Quick Homemade Pudding Recipe

My oldest loves to cook. Being a kid, his favorite things to cook are typically desserts.

The other day he made homemade donuts (not the kind that comes from canned biscuits either), the kind Caroline Ingalls might have made. They were the best tasting donuts I had ever eaten! Yes, I sneaked one bite despite my wheat intolerance!

Today he made homemade pudding and I thought I would share the recipe. I’ve been using this one for years, and it’s a slight variation of the recipe found in Whole Foods for the Whole Family. Which is an excellent cookbook by the way, it’s one of my all time favorites.

This recipe has about a million variations. You can make it gluten free, egg free, dairy free and corn free (just substitute arrowroot for the cornstarch and cook for a shorter time) in case of food allergy. You can make it plain old vanilla, carob, chocolate, coconut, fruit, lemon, rice, butterscotch, etc. And of course it’s wonderful as-is.

quick homemade pudding recipe

Why homemade pudding?

It’s delicious and VERY inexpensive to make. And honestly, homemade pudding takes roughly the same amount of time to make as instant, especially if you put a kid on the job.

It has far less sugar and more actual food and nutritional value in it than instant pudding you can buy on the grocery store shelves. As a point of reference let’s take a peek at what’s inside one major name brand instant pudding:

Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Coconut, Contains Less than 2% of Artificial Flavor, Disodium Phosphate and Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (for Thickening), Mono- and Diglycerides (Prevent Foaming), Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Artificial Color, Sodium Metabisulfite (Retains Coconut Whiteness), BHA (Preservative).

Yum! A chemical conglomeration passed off as food! Conveniently packed in plastic disposable servings!

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Try this instead:

Quick Homemade Pudding Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup milk (this makes more sense to me than saying “2 cups milk, divided”)
  • 4 Tablespoons sweetener (you can use honey, sugar or Rapadura)
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla (use 1 teaspoon if you’re making chocolate pudding)

1) Place sweetener and 1 1/2 cup milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on low. While you’re waiting for it to reach a simmer, mix the 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch or arrowroot. Get the eggs ready in a small bowl too.

2) When the milk is bubbling a bit, add the cornstarch/milk mixture, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

3) Mix about 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture into the bowl with your beaten eggs and stir well, then add to the saucepan. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.

4) Remove from heat and add vanilla and other ingredients.

I think it’s tastiest cooled but you may not want to wait that long.

To make chocolate pudding, mix a scant 1/4 cup cocoa powder with a little hot water then stir in. (Remember to decrease the vanilla to one teaspoon. You can also use carob.)

For coconut, add 1//2 to 1 cup coconut flakes. Here is a coconut rice pudding recipe that’s gluten/dairy/corn/egg/soy free.

For rice pudding increase the milk by 1/4 cup and add 1 cup cooked rice to finished pudding, sprinkle nutmeg on top and add raisins if you like.

For butterscotch, add 2 Tablespoons molasses to the sweetener and stir in 2 Tablespoons butter after removing from heat.

For lemon, substitute lemon juice for vanilla and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind.

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Add fruit like sliced bananas if you wish to the basic vanilla recipe.

Leave out the eggs if you’re allergic. Use soy milk instead of dairy if you’re allergic to that. If corn is an issue, replace the cornstarch with arrowroot and decrease cooking times. You can also use 6 Tablespoons flour instead of cornstarch.

About Carrie

Happy wife, homeschooling mom of many, autodidact, best-selling Amazon author, blogger, head chef and barefoot walker. Residing just outside Atlanta, usually found reading a book while sipping a hot beverage.


  1. Sounds wonderful!! And you can prounounce every ingredient (I’m becoming a lot more aware of that recently)…

  2. I tried this recipe, and it was yummy, however it was very runny instead of thick like regular pudding. We could drink out of the bowl. Not sure what went wrong. I used Arrowroot Starch, instead of Corn Starch. Next time I’ll use more instead of the 3 TBSP listed above.

  3. I’ve had that problem too. the arrowroot cannot be cooked as the corn starch can. It has to be put in at the last possible second or it will come apart and become runny. 🙂

    try using a bit more, or an extra egg. i think the elevation can affect it too 🙂

  4. If you’re using soy milk instead of cow milk, you’ll have to use 1 1/2 times the amount of cornstarch.


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