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Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe will have you leaving all those boxed versions behind because it tastes way better!  This recipe couldn’t be easier to make with sugar, cornstarch, whole milk, salt, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla.

If you’re looking for more pudding recipes, How to Make Chocolate Pudding from Scratch and Butterscotch Pudding Recipe are a both recipes you’ll love!

Two bowls vanilla pudding on a blue and white dish towel

The one thing I’ve learned over the last few months is that when the world feels a bit out-of-control, finding ways to bring comfort into our lives becomes a priority.  

What’s one way of bringing coziness into your life?  Why homemade pudding, of course.  

I think pudding tugs at our heartstrings because making things from scratch reminds us of our grandmothers providing for their families in a cozy kitchen.  Boxed food wasn’t an option.  

You can taste the difference between boxed food products and homemade recipes.  Why not treat yourself to the good stuff?  Especially since this is an easy vanilla pudding recipe to make.  

History of Pudding:

The history of pudding is a bit murky.  The word “pudding” has been used to describe the dessert we’ve come to love, and it also described savory and salty dishes made of meat, according to Wikipedia.  

Meat puddings were made out of ingredients mostly in liquid form that were then encased and boiled or steamed to set the contents.  (Doesn’t that sound yummy?) Today haggis, Yorkshire pudding, and Black pudding originated from that tradition.  

Historians agree that dessert puddings (classified as custards) have been around since the Middle ages according to Food Timeline.  

Somewhere around the 1840’s, the difference between American pudding and European custard became known.  At that time, alternatives to the traditional boiled puddings changed due to the creation of custard powder – invented by Alfred Bird, an English chemist.  Cornstarch also made it’s debut and gave cooks another way to thicken dishes.

The earliest reference to chocolate pudding was in 1730 in the cookbook The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter.   Some of the ingredients listed in the recipe are Orange-Flower water, ginger, nutmeg, and  cinnamon.  Wealthy people enjoyed these sweet bowls of heaven.

If you can’t get enough pudding, there’s an annual Banana Pudding Festival located in Centerville, Tennessee.  The annual event is the first weekend of October.  You can find out more about the festival here.   

Fun Facts about Vanilla: 

I don’t know about you, but I love all things vanilla.  The smell of vanilla makes me swoon.  Now that I know more about the vanilla plant, I think I love it even more!

Did you know that after saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice in the world, according to WebMD?   It is indigenous to the southeastern part of Mexico.  

The United States uses vanilla more than anywhere else in the world.  

Vanilla is American’s favorite flavor of ice cream, with 30% of the vote.  

Did you know that vanilla is an orchid?  The flower blooms for 24 hours and has to be pollinated, or it dies.  It is the only edible fruit of the orchid family.  

Vanilla vines grow somewhere between 30-50 feet, supported by posts or a host tree, according to Rodelle Kitchen.  

There are over 150 different varieties of vanilla plants.  

Vanilla is made with the bean (pod) from the vanilla plant.  In Spanish, vanilla means “little pod,” and that’s how vanilla got its name.  

The vanilla bean is then placed in hot water and then are laid out in the sun for a few days to dehydrate.  

I found this video on vanilla beans on YouTube, so you can see what the vanilla plants look like:

YouTube video

Creating a Cozy Life Group: 

Since you love classic vanilla pudding, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 22,000 like-minded souls.

It’s a group where we share recipes, pictures of things that leave you in awe, and ideas on how to make your life just a little bit more snug.  Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

Close-up of a bowl of vanilla pudding and a spoon

Here’s the easy Vanilla Pudding Recipe:

Ingredients for Homemade Vanilla Pudding

1/2 cup sugar 

2 1/2 cups whole milk 

1/4 cup cornstarch 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

3 egg yolks, beaten slightly 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

How to Make Vanilla Pudding

1) In a double-broiler, cook sugar, whole milk, cornstarch and salt.  

2) When the mixture thickens, add some of it to the egg yolks and mix well.  

3) Pour the egg mixture into the double-broiler mixture.  

4) Cook until thick.  Take mixture off the stove, and add in butter and vanilla.   

5) Place pudding in individual serving dishes or a medium-sized bowl.  

6) Cool until pudding is lukewarm.  

7) Cover pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.   

Close-up of a bowl of vanilla pudding and a spoon
Yield: 5 servings

Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Homemade Vanilla Pudding will have you leaving all those boxed versions behind because it tastes so much better. Made with sugar, whole milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla - this recipe couldn't be easier.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten slightly
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. In a double-broiler, cook sugar, whole milk, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. When mixture thickens, add some of it to the egg yolks and mix well.
  3. Pour egg mixture into the double-broiler mixture.
  4. Cook until thick. Take the pudding off the stove, and add in butter and vanilla.
  5. Place pudding in individual serving dishes, or a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Cool until pudding is lukewarm.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

Tips for how to make vanilla pudding from scratch: 

1) If you don’t have a double-broiler, you can use a saucepan – but just make sure you continuously whisk the pudding.  

2) Please don’t leave the pudding while cooking it, because it can easily burn.  

3) This pudding is sure to go fast so you can double the recipe.  

4) Also please don’t omit the butter. It adds lots of flavor to the pudding!

How long does vanilla pudding last in the fridge? 

You’ll want to keep the vanilla pudding from scratch covered in the refrigerator.  It will last 3 to 6 days.  

Add-ins for Homemade Vanilla Pudding:  

1) To make your bowl of pudding even more delicious, stir in fruit like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries.

2) Crush your favorite cookies and sprinkle the crumbs on top of the pudding for a fun add-on.  

3) Chopped candied nuts add a little crunch to your bowl of pudding.  

4) For a festive touch, you can add sprinkles to the pudding to celebrate a beautiful day.  

5) Mini chocolate chips would add a fun twist to your pudding.  

6) You can add drizzles of chocolate sauce, caramel, or even strawberry sauce to take your vanilla pudding up a notch.  

7) Shave milk, white, or dark chocolate on top of your pudding.  

8) I know someone that likes to add Kettle corn to the top of her vanilla pudding for a sweet and salty topping.  

9) How about sprinkling your favorite spice on top of your pudding?  Cinnamon and nutmeg are a couple of options.  

10) I love it when you get served pudding in a cup, and there’s a cookie sitting on the rim.  Simply cut a cookie half-way up and slide it on the edge of the rim.  

11) You can spoon a little cherry filling on top of the vanilla pudding for a beautiful contrast in color.  

12) Layer homemade pudding with pieces of pound cake and cookie crumbs.  Top with whipped cream.  

13) How about adding some jam or marmalade to your pudding?  A little more sweetness in life never hurt anyone.  

How to Serve Classic Vanilla Pudding

1) I like to use ramekins to serve pudding.  You can find my favorite ramekins here. 

2) You could also use clear glass drinking glasses to serve this vanilla custard pudding and top with whipped cream.

3) Small mason jars are the perfect vessels for old-fashioned vanilla pudding.   

4) If you have a fun collection of mugs, you can also serve your pudding in those.  

Pudding makes everything better; this I know for sure.  Why keep it all to yourself, when you can whip up a batch and drop it off to your friends?  Take along a couple of small bags of your friend’s favorite add-ins to make this gift extra special.  

We’ve reached the end of Homemade Vanilla Pudding.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Make sure you subscribe, so you don’t miss a post.  You wouldn’t want to miss other recipes like Homemade Candied Ginger.  

Let me know in the comments below how you liked this easy  Vanilla Pudding recipe. 

Make sure you join our Creating a Cozy Life – Hygge Style Facebook group.  You’re not going to believe how amazing it is.  Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

Pin this recipe below on your recipe board on Pinterest.  

Thanks for stopping by.  I’m so happy you found us!  

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Homemade Candied Ginger


Best Vanilla Pudding Recipe Pin for Pinterest

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Tuesday 24th of August 2021

I just made this and it was yummy. Good recipe. I did have half a vanilla bean that I split and added to the milk while it heated up and then strained it out after it was done cooking. Thanks.


Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Hello Ellen! I'm so glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for letting me know. Kelly

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