Can You Freeze Tapioca Pudding?

Other than being a comical word, tapioca is a starch extracted from the storage roots of the cassava plant native to Brazil. This starch is perfect to be used as a versatile thickener, therefore helping the creation of tapioca pudding. 

Although the consistency looks like it could use a little TLC, the flavor really shines. This sweet pudding combines tapioca (obviously) along with either milk or cream, and some other ingredients like eggs, sugar. Coconut milk is also commonly used, if you’re into that kind of thing. What’s interesting about this jiggly substance is that it’s made in many cultures with equally varying styles, and even may be produced in different ways. So, if you’re looking to really unite the world, do so with a cup of tapioca pudding.

But not only is it delicious, it actually has a decent amount of nutritional value, proving that you can actually make healthy foods taste good. The minerals of tapioca can provide calcium, which is important for keeping your bones strong, and iron, an essential mineral to help transport oxygen through your body. The tapioca starch itself contains no fat or cholesterol as well, making it a healthy choice if you’re watching your dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. 

Now that you know it’s okay to put the Cheerios down and enjoy some tapioca pudding every once in a while, you can go ahead and make or buy some.

Whether you’re a mean tapioca pudding eater or just enjoy it occasionally, what happens when you overbuy and can’t finish it all before the expiration date? Can you freeze tapioca pudding? You’re in luck, because the answer is yes you can!

Now that I’m craving tapioca pudding, it seems like the right time to explain everything you need to know in order to enjoy this snack, breakfast, dessert, or any occasion for a longer period of time. 

Can Tapioca Pudding Be Frozen?

The short answer is yes, you can freeze tapioca pudding. Even if it’s stuck in the freezer for a few months, it’s not going to lose its texture and flavor like other puddings would. 

I know that we can all agree that tapioca pudding has a weird texture and it’s not the most pleasant consistency. It may just be the ugly duckling of the pudding world. However, that jiggly-looking, bumpy texture is what makes the pudding stand out from the crowd, it’s what turns that ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. Tapioca pudding freezes well because it does not incorporate flour as other puddings do. Flour may enhance the pudding’s structure, but once water defrosts into it, it deforms. 

With that being said, your tapioca pudding will keep its creaminess and not get super soggy like other puddings. The flavor loss occurs when the pudding is defrosted and the ice crystals melt to form water droplets, diluting the flavor. 

Why does frozen tapioca pudding avoid going soggy? Because of the tapioca balls. Tapioca pearls absorb moisture and expand, therefore thickening the mixture.

If you decide to show off your culinary skills and whip up your own recipe, make sure your pearls are fully swollen before you stop cooking. If they aren’t, they will absorb those water droplets during thawing.

How Long Can Tapioca Pudding Be Frozen?

If you’ve just eaten way too much tapioca pudding and decided you needed a break from it, or you forgot how filling one serving is and your stomach won’t be able to handle seconds, you’re in luck.

Tapioca pudding can last in the freezer for up to three months if stored properly, which is a long time in the food world.

How to Freeze Tapioca Pudding

If you decided to freeze tapioca pudding immediately after making it (to later show off to your friends and family just how talented of a chef you are), it’s fairly simple.

Allow your pudding to cool down completely to room temperature. Place the pudding in a freezer-safe container that’s clean, stain-free, and odor-free, then cover it with either saran or plastic wrap. Put the pudding in the fridge first for two to three hours or until completely chilled. Once you’ve done that, switch the saran or plastic wrap to an air-tight lid, then place it in the freezer away from strong odors. 

The same idea goes for already made/pre-bought tapioca. If it’s already in the refrigerator, you can skip every step before that and just go right into storing it in the fridge in a tightly-sealed container. See? Easy as pie…or in this case, pudding. 

Pro tip: Divide your tapioca into individual portions to make defrosting much easier. And it takes up less space in the freezer as opposed to a giant Tupperware. 

How to Defrost Tapioca Pudding 

In order to get your tapioca pudding to the original texture and flavor that you know and love, take out the container from the freezer. Then, place the entire container into the refrigerator and allow it to defrost for at least five hours before eating it.  

If you’re impatient, you can actually defrost the frozen pudding quickly in the microwave. I know, I know, that’s crazy! But hear me out. Place your tapioca into a microwave-safe container and set the microwave to “defrost,” letting it thaw for about a minute. You can also heat tapioca pudding in a pan on medium heat, constantly whisking it around until it starts to thaw.

Lastly, and certainly least in my opinion, you can also defrost at room temperature. However, your tapioca may become soggy and watery this way. This is what we are trying to avoid!

What About Serving (Nearly) Frozen Pudding?

Want to know a secret? Tapioca pudding also tastes really good when chilled. So, if you’re anything like me and get super hangry when you’re waiting on food to cook, you can enjoy tapioca pudding quicker by taking it out of the freezer last minute, defrosting it a bit, and eating. Consider it a pudding popsicle. It’s also great if you forget you have company and need a dessert to serve last-minute. Don’t worry, I won’t tell them.

When your pudding is defrosting, poke at it with a fork. If there are any parts that seem more frozen, you can mix the pudding together and revamp that texture. 

Can You Refreeze Tapioca Pudding?

Although you technically can refreeze tapioca pudding, it’s not recommended to do so.

This is because tapioca pudding contains ingredients like milk or cream, which eventually has an expiration date.

The longer you freeze tapioca pudding and wait to take it out, the longer you’ve passed the expiration date.

Refreezing leads to the risk of the pudding going bad once you take it out again, thus resulting in bad tasting pudding. And why would you want pudding that tastes bad? The answer (I hope!) is, you don’t. 

How to Tell if Tapioca Pudding Has Gone Bad

If you put your leftover pudding in the freezer and just abandoned it, completely forgetting about it, there’s a chance it might’ve gone bad. Open up the container and check for watery pockets, which is a quick first tell-tale sign. You can also tell by seeing if there are any bacterial marks or dark molds that develop on the surface.

If you’re still unsure and feel like being bold, you can take a bite and see if the pudding has lost its sweet flavor and became bitter. 

Other Ways to Store Tapioca Pudding

One alternative method to freezing is to store your pudding in a cool environment that is resistant to temperature change, which can be either a freezer or fridge.

Temperature changes in the cool environment will condense the moisture inside the packages, decreasing their shelf life, meaning less time for you to get your pudding intake. If the temperature fluctuates too much, mold will start to grow in the pudding. Packaged pudding is also not recommended for the fridge, although the fridge tends to keep tapioca fresh.

If you have store-bought, ready-made pudding, keep it stored in the refrigerator. Whether you have prepackaged or homemade tapioca pudding, once opened keep them refrigerated and not at room temperature.