Cream Pudding Recipes

Karen Frazier
Vanilla pudding

Smooth and rich, cream pudding recipes are pudding in the most classic sense - a consistent, velvety texture of sweet taste that rolls around the tongue. While the most popular flavor by far is chocolate, a variety of sweet and fruity cream puddings are also favorites of pudding aficionados, including butterscotch, vanilla, caramel, coconut, banana, pineapple, and pistachio.

Cream Pudding Recipes

Cream pudding distinguishes itself from other types of puddings. Cream puddings are dairy-based puddings made on the stovetop and usually thickened with cornstarch. Other types of puddings are not dairy-based and are steamed, such as figgy pudding.

Cream pudding recipes all start with the same basic ingredients:

  • Dairy (often whole milk, cream, or half and half)
  • Sugar
  • Flavoring
  • Cornstarch

To make a great cream pudding, you can vary the flavors based using these basic ingredients. For every three cups of liquid, you need three tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of sugar.

Basic Vanilla Cream Pudding

Use this basic cream pudding recipe to create variations.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Method

  1. Heat cream, salt and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until cream bubbles around edges.
  2. Remove from heat and add whole milk, stirring to combine.
  3. Mix cornstarch and water into a slurry.
  4. Add to milk, cream, and sugar.
  5. Return to medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken and bubble around the edges.
  6. Continue cooking for one minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  8. Pour into a bowl or serving dishes and refrigerate until cool. If you want to keep a pudding skin from forming, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.

Butterscotch Pudding

butterscotch pudding

This recipe is a simple variation on the cream pudding recipe. Butterscotch is just a mixture of brown sugar and unsalted butter.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Method

  1. Combine butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat until butter melts and sugar combines.
  3. Stir in heavy cream and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to bubble around the edges.
  4. Remove from heat and add whole milk, stirring to combine.
  5. Combine cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Add to pudding and stir to combine.
  6. Return pudding to medium heat.
  7. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken and bubble around the edges.
  8. Continue cooking for one minute.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  10. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Chocolate Pudding

Another variation on the original, this is a rich, creamy chocolate pudding.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Method

  1. Combine cocoa powder, sugar, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan.
  2. Place saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar and cocoa dissolve and mixture starts to bubble around the edges.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in salt and whole milk.
  4. Combine cornstarch and water. Pour into pudding mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat. Stir constantly, cooking until the mixture beings to bubble around the edges and thicken.
  6. Continue boiling for one minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  8. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cold.

Caramel Pudding

This is yet another variation of the same recipe. Notice the similarity of ingredients between this and the basic Vanilla Cream Pudding. The difference is in the method.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Method

  1. Pour sugar in a medium saucepan and place over medium high heat.
  2. Stirring constantly or swirling the pan, melt sugar until it is a light golden brown syrup.
  3. Stir in cream. The mixture will pop and spit, so protect your hand with an oven glove. Syrup may thread in cream.
  4. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until caramel completely dissolves in cream and the mixture begins to bubble around the edges.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in salt and milk.
  6. Combine the cornstarch and water, mixing it into a slurry.
  7. Pour into the pudding, stirring to combine.
  8. Return to medium heat. Stir constantly until pudding begins to thicken and bubble around the edges.
  9. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  11. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate.

Tips

While the easiest way to make cream pudding today is with an instant mix, making it homemade pays off in flavor. Homemade pudding is richer, and it's really easy to adjust the flavors to your preferences when you follow a basic recipe.

  • Cook the ingredients carefully, particularly in the later stages of preparation when they are likely to scorch with too high a temperature or if left on the heat too long.
  • Keep stirring to prevent scorching.
  • Blend all ingredients thoroughly to guarantee a smooth, lump-free texture.
  • Cover the pudding after preparation to prevent drying out, which would lead to a rubbery texture or skin on the dessert.
  • If you don't want a pudding skin, place plastic wrap directly on the pudding's surface.

While this dessert is a sweet treat on its own, cream pudding recipes can also be used as part of many other dishes, such as cakes, pies, pastries, and cookies, where it lends a rich, moist texture or filling to the dish. Thinned puddings make superb sauces for poached fruit or elaborate confections, while cream pudding also makes a fabulous quick fondue dip or frozen treat.

Many Varieties from a Simple Recipe

The best part about pudding is this: Once you know the basics, you can change up the recipe to suit your own tastes. Try making an orange pudding, or sprinkle a little sea salt on top of your caramel pudding for a delicious salted caramel pudding. Add fruit, flavored extracts, or liqueurs in place of vanilla for further variations. With a little creativity, pudding will become your family's favorite dessert.

Cream Pudding Recipes