Homemade Vanilla Pudding — Once you’ve made this so simple and so easy homemade vanilla pudding recipe, you’ll never wanna go back to box pudding again!
Vanilla pudding is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s simple, sweet, and full of memories for most of us, especially for me, Rebecca.
I would choose vanilla pudding over chocolate pudding and banana pudding any day)!
Whether you grew up eating the premade cups or making it from the powdered box mix, you can definitely take your pudding game to the next level by making this homemade vanilla pudding recipe.
It’s still so simple and easy, but even more delicious with just a few ingredients that you probably already have in your refrigerator and pantry.
And though you may have to be patient while whisking constantly and waiting for it to cool, this vanilla pudding recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make.
So let’s get whisking!
Ingredients Needed To Make Homemade Vanilla Pudding
The beauty of a classic homemade vanilla pudding is that you usually have most ingredients already in your kitchen!
The basis of what you’ll need is egg yolks, salt, vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, salt, cornstarch, and sugar.
I used white granulated sugar for a classic vanilla pudding taste. But you can also use brown sugar for that touch of caramel.
Cornstarch is a key ingredient that thickens the pudding. It can be substituted for flour or arrowroot flour if you do not have any cornstarch on hand.
Lastly, you’ll need whole milk. Technically you can use any kind of milk, but the pudding will be it’s creamy, luscious best if you use whole milk.
It’s important that when you start cooking, bring the milk to steaming over medium-low heat. Do not get it to a boiling heat as this will affect the texture of the pudding.
How to Make Homemade Vanilla Pudding
Wouldn’t it be nice if most recipes were as easy as “heat and whisk”? This one is pretty darn close!
Stir the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a small mixing bowl and whisk in the milk. Beat in the egg yolks until smooth.
Place two cups of milk in a medium heavy-bottomed pan and heat over medium-low heat until the milk is steaming. This takes about 5-8 minutes. Do not bring it to a boil.
Slowly and carefully, pour a stream of milk into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking until you’ve added about 3/4 cup of hot milk. This warms the egg yolks slowly and prevents bits of scrambled eggs in your pudding.
Pour the warm eggs and milk back into the pan and return it to medium-low heat to finish cooking the pudding.
Stir the pudding until it begins to bubble, then continue stirring and allow it to simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture may not noticeably thicken when it’s bubbling, but this allows the cornstarch to cook thoroughly and not leave a filmy texture in the pudding.
Once the pudding has finished simmering, remove from heat and pour it quickly into a clean bowl.
Whisk in the butter and vanilla bean paste or extract.
Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding in the bowl, making sure to cover all of it, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. This usually takes about 6 hours, but it will be even better if it’s allowed to refrigerate overnight.
Tips For Making Homemade Vanilla Pudding From Scratch
Begin by measuring and setting out all of your ingredients and bowls so that you can work quickly when things are warm and need to be combined. This prevents scorched milk, scrambled eggs, and burnt pudding.
Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat for heating the milk or cooking the pudding. It may seem like it’s taking a long time, but a couple of minutes of stirring is so much better than something scorching! So keep that saucepan over medium heat low and no higher!
If you are noticing any tiny lumps in your pudding as you cook it, don’t worry! It’s probably just a tiny bit of egg yolk and egg mixture that cooked too quickly.
To remove them, simply place a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl you are going to chill the pudding in and pour it through. Gently stir the pudding to encourage it to go through the sieve, then stir in the butter and vanilla bean extract.
Before chilling the pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding. This prevents a rubbery, thick layer from forming over the top, which is also called a skin.
Different Ways To Serve Pudding
You can eat the pudding on its own. But there are so many funs ways to serve it. And you can even create a party parfait buffet for your guests to customize.
A few topping and pairing ideas include:
- Fresh fruit — we love berries!
- A side of vanilla wafers
- Whipped cream
- Top it off with crumbled cookies like chocolate chip cookies or Oreos
- Sprinkle chocolate chips and mini marshmallows over the pudding and serve with graham crackers for a unique take on s’mores.
How To Store Homemade Pudding
Once the pudding has cooled, transfer it to a container with an airtight lid and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 5 days.
If you’d prefer, you can also store the 1/2 cup of pudding each in little individual-sized dishes with lids so that they can be grabbed and enjoyed quickly.
For more pudding and dessert ideas, check out a few of our favorites —
- Vanilla bean tapioca pudding
- Mango coconut rice pudding
- Butter cookies — These delicious cookies go great with a side of pudding!
- The best chocolate chip cookies — Crumble these on top or serve them with the pudding.
- Customizable brownie parfait — There’s nothing like some homemade pudding with delicious brownies.
- Nutella stuffed monkey bread muffins
Homemade Vanilla Pudding
Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe
- Small mixing bowl
- Medium saucepan
- Whisk or rubber spatula
- 2 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks
- A large pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Stir the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a small mixing bowl. Then, whisk in 1/2 cup of the milk and then egg yolks.
- In a medium pan, heat the remaining two cups of milk over medium low heat until it is steaming and foamy but not boiling.
- Slowly pour or ladle about ¾ cup of the hot milk into the small mixing bowl with the egg and sugar mixture, whisking quickly as you do to prevent the eggs from heating and cooking too quickly.
- Pour all of the egg and milk mixture back into the pan and continue cooking over medium-low heat. Cook and stir continuously with a whisk or rubber spatula until the mixture has thickened and begun to bubble. Allow it to continue bubbling for two minutes.
- Remove it from the heat and pour the pudding into a clean bowl. Immediately add the vanilla bean paste or extract and butter. Then, stir until the butter has melted and the vanilla is completely incorporated.
- Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. This will take about 6 hours, but it will become thicker and set up better if you let it chill overnight.
- Makes approximately 6 ½ cup servings.
- It will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Begin by measuring and setting out all of your ingredients and bowls so that you can work quickly when things are warm and need to be combined. This prevents scorched milk, scrambled eggs, and burnt pudding.
- Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat for heating the milk or cooking the pudding. It may seem like it’s taking a long time, but a couple of minutes of stirring is so much better than something scorching! So keep that saucepan over medium heat low and no higher!
- This recipe doubles well, but will take more time to cook.
- If you are noticing any tiny lumps in your pudding as you cook it, don’t worry! It’s probably just a tiny bit of egg yolk and egg mixture that cooked too quickly. To remove them, simply place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl you are going to chill the pudding in and pour it through. Gently stir the pudding to encourage it to go through the sieve, then stir in the butter and vanilla bean extract.
- Before chilling the pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding. This prevents a a rubbery, thick layer from forming over the top, which is also called a skin.