This post was updated on 20/07/2023 for clarity and to incorporate new insights.
I’ve experimented with a number of different custard reheating and storage methods, to find out which one delivered the freshest, silkiest custard.
In a rush?
You can reheat custard in the microwave or on the stove. In the microwave, nuke it in 30 seconds intervals until warm. And on the stove, use a low heat to avoid curdling.
A note on my experiment
I cooked up a big batch of custard (and instead of eating it all in one sitting like I normally do), I put it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I tested two different methods of reheating the custard to see which one was best. I tested:
- The microwave: Best for smaller portions.
- The stove: Best for bigger portions.
Reheating custard in the microwave
To reheat custard in the microwave, heat it in 30-second intervals until it’s warmed through. Stir the custard after every 30 seconds. One portion of custard will be done in 30 seconds, but a larger serving might take up to a minute.
The stirring helps to ensure the custard reheats evenly and prevents skin from forming.
If you’re going to pour the custard over a cake that you also want warm up (i.e bread pudding), you can kill two birds with one stone and put them in the microwave together.
Results: The microwave was the quickest and easiest method and produced great custard. It was warm but not boiling. A plus for this method is that I could reheat the custard in the bowl that I planned to eat it out of, which meant less washing up for me.
Reheating custard on the stove
To reheat custard on the stove, set it to a low heat and put the custard in a heavy bottom pan. Heat the custard for 2-3 minutes or until it’s warmed through. Stir the custard constantly while heating.
You don’t want to overheat the custard or heat it too quickly because it could curdle, hence why I recommend a low heat.
You can reheat any size portion of custard on the stove. Just make sure the pan size is appropriate. The custard should cover the bottom of the pan and be no more than a couple of inches high.
Results: The stove was slightly slower than the microwave, but not by a lot and the custard was warm and silky, just how it should be. I recommend the stove for large portions where the microwave isn’t suitable, but it’s a bit overkill for single servings.
How to store custard
Let the custard cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring it to an airtight container. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the custard’s surface to prevent a skin forming. Pierce the plastic wrap a few times to let leftover heat escape. Keep the custard in the fridge for 4-5 days.
The layer of plastic wrap will prevent a skin from forming on the custard. You can also put the custard in a freezer bag and make sure there’s no leftover air, but I find you get more wasted custard this way because it’s harder to get out of the bag.
Can you freeze custard?
You can freeze custard, but it’s more likely to split upon thawing. Put cooled custard in a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze all the air out. Seal the bag and freeze the custard lying down. The custard will keep for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge and whisk vigorously to re-combine if it’s split.
You can also opt to freeze the custard in an ice-cube tray to get nice portion-sized cubes. Once the custard is frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag.
How do you defrost custard?
To thaw custard you need to let it come up to temperature slowly, so it’s best to leave the custard in the fridge overnight. Never try to defrost it in the microwave. If you’re in a hurry, you can submerge the bag of custard in a bowl of water to defrost it.
If the custard splits, don’t panic. You can bring it back together again (although it’s quite a bit of effort). If you’re planning on heating up the custard, heat it gently on the stove and whisk continuously until the custard smooths. If nothing much is happening, turn the heat up a tiny bit and add some warm milk.
If you want cold custard, then whisk the custard vigorously while slowly adding in 1-2 tablespoons of hot water or milk. If you have a blender, use this. The custard’s texture might not be as smooth as when you first made it, but it will be okay.
Related: Can You Freeze Custard Tarts?
How To Reheat Custard [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion custard
- 1 tbsp water optional
- Set your stove to a low heat.
- Put the custard in a heavy bottom pan and put it on the stove.
- Stir the custard constantly while you heat it for 2-3 minutes, or until it’s warmed to your liking.
- You don’t want to overheat the custard or heat it too quickly because it could curdle, hence why I suggest a low heat.Remember: never heat custard above 80°C (~175 °F).Stirring the custard prevents skin from forming on the top and ensures the bottom doesn’t burn.