Homemade Vanilla Pudding – This nearly no-fail recipe is perfect to make the BEST rich, creamy and flavorful vanilla pudding dessert or snack treat from scratch!

Small glass jar with pudding, topped with crushed vanilla wafers and whipped cream.

Why We Love Homemade Vanilla Pudding

Take a bite of creamy, cool and luscious homemade pudding and – WOW! – you are transported back to childhood. No one can resist this simple sweet treat!

We have a fabulous homemade chocolate pudding recipe to satisfy any chocolate craving. Today we are sharing our easy recipe for Homemade Vanilla Pudding! It has the delicious and decadent flavors you crave, but our vanilla version is a bit less rich, perfect for topping with some fresh fruit!

This classic dessert is so easy to make from scratch with only a handful of pantry staples! The pudding is made on the stovetop and comes together in just 10 minutes… Before you know it you have the thickest, creamiest, tastiest vanilla pudding to serve as a simple treat – or use in cakes and pies!

Is vanilla pudding and custard the same?

These spoon-able desserts are slightly different. Pudding gets its thick consistency from cornstarch, which makes it very smooth and creamy.

However, custard uses just egg yolks for thickness. It tends to be more firm and “jiggly.”

Top down view 6 jars of homemade vanilla pudding, each topped with vanilla wafers and whipped cream.

Ingredients You Need

  • Milk – whole milk is best, not 2% or no fat
  • Egg yolks – suggestion: make a frittata with the leftover egg white
  • Cornstarch – a gluten-free thickening agent
  • Granulated sugar – white sugar or your preferred alternative granulated sweetener
  • Salt – just a pinch
  • Butter – unsalted
  • Vanilla extract – or other preferred flavor extract; see notes for ideas
Spoon holding scoop of scratch made pudding to camera.

How to Make Vanilla Pudding from Scratch

Set a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the whole milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt to the pot. Whisk until well incorporated.

Pouring milk into large cooking pot.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, this could take 3 to 5 minutes. One simmering, stir consistently for 1-2 minutes while the pudding thickens. It should be fairly thick, but will continue to thicken as it cools.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is fully melted and combined.

Spatula coated with vanilla pudding, held over pot of pudding.

Scoop or pour the pudding into a storage container.

Get the Complete (Printable) Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe + Video Below. Enjoy!

Spoon holding spoonful of pudding to camera.

Press plastic wrap down over the top of the pudding to eliminate any contact with air. This ensures the pudding does not create a skin over the top. Then refrigerate until cold.

Once the pudding is cold scoop into serving cups and serve cold.

Large glass measuring cup filled with pudding, piece of plastic cling film covers the cup.
Homemade vanilla pudding in a small glass container.

Vanilla Pudding Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t skip the cornstarch! Yes, it may seem like a lot of cornstarch in this recipe, but that is the only way you are going to get thick and creamy pudding, so don’t skip it!
  • Replace half of the white sugar with brown sugar for a deeper, more caramely flavor.
  • Whisk, whisk, whisk! While the mixture is heating up, be sure to whisk it constantly so that mixture heats up slowly and the eggs don’t turn into scrambled eggs!

Serving Suggestions

Serve homemade pudding as-is for a quick snack or simple dessert. For a treat that’s more on the fancy side, garnish with whipped cream and vanilla wafers.

This is also a fabulous recipe to make vanilla pudding from scratch to use in cakes and pies! It’s great for Layered Banana Pudding Cake and Banana Pudding Milkshakes, Magic Chocolate Eclair Cake, or any dessert that calls for homemade or instant pudding.

Close view small glass cup of vanilla pudding recipe with crumbled cookies and whipped cream.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other flavors of pudding can you make with this simple recipe?

Make this recipe with any extract you like to create fun flavors like coconut, lemon, orange, cotton candy, or peppermint pudding. Use 2 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp alternative extract.

Why did my pudding turn lumpy?

Remember, we are using eggs in this recipe to make a silky smooth vanilla custard. If you cook the eggs too fast, then you can end up with “scrambled eggs” that will make the pudding lumpy. Make sure to stir the egg mixture constantly while it is heating up and cooking to make sure that the eggs don’t turn lumpy!

Is pudding gluten-free?

Yes, this is a gluten-free dessert recipe!

Can I make vanilla pudding without eggs or cornstarch?

Yes and yes… However, I don’t recommend using swaps. Pudding without eggs tends to not be as rich and luscious. Similarly, swapping cornstarch with another thickening agent – like flour or potato starch – will alter the beautiful consistency and flavor of this vanilla pudding.

How long does homemade vanilla pudding last in the fridge?

Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Spoon scooping pudding from a small jar.

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Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
This nearly no-fail recipe is perfect to make the BEST rich, creamy and flavorful homemade vanilla pudding from scratch!
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Set a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the whole milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt to the pot. Whisk until well incorporated.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, this could take 3 to 5 minutes. One simmering, stir consistently for 1-2 minutes while the pudding thickens. It should be fairly thick, but will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is fully melted and combined.
  • Scoop or pour the pudding into a storage container. Press plastic wrap down over the top of the pudding to eliminate any contact with air. (This ensures the pudding does not create a skin over the top.) Then refrigerate until cold.
  • Once the pudding is cold scoop into serving cups and serve cold. Serve as is, or garnish with whipped cream and vanilla wafers.

Video

Notes

Variations – Use any extract you like to create fun flavors like coconut, lemon, orange, cotton candy, or peppermint pudding. Use 2 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp alternative extract.
Storage Suggestions – Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 237kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 118mg, Sodium: 127mg, Potassium: 196mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 31g, Vitamin A: 397IU, Calcium: 164mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier
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