Vanilla Pudding Recipe

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This Vanilla Pudding Recipe is such a simple dessert to make. Made with a handful of simple ingredients, it’s perfect for dessert at home. Dress it up with some fresh-cut fruit and homemade whipped cream for an extra special treat!

overhead: 2 small bowls of vanilla pudding with whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top

Vanilla Pudding Recipe

Welcome back to the second post of my Back to the Basics series. I know it has been a little while since I have posted in this series, but I am back at it!! I wanted to bring you this homemade vanilla pudding. Remember, these posts will be text heavy and are meant for the novice baker. So if you are beyond that point, just scroll down for the recipe!

My first post in this back-to-the-basics series was No Chill Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, so if you missed that post, be sure to check it out. That recipe is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for many reasons!!

This homemade vanilla pudding recipe really is simple to make and tastes so much better than any store-bought mix. Yes, it may take a little longer to whip up than the boxed stuff, but it is totally worth it. The taste alone is so much better, and you can pronounce all the ingredients in this pudding.

So, let’s jump into this recipe, shall we?! Don’t be intimidated by homemade pudding. If you know how to whisk you can easily make it yourself!

Why You’ll Love Vanilla Pudding

  • So much better than store-bought
  • Uses easy-to-find ingredients
  • Ready in just 15 minutes!
  • Crowd-pleasing homemade dessert
  • Kid-friendly
overhead: vanilla pudding recipe in a small bowl topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries

Key Ingredients to Make Homemade Vanilla Pudding

  • SUGAR – This vanilla pudding is sweet without being overbearing, but you do need a healthy helping of sugar to get you there.
  • CORNSTARCH – The secret behind perfectly thick results!
  • MILK – I tend to prefer whole milk, but 2% works too.
  • HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM – Creamy, thick, and smooth, heavy whipping cream adds much to the consistency of this dish.
  • SALT – Just a pinch to balance out the sweetness a bit.
  • EGG YOLKS – To make vanilla pudding from scratch, you’ll have to temper your eggs. It’s a process by which you add a small, steady stream of hot liquid into beaten eggs. This way you don’t end up with scrambled egg pudding. I’ll teach you exactly how to do it below!
  • VANILLA – For that warm vanilla flavor!
  • BUTTER – Also adds flavor and a touch of fat, which will give you a perfectly smooth texture.

Instructions to Make Vanilla Pudding From Scratch

CREATE YOUR BASE: Add the sugar and cornstarch to a large saucepan and stir so there aren’t any clumps. Stir in the milk and cream until the mixture is well combined and set aside. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, beat the egg yolks until combined and set them aside.

COOK: Heat the saucepan with the sugar, cornstarch, milk, and cream over medium to medium-low heat while whisking constantly. Once it starts to thicken, it’s time to temper your egg yolks!

TEMPER THE EGGS: Remove the saucepan from heat and gently pour a steady stream of it into the egg yolks. As you do, whisk quickly so it doesn’t scramble the eggs. Make sure to pour and whisk at least half of the hot mixture.

COOK AGAIN: Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and turn the heat back on. Cook until you have a nice, thick, pudding-like consistency. Keep in mind that it will thicken more as it cools!

COOL: Remove the pan from the stovetop and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Transfer your vanilla pudding to a heatproof container and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

closeup: a spoonful of homemade vanilla pudding with whipped cream over a bowl with more


What can I use homemade vanilla pudding for?

You can make all sorts of different recipes with this basic vanilla pudding. Banana pudding, pudding pies, poke cakes…and many other desserts! Or, you can enjoy it with some fresh-cut fruit and homemade whipped cream! My kiddos love this recipe and are always asking me to make it for dessert.

What ingredient makes pudding thick?

As mentioned, the cornstarch is the key! You only need a few tablespoons of it to get that thick and smooth texture you all know and love. Don’t skip it! Alternatively, you can use all-purpose flour instead.

How do you make vanilla pudding from scratch better?

My vanilla pudding recipe is super tasty as is, but you could also add some extras if you’d like. Chopped nuts, chocolate chips, espresso powder for a kick of coffee…there are so many different options! Experiment to determine which one is your favorite.

overhead: 2 bowls of vanilla pudding from scratch topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries

More Pudding Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think about this homemade vanilla pudding recipe!

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    This Homemade Vanilla Pudding is a simple dessert to make. Dress it up with some cut fruit and homemade whipped cream for an extra special treat!

    Vanilla Pudding Recipe

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: homemade vanilla pudding, vanilla pudding
    This Vanilla Pudding Recipe is such a simple dessert to make. Made with a handful of simple ingredients, it's perfect for dessert at home. Dress it up with some fresh-cut fruit and homemade whipped cream for an extra special treat!
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes
    Servings: 4 one cup servings
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Print Recipe Save Recipe


    • ½ cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • pinch of salt
    • 2 cups milk I prefer whole but 2% will also work
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla


    • In a large saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch until smooth and has no lumps. Stir in the milk and cream until well combined. Set aside.
    • In a medium sized bowl gently beat the eggs until combined. Set aside.
    • Place the saucepan of milk and sugar on the stove and cook over medium to medium low heat. While cooking whisk constantly to prevent any lumps. Cook while whisking until it starts to thicken and remove from heat. Pour at least half of this mixture in a steady SMALL stream into the beaten yolks. While you are pouring whisk constantly to prevent your yolks from scrambling. This process is called tempering. Now you may pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
    • Return this to the heat and cook until it has thickened into a nice pudding like consistency. It will also thicken a little more as it cools. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Place in a heat safe container and cover the top with plastic wrap. (place the plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding) This will help prevent a skin from forming on top of the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
    titled image (and shown): homemade vanilla pudding

    12 thoughts on “Vanilla Pudding Recipe”

    1. OMGoodness Malinda!!
      How creamy and yummy is this pudding?!!
      I have to make this one for sure, yep, definitely.
      My only problem is making “eggs” from the heat.
      I have tried and failed when it comes to adding these two ingredients together….UGH!
      I haven’t given up and will give it another go.
      I would really like this in a poke cake and as a filling for cupcakes, what do you think?
      I hope you and baby are doing well, have a nice day!

      • No baby yet….but hopefully soon!!! Just be sure to pour the cream mixture in a very thin stream into the eggs while you are whisking. I hope to make a video to go along with this recipe and hope that will help too. And yes this would be a wonderful filling for cupcakes or a poke cake!! Thank you so much!!

        • Haven’t tried the recipe yet as I’ll be patiently awaiting your response. My family LOVES banana pudding but not the artificial flavored stuff from a package. Do I just add mashed bananas to the mixture after it’s incorporated? And if so, how many? Thank you in advance and have a wonderful day!

          • I have never made it with bananas but now you have me intrigued to try it!! I too hate artificial banana flavoring! I would puree about 1 pound ripe bananas and stir it in with the butter and vanilla. Let me know how it turns out for you! Thanks!


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