It’s hard to believe that this homemade vanilla pudding can be so delicious yet so simple to make from scratch with just a handful of ingredients. This classic dessert has been around for centuries and is still a popular choice today. Making your own pudding is much easier than you might think, and it’s definitely worth the effort! Not only is it more affordable to make homemade pudding, but it also doesn’t contain any of the preservatives or artificial flavors that are found in boxed instant pudding mix.
We will walk you through the steps of making homemade gluten free pudding flavored with vanilla extract. We’ll also share some tips on how to make it even better, and tell you about some of our favorite ways to enjoy it.
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Why We Love This Recipe
It’s super easy to make! This pudding recipe only requires a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Plus, it comes together in just a few minutes.
It’s so creamy and delicious! This pudding is ultra-creamy and has the perfect amount of sweetness. It’s definitely a crowd-pleaser and is sure to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.
It’s versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. This pudding can be used as a base for so many different recipes such as banana pudding. You can add fruit, chocolate, or even nuts to create your own unique flavor combination.
It’s made with real ingredients. This pudding is made with whole milk, sugar, and eggs – no artificial flavors or preservatives here! This means that it tastes much better than store-bought pudding.
It’s affordable! Making your own pudding at home is much cheaper than buying it from the store.
Ingredients Needed To Make Gluten Free Vanilla Pudding
Cornstarch – Using cornstarch instead of flour makes this recipe gluten-free.
Unsalted Butter – Grass-fed butter is the best!
Pure Vanilla Extract – You can use vanilla bean paste. Please don’t use the fake stuff! If you want a delicious rich vanilla flavor stick with pure.
How To Make Homemade Vanilla Pudding
In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, salt and whole milk.
Heat milk mixture over medium-low heat. Whisk every few minutes until the mixture is slightly simmering. Do not allow it to boil.
Temper the Eggs. In a small bowl, while milk mixture is cooking, whisk the egg yolks. Once the milk mixture begins to slightly thicken slowly add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly. This step is important so you don’t accidentally scramble the eggs.
Slowly add the tempered egg mixture to the pot, whisking constantly until bubbling and thickened. Immediately remove the pot from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until butter has melted and is completely combined.
If you find your pudding has curdled eggs or is clumpy, using a spoon, pour it through a fine mesh strainer.
Please note, the custard will continue to thicken as it cool so at this point it should still be pourable. Transfer pudding mixture to a large bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. If you do not want a skin to form on the top of the pudding then be sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the pudding.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until completely set. Done!
Tips For Success
Use whole milk: Whole milk will give your pudding a richer flavor and creamier texture. Avoid using skim milk or non-fat milk, as these will make the pudding thinner and less flavorful. Evaporated milk and heavy cream are also great alternatives to whole milk for an even richer flavor. If you opt for a milk alternative like coconut milk or almond milk, just keep in mind there will be a different flavor profile.
Use real vanilla extract: Vanilla extract is made from vanilla beans and gives the pudding its characteristic flavor. Avoid using vanilla flavoring, as this will not taste as good. Trust us!
Use a double boiler: We didn’t use a double broiler while making this recipe but we definitely recommend it. A double boiler is a kitchen tool that consists of two pots – a smaller one that fits inside the larger one. The smaller pot is used to hold the ingredients for the pudding, while the larger pot is filled with water, which heats up and cooks the pudding slowly and evenly. This method helps to prevent scorching and ensures that the pudding turns out smooth and creamy.
Be patient: Don’t try to rush the cooking process by turning up the heat. Doing so will likely result in a lumpy pudding. Instead, just be patient and let the pudding cook slowly and evenly until it thickens. It will get there. We promise!
What To Serve With Vanilla Pudding
- Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of crumbled Biscoffs or Chessman Cookies.
- You can top the pudding with fresh fruit, like apples, raspberries, blueberries or other fresh berries.
- Nuts such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts add a nice crunch to this easy gluten free pudding recipe.
- Use the pudding to make a trifle by layering it with cake, fruit, and whipped cream.
- Try pairing it with dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or white chocolate chips.
- If you want to get really creative, try pairing from scratch pudding with unexpected flavors like bacon or balsamic vinegar.
- Use as the base for a delicious banana pudding (our banana pudding recipe is coming soon).
Homemade Pudding Variations
One of the most popular variations of vanilla pudding is chocolate pudding. To make this a chocolate pudding recipe, simply add cocoa powder to the vanilla pudding recipe. You can also add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to the pudding for an extra chocolatey treat.
Another popular variation of vanilla pudding is coffee pudding. To make coffee pudding, simply add brewed coffee to the vanilla pudding recipe. You can also add coffee beans or ground coffee to the pudding for an extra coffee flavor.
Caramel pudding is another delicious variation of vanilla pudding. To make caramel pudding, simply add caramel sauce to the vanilla pudding recipe. You can also top the pudding with toffee bits or chopped nuts for an extra crunchy flavor.
If you want to give your vanilla pudding a little bit of a kick, try adding some spices! Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are all great options. You can also add spice extractions like almond or peppermint extract for an extra flavorful punch
Homemade Pudding FAQs
Can I use a different type of milk for this recipe?
Yes, you can use other milk options such as almond milk or oat milk if you prefer. Just keep in mind that the flavor and consistency will be slightly different than using whole milk.
Can I use a different flavor extract instead of vanilla?
Absolutely! Experiment with other flavors such as almond extract or lemon extract.
Can I freeze scratch made pudding?
We don’t recommend freezing the pudding because the consistency may become grainy or watery when thawed.
Can I use a different type of sweetener in my pudding mix?
Yep. Use any type of sweetener you prefer, such as honey or maple syrup. You can also use low carb options such as stevia to make this a sugar free pudding.
Can I use a different thickener instead of cornstarch?
You can use flour as your thickener but keep in mind the recipe will no longer be gluten-free. If you’re someone that suffers from celiac disease or has an intolerance to gluten, we suggest sticking with cornstarch.
How can I prevent a skin from forming on top of the pudding?
You can prevent a skin from forming on top of the pudding by covering it with plastic wrap or parchment paper before refrigerating.
Can I add other flavors or ingredients to the pudding, such as chocolate or fruit?
Please do! Have fun by adding additional flavors such as cocoa powder, nuts or mashed fruit.
Though it may be easier to simply buy a box of instant vanilla pudding, we urge you to try making your own pudding from scratch. This is a great recipe that is easy to follow and only requires a few simple ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen. Plus, homemade pudding tastes so much better than the store-bought kind! Once you’ve mastered this simple dessert, feel free to experiment with different flavors. What’s your favorite flavor of pudding? Let us know in the comments below!
More Simple Desserts
Easy Homemade Vanilla Pudding (Gluten-Free)
- 4 cups whole milk
- 5 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, salt and milk.
- Heat milk mixture over medium-low heat. Whisk every few minutes until the mixture is slightly simmering. Do not allow it to boil.
- In a small bowl, while milk mixture is cooking, whisk the egg yolks. Once the milk mixture begins to slightly thicken slowly add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly.
- Slowly add the tempered egg mixture to the pot, whisking constantly until bubbling and thickened.
- Immediately remove the pot from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until butter has melted and is completely combined.
- Transfer pudding mixture to a large bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. If you do not want a skin to form on the top of the pudding then be sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the pudding.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until completely set. Enjoy!