It’s nice to have a selection of desserts you can whip up simply with what you already have on hand. Pudding is one such dessert. Yes, that’s right. You don’t need those little boxes in order to make pudding, and it hardly takes any more time or effort to make pudding from scratch with real, whole foods.
You might think that pudding with the boxed powder is a cheap dessert, but the milk is the bulk of the cost. That box is only replacing cornstarch and a bit of vanilla and the sugar: things you already have in your kitchen, and that are less expensive than the box. Plus, then you control the sweetness level and intensity of the flavor. Yes, feel free to adjust the sugar and vanilla level, but not the milk to cornstarch ratio.
Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe
Makes 4 servings, doubles easily
- 2 1/2 cups any combination whole milk and half & half (all of either works, too)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch salt
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a saucepan, stir together 2 cups of the milk with the sugar and salt. Cook on medium until it begins to steam. While it’s heating up, whisk the remaining half cup milk with the cornstarch until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and bring it all to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook on low, stirring, until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
If you aren’t sure what “thickened” looks like, dip a spoon into the pot. The pudding should coat the spoon. Then run your finger along the back. If it leaves a trail that is not quickly covered, it’s thickened enough to set.
When the pudding is thickened, stir in the vanilla. Then pour it into a serving bowl or individual bowls or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for at least an hour or two and up to 24 hours (quality suffers significantly after 24 hours).
Homemade Chocolate Pudding Recipe
All you do to make your pudding chocolate is reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/3 cup chocolate chips with the vanilla after the pudding has thickened. Whisk until they are melted and thoroughly combined.
Homemade Butterscotch Pudding
Simply substitute 1:1 brown sugar for white sugar.
Ways to Fancy Up Your Pudding
- Serve it in a fluted glass
- Grate a little chocolate onto vanilla pudding
- Add a dollop of homemade fruit sauce, jam, or fruit butter
- Add a sprinkle of fresh berries
- Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder
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