Easy Vanilla Pudding Recipe

If you have a sweet tooth, it'll be easy to get you on board with this dessert. And if your penchant for sweet treats is a little more subdued, we bet you'll love it too. Whereas some dessert recipes go all out with sugary elements, this easy vanilla pudding recipe plays on the warm aromas of vanilla for a subtler finish. As Mashed recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating shares, "It's such an indulgent treat and really easy to make too!" 

If you're looking for a delicious dessert to make ahead of time for your family or dinner guests, this is an excellent option. It takes about 20 minutes to whip up this pudding worthy of a pastry chef, and the chill time means you'll be able to clear the kitchen for the rest of your meal prep. Brookes describes that "the sweet creamy taste" is one of the pudding's best qualities, and we can't imagine anything more decadent. If you're a fan of classic flavors and desserts that offer a canvas for customizations, tie up your apron and get started on this easy vanilla pudding recipe.

Gather the ingredients for this easy vanilla pudding recipe

Depending on how much baking you do, you may already have all of the ingredients for this dessert. You'll need granulated white sugar, salt, cornstarch, whole milk, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla extract. After you separate the yolks, beat them in a bowl or measuring cup.

Heat the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and milk mixture

Set a saucepan on the stovetop and add in the sugar, salt, and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Then, pour the milk in too and turn the heat up to medium. Brookes warns that "it's important to keep the heat at medium and stir almost continuously, otherwise you may get a burnt layer on the bottom of the pan." Once the contents start to boil, keep stirring for a few more minutes. When the mixture is thick enough that it coats the back of your spoon, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Start mixing the yolks with the milk mixture

Now, slowly add the warm milk mixture to the egg yolks 1 tablespoon at a time while whisking. Brookes notes that tempering the eggs is a key element to the pudding's success. She explains that "adding a little of the hot milk mixture to the eggs at a time and mixing gradually allows you to cook them gently without scrambling." Continue until about half of the milk mixture remains in the saucepan.

Finish cooking the pudding to the desired consistency

Now, go ahead and pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan with the milk mixture and stir the contents. Place the saucepan back on medium heat and cook the mixture for 2 to 3 more minutes while stirring. Then, turn off the heat and mix in the butter and vanilla extract to add richness and flavor.

Portion the pudding and chill it before serving

Pour the pudding mixture into small ramekins. Depending on the size of your vessels, you should get three to four servings. Transfer the pudding to the refrigerator and chill it for 2 to 3 hours until it is set. 

The options for serving this sweet treat are plentiful, starting with fresh berries which are a simple topping in a pinch. Brookes also recommends "whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or strawberry jam if desired." If you are not eating the pudding immediately, keep it covered in the fridge for up to three days.

Easy Vanilla Pudding Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
Skip the stuff from a packet and opt for this easy vanilla pudding recipe instead.
Prep Time
Cook Time
vanilla pudding with berries
Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Whisk the sugar, salt, and cornstarch together in a saucepan.
  2. Pour in the milk and heat it on medium.
  3. Stir the contents until they start to boil, then continue stirring while you cook the mixture for another few minutes, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of the milk mixture to a bowl with the egg yolks and whisk.
  6. Repeat, adding the milk mixture 1 tablespoon at a time until only about half is left in the pan.
  7. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the pan and stir to combine.
  8. Turn the heat back to medium and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat then stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
  10. Pour the contents into ramekins and chill in the fridge for about 2-3 hours until set.
Calories per Serving 346
Total Fat 17.3 g
Saturated Fat 9.7 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 163.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 38.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Total Sugars 32.8 g
Sodium 191.8 mg
Protein 8.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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