Classic Vanilla Pudding

Ditch the pre-packaged mix and make this simple and delicious egg-free vanilla pudding.

Classic Vanilla Pudding

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Amelia Rampe

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
2 servings

Creamy and delicious, this vanilla pudding recipe is far superior to store-bought and is just as easy to make. Using both a vanilla bean and vanilla extract gives this pudding a deeper vanilla flavor. 

Vanilla pudding dates back to the early 19th century, when it was a popular dessert throughout Europe. Its exact origins are unknown, but it is believed to have been created by French chefs. The first known recipe for vanilla pudding was published in a cookbook in 1845. Over the years, the recipe has been adapted and changed, but the basic ingredients remain the same: milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. 

How to Make Vanilla Pudding

With a handful of ingredients, you can create delicious one-pot homemade vanilla pudding with ease. This recipe requires just a single pot and comes together in minutes. After the mixture binds, make sure you allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours before serving. After portioning the pudding into serving dishes, garnish with toppings of your choice. We opted for fresh raspberries and sliced almonds but this recipe invites customization. Top it with fresh lemon zest or a drizzle of maple syrup. You can use this vanilla pudding as a base for a pie, or even layer it with sliced cake for a trifle.


  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)

Additional ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raspberries (optional)

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, butter, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Whisk until cornstarch is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

  2. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture just begins to bubble, about 6 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and is glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Transfer pudding to a medium bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of pudding. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

  4. When ready to serve, remove vanilla bean and whisk pudding to get rid of any clumps. Divide mixture between 2 bowls and garnish with raspberries and sliced almonds, if desired.

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