How To Make Vanilla Pudding

Yep, it is the – how to make vanilla pudding – post. You know the one where the milk and starch are discussed as being the foundation of pudding and the thickening magic of starch is discussed as if it is the hottest technology.  Man, it can really thicken stuff. This is also the post where that – should we add eggs to the pudding – debate comes up. You know, the one where everyone says the addition of eggs to a pudding makes an unbelievably good pudding. And then one food blogger stands up on his internet high horse and says – when you add eggs you are making a pastry cream not a pudding. The internet goes silent for that nanosecond and then everyone visits The Culinary Exchange to spam the shit out of it and say WRONG – WRONG – WRONG. YUM!

Make Vanilla Pudding

Make Vanilla Pudding With Eggs

Yep, here it comes. A classic pudding is a boiled starch. Milk and starch are mixed, flavored and boiled to make a creamy, delicious dessert. The addition of eggs or egg yolks can add a lightness to this dish, but calling it pudding? I am not sure.  As with most topics like this on this blog, we leave this type of blather to other talking heads. But for some reason this one sticks. It is weird to eat pastry cream out of a bowl like it is weird to put pudding in an eclair. Does anyone really want a lighter, more delicate pudding? Isn’t the point of pudding to have a little thickness, some rich mouthfeel, some controlled goopiness? Even a thick skin on top that puts your food memory systems into overdrive transporting you right back to your childhood should be considered a good thing.  But I make it with eggs anyway.

Make Vanilla Pudding

How To Make Vanilla Pudding or Whatever

To make vanilla pudding with eggs, egg yolks really, vs starch only does not radically change the technique. The yolks are mixed into the starch and sugar. The liquid, skim milk in this case,  is whisked into the dry ingredients with flavoring. The mixture is then heated. As with a regular pudding, it needs to boil so the starch can thicken the pudding with that starch thickening magic we all love. No, there is no need to worry about the yolks scrambling. This is another bit of magic that starch can bring to any party. It binds yolks in a way that stops them from scrambling when you heat them. Yeah! 

Unlike in pudding, you do have to worry about the eggs scrambling when you make a custard or vanilla sauce (a.k.a creme anglaise, a.k.a custard ice cream base), because there is no starch. It is much more delicate work.

It is worth saying, if you don’t want to use the eggs, don’t. Skip the egg addition and go right to mixing the milk and starch. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Make Vanilla Pudding

How To Make Vanilla Pudding Vanilla

If you are going to go through the trouble of using eggs to make vanilla pudding, you may as well try and use real vanilla bean. No, you do not have to. Sometimes it makes more sense to just use vanilla extract. Why? I hate to say it, but if you make vanilla pudding for kids they might like the extract flavor better. Real vanilla bean is much more subtle. 

Don’t forget to put a little whipped cream on top and sprinkle with some crushed shortbread cookies! So tasty!

The “how to make vanilla pudding” video is below. The full recipe follows.

Vanilla Pudding Made With Eggs
Serves 4
To make vanilla pudding with eggs is to technically make a pastry cream, but call it what you want. Or just call it delicious!
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
263 calories
42 g
153 g
7 g
8 g
4 g
231 g
93 g
34 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 153mg
Sodium 93mg
Total Carbohydrates 42g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 34g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. ¼ cup of corn starch
  2. ½ cup of sugar
  3. 3 egg yolks
  4. 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 3 cups of milk, skim works
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the starch and sugar.
  2. Add in the egg yolks and whisk infill fully incorporated and the yolk mixture becomes pale.
  3. If using, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla bean or 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture into a medium pot. Over medium heat, slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Whisk constantly.
  6. The pudding must boil for the starch to fully thicken. When the pudding boils, turn of the heat, whisk in another tsp of vanilla extract.
  7. Pour the pudding into serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap with the wrap touching surface to stop a skin from forming.
  8. Refrigerate to cool and set completely. Serve cold or at room temperature. You can also serve it warm for something different.
  9. Serve with whipped cream and crushed shortbread cookies!
  1. Any flavor extract could be used to make a variety of flavors of pudding.
The Culinary Exchange
I hope you enjoy!

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Do you make vanilla pudding with eggs? Do you think it should be called pudding or pastry cream? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.

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