This easy Vanilla Pudding recipe requires only simple ingredients for the most delicious flavor and creamy texture! It’s perfectly smooth and silky, and far better than any store-bought pudding you’ll ever find!
Making this Vanilla Pudding from scratch is so easy that you’ll never want to buy another instant pudding mix again. Plus, it’s the perfect base recipe for a number of flavor variations that you can try at home.
You can use this pudding for the next trifle you make, or serve it with some delicious fresh berries, crushed nuts, and cookies, or just have it on its own.
Once you try this recipe, you’re going to want to make it every single day! And you know what? You can because it only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish!
This recipe is truly versatile and the easiest one you’ll ever come across. I’m sure you’re going to fall in love with it!
What is Pudding?
An authentic pudding is a sweetened milk or cream-based combination that is thickened with a gelatinized starch, commonly cornstarch or flour, and then cooked in a pot on the stovetop until it has reached the desired consistency.
It’s an incredibly versatile dessert and can be served on its own with some fresh fruits and berries or incorporated into a trifle for the perfect dessert.
The perfect pudding has a deliciously creamy texture and is better than any instant pudding mixes or cup puddings you can buy from the store.
If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re going to find all that and more when you try my recipe. It’s the perfect Vanilla Pudding that has a beautiful flavor and the perfect texture and consistency.
This recipe is the perfect base recipe for any pudding-based dessert you want to make, especially a trifle. I’m sure you’re going to fall in love with this one!
What Makes This Vanilla Pudding Recipe Special?
This Vanilla Pudding recipe not only gives you incredible flavor and texture every time, but it’s also super easy to make!
When I was a kid, I liked the store-bought vanilla pudding, one is made from cornstarch and artificial flavoring, where I live, it’s called custard powder, and the other type is the one sold in small cups.
You won’t imagine how thrilled I was when I first made it at home, and that was it. I never looked back at the store-bought ones. Of course, if you offer me some, I won’t say no, but I’m no longer fond of that after-taste associated with the store-bought pudding.
I hope you watch the recipe video to see what I mean when I say this recipe is straightforward. Below I will also suggest substitutes and alternatives that make it easier for you.
It’s quick to whip up and the ingredients are simple and easy to find. In fact, they’re pantry essentials that you probably have at home already.
It’s also a family favorite, and kids seem to love it just as much as adults do! This recipe is also gluten-free!
One of the best things about this recipe is that you can customize the texture of the pudding to however thick or thin you’d like it to be. It also goes great on the side of some cake and fruits.
What’s the Difference Between Vanilla Pudding and Custard?
Custard, a near relative of pudding, is often made using eggs, sugar, and milk, and it is either baked or stirred over low heat until it is thick and creamy.
While most custard and pudding recipes call for eggs, the primary distinction is that pudding uses starch to thicken, whereas custard uses the egg itself to thicken or egg yolk, in most instances.
Custard also has a firmer texture than pudding.
What You Need to Make Pudding at Home
Making this Vanilla Pudding at home requires the simplest of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make it at home:
Whole milk: It’s best to use whole milk because it has a mild flavor and that flavor is almost never found in low-fat and skim milk. You can use almond milk instead, but it burns fast, so make sure to keep the heat low when cooking the pudding.
Heavy cream: Honestly, the vanilla pudding is much more flavorful and creamy when adding heavy cream, but you can use half and half instead.
Sugar: I used fine white sugar. I don’t recommend using brown sugar if you’re going for a Vanilla Pudding flavor as it’ll alter the flavor and make it taste more like a butterscotch pudding. But that is definitely an option if you want to try a different flavor variation. I’ve added more ideas down in another section that you can check out!
Cornstarch: We’ll be using a small amount of cornstarch to help us set the pudding without adding extra eggs.
Egg yolk: This is where the creaminess comes from. Use large egg yolks. If you have medium eggs, use four egg yolks instead of the three mentioned in the recipe below.
Vanilla extract: This ingredient is the star because it gives a fantastic flavor to the pudding. Always choose good quality vanilla. Go for vanilla paste if you are serving the pudding in a glass or transparent bowl, it will make look elegant. You can also use vanilla beans but they’re expensive and not entirely necessary to get the perfect flavor, so only use them if you have them to spare otherwise, vanilla extract works perfectly!
Unsalted butter: Butter adds richness, and it boosts the flavor of the vanilla; it also contributes to that silky smooth glossy look.
How to Make Vanilla Pudding Step by Step
Making this Vanilla Pudding recipe is super simple and easy. Here’s what you need to do step by step:
Start by taking a saucepan and adding the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt to it. Mix them well and cook them on medium heat. The goal here is to make this mixture simmer and not boil. Make sure to stir the milk mixture to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan and burning.
Meanwhile, in a heat-proof mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch until smooth.
Next, gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture while whisking; this is called tempering the eggs. It prevents the eggs from cooking and turning into scrambled eggs.
Now return the mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until it thickens. Do not cook on high heat. The cornstarch needs time to cook, and high heat might burn the pudding.
Continue stirring the mixture even when it thickens until you see bubbles popping from the middle of the pudding, and this means the cornstarch has cooked.
Next, turn off the heat, add the butter and vanilla to the pudding, and keep mixing until the butter melts completely.
At this point, the pudding might look all smooth and glossy, but sometimes small bits of cooked eggs might exist at the bottom of the saucepan. It is best to run the pudding through a fine mesh strainer before pouring it into a serving glass or bowl.
When the pudding comes to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate, you can also serve it warm.
If you are serving the vanilla pudding cold, it’s a good idea to serve it with some whipped cream, crushed nuts, fresh berries, or even crushed cookies.
Tips for Making the Best Vanilla Pudding
- You can change the flavor to coconut by using coconut milk instead of whole milk.
- Use a heavy bottom pan to prevent the milk and pudding from burning, and the heat distributes evenly.
- You can use this pudding in making trifles.
- Serve it with fruits or pour it over fruit salad; I’m sure the kids will love it.
- To make this pudding dairy free you can use almond milk instead, but it burns fast, so make sure to keep the heat low when cooking the pudding.
- There are many ways to customize the flavor of this pudding and to add flavor variations to it. I’ve mentioned five different ideas below that you can try.
Flavor Variation Ideas for Vanilla Pudding
This Vanilla Pudding recipe is incredibly versatile, and you can change up a few things in it to get a completely different flavored pudding. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoon of good quality cocoa powder for an easy and delicious chocolate pudding.
- Add some espresso powder to your vanilla pudding to get a tasty coffee pudding instead.
- Try adding some brown sugar instead of white sugar for a butterscotch-flavored pudding.
- Add chopped bananas to your pudding for a classic, delicious banana pudding.
- Try adding some pureed strawberries or any other berry for a berry-flavored pudding.
As you can see, you can add just one more ingredient to change the flavor and customize the pudding according to your preferences. It’s the perfect base recipe for the pudding of your dreams!
How to Store Homemade Vanilla Pudding
The best way to store the pudding is by refrigerating it, by cover the pudding with plastic wrap, and keeping it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I don’t recommend freezing; dairy-based desserts like puddings, custards, and crème caramel do not freeze well. Their taste and texture change, and it won’t taste pleasant.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
Crème Caramel: Looking for another dessert like this delicious Vanilla Pudding? Then try this perfect Crème Caramel recipe! It’s a delicious custard-based dessert that’s not only creamy but perfectly silky in texture too. I’m sure you’re going to love it!
Pumpkin Flan: This delicious Pumpkin Flan recipe is perfect if you love pumpkin recipes! It’s the perfect flan that’s not only creamy but also has the perfect two layers that Flans are known for!
Flan with Saffron and Cardamon: Love Flan but want to try a different and unique version? Then try this Flan with Saffron and Cardamom that take this delicious Mexican dessert and give it the perfect Arabic touch!
Homemade Vanilla Pudding
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- In a saucepan, mix the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Stir the mixture occasionally on medium heat until it simmers. Do not let boil.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs with cornstarch until smooth. Pour the simmered hot milk over the eggs while whisking. Keep whisking and adding the milk.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat until it thickens. Continue stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When the mixture thickens, and you can see a few bubbles appearing in the middle, this means that the cornstarch is fully cooked. Remove from heat.
- Add the butter and vanilla to the pudding and mix until the butter melts and you get a silky and glossy mixture.
- To be on the safe side and make sure that the pudding is silky smooth, run it through a strainer to get rid of any cooked bits of eggs.
- Pour the pudding into individual glasses or serving bowls. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the pudding allowing it to touch the surface of the pudding to prevent forming of skin. Otherwise, you can cover the bowl or glass with plastic wrap without touching the pudding.
- Allow the pudding to come to room temperature, serve it warm or refrigerate it and then top it with either whipped cream or nuts before serving.
- Serve with fruits or pour on fruit salad.
- Keep stirring the pudding while cooking or the bottom will burn, which will change the taste of this dessert.
- Storing method and period mentioned in the post.
- Use four egg yolks if you have medium size eggs.
- Substitute whole milk with almond milk or coconut milk.