Learn how to make a creamy homemade vanilla pudding recipe from scratch. This velvety treat is so much better than what comes from a box and is perfect for making delicious classics like banana pudding.
Why you'll love it
Vanilla pudding is so simply, yet such a delicious treat all on its own when done right. I like to really play up the vanilla by adding vanilla bean into the recipe on top of vanilla extract. Just look at flecks of vanilla in the pudding. all those incredible Of course, vanilla beans aren't the cheapest things in the world (I do recommend buying them in bulk to save money if you think you will use them often.)
Personally, I am a huge fan of Rodelle vanilla beans because the flavors of their beans are wonderfully complex, and as a company they work hard to benefit the farmers to grow their vanilla beans as well as the communities in which these farmers live.
To get the most use out of the vanilla bean, we scrape out the seeds, but also steep the empty vanilla bean in the milk as we make it (only removing the bean when we push the pudding through a fine mesh strainer). The bean itself is so infused with vanilla flavor, you should always put it to use. One of my favorite uses is to stick it in my sugar. After a day, all the sugar is fully infused with the vanilla flavor.
It only takes a few staple ingredients to make vanilla pudding, plus vanilla bean if you want to take things to another level. Here are the main things we need.
- Milk - Whole milk and cream work together to create a luscious pudding with an incredible mouthfeel. You can substitute the whole milk with 2% or even 1%, but keep in mind it will not have the same velvety texture.
- Thickener - A mix of cornstarch, egg, and egg yolk combine to get the perfect thickness. You can use all egg yolks, but I don't recommend using just whole eggs.
- Vanilla - Vanilla extract does a good job of creating a delicious pudding, but for the best flavor, I recommend using vanilla beans, if you can find them. Otherwise, substitute with double the vanilla extract.
There's so much you can do with homemade vanilla pudding. Besides eating it on its own, you can top it with whipped cream, berries, granola, cookie crumbs, and so much more.
It makes the perfect base for banana pudding with some vanilla wafers and fresh bananas. You can also pour it into popsicle molds for creamy and velvety pudding pops.
It is also great used to fill cupcakes or layer cakes. Use it to fill cream puffs for a special treat.
Tips for success
Graininess tends to be an issue when making homemade vanilla pudding. The trick is to introduce the hot milk to the eggs slowly to temper the eggs. I do this by whisking the eggs as I slowly drizzle in the milk half a cup at a time. It is easier to do this with two people, but I manage just fine with one person! If you don't think you can manage on your own, using a stand mixer to whisk your eggs while you drizzle the hot milk would work very well.
Yes. The cornstarch works as a thickener for the pudding. If you do not have cornstarch, you can substitute with the same amount of flour.
Vanilla pudding will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about three day, but can last up to four or five. I recommend sticking to the three day rule.
Craving something chocolaty? Try my chocolate pudding! If you want to try more base recipes, you can try my salted caramel sauce, pastry cream, and homemade sprinkles!
Homemade Vanilla Pudding
- 2 cups whole milk divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Take three tablespoons of the milk and the cornstarch and mix together in a small bowl to make a slurry.
- In a saucepan, mix together the milk, slurry, and salt together.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg.
- Take the vanilla bean pod and slice in half. Scrape out the vanilla bean seeds and mix into the egg mixture, then put the empty pod into the milk mixture.
- Heat the milk mixture until it starts to simmer and thicken.
- Take a cup of the hot milk and slowly drizzle it into the egg mixture as you quickly beat the eggs. Whisk the eggs until it fully incorporates the milk.
- Repeat with another cup of the milk.
- Add the heavy cream to the saucepan along with the egg mixture.
- Stir the pudding until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Turn off the heat, then stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Strain the pudding through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
- Place plastic wrap on your pudding so that it touches the top of your pudding and chill for at least 5 - 6 hours, or until completely chilled through.
It took forever to cook over a double boiler. Taste was good. Maybe a little sweet
Thank you for sharing this vanilla pudding recipe . It was really easy to follow for my first time making pudding from scratch . I was a little intimidated with the eggs but you explained it perfectly . Tasted it while warm & it was amazing . I’m waiting for the pudding to cool now in fridge then I’ll make my banana pudding with it!
Thanks so much …
Amanda Powell says
Thank you so much for your comment! I hope your banana pudding came out well! I am craving it now!
Ji Sung says
Hey, why some white chocolate for filling looks yellow? Its not buttercream or cream cheese frosting or glaze. Is that possible or they just add colouring? But the recipe didnt say anything about colouring
Amanda Powell says
It all depends on the brand. It is normal for white chocolate to look yellow, especially while melted. Typically, white chocolate only appears a nice white if white coloring is added to it!
I made this yesterday almost as soon as it appeared in my email. It is so good! It's good when it's warm, but thickens and even tastes better after chilling. Family love it and it disappeared quickly. Delicious!!
Amanda Powell says
It makes my heart so happy to hear you loved the pudding! It's the perfect blank canvas for dressing up with other things, too. Just an all-around favorite so it makes me happy you enjoy it as much as I do!