How to Freeze Banana Pudding

Made too much banana pudding? Don’t let it go to waste! Here’s how to freeze banana pudding while still preserving its taste and texture.

banana pudding dessert

Banana pudding is a classic dessert you can enjoy all year round. But if you’ve made a bit too much of it, you might wonder—can you freeze banana pudding?

You can, but it’s not ideal. The simple truth is that frozen and thawed banana pudding isn’t going to be as good as freshly prepared pudding. Freezing inevitably changes the taste and texture, but there are steps you can take to preserve your pudding as much as possible.

banana pudding dessert

How to Freeze Banana Pudding the Right Way

There are some desserts that you can routinely freeze, thaw, and enjoy. Banana pudding isn’t one of them. However, freezing your leftovers is a lot better than throwing them out. Follow these simple steps to make sure your pudding tastes great—even out of the freezer.

Prepare the Bananas

If sliced bananas are left out too long, they start to oxidize and turn brown. Newly-oxidized banana slices usually taste okay, but they don’t look appetizing! If you make and freeze banana pudding, the banana component in the dish will often turn an ugly shade of brown when you defrost it.

If you know you’ll be freezing a portion of your pudding to thaw and enjoy later, brush some fresh lemon juice over the banana slices. The acidity slows down the process, keeping the banana slices looking fresher for longer.

Cookies on Top

The juxtaposition of crunchy vanilla wafers with creamy custard is one of banana pudding’s best features. But if you layer the wafers in before freezing and defrosting, they’ll absorb moisture, becoming soggy and clumpy.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid this unfortunate scenario. If you’re freezing pudding for later, place the wafers on top. Once you’ve thawed it, you can layer them into the custard for a fresh, just-made taste.

Choose the Right Container

If the container you select isn’t airtight, your pudding will absorb all kinds of other flavors from your freezer. Choose a high-quality plastic or glass container (rather than a freezer bag) for this.

You should also use caution when you fill up the container. 

Banana pudding expands as it freezes. If you fill the container to the brim, it may crack or pop open, exposing the pudding to the rest of the freezer (and probably ruining the flavor). Make sure you leave some space at the top!

Be Patient

If you’re going to freeze banana pudding, you should do so immediately after making it. Don’t let it sit in the fridge for several days first.

That being said, you should let it cool completely before freezing. If you freeze still-steaming pudding, the water vapor coming off of it will turn into ice crystals. Those crystals can disrupt the texture of the custard, and they’ll make it watery when you do finally thaw it out.

Don’t Forget the Seal

At this point, you’re almost ready to put the pudding in the freezer. But before putting the lid on your container, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the pudding. This helps prevent the top layer from drying out. Once this sheet is in place and you’ve put the lid on, wrap the container in plastic wrap for good measure and put it in the freezer.

How Long Can You Freeze Banana Pudding Before It Goes Bad?

In the refrigerator, freshly made banana pudding will last about three days. Freezing extends that time somewhat, but banana pudding won’t last forever in the freezer—it generally lasts up to 14 days. The sooner you can thaw and eat it, the better!

How Do You Thaw Banana Pudding?

You’ve taken painstaking steps to freeze your banana pudding the right way, but none of that matters if you thaw it incorrectly.

There are a few different ways to thaw banana pudding, but they all follow the same rule: don’t subject the pudding to sudden changes in temperature! If you do, the texture will turn to an unappealing mush.

Method 1: In the Refrigerator

This is the simplest method, but it takes a little planning ahead. The night before you want to eat the pudding, take the container out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. It should slowly thaw overnight. Smaller containers tend to thaw more quickly than larger ones.

Method 2: In Water

If you’re in a bit of a hurry, thawing the pudding in water might be a little faster. Make up a bath of cool water and submerge the pudding container. Resist the temptation to use warm or hot water—it might thaw the pudding out faster, but it also will disrupt the smooth, creamy texture.

Whatever you do, don’t defrost banana pudding in the microwave! The intense heat will dramatically transform its texture, and not in an appetizing way.

How Can You Tell If Frozen Banana Pudding Has Gone Bad?

It’s a good idea to write the date on any pudding container you freeze. But what if you forgot? If you aren’t sure whether the pudding is still good, there are a few things you can look for:

  • Is it discolored? Brownish bananas are normal, but if you see any other signs of discoloration, it’s likely gone bad.
  • Does it smell funny or “off”? You might need to thaw it out to see. Because banana pudding contains a good bit of dairy, it’s best to avoid eating it if it doesn’t smell right.
  • Does it taste sour or bitter? Only taste the pudding if it looks and smells normal; however, if it doesn’t taste as banana pudding should, don’t eat any more of it.

Of course, even if your banana pudding has been frozen for less than 14 days, you should still throw it out if it looks, smells, or tastes off.

Get the Most Out of Your Favorite Banana Pudding Recipe

Banana pudding isn’t the most freezer-friendly dessert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save your leftovers for another day. Like any good cook, if you freeze and defrost banana pudding often enough, you’ll start to get a feel for which methods best preserve its iconic flavor and personality.