Creamy, smooth, and flavorful vanilla pudding is one of the easiest recipes you can make from scratch at home!
Our homemade vanilla pudding recipe is just as easy to make as a boxed pudding mix, but with better flavor, texture, and ingredients. Once you’ve tried this simple, delicious recipe, you’ll never buy a boxed mix of vanilla pudding at the grocery store again!
This vanilla pudding recipe only requires seven ingredients—and chances are, you probably have all of them at home. And there’s no baking time—you’ll only spend 20 minutes over the stove before you can relax while your pudding chills in the refrigerator.
And the best part about vanilla pudding? It’s an extremely versatile recipe—you can serve it plain as a quick, easy snack or with deliciously sweet mix-ins and toppings for the perfect dessert.
Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Medium saucepan
- Small bowl
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan on medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Stir the mixture for one to two minutes as it boils.
- Beat the two egg yolks in a small bowl.
- Add a few spoonfuls of the hot mixture into the egg yolks slowly while whisking the egg mixture. Then, add the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
- Stir the mixture for one to two minutes as it boils.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Pour pudding into dessert dishes and cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!
Ingredients for Your Vanilla Pudding
Granulated sugar is the sweetener in your pudding, so you can adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe to change the sweetness level. If you plan to add lots of sweet toppings to your pudding, like berries or whipped cream, try using ¼ cup of sugar to balance the taste.
Cornstarch is the primary thickening agent in your pudding recipe. Don’t have cornstarch on hand? You can also use flour as a thickening agent—but use four tablespoons instead.
Salt helps to balance the flavor of your pudding so that it’s not too sweet.
Whole milk is the base of your pudding. While we recommend using whole milk for the best consistency, both 2% milk or half-and-half are great alternatives.
Egg yolks are the other thickening agent in your pudding. Using just the yolks rather than whole eggs will give your pudding a rich, creamy texture instead of a gelatinous texture.
Butter makes your pudding extra smooth and creamy. You can also opt to use salted butter instead of unsalted butter and skip adding salt to your recipe.
Vanilla extract is what gives your pudding its vanilla taste. Choose a high-quality vanilla extract for the best flavor profile.
Vanilla Pudding Toppings & Mix-Ins
Vanilla pudding is an exceptionally versatile dessert. Try one of these toppings on your vanilla pudding to enhance the already delicious taste. Or, layer one or more of these mix-ins with your pudding to create a beautiful, tasty parfait!
Cookies or Wafers
Vanilla pudding tastes great with the added crunch of cookies or wafers. Although Nilla Wafers are our cookie of choice, you can get creative by mixing and matching your favorite crunchy cookies with your vanilla pudding!
Fresh fruit is an excellent complement to vanilla pudding. Add strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or blackberries for a sweet taste and colorful presentation.
Whipped cream goes with everything, right? It definitely tastes terrific on top of a bowl of this vanilla pudding!
Sauces & Syrups
Try a decadent sauce or sweet syrup to enhance your pudding. Chocolate ganache, salted caramel sauce, fruit sauces, or butterscotch sauce will all pair nicely.
Tips & Tricks for Delicious Vanilla Pudding
Even though vanilla pudding is a simple recipe with only a few ingredients, there are still a few tips to note to ensure your pudding turns out creamy, smooth, and delicious.
Boil the Cornstarch
As we mentioned earlier, cornstarch is a thickening agent that helps to give your pudding a thick, creamy texture.
To activate your cornstarch as a thickening agent, you must bring the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and milk mixture to a full boil for one to two minutes to achieve the correct pudding texture.
Temper the Eggs
There’s an important reason to add the egg yolks to the saucepan later than the other ingredients in this recipe. It’s called tempering the eggs.
Essentially, tempering is a process that slowly exposes the egg yolks in your recipe to heat, so they don’t scramble. As you slowly add the mixture from the saucepan to your eggs, they become warm. Then, when you add the eggs to the saucepan, they won’t curdle.
Tempering the eggs will ensure that your pudding has a silky and smooth texture, so don’t skip this step!
Your vanilla pudding will save for a week in a closed storage container in your refrigerator.
Tip: Wait to add the toppings and mix-ins until immediately before serving your pudding to keep each dish fresh and flavorful.
Grab Your Spoon!
Homemade vanilla pudding is an old-school, classic dessert that everyone in your family will love. It’s a simple, no-bake recipe that is easy to make, quick to clean-up, and simple to serve.
Whether you save your vanilla pudding to snack on during the week or dress it up with wafers, berries, and whipped cream to serve for dessert, it’s guaranteed to be a recipe you’ll come back to time and time again.
One thing is for sure—after trying this homemade vanilla pudding once, you’ll never purchase a box of pudding mix again!