refrigerated section, it should be refrigerated once you get it home.

If you bought the pudding from the shelf, it can remain on the shelf at home.

Does homemade pudding need to be refrigerated? 

Simply put, a homemade pudding should always be refrigerated preferably with a piece of plastic wrap over the container. Like this, pudding can be stored for three days.

How Long Does Pudding Last In The Refrigerator?

According to the table, pudding that has been prepared can last for one week in the refrigerator, while pudding that has been packaged and contains no fresh ingredients can last for months.

It is not uncommon for the pudding to have an extremely short shelf life due to the packaging, storage, and thickening agents used.

However, like many other products, store-bought pudding also has a “best before” date, which simply specifies a manufacturer’s commitment to a product’s quality and flavor for the next few months’ quality, not its safety.

The best before or sell-by date is distinct from the expiration date, so you can eat the foods after they have expired.

Essentially, pudding lasts as long as its fasted ingredient to spoil – which in the case of the pudding is milk. 

How Can You Tell If  Your Pudding Has Spoiled?

Preventing foodborne illnesses starts with practicing good hygiene and following food safety practices.

Based on your senses, you can usually tell if your packaged pudding has gone bad, which is not a perfect test.

Puddings with watery pockets may be unsafe to eat because the liquid has separated from the other ingredients, and a bitter one has replaced their sweet taste.

If you see many bacillary markings or dark mold on the surface, you can tell the food has gone bad.

It can still be consumed as long as the pudding mix has been appropriately stored, remains dry, and has not been opened.

You should always avoid spoiled foods and enjoy food before its expiration date, as doing so can prevent health risks.

Can pudding stay out overnight? 

At room temperature, pudding cups that do not require refrigeration can be left out for three to four months.

If the package indicates the pudding must be refrigerated, it is best to not leave it out overnight.

Best Ways To Store Pudding To Extend Its Shelf Life

It is recommended that packaged and dry mix puddings be stored in a cool, dry place resistant to temperature fluctuations.

The moisture in the air tends to condense inside packages when the temperature changes from cool to warm. This moisture can cause mold to grow, causing your pudding to spoil.

It should be kept in the refrigerator if you purchased prepared pudding from the refrigerator section, but you could leave it on the shelf if you bought it on the shelf. After opening, you should store both varieties in the refrigerator.

When you thaw pudding after freezing, it will be watery and unpleasant because it has changed its consistency.

By storing food properly, you can eat healthier, reduce food costs, and help the environment by avoiding waste. 


How To Freeze Pudding

You can simply freeze pudding in containers on their own for later use and use them later to prepare a dessert that contains a pudding filling or layer.

Frozen pudding can last up to three months. When prepared correctly and properly frozen, it is safe to eat. The pudding should always be cooled entirely before attempting to freeze. 

Upon freezing, pudding takes on creamy and rich ice cream consistency, making them the perfect dessert as frozen pudding pops.

If you don’t want to do that, just freeze it in a container for a few hours and use a spoon!

This applies to everything from store-bought mixes to rice puddings to homemade puddings and even tapioca puddings. 

You can make pudding popsicles by placing pudding in popsicle molds or little plastic cups, inserting sticks, and freezing.

They are straightforward to make, so they are a great snack with your kids to cool off in hot weather. We always have them on hand.

The convenience and ease of grabbing and going make it easier than ice cream. Another option is freezing in ice cube trays.

These pudding cubes are perfect for blending into protein shakes! Make your protein shakes creamy, and use the pudding cubes instead of ice cubes. 

Best Uses Of Pudding Before It Goes Bad

I don’t know about you, but I still often have that “don’t waste food” mentality.

For example, when those bananas get too brown to eat; No, I don’t throw them away.  There are so many other great ways to use them.

What can you do with pudding after a couple of days, so you don’t need to throw it out?

I resort to cookies – pudding keeps those cookies nice and soft.  The cake is also another great option and turns a box cake mix into more of a bakery-style cake.

Protein shakes are so much better with the addition of pudding. Skip milk or alternative milk products and simply add in some pudding.

Your protein shake will become your favorite meal of the day! Just as good as a dessert milkshake! 

Final Verdict

Pudding is one of the most versatile desserts possible while being delicious, inexpensive, and easy to make. Enjoy!

Following simple precautions and storage guidelines will allow you and your family to enjoy pudding refrigerated or frozen as much as you want.

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