vanilla-bean-pudding1 Recipes

vanilla bean pudding

A year ago, I would have told you that any pudding that includes eggs (or butter, cream and various other indulgences unnecessary to yield excellent pudding) is a sham. I have strong feelings about foods that I grew up with, and pudding is one of them. Pudding is thrown together quickly on a stove, thickened with cornstarch, and is the perfect January food, comforting, homey and not especially harmful to those of us still living down December’s butter-fest. And so I make cornstarch puddings; there’s a chocolate one (and a pie) and last year I mentioned briefly making a vanilla pudding but then decided to toast the sugar instead and share with you a caramel pudding.

vanilla bean pulp
stuff you'll need

You would not believe how many people have emailed me in the last year asking for that vanilla pudding. But here’s the thing, vanilla pudding thickened with strictly cornstarch and flavored with vanilla extract is a tasty thing, but not especially dynamic. We liked it, and you might too, but I didn’t want to spend any great amount of time discussing it until I figured out how to make it more enchanting. And I realized, over revisiting the recipe this week, that I actually prefer it with just a single little egg in there for a richer flavor, and that using vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract really really turned the humdrum into the best thing to eat while watching giant, feathery snowflakes twist and twirl outside the window.

heating the milk

We’re heading into that time of year when everyone hibernates. The days are short, there’s always something inconvenient on the ground (snow, sleet, ice or the curious sooty snow-like piles in NYC that remain through early spring), the boots-scarf-hat-gloves-coat (times two) routine becomes tiresome when you’re doing it for the third time that day and we often decide to just stay inside, instead. I’m always torn about whether to embrace it — perhaps finish writing some cookbook or another before the days get warmer and I cannot bear to be in the kitchen? — or fight it. Yesterday, I’d had enough of indoor adventures and fought it; packed the kid up in the stroller, went to the market, tried not to bite it on the .0001 inch of snow that had fallen, shivered, sniffled and probably did nothing for the cough I’ve had for two weeks. Today, I’m making more pudding.

vanilla bean pudding six-pack
puddles of pudding

One year ago: Caramel Pudding and Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens
Two years ago: Fig and Walnut Biscotti and Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Three years ago: Goulash and Lemon Bars
Four years ago: Cream of Mushroom Soup and World Peace Cookies

Vanilla Bean Pudding

To create this vanilla pudding, I crunched together two pretty standard recipes, using 4/5 of a cornstarch pudding and 2/5 of a very egg-heavy one. Yeah, I just admitted that. What can I say? I love math.

This is absolutely delicious as written but there are ways you can dress it up. You can add a tablespoon of butter at the end, right before letting it chill. You can finish it with a teaspoon of rum, which, trust me, is amazing against the vanilla bean. You can top it with softly whipped cream or a fruit compote or some combination of the two.

The amount of cornstarch below should yield you a vanilla pudding that leaves a spoon impression. If you prefer that your pudding is more wobbly and a little slump-ish, use 3 tablespoons instead. This is not an excessively sweet pudding, but if you like puddings just mildly sweet, use 1/3 cup sugar instead.

Makes 6 half-cup servings

2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
1 large egg

Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean (if you’re replacing it with extract, don’t add it yet; if you’d like to toss the leftover vanilla bean pods in the pot with the simmering milk for an extra vanilla boost, go for it) in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.

Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully). Stir in vanilla extract, if you’re using it and divide pudding among 6 dishes. Chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours.

[If you don’t like pudding skin, we can’t be friends just press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the pudding before you chill it.]

See more: Photo, Pudding

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370 comments on vanilla bean pudding

  1. pure vanilla bean makes anything great. i recycle the pods in sugar and make my own extract. it is so green like that.

    when i have tried to make puddings i have never been able to let it set for 2 hours. i always consume it before it sets.

  2. Yes! I had been wanting to adapt this divine Gourmet milk chocolate pudding into a vanilla pudding for the longest time, but had hesitated because vanilla pudding is, well, just vanilla pudding, and I was concerned that the flavor would be lacking. This, though, seems perfect.

  3. I was one of the ones who was hoping for the vanilla pudding recipe last year, but this looks even better!

    I know how you feel about dairy products, so I hesitate to ask this question, but do you have any idea if this would work with soymilk or almond milk? Not taste-wise, as I’m sure that would be inferior to the dairy version, but would the pudding even form? I notice that when I make oatmeal with soymilk, the texture is off, so I don’t know if there’s some sort of cool chemical reaction that happens when you heat milk that doesn’t when you heat faux milk, and that would inhibit pudding formation if you don’t use the real thing. Thanks!

  4. This looks so yummy! I just got my wisdom teeth removed, so have been searching for desserts I could eat. We have a winner! Thanks Deb!

  5. I cannot believe how utterly perfectly timed this is, as I was just thinking this weather called for pudding. As for the skin issue, I think I want to set mine up in a quiche pan for maximum surface area :) Creme brulee is like the ultimate pudding skin, but this will scratch that itch without being excessive. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

  6. i’m never so great at puddings & custards but you make it sound & look so easy so i’m giving this one a try! also thanks for the re-posting of the lemon bar recipe…i have some meyer lemons here and will try the recipe out with them…i “heart” lemon bars ?

  7. I am your friend, thought I was the only one who likes the skin. You skim that off and eat first, loved that my sibs didn’t like it. And I have a vanilla bean waiting.

  8. Your timing on this could not have been more perfect. I’ve seen some of the much more cholesterol-laden versions lately, but simply could not bring myself to touch them. Thanks!

  9. This looks good, we’re big fans of vanilla pudding (and custard) here.
    I tried the only-cornstarch version you did, but we all thought it tasted wierd – there was always something missing, so I went back to my usual egg-based version.

  10. Reminds of me of the pudding/custard I used to make for cream puffs/eclairs. Brought back great memories. Thanks, SK.

  11. I fully support your decision to make more pudding. I’ve never tried to make it before and this looks soo delicious. All my friends make fun of me for being a vanilla person (I always always get vanilla yogurt/ice cream) but c’mon, it’s delicious! and I am not ashamed. Exhibit A of vanilla deliciousness: Vanilla pudding. and I thank you for the recipe

  12. Typical caribbean breakfast if you ask me, My abuelita used to make this a lot for breakfast, without any eggs, I love it sometimes I add a mashed banana or strawberry puree

  13. Oh my goodness! I think you’ve practically saved my life… or at least my gag reflex by sharing how to avoid the pudding skin. There is really nothing worse… the jello skin is pretty wretched too.

    And this pudding looks wonderful… simple, basic, heartwarming, delicious. I’m a fan of vanilla over chocolate anyway.

  14. okay, i just have to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for linking to the earlier egg free chocolate pudding recipe. and for mentioning it was egg free. who knew?!!! my middle daughter is allergic to eggs, and pudding is one of those things i haven’t been able to find a good substitute for. chocolate yogurt in the states is just not that great. wow!! hooray!!!! and i still want to try the vanilla one you posted today. :) poor kid–i’ll give her vanilla yogurt instead.

  15. This looks like the perfect sweet now that I’m sick of Christmas cookies. I like your idea of adding a bit of rum and cutting back slightly on the sugar and cornstarch. Any dessert with specks of vanilla bean make this chocolate lover swoon!

  16. Sounds delicious. I presume you can keep it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days (if it lasts that long which it probably won’t!). I can imagine the warm pudding in semi-liquid form going very well with ice cream, cakes, fruits…or even on its own. Yum. Thanks for the recipe.

  17. I grew up with puddings as well. We cooked milk with vanilla and sugar, added potato starch, butter, and egg yolks at the end. We served it with a dollop of sour cherry or black currant confiture. Often times, it was our Sunday dinner dessert.

  18. I made your chocolate pudding earlier in the week and last night I was craving vanilla. So….I made the same recipe omitting the chocolate and adding more homemade vanilla(which is made with rum) and it was delicious!!!

    Thank you, Deb!

  19. I remember the days when you wouldn’t even have a moments peace in the shower. Just wait a few more and you won’t be able to get in anymore, since your teen will be occupying the bathroom for hours.
    My vanilla pudding recipe is very similar and we all love it, too. Sorry, Deb, no skin for us.

  20. YAY! Love it. I’m one of those who emailed asking for vanilla pudding – thanks for doing all of the heavy lifting for us… As a child, no skin, as an adult, bring on the skin…

  21. I whipped up this pudding immediately after reading this recipe. It turned out perfectly, although I almost completely screwed it up on two (not one) occasions. It tastes delicious, it was easy to make (disregarding my carelessness) and it is so wonderfully thick! This certainly deserves an exclusive membership into my recipe journal!

  22. Hi Deb! I’ve been an avid reader since before you and Alex were married. I have loved following your blog.

    You have inspired me to broaden my own culinary horizons (I bought my first cook book ever last weekend!) and I can’t wait to add the Smitten Kitchen cook book to my fast-growing collection :)

  23. Thanks for the reminder that vanilla beans can really pack a punch of flavor!

    Megan: I can’t speak for this recipe, but I’ve often used soy, rice, or almond milk in place of dairy milk in a cornstarch-based chocolate pudding recipe and I think they work perfectly. I like almond or a higher-fat soy better than rice or low-fat soy because you get a creamier texture. Good luck!

  24. I love vanilla pudding almost more than chocolate, but still not as much as butterscotch. And the skin? Oh, the skin is my favorite part, which is why I’ve always divided the pudding into a couple more servings than the recipe calls for. Family gets mad at me for that..but I eat the skin they hate and they can have another bowl, so why the whining? Sheesh. I’m glad you added the egg so I didn’t have to go behind you back and do it, like I did with the chocolate. The recipes work with lactose free milk too.

  25. I just made it – and it took me exacetely 20 minutes!!! Now I am enjoying comfy-food directly from the saucepan infront of my laptop. Yummy :-)

    A big “thank you” from Europe (where we are not waiting for a real snow storm)!

  26. I got a set of three Nielsen-Massey vanilla extracts for Christmas– Madagascar, Tahitian, and Mexican. I’m thinking this would be the recipe to try them out on, dividing the pudding into three bowls so I can taste the subtle differences.

  27. I like the indoors now — but I don’t have to dress up a toddler/toddlers any more so when I need to cure a HOT FLASH I can just run out the door as I please! The one thing with this pudding recipe is it will prevent me from attaining 1 of my goals I made myself last week. I’m sure you know the ONE GOAL I’m talking about?!!! I long for Michelle Obama arms! Yes indeedy – gotta lay off the fattening foods for a bit! But this recipe does look heavenly.

  28. it is quite cold and yucky to move about here in Minneapolis too, and I was out of town last weekend thus didn’t get to spend 48 hours bumbling about in my kitchen making messes and hopefully a few delicious things…this will set the world right again! And I have rum too :)
    THANK YOU!

  29. Can I use reduced fat milk or does it have to be whole milk? Just trying to use what I have in the house so I don’t have to make 3 trips to the grocery store today… (good thing it is only a block away)

  30. Thanks for this wonderful and tasty pudding, Deb! I’ve made many of your recipes already, but never on the day they were published. But for this one I had all the ingredients on hand and have been looking for a home-made vanilla pudding recipe anyway. The pudding just finished cooking, and we already ate some of it warm. It’s been ridiculously yummy — so much in fact that I don’t think the remaining servings will have a chance to cool before they disappear.
    It’s a little sweet for our (European) taste, so I think I’ll use the suggested 1/3 cup of sugar next time (which is very likely tomorrow).

  31. I had to run straight to my kitchen after seeing this post! Sneaked a taste of the hot pudding, yum! 2 hour cooling countdown starts, NOW.

  32. Talk about reading our minds. I made this immediately. I had a high quality vanilla powder handy, so I used that instead of actual beans. The powder is ground beans, so I figured that was close enough. They are in the fridge cooling right now, but the warm pudding tasted AMAZING.

  33. This sounds really good. I will have to investigate it without eggs, because I am completely out. One ice cream cake decimated my dozen eggs like candy and I won’t have any more until tomorrow!

  34. How do you think this would go if i replaced the whole milk with soy or almond milk? i have a friend who has a milk allergy, but this would make a fabulous dessert she would love. The only reason i ask is because whole milk has a lot more fat in it that even regular soy and a ton more than almond milk. this isn’t bad just different. and for once i’m not quite sure how to adjust the recipe to get a good result.

  35. Just the recipe I was looking for! I received TWO WHOLE JARS of vanilla beans for Christmas.
    Speaking of which, what brand of beans do you purchase Deb? I almost felt bad asking for them because the type I was gifted averaged about 2 bucks per pod.

    1. I bought my vanilla beans in Paris, from G. Detou. 8 ridiculously long, fat beans for about 6 1/2 Euros, a steal (barely over $1/bean). A friend brought me another tube of them when he visited. When I run out, I’m obviously due for a trip to Paris. If you find yourself at G. Detou, I implore you to leave room in your suitcase for the 1kg case of Valrhona cocoa (you can split it with friends when you return; it is in three bags inside); can’t remember the price but it is ridiculously low and the cocoa is so wonderful, it makes me weepy.

  36. I, too, grew up on cornstarch puddings enriched with an egg yolk (maybe two!) My mom was famous for whipping up a buttery yellow sheet cake from scratch just before Sunday dinner, then at the end of dinner she would whip up a batch of pudding, often vanilla but sometimes butterscotch or chocolate, and pour it over slices of cake while the pudding was still hot. This was accompanied by small dishes of chocolate chips, coconut, or toasted almonds for the lucky ones at the table to sprinkle on their portions. Yummy!

    I also serve the vanilla pudding, warm, over cold fresh nectarines or peaches, and stick a buttery madelaine in as an accent.

    1. 85 to 90 percent new recipes! (Coincidentally, the reason the book will never get done. But you’re patient, right?!) I’ll pull a handful of recipes I think the book would feel incomplete without.

  37. I’m eating this as we speak and it is beyond dreamy! -11 and blizzarding with a grouchy 2 1/2 year old today and none of it matters now :)

  38. This looked so good I had to make it right away! It’s chilling while I get the kids to bed, then I have me a date with some vanilla pudding. ;) I used vanilla bean paste since I’m trying to find uses for it and I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like scraping a pod. The scrapings were delish, so I’m really looking forward to the finished product.

  39. Pudding skin lovers unite! And vanilla beans? Yay! I’ve been to Paris but didn’t get vanilla beans there. I’ll admit it. I buy them at Costco. There. I said it. I can’t remember the exact price, but it was really reasonable and they are great quality beans. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  40. This looks delicious! Would it effect the pudding adversely if those of us with limited fridge space chilled it in one container?

  41. Deb, I cannot wait to try this. it looks so simple yet, elegant and completely delicious. wish i could devour it right now! Thanks so much for sharing so much goodness with us so we can infuse it into our lives. I have not commented since the year turned, so Happy New Year!! Cannot wait for your book!!!

  42. Yeah, with vanilla pudding an egg is called for. It gives a richness and depth to the pudding that a simple cornstarch pudding can’t. I’ve even added an egg yolk (or two) to a vanilla pudding mix (gasp!). I’m going to try out this recipe with two egg yolks.

    (Who doesn’t like pudding SKIN????)

  43. this is almost exactly like my recipe but I use even less sugar. And vanilla extract. I can’t bring myself to start buying the beans because I’m afraid I’d never want to go back and those things are just too much moolah.

  44. What timing! I rec’d a few vanilla beans in my stocking and have been looking for good recipes in which to use them. Definitely doing this this week.

  45. I just made this today, and I think it’s my new fav guests-for-dessert dish, because I have trouble leaving enough time to finish cooking before they get here. Since this chills for a while, I didn’t have to rush! (Well, except I decided to make apple latkes too.) This was my first time using a vanilla bean, and I am totally satisfied! Thanks for sharing such a yummy recipe!

  46. I’m not exactly the type of person who chirps and sings and laughs all day long, so thanks so much for making me laugh. I love your writing! At the end of your recipe, when you remark, “If you don’t like pudding skin, . . . . ” then cross out ” . .. we can’t be friends,” this crabby old woman (me!) actually chuckled out loud! Thanks!

  47. This sounds great, I love your recipes they’re so “doable”! Will try this for the pudding lover in the family, thanks.

  48. My family loves the pudding skin so much that once my sister spread and chilled pudding on a *cookie sheet*! Maximum skin. ;-)

  49. Italians throw together almond milk and cornstarch and voila – there’s dessert. Couldn’t be simpler. Delicious. I love the simplicity. I still may skip the egg. And these days I continue to choose my kitchen over the chilly, frozen tundra that is my outdoors.

  50. I tried this recipe this morning and it was AWESOME!! Thank you so much, it was perfect timing as I was just wondering what to do with my extra milk before it passed the 2 week rule in the fridge. THANK YOU!!!

  51. I made this with soy milk and it turned out great. It’s just like a Betty Crocker recipe from my 1950s era cookbook, come to think of it.

  52. I made this yesterday afternoon; what an easy to make, nice textured, delicious pudding! My vanilla bean nust not have been a very good quality bean because I didn’t find the depth of flavor I was expecting so I added some vanilla extract to boost it. I think this recipe will make a nice dessert sauce using less cornstarch. I find creme anglaise too rich with eggs and cream, so this recipe could sub nicely thinned out.

  53. Just finished making it; yummo!!! My Mom used to make blanc mange for us & this is so much like her recipe; a very nostalgic experience. Thanks!

  54. Ah yes… the old tub/shower trick nearly always works to keep kids occupied. Wait until he gets a little older and can take a bath on his own – you’ll be guaranteed at least 30 minutes of hands-free time. It’s 10:15 a.m. and my 5 year-old twins are happily giggling in the tub, allowing me a few quiet, precious moments in the next room to do as I please. Yes!

  55. Would it be possible to turn this into an easy creme brûlée? Seriously curious if I could just add some sugar on the top and torch it, and make it an easy creme brûlée.

  56. I’ve been on a total cooking-for-pleasure hiatus, but this week’s posts are bringing me back from the edge! Between the bean stew (delicious) and the fact that I’ve just decided to forgo a football-is-on nap in favor of making this pudding, I think you must be reading my food mind these days!

  57. I was never one for pudding as a kid, but maybe because it was all the Jello variety and nothing from scratch like this.

    So jealous of that shot of the gas range! Ah, to have a heat source one could really control, unlike my current uneven electric range…

  58. Hmmmm….I have a couple of whole beans that got pushed to the back of the cabinet, forgotten and are now hard as rocks. I know…..head hanging in shame. Do you think I could simply break them into a couple of pieces, toss them in the milk at the beginning, cook the pudding and strain the pieces out at some point? Or just dedicate them to some other use?

  59. This looks ike a delcious…custard! Although stictly speaking a custard is thickened with egg of course, where I come from this would be called a fake custard, whereas “pudding” is either a steamed cakey thing or another name for desserts in general. So I’m intriged – what, in USA speak, is the difference between pudding and custard? And what do you call a cakey thing steamed in a pudding basin (and served with custard!)?

    Confused, but enjoying the recipe!

  60. Luisa (wednesdaychef) just posted about Paris food/kitchen shopping and mentioned the exact same vanilla bean source you did, Deb. I think that’s enough coercion to merit a trip, right? Valentine’s Day present, my dear husband? As always, a lovely post; you are a true inspiration.

  61. Deb, it’s not that easy to flit off to Paris for vanilla beans from all the way over here in Oz. Not that I don’t think it’s nearly enough reason to.
    I’m with you on the pudding skin, what is it with people who think a bit of pudding skin (or hot milk skin) is going to kill them!

  62. Yum! Just made this and am eating it (still warm) as I type this. It is delicious and a super easy recipe. I was out of vanilla beans, so used good quality extract and a splash of white rum! I added butter at the end and it is delicious!

  63. Deb,
    This pudding looks luscious – will definitely make it! Your recipes are always winners, and we loooove trying them out!

    I have two questions:
    1) Is that a 1/2 gallon container of Ronnybrook milk in your photo? (they make the absolute bestest fresh heavy cream ever for ice-cream…aaahhh – sooo much better than that ultra-pasturized stuff in the stores.

    and 2) How does this pudding compare to the custardy cream inside the creme brulee donut from The Doughnut Plant?

    OK, three questions : Have you ever tried to replicate that little piece of doughnut bliss?

  64. Hate to be a downer here but this one just didn’t work out for me. I made it as instructed but the amount of cornstarch is, sorry, staggering. As I was making it I kept thinking, 1/4 cup? It seemed crazy but I dutifully followed directions. First taste though confirmed: all I can taste is cornstarch. I’m so sad! Also, I used extract instead of a bean, fully expecting inferior results but not wanting to brave the cold just for a bean tonight. I had to use just about twice the recommended amount of extract to get a decent vanilla flavor, and I am using fresh Penzey’s extract, so it’s not like the type/freshness is the problem. I don’t know, I’m sorry but I just wanted to write in to say maybe it still could use some tinkering, or maybe we just disagree on this one. Usually your recipes are spot on, this one just fell down on the job tonight.

  65. I am normally not a pudding fan, but I gotta tell you this was a perfect way to finish off our meal tonight! I used vanilla bean and added 1/2 tablespoon of butter at the end as well as the rum. Flavor and texture was fantastic. Call me crazy but I especially enjoyed eating it alongside the oven fries I made tonight – something about the hot and cold, sweet and salty that made my tongue sing. Thanks!

  66. I am relieved to see that you feel the same way about pudding skin as I do – I WOULD have to stop being your friend if you didn’t like the skin

  67. I’m selfish, what’s more, a bit bossy. In my interests and those of us huge fans of yours I’m going to give some off topic advice, so you and your wonderful family will stay healthy.

    My Great Grandma and Grandma swore by warm steam ( now you can find them at Walgreens ) and Vicks for breaking up a cough and keeping the lungs healthy.

    Those things plus one of your delicious winter soups you should sail through this snow laden winter.

    As for your vanilla pudding, it’s another triumph from your magical kitchen. I made it the very second I was done reading the recipe.

  68. Hmph. My 10 year old and 6 year old both disliked this pudding. I think their taste buds are broken. They weren’t helpful, just said, “I don’t like it for some reason.”

  69. waiting for my kids to fall asleep so i can make this tonight. i love pudding and custards ! i am going to serve “man crepes” to my little men in the AM with vanilla pudding, sliced oranges , and kiwi’s ( that’s what came in our CSA box this weekend). should be a nice way to start the week :-) thanks so much !

  70. Wow! Just finished making the pudding, and licking out the pot. There is no way that pudding will make it through the night! I had some vanilla beans hanging out in an empty bottle, left over from making vanilla extract, so I used a whole bean in mine. Also added the tablespoon of butter at the end. Delicious! Thanks for the great recipes!

  71. I gave this a whirl this evening. What I liked: quick and easy to make with just a few staple ingredients (although I had to substitute 2% milk for whole milk). What I didn’t like: I think it’s too sweet.

    Next time, I might try it with one-third cup of sugar instead of the half-cup.

    Otherwise, a nice addition to the repertoire.

  72. Totally delicious but a wee bit too thick for me! I’ll cut back on the cornstarch next time. The taste is fantastic though, even with vanilla extract in my sad absence of vanilla beans.

  73. I just made this and am anxiously waiting for it too cool… but in the meantime, I licked the spatula, and oh. my. god. sooo delicious!!!!

    it’s summer here in Australia – that can cause some problems because when I see a delicious new smitten recipe, the weather is all wrong… but I think a cool creamy pudding will be the perfect remedy the 38C day I’ve just endured!

  74. So if the recipie is 4/5 of a cornstarch pudding and 2/5 of a very egg-heavy one, does it make it 1/5 more than any other pudding recipie? :-)

  75. I adored your final comment (the one about pudding skin): made me smile!!!
    In my house “crema” is made with 6-8 egg yolks per each 4 cups of milk… I will want to try your version to reduce the egg quantity. And I make an angel cake with the remaining whites. Also, instead of a vanilla bean, we use the peel of a lemon (peeled in spiral like an apple, and placed in to flavor the cream). We had a heavy snow storm hit us last night, so it’s all wonderfully white outside this morning. I think it’s a pudding kind of day ;)

  76. I tried this recipe yesterday and it tastes soo good! I had one problem…my egg curdled. I worried this would happen since it says to put it in while it’s boiling. Any suggestions to prevent this from happening next time? I didn’t stir it too hard either. I skimmed the egg off and it still tasted great. I’m just wondering how you all are adding the egg with no problems.

    1. Mary — The egg should not curdle if the boiling milk is added to it “very gradually”. The idea of adding it a small bit at a time (like, teaspoons at first, can add it faster as the egg mixture warms up) is that it tempers the egg slowly so that it will not curdle.

      enilorac — In many cases, you can substitute arrowroot powder but I haven’t tested it here. Let us know if you do and how it went.

  77. I saw this last night and my pregnant self had to have it right away! Soooooo yummy! My two year old and husband couldn’t stop saying mmmmmmmm

  78. This was very simple to make and delicious. I used a whole vanilla bean when I made it. I do suggest cutting back on the corn starch. It comes out way too thick. I served mine with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

  79. By adding the egg, you’ve essentially made pastry cream, sans butter. I made Tartine’s pastry cream recently and the ingredients are almost the same (again, the pastry cream contains butter). I’ve never made pudding before though, so look forward to giving this a try!

  80. So add the boiling mixture very slowly to the egg? I just dumped the egg in the boiling mixture. I read and reread the instructions and didn’t know exactly how you added it. Thanks for the tip.

    1. Mary — In the recipe, I say: “Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.” Sorry if this was not more clear.

      wenders — Pastry cream usually has several eggs yolks, lots of butter, and less cornstarch, if any. It’s one of my completely weird pet peeves when custards are called puddings, although they’re in the same family, mostly pudding was never so unhealthy. (I use this recipe, mostly.)

      Lise — Ha! Thanks. Fortunately, mine is now mostly gone. Unfortunately, I gave it to the babysitter. I will pass on your advice.

      Allison — Try the 3 tablespoons of cornstarch level next, as mentioned in the recipe notes.

      Joann — Yes, it is Ronnybrook, which we buy by the bucket for our resident 15-month old milk enthusiast. I’m generally delighted by their glass bottles, but am even more delighted than I can get half gallons from Fresh Direct (even if in plastic) so that I don’t have to haul them home myself. I picked up a glass half-gallon of Milk Thistle at the Greenmarket one day along with a few pounds of apples and barely made it home! Though the return deposit makes a nice dent in the price…

      Not that you asked any of that! I suspect the filling in the doughnut is pastry cream, which as I mention to wenders above, is a bit richer. Creme brulee is usually pastry cream with a bruleed sugar top. Pudding is unfancy.

      Ann — Of course not! Now I’m worried I sound like one of those terrible snooty people who are like, “Oh, this scarf? You can ONLY buy it in Paris, you poor dear.” I was more ecstatic over the price and quality and hope if anyone reading along is planning a trip to Paris, that they make it to Detou because it’s a great place for home cooks to find cool things.

      Kate — We’d call it a “British Pudding”. Well, I’m not totally positive, but that’s what I do. You rarely see them on U.S. dessert menus, though more in the last few years.

      Nancy from PA — Try to soften it in some of that warm milk. It should work.

  81. homemade puddings/custards MUST be eaten warm, right out of the pan! Then you chill what leftover(if any). there is NOTHING like hot pudding on a cold day!

    1. Pamela — I have two rice pudding recipes and adore them both, an Arborio Rice Pudding with almond and vanilla and an Arroz con Leche which might be the best I’ve had. The recipe you linked to looks delicious but I’m always wary of puddings with a lot of cream in them, and look for ones where milk is enough so I can eat them in the quantities I wish to.

  82. Delicious, and the next time (oh yes, there will be at least one of those) I will try it with the 3T of corn starch.

    Also, for those who, like me, mess it up by not cooking it long enough: I put it in the fridge still rather soupy thinking it would firm up while cooling. It did not. So the next day I dumped the whole milky, lumpy mess back in the pan and cooked and stirred till it thickened up. Then I pushed it all through a fine sieve and back into the serving dishes. That did the trick!

  83. Great, simple recipe! I have found that using vanilla beans can be pretty economical if you make your own “extract” I split a bean and cut in half (try to not lose any of the tiny beans inside it by scraping up every bit). Pour about 1/2 cup of good quality white rum (I use Appleton) in a glass jar with tight fitting lid, add the split bean, close lid and shake a little. Let rest for at least a day and then you can use it. Probably could make more if you had more beans and a larger jar but I usually make about 1/2 cup at a time, which will last me a couple of months.

  84. When I was a child I thought pudding skin was icky. My mother would eat it, shaking her head at the goodness I didn’t want. Then I became an adult and suddenly I love pudding skin. Strange, isn’t it? Oh. That bowl. I love it! Cezanne would love it too. I see it filled with oranges and peaches or pink and purple sweet-peas or chocolate truffles or . . . Where oh where did you get it?

  85. This recipe could not be easier. I didn’t have any vanilla beans so I just used the good vanilla I had. I also didn’t have any whole milk, but 2% and a splash of half and half worked fine. This was only my second time making pudding that didn’t come in a box. This tastes so much better than any pudding I’ve had and will be a standby recipe for me.

  86. It’s literally chilling in my fridge right now while my daughter and I play dolls. She in fact helped make it. She’s a chocolate fan but I’m all about the vanilla :)

  87. Just finished the leftover pudding tonight – still creamy and wonderful the day after.
    I reduced the cornstarch even further to 2 1/2 TB. which made a softer pudding that we prefer. Also added a TB. of butter and 1 tsp. rum, plus tossed the scraped out vanilla bean into the simmering milk for a deeper vanilla hit. I used skim milk, to which I added enough cream to approximate whole milk.

    I gently and slowly reheated the pudding in the microwave, stirring after a few seconds and checking until it was warm. Can’t believe a non-chocolate dessert has me as spellbound as this does – will be making this often!

  88. This is exactly what I had been craving for so long! I used 1% milk which I didn’t initially bring to a full boil, just to steaming. It turned out delicious but I think next time I will cut back to 3 Tbsp. of cornstarch since it was a bit thick but still so good. Thanks for a great recipe!

  89. I can never make pudding from scratch, no matter how hard I try. I knew this, yet I tried this recipe because I had everything in my pantry…and failed, as usual. I don’t know what it is I do wrong, but it never ‘sets up’ well – it’s always too thin. I guess I’ll always have to eat the instant, Bill Cosby kind. *looks at your beautiful pudding pictures wistfully*

  90. Ah ha, ‘British Pudding’ well I never! I’d love to share my favourite recipe for a British Pudding. It’s called ‘Washday Pudding’ (very British!), page 499 of Stephanie Alexander’s ‘The Cooks Companion’ (also my favoutite cook book). It’s beautiful and stodgey and wintery and perfect with lashings of clotted cream. Email me if you don’t have the book (although really, you should just buy the book – wonderful!) and would like the recipe.

  91. I always used to wonder what ‘pudding’ was in American films and TV shows. For me ‘pudding’ is a generic name for any sweet served after dinner. I think I’d like to try this pudding for pudding tonight, maybe with spiced plum compote.

  92. I just made homemade vanilla pudding with vanilla beans a couple weeks ago for my family – the beans really do transform that boring pudding into something amazing!! We always crunch up Nilla Wafers at the bottom of the bowl and layer the warm pudding with cut up bananas… sooooooo good!!!

  93. I can’t wait to make vanilla pudding with lactose free milk this weekend! I’m lactose intolerant, so we almost never have rich and creamy desserts (which i suspect this is!)
    Also, where did you get those bowls? They are SO cute…

  94. You’re right on the cutting edge. The Oregonian (Oregon’s largest newspaper) Food section headline for today 1/11/11, Vanilla Bean Pudding – one of the hot new trends for 2011.

  95. holy hell. just finished making this… why do we have to wait two hours for it to set up again? hehe i just want to eat it now! I made it with 2% milk and it all came together beautifully! I’ve never made pudding before because I was so scared of it not setting up or the eggs curdling or something but this was wayyy easy. Thanks so much!

  96. Thank you so much for doing the math and sharing your recipe!
    I would love to try making this (lump-challenged though I am), and wanted to ask if you could please point out how much 1/4 cup of cornstarch should weigh.
    Thank you and happy new year!

    1. mic — It should weight about 3/4 ounce or 21 grams.

      elisabeth — Me? Cutting edge? I guess there’s a first for everything! :)

      missy — I got the ramekins at Crate and Barrel about 7 years ago. As of last year, I think they were still selling them.

  97. Oo, looks delicious. I also love that the math part adds up to 1 and 1/5 of a pudding… bonus 1/5 of a pudding free with the purchase of one regular pudding! Our lucky day!

  98. Made this the day you posted and was delish although I was only able to fill 5 ramekins (probably because I licked so much from the bowl). :)

  99. Well obviously this look divine. Everything you make gets me drooling! And the pudding skin – as gross as it sounds – is absolutely necessary. xo

  100. I was carrying my laptop into the kitchen as I finished reading the recipe. That was about two hours ago, and the pudding’s already gone (in my defense, I halved the recipe and split it with the boy).

    Delish. And I agree with you and Other Katie above- pudding skin is totally the best part!

  101. This was good. Not as good as chocolate cream pie I made from here on Sunday.
    But still worthy of eating 2/5 of it with in an hour of it coming off the stove.

    And happy there are four happy little ramekins hanging out in my fridge.
    Breakfast will be delish!

  102. I just made this tonight, and the flavor was divine – but after 4+ hours in the fridge, the consistency is terrible – like melted ice cream atop a layer of cornstarch sludge. I’m pretty sure I was careful with measurements and cooking times, though the only possibilities I can think of are that a) I didn’t cook the mixture long enough before chilling or b) cornstarch has a shelf life – mine’s been sitting there for a while. Any thoughts? I was heartbroken – and that vanilla bean was not cheap!

  103. I wasn’t even aware that you could make pudding without eggs and butter. I’ve just always made it using my grandma’s recipe.
    By they way, I made the cheesecake swirl brownies from your blog today and I’ve never seen anything disappear so quickly at work. I made a few changes based on ingredients I had (or didn’t have!). I will be posting it up on my blog tomorrow!

  104. Thanks for a great recipe, Deb. Loved the pudding. By the way, where is the large serving bowl from? Definitely something I’d love to add to my wedding registry!

  105. I found your site for the first time today and I’m in love with your food photography and your recipes. Having just moved to LA after spending the last 2 years in NYC with a similar sized kitchen, your creativity and determination for cooking and sharing made me laugh with memories but has also inspired me to try your suggestions. Thank you for such a great history of amazing posts.

  106. I attempted this recipe yesterday using arrowroot starch instead of corn starch (oh the joy’s of a corn allergy)and once it was done setting in the fridge, I went to go try it, and the entire bowl had become one big gelatinous mess! It was quite disappointing, as I’ve been able to use arrowroot starch as a straight conversion before :(

    Also, other substitutes for corn starch are potato starch and tapioca starch. I normally use tapioca starch, because it’s super cheap at any Asian supermarket.

  107. Yup. Good for breakfast too!

    BTW my pot contained a lumpy mess when it was done cooking (I had to tend to my baby so I stopped stirring for a bit). But I poured the mixture threw a sieve before putting in the fridge to chill and the results were smooth and creamy.

  108. Mmmmm…. I’ve been craving vanilla pudding. This might be a perfect snowy day thing to make

    Do you think it would be possible to halve the recipe and keep it at one egg? I mean, of course it is possible – but would it be *desirable*? Or do all the pudding experts out there think it will make it too rich? Though, come to think of it, I’ll be using 2% milk (sacrilege, I know) so the extra fat might be welcome.

  109. I check your blog everyday I don’t why I have never commented, there is a first for everything I guess!
    Vanilla is my favorite flavor and vanilla beans…forget it! I love them! Thank you so much for this recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

  110. Darn. The taste was fine but the texture was too grainy. Maybe I didn’t cook it long enough? It was really thick when it was 175F, and I was getting tired of stirring it.

  111. Okay I gave this a try (along with many other of your wonderful recipes) but mine never set. We left it in the fridge overnight and still it was runny:(. What did I do wrong?? It tastes wonderful; it just never set. BTW I am a stay at home, homeschooling mother of five and your blog has inspired me in ways I can not even articulate! THANKS.

  112. Checking back in after having made some of this delicious pudding today. So, so good! Thanks again for the inspiration.

    I”m thinking I’ll be adding a bit of banana and some Nilla wafers to some leftovers, but so far the plain vanilla is mighty fine. :)

  113. this looks so lovely. i love your pictures, and there is something so winter-sweet about vanilla. i’ll have to give this a whirl after all this snow clears up and i can buy some vanilla beans!

  114. I’m writing this as I eat this delight, and I must say, God bless You :) Making it, as well as your marshmallows, brought about a feeling od pride and accomplishment that can barely be matched by my university degree. Thank You for being so fuss free and disclosing these beauties.

  115. Wow, this is really delicious – I made it last night! It is very vanilla-y, with a nice smooth texture, and isn’t too sweet. It is so much better than instant mix, and so amazingly easy! I seriously doubt you’ll ever read this, but if you do – adding about a tablespoon of dark Myer’s and shaving a generous amount of Valrhona white over the top is seriously delicious. Thank you.

  116. I made this for my boyfriend the other night. I used vanilla extract (no bean on hand), but it turned out great! It’s easy, fast, and reasonably healthy. I’m sold.

  117. I know that you must be exhausted with caring for Jacob while writing “the book” and then tending to all of your other blogging/wifing/living roles. Thank you for doing what you do and providing such fun for all of us who are watching and listening.

  118. Thank you for having another great gluten-free dessert. We loved your chocolate pudding, and your clementine cake (also gluten-free) was a huge hit at Thanksgiving this year.

  119. Just made this and it is delicious BUT, the consistency is a little bit like mashed potatoes. Oops! I assume the egg is overcooked… can you clarify a bit on the last step? Should it be resembling the finished product while cooking, or taken off the heat just before…? And at what temp–low, med, high? THANKS!

  120. earlier this week I made the mistake of making this pudding – now my husband has insisted on having this for dessert EVERY night since. Luckily I don’t have to bother putting it in those little ramekins – I just pour the whole thing into one big bowl for us to share (although yesterday he said that I should just double the recipe so we could each have our own pot). I did make one change – I used vanilla paste instead of a vanilla bean – much more convienient giving the quantities of pudding we are consuming

  121. Great recipe, I would always choose vanilla instead of chocolate :)))
    Just wanted to say hi and finally leave a comment-been following and loving your blog for sometime now! I’ve finally made my own blog and started commenting and connecting with people
    Love,
    Tamara

  122. I’ve been craving comfort food and pudding from a box, even the stovetop variety, has not been adequate. I’m going to make this tonight, with the whole milk and everthing (BE GONE SKIM! I BANISH THEE!) and enjoy the heck out of it. And NO I WILL NOT SHARE. NOT EVEN A TASTE.

  123. I just found your amazing blog, and just in time to keep me and my 3 kids busy in the kitchen and with warm full tummies (with Cream Scones, Dutch Babies and homemade Marshmallows), as we go on snow day 5 tomorrow here in Atlanta, Thank You!!!

  124. While we cannot be friends, skin does not appeal, I am definitely sending thanks for this delish and delightfully quick recipe. I think it will be the perfect unexpected dessert for an upcoming dinner party.

  125. Just made this with skim milk (added an extra egg yolk to compensate for lack of fat) and used vanilla extract. It was delicious! Next grocery trip will include whole milk and vanilla beans.

  126. Deb, do you think it would be possible to make this with soy, rice or coconut milk? I’d like to make it for a friend who can’t do dairy.

    Thanks!

  127. I just made this as I have been craving pudding. used coconut palm sugar as we are staying away from white sugar and so it is not as pure white but boy is it good! It is amazing right out of the pot hot ( I pretended the spoon needed licking). I’m sure cold it will be out of this world. We love pudding with skin!

    For folks who have asked about alternate milks, I think soy and rice milk both taste weird in pudding so when I cook for vegan friends I use coconut milk. You could use for this recipe one can of full fat coconut milk mixed with water to make the full amount of liquid. But the coconut flavor will be there, it will not be the pure vanilla flavor at all.

  128. Seeing this reminds me of your epic Maple Cream Pie Recipe that made me the queen of the dinner party circuit. This recipe would be great made with reduced maple syrup instead of sugar and served with Grapenut cereal as an evening dessert/snack.

  129. hi deb – this was wonderful! I’m in my 3rd trimester and have made three batches of this in the past four days (only shared a little). I know this is going to become a standard simple comfort food in our home and it couldn’t be easier – less than 15 minutes of total prep/cook time. I cut the sugar in half for various reasons and love the mellow lightly sweet variation. Thanks.

  130. This was mellow and smooth; the perfect counterpart to the shrimp curry we had for dinner. The flavor from the vanilla bean was perfect; I agree that simmering the pod pieces in with the milk and scooping them out when you’re done helps. The consistency was nice and thick, and I used 2% milk. There was a hint of cornstarch flavor which gave it an overall nice, homey feel.

  131. I was going to make creme brulee today but felt lazy so used the heavy cream I bought to make this pudding. I ended up using 2 cups cream, 2/3 cup 2% milk. The pudding is very thick, almost too thick, and it is tasty but…not to die for as I had hoped. Mine tastes a bit eggy and not as vanilla-y as I’d like. Don’t get me wrong, it will still all get eaten, but I guess I was hoping for more! Love the blog and my weekly kid-photo fix.

  132. Deb, I apologize for butchering your recipe. So I halved the recipe (only cooking for two, so it’s a common practice in my kitchen!) and I used 1% milk (all I had) and I didn’t have any vanilla beans on hand but I just HAD to make it right now so I used vanilla extract (the little moderately priced bottle, I splurged a little). Phew. BUT. It is DELICIOUS. This was my first time making pudding (legit, I have never even made it from the box) and I am so happy I did it! You’re constantly an inspiration.

  133. I made this today and it tasted divine, but it never set. Still runny and with some lumps but not too many. What did I do wrong? Didn’t whisk it enough?

  134. I’ve never made cornstarch pudding and let my 14-month help. You really weren’t kidding about cooking for just one minute. Oops-next time we’ll do better. Still tasted delicious.

    For those with dairy issues, coconut milk makes wonderful pudding. The tapioca variety requires no eggs an thickens wonderfully. It’s easy to make with unsweetened shredded coconut and hot water in a blender (do a Google search).

  135. Hi from Italy!
    I am super happy to announce that tonight I gave this pudding a try – using soy milk, since I’m on a no-dairy diet right now – and it turned out Fan-ta-stic. Delicious, perfectly smooth and lovely and delicate. Super yummy, definitely to do again and again. I also added a little splash of rum, to cover that soy tanginess a bit.
    Thank you so much Deb for this easy, fast, foolproof recipe, my picky daughter loved it too :-))

  136. Love! Hot pudding is serious comfort food for me. This looked so easy and there was a vanilla bean in my cupboard that was aging, so I made this while enjoying a rare weekend alone in my own house. I ate the whole thing, I’m ashamed to say. I wasn’t very diligent about the whisking (tried to stir pudding and load the dishwasher at the same time), so I had a few lumps and eggy bits but didn’t mind them a bit. And I do like pudding skin, but since I like to eat pudding warm, I usually don’t allow much of a skin to develop!

  137. After drooling over this recipe for a few days, I decided to make it for my friend’s birthday. Oooone small problem – it’s been in the fridge for 3 whole hours and is still completely liquid. So, I goofed somewhere along the line – think I can save it by boiling it some more, adding more cornstarch?

  138. Wow! I have never made any type of pudding before and this is outstanding. I love the fresh vanilla taste. DE-lish!!! I used potato starch, my husband said it would be good too.

  139. This recipe is crazy good and I’m not even a pudding enthusiast. Or I never have been until now. =) I went ahead and used one whole vanilla bean and the flavor was perfect! I am definitely adding this to my dessert repertoire…and I’m planning to try your chocolate version also. Oh, yes.

    I reblogged this recipe, with my own pictures, giving you credit where credit is definitely due. Thanks for the inspiration! http://prettysweet4815.blogspot.com/2011/01/vanilla-bean-pudding.html

  140. I made this earlier today and it turned out pretty well! Mine wasn’t as smooth as I thought it should be. Maybe it’s because I used low fat milk or maybe I didn’t pour the milk into the dry ingredients slow enough. It actually took me two attempts to make this stuff. The first time I burned the bottom of the pan that my milk was boiling in and I tossed it because I didn’t want my pudding to taste burnt. I didn’t have vanilla bean, but I used 2 teaspoons of my vanilla bean paste instead. It still looks nice and speckly like yours. Anyway, I still love this pudding, slightly lumpy or not, and I just stood over the counter eating spoonfuls of it to prove it.

  141. Yum! I made this over the weekend and the whole family loved it. Even the die hard chocolate lovers. I put the vanilla bean into the boiling milk to add a little more vanilla flavor and it was delicious. Plus it is a perfect thing in our quest to fatten our baby up. Perfect.

  142. I made it for the second time. This time I used 2 TBS of cornstarch. It came out very nice and smooth. It’s now officially a regular recipe in my kitchen. Thanks!

  143. I made this yesterday, and we finished it last night. Wanted to try vanilla beans for the first time but almost cried out in shock when the grocery store had only a jar with ONE SINGLE BEAN in it for $8.50!! It was delicious with vanilla extract, nonetheless. :) Thanks for another stellar recipe.

  144. o m g…. i never thought of making my own pudding before, everytime i think of pudding i always cringe at the thought of the package stuff on the grocery store shelves. this recipe has completely changed all my preconceived notion of pudding! i substituted lactose free 2% milk and accidentally put in a whole vanilla bean (blessing in disguise)… fantastic recipe!

  145. These flavors are amazing (I added a teaspoon of orange zest) but mine didn’t quite set. I almost cried as I threw it away! Not sure what I did wrong–when I made your chocolate pudding it came out fantastically.

  146. Good pudding! I’d say this makes three guy-sized portions; a doubling of the recipe is in order for me on the next go-round. We can be friends :0
    Jennifer – Penzey’s (mentioned in comments frequently) has three beans for under $8. And I’m thinking, too, of trying a version substituting Amaretto liquor for the vanilla extract…. I’d like a pudding that tastes like Amaretto smells.

  147. OK, just made that in under 15 minutes. Yum and so easy. And thanks for posting the Penzey-vanilla connection. I keep hearing about them and may have to do an order. Thanks for the *calories*, I mean recipies. :)

  148. Just made this last night, but unfortunately I realized a bit too late that I didn’t have any eggs. I still went through with it and I have to say it was so yummy I just might omit the egg on purpose next time, haha. It was a little on the sweet side so I’ll add a little less sugar too. Not sure if adding the egg would have balanced the sweetness better. Thanks for the great recipe! First time I have ever made pudding from scratch.

  149. Yep like the others, mine never set. I guess it needs to thicken in the pan first. I’m going to try putting it back into the pan to see if it will thicken that way.

  150. I am going to try this version with the egg and real vanilla bean as you suggested, I love simple comforting home foods like this and especially in wintertime

  151. Wait hold on…the recipe calls for 1 egg, but everyone’s talking about egg yolks..Do I add the whole egg or just 1 yolk? Someone please clarify :(

  152. We used about 8 eggs making two batches of this recipe. Are you sure it was still pudding you ask? Why yes. One batch even had no egg. You see, when your sweet, dear man forgets the egg in the first batch, such that you decide to make a second batch, he is so frazzled that he drops the entire carton of eggs when getting them out of the refrigerator. Luckily, an intact egg remained for the second batch.

    All that being said, I think I like it better without egg.

    (shhh!!!)

  153. Hi

    just wanted to let you know that my husband just having looked over my shoulder while I was browsing your site said, “there’s no way she cooks on that stove!” and I said..why not? and he said “it’s too small” and I said but that’s exactly the same as my stove until last year when the oven finally gave in…for the 5 of us!!

    If it’s to do with the kitchen it passes him by…however touch his motorbike and see if he notices! ;)

    you do cook on that stove don’t you? :-)

    ps life is busy never enough time but now and again I’ll squeeze a moment to check what you’re cooking on that stove!

  154. The nutmeg and mushroom blend so well together then the heat of the teaspoon of pepper – wow. I used TJ no boil pasta, but I boiled them briefly (handn’t realized it was no boil before I started). The pasta is firm but not dry, stands up to the mix.

  155. Just wanted to let you know that I finally made the pudding last weekend (with vanilla extract), and it was a huge hit at brunch. I had enough left over that we had at least one pudding cup for the rest of the week. It was delicious!

  156. deb, I had another pregnancy craving last night — well more like, my food aversions are so many, that only comfort foods that approximate what a baby would eat, seem to be able to prevent me from gagging when I spoon something into my mouth — and pudding popped into my head and I instantly remembered you had some yummy looking recipes on your site…

    i made this vanilla bean pudding, which was my very satisfying dinner…. I was so pleased with the results! when my husband tasted a spoonful, he commented, “you can make that as often as you like!”

    so thanks again for keeping me fed and my family happy :)

  157. I almost never write comments, but, Deb, this was AH-MAZING! When we were growing up, my mom made pudding from scratch but it was always chocolate. Now that I’ve tried it, vanilla with the actual bean tastes better than chocolate. I have to say I actually had a nightmare the night before I made this that I was going to scramble the egg when I combined things, but it turned out perfect. I added boubon at the end, and it put me on cloud nine. Thank you, thank you!

  158. I have never made homemade pudding before, and this turned out so wonderfully!! I was worried that I’d mess it up but it was easy. I used 3 tbsp. of cornstarch and the consistency is perfect. Thank you Deb!! :)

  159. This is lovely as always, but now I seek some advice about a new version: I am looking for a Meyer Lemon pudding that also has vanilla – some kind of dreamsicle vision. Any thoughts about adapting this for such a use? It’s easy enough to imagine adding the zest, but the juice? With thanks!

  160. Finally made this tonight with both the optional add-ins (the butter AND the rum). Oh my, this was heavenly! I’ve probably made the chocolate pudding on this site 50 times, and this will be made often as well. I grew up with pudding as a dessert in heavy rotation (the Jello cooked puddings, which I remember being better than they are) and love having homemade versions without preservatives. Thanks!!

  161. mmmm great vanilla pudding… now to adapt a bit and make my favorite, vanilla/bourbon pudding, which, if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying it, you should totally try, as soon as possible.

  162. I just made this tonight- amazing and so simple! I get milk delivered from a local Farm so i was able to use fresh whole milk and I make my own vanilla extract. It turned out an incredible recipe. Thanks so much!

  163. this looks delicious! nothing better than the combination between vanilla bean and pudding. i would try mixing in some motcha green tea next.

  164. I made this last weekend when me and my boyfriend had friends over for dinner. It was definitely a hit. the next day my boyfriend put cut up strawberries in it for a snack and it was delicious! great recipe!

  165. Deb, this is the first of your recipes I’ve made, although I’ve drooled over many and plan to make more! I bought some vanilla beans *just* so I could make this. I freaked when it started to curdle (I thought), but my brilliant fiance grabbed the whisk and started beating it into submission – problem solved! For those who’ve had that issue or the not setting issue – it needs to be cooked until it gets all thick and goopy (the mashed tater consistency someone above mentioned). Once that happens, take it off the heat and whisk it, whisk it good…sorry, couldn’t resist. I doubled the recipe and did put the pod in with the milk while it was boiling. Many thanks from 3 very happy people in Menomonee Falls, WI!

  166. Added a little garam masala in with the vanilla/sugar mix (around half a teaspoon – could have handled up to a tsp, but I wanted to make it subtle) and mixed in a tablespoon of butter at the end. Sprinkled a little more garam masala on top for decoration. YUM

  167. I discovered your blog recently, and I have to say that I have fallen head-over-heels in L. O. V. E. I am relishing every moment of page after page of “previous posts”. And I’m pleased to announce, after having read this post, that we can be friends! Why on earth would anyone not want pudding skin?!? That’s the best part! I can’t wait to try this recipe. YUM!

  168. I made this the other day, and while the flavor is phenomenal, I know a couple of other people had problems with this, so I’ll strongly caution to everyone to cook it TO YOUR DESIRED TEXTURE. If it’s more liquidy when you stick it in the fridge, that’s the way it’ll stay! Not that I minded gloopier pudding — again, the flavor’s more than good enough to make up for it. (I used a whole vanilla bean and substituted in a tablespoon of bourbon vanilla sugar. Yum!) But yeah, definitely will cook it to a thicker consistency next time.

  169. i’m a student and this is by far the cheapest recipe i’ve seen- all i had to buy was milk! i intend on eating the entire bowl and getting a larger carton of milk tomorrow so i can make enough to get me through my essay stress. thanks!

  170. Just made this, and I screwed up! Mine didn’t “set” and it was extremely runny. Where did I go wrong? The taste was awesome, but the texture…it was just like runny custard.

  171. I made this pudding recipe and it didn’t set, I left it in the fridge forever but it remains sort of milky with some puddingy stuff on the bottom. The milky stuff is delicious, haha. I followed the directions, maybe my fridge isn’t cold enough?

  172. I made this as part of a Thanksgiving trifle. It is fantastic! I had been saving my vanilla beans for a special occasion and this was perfect. Will be making this again and again and… Thanks for another terrific recipe. You never fail me :)

  173. I love this recipe. I’ve made it a few times recently, and it is so easy to make & tasty every time. Some friends said it was the best pudding they had ever had and went out the next day and got ingredients so I could make it again for them. Yum!

  174. While this was easy to make, it isnt as rich as I would have expected. I made it with raw whole milk and vanilla beans. It was every day good. I dont think I’ll make it again.

  175. Okay, here’s the thing. I never comment on blogs. I love your blog. It is the sheer, complex simplicity that gets me. Your recipes are simple but sophisticated and alluring. You always seem to say what I’m thinking too. I send this post simply because of the ‘if you don’t like pudding skin, we can’t be friends’. Except that I don’t know how to cross out the ‘we can’t be friends part’ cause I’m a computer dinosaur. I have actually said these words to friends. While I believe wholeheartedly in ‘to each his own’, I simply cannot understand not loving pudding skin. What I’m saying is I feel a weird connection to your blog, a friendly ‘yeah, yeah, me too kind of thing’. Weird but comforting. I’m glad you’re here and your photos are sweet too!

  176. I just made this with 2 cups of coconut milk (canned, the kind with the cream) and whole milk for the remainder. I used 1/3 cup of sugar. Positively divine!

  177. This is an awesome base for a quick banana pudding (layered with Nilla wafers, bananas and whipped cream) especially for those of us who are not so fond of the meringue-topped version!

  178. I LOVE this pudding! I used to think homemade pudding meant you bought the box and stirred in the milk (which is still better than the pre-made stuff!!) and I didn’t really think about what kinds of ingredients might make pudding besides milk. I’m am delightfuly enlightened!!! I made it for some friends (I think I used 2% milk) and I don’t think they appreciated how awesome it was (they probably have the same box-pudding theory I did). I was raving about it and I wish I had made more!!! I would love to try it with coconut milk sometime. I probably would reduce the cornstarch next time I make it because it is pretty thick, but you could always take it out of the fridge before the 2 hours is up and chow down on it. I think I will try the rum on top next time too, I can see that being delightful as well. In my mind pudding is now a food group. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  179. Just wondering, could you add something to this DELICIOUS pudding to change its flavor? Chocolate, perhaps? Or would that require an entirely new recipe? Thanks for the pudd, I LOVED IT!

  180. This recipe is so lovely, and has been so useful to me. With a little extra cornstarch (or anyway, the kind of 1/4 cup semi-packed I get after scooping it out of my cornstarch box) it was a lovely substitute for the pastry cream in a banana cream pie. I don’t even like bananas and it was awesome. And then, today, I made it into a vanilla-mint pudding. Heated the milk to steaming, steeped 2 cups of fresh mint leaves in it for a little over an hour, then removed the mint leaves (and squeezed them out to get the rest of the mint out) and finished the pudding as the recipe says, adding the vanilla extract at the end. It is wonderful – a great summer version of this recipe. I think next time I might try steeping some verbena in the milk.

  181. Hi Deb, just wanted to let you know that I’ve made this recipe 5 times over the last three weeks. It’s so so good and yet super easy to make.
    I thank you every night I come home and I know that in my fridge there’s a small pot of vanilla pudding waiting for me: YAY!

  182. Wow. I commented after I first made this a year and a half ago, and here I am again! I just finished making a double-batch with friends and it’s still a favorite! One friend kept nibbling at the bowl of still-warm she was going to take home to her family, but only on one side because she wanted to try the pudding skin and be your friend ;-) Thank you again for sharing the recipe. It is amazing to make something SO good with only one hard-to-find ingredient here in China (the vanilla bean… but I found ’em!)

  183. I wanted to say thank you as I made this late last night for my husband who had his 6 wisdom teeth out – yes 6. It’s delicious! I didn’t have any trouble with an unpleasant cornstarch taste- I used 3.5 tablespoons along with organic whole milk and vanilla bean paste as those are what I had avail. Thanks again!

  184. Your vanilla beans look really really long. The ones they sell in those spice bottles aren’t even half the size of yours! Where did you buy them?

  185. my pudding was thick after its cooking process, but after chilling it, its consistency turned into that of a very creamy soup. It was delicious and still creamy, but less creamy than before. Is this normal?

  186. I woke up today and checked my pudding, and there were clumps of cornstarch on the bottom, and the pudding was very thin. Should pudding be eaten the day it is made?

  187. Yay, one more of your recipes to take off the “Want” and put on the “Tried” list. I made this pudding to shut up the kids about wanting those nasty pudding cups from the store. Blech!! I was a little worried about the “This tastes different…” but they liked it, they really liked it! Chocolate pudding is next!

  188. I’ve found that the steam from the pudding creates water on the plastic wrap. That water falls back into the pudding and makes it watery! Maybe from now on ill cool the pudding without the wrap until it stops steaming, and then put the wrap on and chill it,

  189. JINA–you don’t put the plastic wrap stretched across the container; you press it into the top of the pudding. Problem solved!

    Deb, I hope the book tour is going swimmingly. I make this pudding frequently w/3 Tbls cornstarch and vanilla extract, plus a bit of butter. If I’m feeling fancy, I put sliced bananas at the bottom of the ramekins, and/or garnish with toasted coconut. So easy and delicious!

  190. Very good! I used 2% milk because that’s what I had. My vanilla beans were getting brittle (but not moldy), so I scraped what I could out of one whole bean and put the pod in the pot. At the end I strained the pudding as I do for vanilla bean ice cream. The flavor is wonderful and it hit the spot.

  191. I need to make this soon! Not sure how I missed it the first time.

    A question, if you have time for it sometime!! I got some of that vanilla bean paste for Christmas… does that go in early in recipes, like a vanilla bean would, or late, like the extract would go in?

    thanks for your help! Also, we got your book this fall as an early ‘Merry Christmas to Us’ present and my husband and I have made lots of recipes already and love the cookbook! Nicely done!

  192. Finally I found someone who loves pudding skin as much as I do, If I had to decide pudding would be only skin especially chocolate pudding.

  193. Did you know that if you start to make this and discover en media res that you do not have quite enough cornstarch, you can make it anyway and pour it into popsicle molds and have VERY NICE vanilla pudding pops? Because it’s true!

    I would probably increase the sugar just a bit, since the sweetness tends to be lost in the coldness. But still good!

  194. Hi! I’m an admirer of your recipes, and I thought I’d give this pudding one a try.

    Somewhere around the step where I pour the whole mixture back into the pot, it went horribly wrong! It seemed as if all the liquid disappeared, while whatever was in the pot turned into a lumpy, mashed-potato lump creature from Lumpytown.

    What in the world happened? D:

  195. Hi! We love this recipe!!! I’ve been looking online for homemade cheesecake pudding that would be a non-processed version of the Jello cheesecake pudding. Since I haven’t found anything, I decided to add a half a block of cream cheese to this pudding while hot (at the end). It is cooling now, but doesn’t seem to have added much cheesecake flavor. Any ideas on how to make a good homemade cheesecake pudding? l will let you know if, after cooling, it is fabulous! (Hopefully, but I am thinking not)

    1. Hi Karen — I haven’t tried it the Jello stuff, but you might just want to bake small dishes of cheesecake batter for a similar effect. Cheesecake batter can be made softer (maybe looser) by adding more cream or sour cream.

  196. Hi Deb!
    Thank you so much for this incredible pudding recipe – the last couple of months I have been impressing (and getting addicted, too) a lot of people with it….I have always wanted to try ‘real’ vanilla pudding! Today I made it with a pompona vanilla bean…tahiti vanilla next time!
    The only change I made is: I use a little less than half the sugar, and I think it’s perfect!
    Thanks again, greetings from Vienna!

  197. Just made this today for an Easter dessert, we have dairy allergies so I made it with unsweetened coconut milk following all the same directions and it came out perfectly! I even added a Tablespoon of coconut oil at the end for creaminess (in place of butter) perfect as your recipes always are!

  198. Hello, Deb!

    I posted a comment with a question back in March, searching for a magical solution/suggestion. I saw now that you answered a more recent concern, and thought maybe you missed mine? Here’s hoping :)

  199. Hi Oros — I wasn’t sure what had happened and had hoped someone else would chime in. I will say that cornstarch puddings can be pesky. You can run it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the lumps if it happens again. Q: when it set up, did the lumps seem to disappear?

  200. It’s alright- I was hoping someone else would know too!
    No, it pretty quickly hardened into a gel-creature thingy, still oddly lumpy, maybe like very thick jello, and stayed that way for the 5 days in my fridge until my good friend had the guts to taste it. She liked it and gladly took it home with her, after all the taste was puddingy (but to me it was rather eggy and I wouldn’t eat it).
    I don’t think I could put it throught a strainer, I recall it going wrong pretty quickly. Someday I’ll bravely try again and hope for the best! Thank you :)
    On the bright side, I made your perfect birthday cake with the sour cream chocolate frosting, and it was heavenly! <3

  201. Oh my goodness, Deb! And I do mean goodness. After oral surgery this is one of the few things I can eat and enjoy. Its sooooooo good and soooooo comforting. I used a scant 1/3 cup sugar and more vanilla in my second batch. Cocoa powder in my 3rd batch and this time I simmered star anise in the milk along with a big pinch of cardamom, and some freshly grated nutmeg. Over the moon!!! Lemon zest and ginger next time? Cinnamon and a little brown sugar? Earl grey tea? Like I said, oh my goodness! Thanks for being my favorite source of kitchen inspiration and entertainment, even if you are totally habit forming.

  202. Made this again for the umpteenth time: so good. Oros – maybe the pan was too hot? Did you leave it on the burner while you were whisking the milk into the cornstarch mixture? Or did you pour the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture too rapidly? It sounds like your egg scrambled, which is why I’m asking. It’s really worth trying again – if you do, I’d advise making sure the heat isn’t much over medium, that you add the hot milk very gradually, and take the pot off the burner before pouring the mixture back in. Hope you try it again and that that helps!

  203. Hi, Deb. I found your site looking for a good butterscotch pudding recipe, and ended up looking at & bookmarking at least a dozen more of your recipes for later trial and tasting. I have been looking for a great vanilla pudding recipe, since my last one was only so-so. Since I’m a complete n00b at cooking with real vanilla beans, I must ask if you strain out the vanilla bean seeds at the end, or leave them in there? I see lots of nice flecks in your photo, but is that because the seeds break up during cooking? I don’t know if it’d taste good to bite into a seed while eating. Thanks!

    1. Sarah — The flecks are the seeds, there are zillions on tiny ones inside each vanilla bean pod, and you won’t notice their texture — no need to strain them out.

  204. Deb, girlfriend, please!!! You are killing me with this recipe. Made it for a banana pudding, and I can’t stop eating it!!! I blame myself because I knew I was making banana pudding, and I came straight here first because I knew you wouldn’t let me down. Divine flavor, perfect texture, looked beautiful.

  205. Hi Deb, me again. I finally found a drug that gives me enough relief from my chronic back pain to attempt this recipe. It’s my first failure in pudding! All the prepping went well, the disaster came when I tried to boil the milk, and I was using whole milk in a double boiler. Everywhere I looked they recommended constant stirring of the milk, so I stirred for 45 minutes before I gave up ever bringing it to a boil. My pan sides were nasty with that white stuff, and all it seemed to do was evaporate my milk until I had almost half the amount I started with. I decided to forge ahead, strained the milk before I added it to the cornstarch mixture, and put it all in a fresh saucepan on medium-low heat. 20 minutes later, I now have what looks like vanilla-flavored mashed potatoes, extra starchy. What do I need to change to get this recipe to work? Google is no help on how to boil milk.

  206. Hi Deb, I usually never comment on these sites but I am compelled to when it comes to this recipe. I have tried a lot and most call for at least 3 egg yolks and the taste was just too strong. Your recipe is absolutely PERFECT! Thanks!!

  207. Hi Deb! Thanks so much for posting this recipe, it is TO DIE FOR. In the summer I top it with a raspberry puree and freshly whipped cream and in the fall and winter I add cinnamon and rum to it, top it with cream, and crunched up ginger cookies. The cinnamon is my favorite! For some reason when I follow the recipe exactly the pudding is too thick, so I thin it out by whisking in some heavy whipping cream right before serving and I actually like it better that way so I do that all of the time. Simply amazing, thanks again!

  208. Hi Deb, have a question about your white chocolate pudding with blackberry curd from the book, thought this was the most appropriate post to ask. In the instructions for the pudding part, the instructions say to place the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Then, it says to place over gently simmering water. So I just wanted to confirm that the pudding is not cooked over direct heat- just above water, as if melting chocolate. If I am correct, does it have to be a heavy saucepan that the pudding ingredients? Any particular reason? My double boiler just consists of a regular mixing bowl above a heavy pot of water. Thank you.

    1. Ania — Yes, a double-boiler was intended, to prevent scorching. It makes for slower cooking. That said, I’ve since made it many times on a medium-low on the stove and it also works. Just be careful and keep the heat low. (And I just use a mixing bowl over a pot of water for a double-boiler too. No space for single-use items!)

  209. Hi Deb, I can totally relate, live in a small apartment as well (with a toddler whose growing toy collection scares me…) Made the pudding over low heat and it disappeared…instantly. It was amazingly delicious, thank you so much. Still had upwards of half a pound of Valrhona white chocolate left (part of sample pack) expiring next month so I made David Lebovitz’s white chocolate cake with lemon glaze. We inhaled it, much like the pudding. Thanks again! Can’t wait for your new book.

  210. I discovered tonight that if you whisk the egg into the dry ingredients first, you don’t have to worry about pouring the milk in slowly to prevent clumping from the cornstarch. I found this so revelatory that maybe it merits a change in the instructions — I can’t be the only one who hates “pouring slowly” with a fiery passion!

    1. nzle — Great idea. I’ll try it next time and update accordingly if it works as well for me. (Which I’m sure it will, but: semi-scientific process!)

  211. I axed the vanilla and added ground ginger and black pepper. Served with rhubarb compote and bourbon. Heaven!!

  212. I’ve enjoyed this every time I’ve made it – probably about once a year since you posted it. It’s always so fast and the vanilla flavor is gorgeous. I was in the mood for fall flavors today so I crossed it with a recipe from Health.com and it made a lovely Pumpkin Pie Pudding! I just put the recipe at the bottom of my latest blog post.

  213. So, made this pudding for the second time last night and had the same thing happen as it sounds like happened to Oros. My thoughts: think we just left it to cook 30 seconds too long, which made the cornstarch get extra aggressive (or maybe something with the egg? Either way, it was when I put it back into the pot for the 1 minute extra cooking, 99.9% I let it cook too long).

    So, I still thought that the taste was awesome, it was just more a mashed potato looking consistency. How I solved it was to quickly bake up some of the chocolate sables (also from this website) and put 2 cookies on top of each pudding cup, while still warm. They hid the fact that the top looked mashed potato-esque issue and the warm chocolate cookie (I didn’t wait for them to really cool) with the pudding softened the texture further. Tasted great and no one noticed that the texture was a little thicker/lumpier!

  214. Made this tonight using 1% milk, 3 Tbsp cornstarch and Madagascar vanilla bean paste, and it was perfect. Wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks, Deb!

  215. I made this last night with arrowroot powder substituted 1:1 for the cornstarch, and it was a big hit – so tasty. I kept the heat relatively low after I poured the complete mixture back into the sauce pan, and only cooked it for an extra ~30 seconds instead of 1 minute after it came to a simmer. I chilled it in individual serving bowls.

  216. Just wanted to belatedly thank you for this recipe. I’ve made it once or twice a year since you published it. I like to use milk that is about to expire and I won’t be able to drink it quickly enough (that’s almost always skim). The recipe is delicious and with skim milk I like to think it’s not that unhealthy. Thanks, Deb!

  217. Hi! Just made this, but the texture of mine turned out slightly “grainy.” I have no idea what I did as I followed the recipe exactly. Maybe cooking for 1 min was too long? Any tips for a super smooth pudding would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

  218. This was just perfect! Next time I will make double the amount because seriously, this was not enough to share :)