vanilla pudding (3 of 5) in white bowls

Creamy Homemade Vanilla Pudding Recipe

I’ve tried many, many different recipes for vanilla pudding over the years. Since we’ve acquired laying hens and a family milk cow, I’ve been trying to find recipes that use up the largest amount of those ingredients as possible because let’s face it, vanilla pudding is a whole lot quicker to prepare than an angel food cake (to use up some eggs) or cheese (to use up the milk). Cooling time aside, of course.

The problem always seems to be that I never have a consistency that is appetizing. It’s either very loose and becomes watery after a day or it will have the dreaded egg chunks in it. No matter how thoroughly I seem to temper the eggs, I always get those nasty little bits of cooked egg. Using just yolks never seems to make the tempering go any “smoother.”

Then twice, maybe three times a year, I’ll indulge my eldest (Who am I kidding?- And myself too!) and make my Boston Cream Pie recipe. My husband doesn’t care too much for it. He likes his pie description to be preceded by words like “apple” and “sweet potato”, etc…. But when I remind him he’s not the only one around here and bake that Boston Cream Pie, I always marvel at how easy the vanilla filling is to make and how well it turns out, not to mention how delicious it is!

The last time, I decided to try preparing it as though I was preparing pudding and see how it turned out.

And it was perfect.

Always one to push things one step further, or in this case two, I wanted to see how it would set up for a vanilla pudding pie… and if Hannah could make it without any help.

The short answer- Yes on both scores.

Whisking the dry ingredients

Separating the eggs

Spilling milk

Spooning into a pie crust (This is my favorite homemade, flaky pie crust) But imagine how beautiful that golden yellow pudding would compliment the color of these ramekins!

While not having bits of cooked egg yolk helps, I’ve learned that the real secret to a smooth pudding is in the thickener. I’ve tried many types and in the end cornstarch wins for achieving the perfect consistency. Arrowroot powder made the pudding smooth, but it was gummy and the texture was what I imagine a frog’s tongue to be like. It was something like a science experiment. Flour gave this pudding a grainy texture. Cornstarch made it smooth as silk.

Creamy Homemade Vanilla Pudding

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Creamy, homemade vanilla pudding in bowls

Creamy Vanilla Pudding Recipe


  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ⅔ cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla


  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth and then whisk in the milk.
  3. Gradually whisk the milk & eggs into the saucepan until well combined.
  4. After you’ve whisked in the milk and eggs, stop stirring for a minute and see if any undissolved bits of egg yolk rise to the top. Skim those off with a wire mesh strainer.
  5. Cook the pudding over medium heat, whisking constantly until it boils and begins to thicken.
  6. Boil, stirring for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  8. Spoon into a cups and cover with plastic wrap directly onto of the pudding to prevent the surface from forming a skin.
  9. Refrigerate until set and cool, maybe 3-4 hours. Or fill a warm, pre-baked pie crust, cover with plastic wrap in the same manner and chill overnight.
  • Author: ReformationAcres

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  1. To keep from getting “egg pieces” in my homemade fudgesicles, I put the milk (2 cups) and the egg yolks (6) in a large bowl and mix with mixer until they are completely mixed. Then I add them to the dry mix and cook.

  2. Just made the custard and it is super delicious.Just like my mum used to make it when we were young.. Thank you

  3. I want to use this to make a trifle. Should I put it between the cake layers and then refrigerate as it would be too gelatinous afterwards?

    1. I’ve never tried it in a trifle before so what I would do is refrigerate it until it is the thickness your’e looking for and add it then. (This is what I do when I make Boston Cream Pie with it. I don’t want it runny, but I don’t want it too thick either. I also don’t want to refrigerate the cake too long. Seems to go stale more quickly that way.)

  4. Thanks for the great recipe and tips! I used vanilla bean paste for the flavoring, turned out delicious and super smooth and silky!

  5. Just tried this recipe tonight and it is amazing! Super creamy and delicious! I made two batches, one with slightly less sugar and the other I ran out of corn starch so had to use flour :/ it all worked out though and ended up needing to add extra sugar to the one I had to use flour for! YUM YUM GOOD!!

  6. I love vanilla pudding and I am so happy that I found you. Thank you. Jehney Pollock, Charlottesville VA

      1. just made the vanilla pudding
        used coconut sugar, off of all whites
        DELICIOUS, thanks. I’ll do it again
        poured it over some sliced bananas
        Nashville, TN

        1. I recently tried coconut sugar for the first time- I bet that would be really good! Thanks for the suggestions 🙂

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