Make Your Own Pudding Mix

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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 homemade pudding mix from scratch

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! 

Make your own chocolate pudding mix

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.

homemade pudding mix recipe

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

Make your own substitute for the store-bought boxes of pudding mix with this simple make ahead powdered mix that can be adapted for different flavors. Each cup of pudding mix will yield about 4 servings of cooked pudding of about a 1/2 cup size. This recipe makes 3 cups of mix.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Course: Sweets
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pantry Mix
Author: Beverly

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Dry Milk Powder
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbl White Sugar
  • cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp Salt

Instructions:

  • 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.

Notes:

More ideas:
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 Flavored 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 coconut milk powder 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.
For 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 ½ Tbl of butter and 1/2 tsp of vanilla at the end of the cooking time (or ¼ tsp of vanilla if making a chocolate version).
For a larger batch of mix:  I have 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.

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!

homemade pudding mix

More Handy Homemade Mixes:

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54 Comments

    1. 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.

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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 ,
    Kathy

    1. 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!

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

    1. The butter helps to add a richer taste, but you could try eliminating it and see if you still enjoy the flavor.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

  7. I used the clear jell, it was the grossest thing I ever put in my mouth, i do not recomend it, sorry…

  8. 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

    1. 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).

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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!

        1. 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.

  11. 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!!!

    1. 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.

  12. 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!

    1. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. So glad you are liking the blog! And you’re right . . . I have to get back to Tweeting more again. Will renew my efforts!

  16. 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.

  17. 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