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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!

Photo of Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe
Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe

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 out of meat.

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.

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.  

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 184,000 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.

Easy Vanilla Pudding Recipe
Easy Vanilla Pudding Recipe

Here’s How to Make Homemade Vanilla Pudding

Simple Ingredients

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 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.   

Best Vanilla Pudding Recipe Pin for Pinterest


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?

If you store this easy vanilla pudding recipe in an airtight container, it will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Pudding Add-Ins

  • To make your bowl of pudding even more delicious, stir in fruit like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries.
  • Crush your favorite cookies and sprinkle the crumbs on top of the pudding for a fun garnish.
  • Chopped toasted or candied nuts add a little crunch to your bowl of pudding.  
  • For a festive touch, you can add sprinkles to the pudding to celebrate a beautiful day.  
  • Mini chocolate chips would add a fun twist to your pudding.  
  • You can add drizzles of chocolate sauce, caramel, or even strawberry sauce to take your vanilla pudding up a notch.  
  • Shave milk, white, or dark chocolate on top of your pudding.  
  • I know someone that likes to add Kettle corn to the top of her vanilla pudding for a sweet and salty topping.  
  • How about sprinkling your favorite spice on top of your pudding? Cinnamon and nutmeg are great options.  
  • 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.  
  • You can spoon a little cherry filling on top of the vanilla pudding for a beautiful contrast in color.
  • Layer homemade pudding with pieces of pound cake and cookie crumbs. Top with whipped cream.
  • 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

  • I like to use ramekins to serve pudding. You can find my favorite ramekins here.
  • You could also use clear glass drinking glasses to serve this vanilla custard pudding and top with whipped cream.
  • Small mason jars are the perfect vessels for old-fashioned vanilla pudding.   
  • 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.

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

Be sure you join our Creating a Cozy Life Facebook group. You’re not going to believe how amazing it is!

I created a pin for you above to add to your dessert Pinterest board to refer back to this recipe.

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

More Recipes You’ll Love!

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.


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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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