Bread pudding is a simple but delicious dessert that can be hard to finish. But what’s the best way to keep the leftovers fresh?
I take you through the best way to store bread pudding and then I tested four different ways to reheat the bread pudding.
Skip to the reheating section here.
How to store bread pudding
The best way to store leftover bread pudding is to let it cool to room temperature and then keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze bread pudding for up to 3 months.
If the bread pudding has sauce all over it (e.g custard), scrape as much as this off as you can before you store it. And if you haven’t added any extra sauce yet, keep this separate until you’re ready to eat the pudding.
It’s okay to store bread pudding with a small amount of sauce, but there’ll be a noticeable soggy texture to the dish when you come to eat it later.
Storing the pudding without any sauce comes with the opposite problem, and the bread will dry out over time. But this is a slower process than the pudding becoming soggy and is also easy to fix by adding the sauce later.
The more compact the container, the better.
A small container will limit airflow and slow down the staling process. If you’re really concerned about the bread drying out, you can wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap which is the ultimate air-barrier.
Psst… the pudding will last for 5 days in the fridge, but for best results I always aim to eat it within 2 days.
Can you freeze bread pudding?
Bread pudding freezes well as long as you haven’t already smothered it in sauce. Freezing a bread pudding with sauce on isn’t recommended because it will result in a sludgy, messy dish.
If you have any leftover sauce, it’s best to freeze this separately.
How to freeze bread pudding
Ensure the bread pudding is cooled to room temperature and remove any extra sauce such as custard. Cut the bread pudding into portions and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped bread pudding in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.
You can freeze the sauce in a separate container, or make a fresh batch when you want to eat the pudding.
I like cutting my bread pudding into portions before I freeze it because this means I can easily take out one or two portions later instead of having to defrost the whole pudding.
But you can also freeze the bread pudding in the container you baked it in – simply wrap the whole thing in a few layers of plastic wrap.
To thaw the pudding, leave it in the refrigerator overnight. You can check if it’s fully thawed by sticking a knife or a skewer into the middle of it.
Once the pudding has completely defrosted, bring it to room temperature before reheating it. If you notice it’s a little hard, don’t worry, that’s a normal side effect of freezing it. It will soften up again as you reheat it and add a sauce. Custard and ice cream work well.
Eat the bread pudding within 24 hours of thawing and never re-freeze.
How to reheat bread pudding
Once you’ve successfully put your bread pudding away, the next question that pops into your head is probably…
‘how do I reheat my bread pudding?!’
I did an experiment to find the best way! But if you’re in a hurry…
The best way to reheat bread pudding is in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10-15 minutes per slice. Cover the bread pudding with foil to keep it moist. For a crispy top, uncover the bread pudding for the last 3-5 minutes of heating. For quicker results, you can use the microwave.
How we tested reheating bread pudding
I made my famous brioche bread pudding, scoffed a massive slice, and then quickly put the rest away so I couldn’t eat any more!
The next day, I tested four different methods of reheating leftover bread pudding:
- The oven
- The air fryer
- The microwave
- The stove
How to reheat bread pudding in the oven
The oven was relatively slow, but you get all the original qualities of the bread pudding back (including the crispy top).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Sprinkle the bread pudding with a little milk and then cover it with foil to prevent it from drying out.
- Heat for 10 to 15 minutes for one or two portions. A full bread pudding will need 30-60 minutes depending on size and thickness.
- To get a crispy top, take the foil off for the last 3-5 minutes of heating.
Don’t forget the foil because, without it, the bread pudding will become incredibly dry and the top may burn.
To check if the bread pudding is hot all the way through you can use the knife stick. Stick a knife in the middle of the bread pudding and pull it out. Feel the metal and if its’ warm, the bread pudding is done.
If it’s still cold, the pudding needs more time.
Results: I needed a little patience, but the bread pudding was soft, moist, and delicious. You can reheat big or small portions, although if you’re really hungry and it’s just you then I recommend trying the stove instead.
How to reheat bread pudding in the microwave
The microwave is the fastest reheating method, but you definitely have to sacrifice some quality for speed.
- Place a slice of bread pudding in a microwavable bowl.
- Heat it in the microwave on 50% power in 60-second intervals until the pudding is heated through (it should take between 1-3 minutes).
- If you want a crispy top, place the reheated pudding under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.
It’s best to reheat small portions in the microwave. If you have a whole loaf, I would avoid this method and opt for the oven.
The low power reduces the risk of you overheating the bread pudding and drying it out. If your microwave doesn’t have a low power setting, lower the time intervals to 30 seconds.
Eat the pudding as soon as it’s hot enough because it will dry out much faster after being reheated in the microwave. After 10 minutes it will be cold and have a cardboard-like texture.
Results: There was no crispy top on the bread pudding, and the dried parts of the bread had a chewy texture, while some parts were soggy. But the microwave was super quick and easy. I wouldn’t serve this to guests, but as a meal for one it’s okay.
How to reheat bread pudding on the stove
Full disclosure: this was so good but pretty unhealthy.
- Cut a slice of bread pudding.
- Butter the slice on both sides (or melt some butter in a pan).
- Heat a pan over a medium heat.
- Add the buttered slice of bread pudding to the pan and heat it on each side for 1-2 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
This method will only work for sturdy slices of bread pudding and I recommend keeping the slices relatively thin so they heat all the way through before the outside burns.
Don’t be tempted to use a high heat either, this can cause the edges and corners to burn!
In a pinch you can use oil instead of butter, but butter adds a much nice flavor. And for an extra touch of decadence, add a squeeze of honey to the skillet.
Results: This was by far the most indulgent method I tested, but (as always seems to be the case), that meant it was the most delicious. The butter added moisture to the pudding, and the edges crisped up while the inside stayed soft. Perfection.
How to reheat bread pudding in an air fryer
If you have an air fryer, you can also use this to reheat bread pudding.
- Set the air fryer to 300°F (150°C)
- Place a slice of bread pudding in the basket and heat it for 5-7 minutes.
A lower temperature is better for the air fryer. A higher temperature can leave you with a burnt outside and a cold inside (as I found out the hard way!).
You can heat several slices at once, but make sure there’s sufficient airflow around each slice. If the air fryer basket is overcrowded, then the slices won’t heat up as efficiently.
Results: If you like crispy bread pudding, this is a great method. But you definitely need to serve the pudding with some extra sauce because I found this method the most drying.
How to fix dry bread pudding
Dry bread pudding is usually the result of the bread soaking up all the moisture while in storage. It’s a common issue that’s easy to fix!
To fix dry bread pudding, simply add a sauce. You can use a custard, cream, toffee sauce, or anything you want really! Add the sauce or cream to the dish just before serving. Another alternative to revive dry bread pudding is to serve it with a scoop of ice cream.
If you’re creating a new batch of homemade custard sauce, this recipe is delicious.
Is bread pudding the same as bread & butter pudding?
There are some subtle differences between bread pudding and bread and butter pudding. None of these differences impact how you store, freeze, or reheat the dishes.
Bread pudding is typically made with cubes or chunks of stale bread, soaked in a liquid mixture of milk, eggs, and sugar. On the other hand, bread and butter pudding usually calls for slices of pre-buttered bread to be added to the liquid mix.
How To Store And Reheat Bread Pudding [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion bread pudding cooked
Refrigerating Bread Pudding
- Ensure the bread pudding has fully cooled if you've just baked it.
- Place the bread pudding in an airtight container.
- The more compact the container, the better, as this will help prevent the dish from prematurely going stale.
- You can also cover the bread pudding with a layer of plastic wrap. The more protection you provide against air contact, the less dry the pudding will become.
- The bread pudding will last for a maximum of 5 days in the refrigerator. But for best results, aim to use the dish within 2 days, where moisture loss will be less noticeable.
How To Freeze Bread Pudding
- Ensure the bread pudding is fully cooled before freezing.
- Optional: cut the bread pudding into individual portions. This will help if you don't want to eat the leftovers all in one go.
- Double wrap the bread pudding in plastic wrap.
- Place the wrapped bread pudding in an airtight freezer bag or container. This helps to preserve the moisture in the pudding and protects it against freezer burn.
- Label the container with the date so you know how long it's been in the freezer for.
- Where possible, freeze any sauce separately from the pudding. Doing so helps preserve the texture and consistency of the dessert.
Reheating bread pudding
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Cover the pudding with foil to prevent it from drying out.
- Heat for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on portion size.
- To get a crispy top, take the foil off and heat the pudding for a further 3-5 minutes.