Vanilla Pudding

Vanilla Pudding

May 22: National Vanilla Pudding Day

Our moms used to put pudding snack packs in our lunchboxes for a sweet school time treat. Sometimes, like us, they would also prepare pudding from a mix for a quick after-dinner dessert. But now we prefer pudding from scratch as it tastes so much better! And it is just as quick and easy to make as the Jell-O boxed brand. Below is a recipe for a basic vanilla pudding that is thickened with cornstarch instead of eggs. Try this tasty homemade version for a very good vanilla pudding on National Vanilla Pudding Day.


(Adapted from The New York Times)


  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half, divided use
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract/flavoring


In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of half-and-half with the sugar and salt. Simmer over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pan. In a measuring cup or bowl, stir in the cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup of half-and-half and mix well to remove any lumps. Pour this into the main liquid mixture. Stir well until thickened. Remove from heat.

Vanilla Pudding

Add the butter, if using, and stir until melted. Mix in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into dessert cups or ramekins. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream and/or berries, if desired.

Vanilla Pudding


  • Place plastic film/wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent the formation of a “skin” on top (optional).
  • Turn vanilla into chocolate pudding by adding 2 ounces (2 squares of Baker’s brand) of finely chopped bitterweet or unsweetened chocolate to the recipe after adding the butter. The chocolate may also be melted before stirring it into the vanilla mixture.
  • Or try the Mexican version of chocolate pudding. See our blog recipe post for pudín de chocolate for National Chocolate Pudding Day on June 26.