Rice pudding is the perfect way to convince anyone to get a little more protein and iron into their diet, and it applies to fussy eaters of any age.
But both milk and rice have their drawbacks, as temperature changes can cause dramatic or even unsafe changes within these vital rice pudding components.
Freezing does change the texture of rice pudding slightly, but on the whole it is better to freeze it than to waste it, and it’s still tasty enough that you can enjoy it at a later date.
The Shelf Life Of Rice Pudding
In the fridge, rice pudding will last for a maximum of three days, and that’s provided that you put it in the fridge as soon as it’s cool.
This also depends on how fresh your ingredients are to start with, so as a general rule and for maximum freshness, only store it in the fridge overnight.
In the freezer, rice pudding will keep for up to 3 months, which makes freezing it worthwhile. For best results, use it within a month.
How Do You Make Rice Pudding?
To make the perfect rice pudding, make sure to use the freshest ingredients possible, as this will not only vastly improve the flavor and quality of your rice pudding, but it also means that it will freeze that much better.
Grab a quart of milk, one cup of white rice (your choice of grain), 6 tablespoons of sugar, or golden syrup to taste, half a teaspoon of salt, some vanilla extract if you like, and any fruit or nuts like walnuts as a topping.
Put a saucepan on a medium heat, and combine the rice, sugar, and milk. Increase the heat to boil, and add the salt. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the heat back down to a gentle simmer, and let it do so for about 20 minutes, making sure to stir it often, so it cooks evenly.
Turn off the heat. Put the pan on a trivet, and stir in any remaining ingredients, and it’s ready to serve.
How Do You Freeze Rice Pudding?
The first thing you’ll need to do is to leave the rice pudding alone until it is completely cool.
Decant the rice pudding into a rigid, airtight container that’s suitable for freezing, but make sure to leave some headroom so that it can expand as it freezes without bursting the confines of the container.
Cover the top of the container in cling film to help prevent freezer burn, seal it, label it, and freeze it.
If you are very short on time, there is a quicker way of freezing it, but the slower method will preserve the rice pudding significantly better.
Prepare the rice pudding as normal. Instead of waiting for it to cool completely, transfer it into the container you’ll freeze it in, and seal it as you normally would.
Grab a large bowl, and fill it with ice and water. Dunk the whole container into the bowl, letting it sit at the bottom for at least 20 minutes.
It’s also worth mentioning at this point that you should never refreeze defrosted rice pudding, as it won’t be very edible, and it could even be unsafe to use.
How To Freeze Rice Pudding Right The First Time
What Type Of Milk Should You Use?
You’ll find that traditional recipes use whole milk. Now, there’s no rule against using other types of milk, and some freeze better than others.
Generally, cow or goat’s milk freezes better than other types such as almond milk, but the lower the amount of fat, the better it will freeze. Semi-skimmed or skimmed milk has less fat, so it separates less than full-fat milk.
Having said that, because you’ll be cooking the milk to begin with and then reheating it, this separation doesn’t matter as much as it would if you were only using it cold after thawing it.
You can always experiment to see what results you prefer.
What Type Of Rice Should You Use?
Alter one component, and the whole quality of a dish will change. This is true of rice pudding, as it is with other dishes.
Long grain rice makes for a thicker, but drier rice pudding. Short grain white rice will give a more watery texture to the pudding.
Which is better? Well, it depends on your preferences. Short grain rice may yield a better texture after freezing, as anything that goes into the freezer will lose some moisture during the freezing and thawing process.
Leave Off Any Garnishes Or Toppings
Making plain rice pudding may sound like a crime, but this will help it freeze better. Some ingredients that are commonly used as toppings don’t freeze well, which can alter the shelf life of the dish.
You can always freeze the garnishes or toppings in a separate container, to thaw them at the same time, and serve the pudding as you normally would.
Or, you can use fresh toppings when it comes to reheating your defrosted rice pudding. This may make any texture changes in the defrosted pudding unnoticeable, as they’ll be masked by the fresh flavors.
Can You Make Rice Pudding Without Milk And Freeze It?
Similarly to making oatmeal, you can make rice pudding without milk at all.
While you might not consider doing this for fresh rice pudding, just using water does make rice pudding freeze better.
When it comes to reheating the pudding, you can add milk at this stage, which will help inject some flavor in there.
Divide The Pudding Into Portions
To make defrosting rice pudding much simpler, you can portion it before freezing it. That way, you don’t have to worry about trying to use the lot within a short space of time, as you cannot refreeze it.
To do this, simply divide the cool rice pudding between small airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, making sure to leave some space at the top for the pudding to expand.
Seal the bags or containers tightly, label them with the freezing date, and put them into the freezer.
How To Defrost And Reheat Rice Pudding
The easiest way to defrost rice pudding is to put the whole dish into the fridge. Let it thaw slowly overnight, and it’ll be ready to reheat in the morning.
To warm it through, put the pudding on a saucepan over a very low heat. Add whatever toppings you prefer, and once it’s hot, enjoy!
Rice pudding is easy to make, and even easier to freeze. As long as you keep the above advice in mind, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t freeze rice pudding (see also Freezing Pudding).