Does Custard Need to Be Refrigerated?: [A Complete Guide!]

Custard is one of the most delicious desserts out there. It is very easy to make and can be made at home.

There are plenty of methods behind the preparation of custards. One that has been very debated is the refrigeration of custard. The necessity behind custard being refrigerated is still a dilemma.

So, does custard need to be refrigerated?

Yes, custard needs to be refrigerated. Without refrigeration, custard may go bad. It’s possible to store the custard in various containers inside the refrigerator. For instance, Tupperware and Steel containers. Custards can go bad for many reasons. For example, bacteria and high temperatures.

This is merely a small summary of the article. Reading the whole article is a must for better understanding.

Do you have some spare minutes? Start reading!

Does Custard Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, the custard need to be refrigerated as soon as it is made. Any type of custard should be in the fridge after making. No matter what the custard recipe is, you have to store them in the refrigerator.


It’s not only applicable for custard. It is the same for any dessert or dish made with custard. For instance, custard pudding, custard pies, and custard donuts need to be refrigerated.

The same regulations go for whipped cream. Similar to custard, until you use it, whipped cream need to be refrigerated.

Unless you want to finish the whole portion of custard at once, refrigerate it. If you eat the custard up, you don’t have to store it in the fridge. 

Why is it Important for Custard to Be Refrigerated?

Simply put, a custard can go bad if not refrigerated. For any food, the time it is safe outside the refrigerator is 4 hours. 

The timing reduces as there are more edible items that are prone to go bad with heat. For instance, any food item with milk in it goes bad quicker than others. Milk itself can go bad if not stored in the refrigerator. 

There are many indications of food going bad. For instance, cheese not melting in milk is a clear sign that the milk has gone bad. 

Now, you might ask, does flan go bad if not refrigerated? The answer is yes, it does. Flan is a dessert that has milk in it. Milky food products and desserts should not be out for long. 

Wondering how long can custard be left out? Do not keep the custard out of the fridge for more than 2-3 hours. Since there is no such custard that doesn’t need refrigeration, always refrigerate it properly.

3 Reasons behind Custard Going Bad If Not Refrigerated

It’s always a miserable feeling when food goes to waste. Especially, when it’s something you made with your own hands. As with other foods, there is a decent amount of factors behind custard going bad. 

Let us have a look at some potential reasons why custard goes bad.

Reason 1: Bacteria

Bacteria is the biggest reason why food gets spoiled. Custard goes because of bacteria as well. Bacteria produce lactic acid by converting lactose into galactose and glucose.

This lactic acid transforms the milk into curd. This process can be executed in only 24 hours! This is why custard spoils and turns into cards when left outside.

Carded milk should not be consumed because of the bacteria. Spoiled custard smells sour, the color changes, and the taste becomes foul.

Reason 2: Microorganisms

Many microorganisms can create food problems. They cause the food to spoil greatly. The microorganisms grow at room temperature. 

These microorganisms grow in food without significant changes. The appearance of microorganisms that affect food is very normal. Yeasts and mold can also grow in food at room temperature.

There are some good bacteria and there are some bad bacteria. As you know, cheese is formed by bacteria. However, the difference is, food spoilage bacterias are active. 

Consuming active bacteria is a bad idea. Eating bad food may result in food poisoning. Also, it might have adverse effects on your health.

Reason 3: Temperature

Temperature is very important for foods. It is also necessary to know which food is compatible with what temperature.

Storing food at a lower temperature is always a good choice. Room temperature starts the growth of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms. 

Accordingly, a high temperature fastens the growth. As a result, there are too many microorganisms in food and the food gets spoiled.

This is why at nighttime, sometimes you cannot have the food you made at noon. The food gets spoiled because of the high temperature. It is a very natural process. Refrigeration of foods is the way to avoid it.


Many examples can be held behind bad foods. Card tasting bitter/sour, apple becoming soft, key lime pie failing to set are some examples.

Tips on How to Refrigerate Custard

You have to store the custard inside the refrigerator. However, there are multiple containers you can store your custard in.

Whether you’re storing baked or cooked custard, you need a container. Stainless steel pots are best for storing custard as they don’t stick to it. You can also use Tupperware to store custard.

I have gathered a list of some of the best Tupperware out there. Try them out to store your precious custard!

ImageProduct NamePrice
Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage 14-Piece Plastic LidsOrder Now
Rubbermaid Brilliance Pantry Airtight Food Storage ContainerOrder Now
Food Storage Containers , Stackable Plastic Containers with LidsOrder Now

By using these Tupperware, you can make sure the custard freezes well. The taste of the custard will stay intact as well.

However, before storing away the custard, you will need to cool it down. You should not put hot custard directly inside the refrigerator. Cool the custard for at least 5 to 10 minutes. 

The milk proteins in the custard will try to form a thin crust-like layer. In order to prevent it, plastic wrap is necessary. 

After cooling, take a plastic wrap and make a surface over the custard container. The plastic wrap should touch the surface of the custard. That will prevent the custard from forming a crust.

If you’re making frozen custard, the process of storing will definitely be different. Frozen custards require lower temperatures than usual custards. Lower temperature thickens the custard even more, to the point where it’s almost solid.

frozen custard

The frozen custard should be stored at -10 to -15 degrees Celsius. It should also be served at -8 degrees Celcius so that it doesn’t melt. Melting will cause deformation of the frozen custard.

You may ask how many days can a custard be refrigerated. Well, if you want to eat fresh custard, store it for no more than 2-3 days. Storing for too long can deteriorate the taste and quality of the custard.


Can you safely reheat the custard?

You can easily reheat custard; it is completely safe. Leftover custard can always be reheated. You may think the recipes may cause problems but any recipe is fine with reheating. To reheat, you can either use a microwave or a stove. Any method of reheating won’t damage the custard in any way.

Why is my baked custard watery?

This happens because the protein present in the custard lets the water out. The proteins do not generally do this; this nature kicks in when it’s overcooked. This watery effect is also called the ‘weeping’ of a custard. Many ingredients in custard have protein; the most significant is an egg.

Why do you add butter to custard?

The main goal of butter in custard is to thicken it. Additionally, adding butter to custard has many advantages. Primarily, butter is added because of the taste it produces. Butter has an elegant taste that is unmatched by any other ingredient. It also adds a yellowish color which looks rich. 

The Final Words

By now, you know does custard need to be refrigerated. Hopefully, this article has been a great help! 

Refrigerating any kind of dessert to sustain it is okay. But don’t keep it in the refrigerator for too many days. The structure of the food may change!

All the best!