Make Your Own Pudding Mix
One of the things I love about homemade mixes is their versatility. Once you have the basic formula, you can keep streamlining, tweaking, or adapting as you find what you find works the best for you. The homemade pudding mix recipe that I’m sharing today is a good example of this too. It can be made in different flavors, different size batches, and best of all, it’s a money saver too!
How To Make A Pudding Mix to Substitute for Store Bought
I first wrote about this homemade pudding mix back in 2012 and adapted my version from a recipe I found in an older, out-of-print cookbook in my collection. The base mixture is a quick and easy combination of dry milk powder, sugar, cornstarch, and just a little bit of salt. The mix can then be customized into different flavors when it’s time to make a batch of pudding.
Since first writing about this mix, I’ve changed the recipe to be a slightly smaller size, and in measurements that were easier for me to cut in half, or double, so it’s easier for me to make larger or smaller batches of my mix if I want to. (If you would like my original recipe size batch, it’s included in the variations coming up below).
One cup of this mixture creates four servings of pudding (of about a ½ cup size) or the equivalent of four store-bought pudding cups.
If you would like to use this pudding mix for a pie, I would recommend making a batch and a half (using 1-1/2 cups of the mix), to make sure you have enough to fill the pie shell.
The base mixture recipe creates 3 cups of mix.
How To Use Your DIY Mix To Make Pudding
When I did some looking online recently at other homemade pudding mixes I was surprised by the amount of recipes that labeled themselves as “instant” homemade pudding mixes, and then guess what the first instruction to use the recipe was? Put in a saucepan and cook. Hello. . . that’s what I call a cook and serve pudding folks. That’s NOT an instant pudding.
So I have not labeled my recipe as instant – BUT – it cooks up so fast it almost feels like it is!
To make this pudding you place one cup of the mix in a small saucepan and then slowly add 2 cups of boiling water, stirring as you add the water. You then cook it over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the mixture has thickened. Usually already after the first couple of minutes the pudding has thickened up and you can remove it from the stove. Then while it’s still warm you’ll stir in a bit of butter and vanilla extract, and it can then be transferred to a bowl or individual cups and put it in the refrigerator to cool and firm up more completely.
This will create a basic vanilla pudding.
Ideas for Size and Flavor Variations
Once you have the basic dry mixture made, you can have fun using it in different ways. I think the best way to use this mix is to make a chocolate version. I cook a half size batch (perfect for two people) and enjoy it with some raspberries on the top. Definitely my favorite!
For Chocolate Pudding *My Favorite*
Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the cup of dry mixture before cooking with the water. Stir in 1 Tbl of butter and a ½ tsp of vanilla extract at the end of the cooking time once the mixture has thickened.
Listed below are some more flavor variations from the original cookbook recipe I adapted this mix from, and a few other ideas I’ve thought about but haven’t personally tested yet.
For Butterscotch Pudding:
Use brown sugar in the place of white sugar when making the original mix.
For Lemon Pudding:
Add 1 Tbl of lemon juice, 1 tsp of lemon zest, and 1 Tbl of butter at the end of the cooking time.
For Richer Flavor pudding:
Use 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup warmed milk
For Chocolate Pie Filling:
Use 1-1/2 cups of the Mix with 3 Tbl of Cocoa Powder. Add 3 cups of boiling water and cook. Add 1-1/2 Tbl of butter and 1 tsp of vanilla at the end of the cooking time.
For Dairy Free/Vegan pudding:
You could try using powdered soy milk or powdered coconut milk instead of the dry milk powder in the base mixture. Use a plant-based margarine option instead of butter and use a little extra vanilla extract than called for in the other recipes.
And finally, I’ve got a couple size variations for you too:
To make a half size batch of pudding:
Use ½ cup of the mix with 1 cup of boiling water. If making a chocolate version, add 1 Tbl of cocoa powder. Add a 1/2 Tbl of butter and 1/2 tsp of vanilla at the end of the cooking time (or 1/4 tsp of vanilla if making a chocolate version).
For a larger batch of the mix:
I’ve revised my original recipe so that it’s now a slightly smaller size. If you would like to make my original larger version use 3 cups milk powder, 1-3/4 cups white sugar, 1 cup cornstarch, and ½ tsp salt. This yields 4 cups of mix.
So as you can see, there’s a variety of ways to use your homemade pudding mix and perhaps you’ll think of your own flavor ideas in addition to the ones I’ve listed here. There’s always more creativity and flexibility when you make your own!
Homemade Pudding Mix
- 2 cups Dry Milk Powder
- 1 cup + 2 Tbl White Sugar
- ⅔ cup Cornstarch
- ¼ tsp Salt
- Combine the dry milk powder, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Store in a covered container. This will yield 3 cups of mix.
- To make a batch of pudding: Place one cup of the mix in a small saucepan. Slowly add 2 cups boiling water, stirring as you add the water. Then cook on the stove over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened.
- To make vanilla pudding: Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla at the end of the cooking time once the mixture has thickened. Then put in the refrigerator to cool.
- To make chocolate pudding: Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the cup of dry mix before cooking. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and a ½ teaspoon of vanilla at the end of the cooking time once the mixture has thickened. Then put in the refrigerator to cool.
Note: This post was originally published April, 2012 and was updated March, 2020. Here are the original pictures you may have found floating around on Pinterest. I used to keep my mix in little baggies!
More Handy Homemade Mixes:
Instead of substituting white sugar for brown sugar in the butterscotch recipe, keep the white sugar and add 1 TBSP of molasses. (That’s how brown sugar is made for store sale. Now that I know this, I don’t both buying it. I just keep molasses on hand as it takes up less space.)
This was incredible 🙂
I was so tired of seeing all the
Horrific ingredients in the store pudding mixes. This taste delicious. Appreciate you so much for this!!
YOU HAVE MAKE YOUR HOMEMADE PUDDING MIX HOW DO I ADD A BANANA FLAVOR
Making a banana flavored pudding would be a bit more challenging as the only way to do that would probably be to add some mashed or pureed bananas to the vanilla pudding version, which might result in a final pudding that’s not quite as smooth.
Instead of lemon juice and rind, use about 1/4 to 1/2 banana extract….
I’m so excited 😆 for making this homemade instant pudding!! I’m not a fan of the boxed ones! It’s all good for the first 3 or so ingredients then…..no thank you. So thank you so much for sharing 😊
What would I add to make french vanilla pudding?
This is great, Beverly!
Do you think you could use this dry mix in a cookie recipe? I would assume so; just wondering if you have tried.
Yes, I think you could substitute this DIY mix for a store bought mix in a cookie recipe (however I haven’t tried it myself to know for sure!)
Can you use white chocolate in this recipe
Yes, I think you could use the white chocolate cocoa powder in this DIY mix too!
Does this recipe yield the the quantity as the jello vanilla pudding mix? I want to make a banana pudding, can I sub your recipe for a packet of jello pudding?
1-1/2 cups of this mix, when it is made into pudding, would be enough to fill a pie shell. So if you want to substitute this mix for a store bought box of pudding mix in a pie recipe, I would suggest using 1-1/2 cups of this mix.
Hello! This is my first encounter with you and am very pleased to meet you. I love this article about making your own pudding mix. I usually buy the pudding cups at the store when I’m in the mood, and now that I’ve found your recipe, you’ve got me. I love sweets, especially chocolate ones. However, at my age I need to watch what I eat. I believe that pudding is the most innocuous desert of all time. Do you have any recipes for making your own jello mixes? Please inform. Thanks so much.
At this time I haen’t published any DIY jello ideas, but I know that a popular strategy is to use unflavored gelatin with fruit juice for an easy homemade jello.
Can you substitute the sugar for a sugar substitute to make sugar free?
Yes, I think you could make that substitution especially if the sugar free product is equal in measurement to the regular sugar.
Does this pudding have to be refrigerated? I’m looking for one that doesn’t have to be. Thank you!
No, this mix does not have to be refrigerated. All the ingredients are shelf stable.
Just made a batch of this mix for my tiny family. I love the small batch concept and can’t wait to give this a try. Thank you for sharing.
Can you use 2% milk to make the pudding?
There is powdered milk in the mix already, however you could still make the pudding with 2% milk if you wanted a richer finished product.
I noticed you add water…have you added milk? Like the box puddings do? Thanks so much for sharing I can’t wait to try it.
Because there is powdered milk in the mix I’ve always just added water, but I suppose adding milk could give it a richer taste and could be worth a try!
I am trying to replace two small boxes of pudding mix with this homemade mix, but do not know the equivalent weight or volume. Since USA uses oz for weight and volume, I’m not certain if I should weigh 7oz of homemade mix or use just 1 oz less volume oz of mix.
As I read the recipe, the powdered mix is the equivalent of 3 small boxes of pudding mix. So for 2 small boxes you would use 2/3 of the powdered mix. I would weigh the mix, divide by 3, multiply by 2.
The American pudding mix boxes do not have powdered milk in the box, milk is added when you make them.
I just stumbled upon your website looking for homemade gift ideas. 🙂
Love the idea of homemade pudding mix. I have a question about storing this. If you don’t use all of it after making, how long does it stay fresh?
This mix should last for many months as all the dry ingredients used are very shelf stable.
Is there a way to make a cheesecake flavor? I have so many recipes I want to try with that flavor but we don’t have it in Canada. Thanks
Sorry, but I don’t know of a why to make this mix in a cheesecake flavor.
Hi, is there any way to make this into a pistachio pudding mix?
Perhaps you could take some shelled pistachios and grind them very finely in a food processor or high powered blender. Then you could try adding a couple spoonfuls of these finely ground pistachios to the mix when you are preparing the pudding to make it pistachio flavored. I’ve not personally tried that, but it might work!
They do make a pistachio extract as well as using ground pistachios.
What should be added for a white chocolate pudding?
You can buy powdered white chocolate (Ghiradelli sells it in a canister) and that could be used instead of traditional cocoa powder.
Thanks for sharing! Can I freeze it?
I’ve never tried freezing this, but I’m thinking it probably would not work very well (and I’m assuming you are referring to the pudding once it’s been prepared). If you can’t use up the prepared pudding fast enough, I would suggest making a half batch instead.
This looks so good! What a great pantry item to prep and have on hand!
I’m looking for instant pudding mix to add in my cakes. Can this be used in place? I can’t seem to find a pudding mix without color (yellow)
I have had other readers tell me they used this mix in cake mix recipes and had success.
If I’m understanding you correctly, you are saying that this recipe in its dry form could be used with a cake mix instead of using a box of instant pudding? Correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks.
Yes, I have had some readers tell me they have used this pudding mix in its dry mix form in cake recipes with good results.
I was on so many meds and sick all the time . I am fighting many chronic conditions but decided to start cutting as many of my meds out as i can . I decided At 55 that I needed to find a way to live with the I am on so many less drugs and still cutting with a team of Drs that are in the same system that actually can all see what each is adding and taking away .
So next step eating healthier and exercise and preparing from scratch . I am so glad I found you .
Thank you ,
Homemade options are often healthier options because you control the ingredients. I’m glad you are working on making any changes that you will help you feel better!
I love this comment that you have given to Beverly and her blog…Times are tough for everyone…mentally and physically… I have Guillian Barre Syndrome and I will be in my wheelchair for the rest of my life…I cook, bake and do arts and crafts to help me adjust this new way of life…SOOO I love this recipe for homemade pudding…I was originally looking for a savory pudding homemade mix, but with this i can make any flavor pudding savory or sweet…I will keep this in my pantry from now on…Thank you Beverly for your inspiration and thank you Kathy for being a positive person…Thank you for the inspiration.
I make Chocolate Mayonnaise cake which we all love, I want to take sane recipe and substitute homemade dry vanilla pudding in place of cocoa to make Vanilla Mayonnaise Cake, would I use the recipe you made in its dry form into the cake?
If you are replacing a dry ingredient (cocoa powder), then I would say to use the pudding mix as a substitute in its dry form too.
Is the butter necessary or can it be eliminated?
The butter helps to add a richer taste, but you could try eliminating it and see if you still enjoy the flavor.
Thank you for this recipe and the variations. I have been trying to remove packaged foods from my diet, this should do the trick. AND….. thank you for not calling it “Instant” pudding. I agree that so many say instant then proceed tell you to cook it. Major turn off.
Hi. Can I use the cooked pudding in a cake recipe that calls for instant puddibg? And if so will it work to make the cake moist?
If the cake recipe has you adding a package of the instant pudding in its dry form, then I would say No, you would not want to substitute cooked pudding.
Can you use Splenda or Truvia instead of sugar for diabetics
Yes, I think you could substitute an artificial sweetener in this recipe.
I used the clear jell, it was the grossest thing I ever put in my mouth, i do not recomend it, sorry…
Another flavor would be coffee. Add espresso powder to the mix (not sure of amount, trial and error until you find a strength you prefer (I always get an extra shot of espresso in my Starbucks orders 😉 You could also add a little to your chocolate pudding for a “mocha” flavor
For truly instant pudding you can use ClearGel, a modified cornstarch. It comes in a cooked version and a no cook version. It is used in canning where regular cornstarch is not recommended. You can almost always find it in the Amish stores or online at places like Nuts.com
Can I substitute arrowroot instead of cornstarch.
I have not tried that personally, but I think it would work to substitute arrowroot. However you might need to increase the amount used (I have read you need to use twice as much arrowroot if substituting it for cornstarch).
What type of nonfat dry milk powder do you recommend? Thanks!
I just use the nonfat dry milk powder I can find at my local grocery store.
Could you use this in a cake recipe that calls for pudding mix? I retired to Mexico and it’s hard to find pudding mixes here. Several cakes that I like to make call for pudding mix (usually instant pudding). Thanks.
Yes, I think you could substitute this homemade version in a recipe. The tricky part might be knowing how much of this mix to substitute in as I think most of the store bought mixes are a little smaller than the 1 cup portions used for a batch in this homemade version. Maybe start with a 1/2 cup and see how that works.
Thank you so much for adding the different flavor options! I have been looking everywhere for a recipe as versatile as this one. I make all of my baked goods from scratch. This is a blessing!
How much from the recipe is equivalent to 1 cook & serve package?
One cup of the mix is about equal to one package of cook & serve.
How much from the recipe is equivalent to 1 Jell-o instant pudding pack? Thanks
One cup of the homemade pudding mix makes 4 servings that are about the same size as the 4 individual cups of pudding in a jello pudding pack.
Is that one small box of the cook and serve Jello? Or one large box?
The smaller size box.
Thank you so much! I appreciate you sharing, and taking time to answer the multitude of questions 😊
Love love love making as much as possible from scratch so I know what’s going into my children’s bodies and cutting out preservatives! Can’t wait to try this recipe!!!
I agree! I also like finding ways to easily make things from scratch 🙂 I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Have you tried substituting Splenda for the sugar? Would it make any difference in how it thickens?
I have not tried Splenda in this mixture but I think it would substitute in OK and that the cornstarch should still take care of the thickening.
Hi! I really like the homemade pudding ideas. I really would like a cinnamon pudding. Do I add gr. cinnamon, or red hot candies? How much? Thank you!
I have not tried a cinnamon flavor, but I would think ground cinnamon would be the best option. I would start with 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon in the dry mixture. You could adjust future batches with more or less cinnamon until you find the amount you like best.
I made the chocolate version and put it in a baked pie shell and topped it with cool whip !! This received raves from my family; the only thing I would change is to prepare 2 batches of the chocolate pudding to make my 9″, deep dish, pie pan fuller.
Thanks so much for the recipe ! My husband is allergic to soy and it’s tough to find items he can eat.
Homemade versions can definitely come to the rescue if you need to avoid things in the boxed mixes like soy. Glad to hear the pie got rave reviews!
Wow I am so glad I found your page, so many interesting things to learn, everything is helpful, frist thing i’ll try is that Goo Gone, your a life saver. Thank you.
I found this site via a DIY board on Pinterest. Loving the site! and no,I’m not a spammer. LOL!
I started off with this post and can’t seem to stop. I wish you were on Twitter! But I will connect with you on Google.
So glad you are liking the blog! And you’re right . . . I have to get back to Tweeting more again. Will renew my efforts!
I think this might work with the coconut milk powder because it's the cornstarch that thickens the mixture. So I think you could still get a pudding consistency even with a different type of milk powder.
That comment by your son cracked me up! It reminds me of something my son would say.BTW Great idea!! I'll have to give this a try!Thanks Bev!Rene'@ Bargainhoot xo
Oh this looks AWESOME! I have been craving pudding but not the chemicals.
Does anyone know if this can be made using coconut milk powder instead of dairy milk powder (for folks with dairy allergies)?
Thanks for sharing this with us. I am sharing it with Sharing Tips page on Facebook.
Really cool! I'm going to share this with my Fake-It Frugal Facebook group! https://www.facebook.com/FakeItFrugal
This is great, thanis!