The Classics: Vanilla & Chocolate Pudding


Few things remind me of childhood more than pudding. Watching my mom stir for what seemed like hours on end. Delicately spooning the mixture into bowls, making sure my brother and I got the exact same amount. Waiting impatiently while the pudding set in the fridge – always on the highest shelf to keep it out of reach from my greedy hands. The finger-swipe through the pot to tantalize my taste buds.  A second, third and fourth taste. Finally getting to dig into to the chilled delicious pudding.

The best part about pudding is how easy it is to make. Pudding is the least pretentious, most comfortable dessert out there. It is so easy that you and your pudding-loving friend don’t even have to like the same flavor. Y’all just have to like taking turns stirring.

Vanilla or Chocolate? Few questions can divide a room quicker than this age-old flavor quandary. Have no fear though. These pudding recipes are so simple you can easily make both. So long as you cook them long enough, it is almost impossible to mess up pudding.

Despite being the same dessert, you’ll notice a few differences between the two recipes. One has eggs and one doesn’t. One uses real vanilla bean and one uses extract. More on these differences below. What you do get from both recipes though is spoon-licking scrumptious pudding. Whether you like vanilla or chocolate, a skin on top or no skin on your pudding, chilled or fresh from the pot hot pudding, you can have it with these recipes.

Cornstarch: These pudding recipes use cornstarch as the primary thickening
agent. A mixture using cornstarch will become its thickest at the boiling point. These recipes will call for your to bring the mixture just to that point. Avoid cooking or boiling the mixture much beyond this point as boiling cornstarch longer than a minute or so can cause the mixture to breakdown. Also, don’t try and cheat and use a hand mixer or immersion blender to save you some stirring; this rapid, violent mixing can impede cornstarch’s ability to thicken.

Vanilla Pudding: Anytime I make a recipe with vanilla as the star, I will use vanilla beans instead of extract. The flavor you get from a vanilla bean is far superior to what you can get from extract; it has a fuller, more natural vanilla flavor. You also get those little vanilla seeds which add a textural component and the distinctive dotted this-is-vanilla look. The vanilla pudding recipe uses eggs to help thicken and bind the pudding (the chocolate pudding recipe does not). Since it also uses cornstarch you can heat the mixture without worrying about cooking the eggs. You’ll still want to use a heavy-bottomed pot, stir often, and watch the temperature as pudding can scorch and lump easily.

Vanilla Beans While vanilla beans can be painfully expensive, they provide numerous benefits extract on its own cannot. In addition to the advantages mentioned above, a spent vanilla bean can be used again so don’t throw the pod away after removing it from the pudding. Rinse it and let it dry completely. Then place it in an airtight container with a few cups of sugar. Agitate daily and within a week or two you will have vanilla sugar. The smaller the ratio between sugar to vanilla bean(s), the stronger the vanilla flavor in the sugar.


Vanilla Pudding

This recipe is adapted from a Bo Friberg recipe.

Yield: ≈ 1 quart (6, 6 oz servings)

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Chill Time: 3+ hours


Large bowl
Paring knife
Heavy-bottomed 3 quart pot
Wooden spoon


1 1/2 ounces cornstarch
8 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 quart milk
1 whole vanilla bean

1. Mix together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until homogenous.

2. Cut into the vanilla bean lengthwise so you can open it up like a book. Open the bean and use the knife’s point to scrape out all of the vanilla bean seeds into the pot. Place the pod in the pot as well.

3. Pour the milk into the pot and heat over medium, medium-high heat. Heat the milk just to the boiling point (don’t let it boil long) stirring constantly. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes. If you’re a nervous cook or know you won’t stir frequently, I suggest using medium or medium-low heat.

4. Once at the boiling point, temper the egg, sugar and cornstarch mix. Return the tempered egg mixture to the pot with the milk. Place the pot back over medium, medium-high heat and stir until the mixture is very thick and coats a spoon, stir constantly. This will take 10 to 20 minutes. You can bring this mixture to a boil as well, though do not let it boil long.

5. Remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the pudding into bowls.

6. Refrigerate the bowls for at least a few hours, or until the pudding is chilled and set. If you don’t like skin on your pudding, place saran wrap directly on top of the pudding. If you like the skin you don’t have to do anything though you may want to cover the bowls if you have a lot of stinky things in your fridge. The pudding can absorb odors and tastes.


Chocolate Pudding: The recipe for chocolate pudding is similar to the vanilla pudding recipe except for the vanilla used, a lack of eggs and of course the addition of chocolate. Instead of using a vanilla bean this recipe uses vanilla extract. This is done for a couple reasons: 1. Since chocolate is the star, the vanilla only needs to highlight the chocolate flavor (this would be a waste of an expensive vanilla bean), 2. Because the milk isn’t scaled on it’s own first, the vanilla bean would not have as much time to impart it’s flavor into the pudding. You should still use a very good vanilla extract. And because the chocolate acts as a thickening agent in the pudding and helps bind everything together, eggs aren’t needed.

Once the chocolate is added, be sure to keep the heat low as a high heat can cause the oils in the chocolate to separate. If this happens you will have to start over.

Chocolate: I use dark chocolate in this recipe because it gives it just the right rich, chocolate flavor. As always, I suggest getting good chocolate as it will make a difference, especially in a recipe like this. Don’t use chocolate chips as many are made to withstand melting, and thus will not melt through the pudding properly.


Chocolate Pudding

This recipe is adapted from a Bo Friberg recipe.

Yield: ≈ 1 quart (6, 6 oz servings)
Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 3+ hours


Heavy-bottomed 3 quart pot
Wooden spoon


1 1/2 ounces cornstarch
8 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 quart milk
8 ounces 70% cocoa bar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Place this in a heavy bottomed pot.

2. Stir the milk into the dry ingredients in the pot. Heat over medium, medium-high heat cook until the mixture is very thick and coats a spoon, stirring constantly. This will take about 15 to 25 minutes. If you’re a nervous cook or know you will neglect your stirring duties, I suggest using medium or medium-low heat.

4. Once thick, reduce the heat to low. Break the chocolate into small chunks and all to the pudding. Cook the mixture over low, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted. This will take about 5 minutes. Chocolate is very sensitive to heat, so don’t try and cheat here with a higher heat.

5. Remove from the heat. Stir the vanilla extract in. Pour the pudding into bowls.

6. Refrigerate the bowls for at least a few hours, or until the pudding is chilled and set. If you don’t like skin on your pudding, place saran wrap directly on top of the pudding. If you like the skin you don’t have to do anything though you may want to cover the bowls if you have a lot of stinky things in your fridge. The pudding can absorb odors and tastes.


So, are you a vanilla fan or a chocolate lover? What is your favorite flavor of pudding?



AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Founder of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, Russell's works have been featured in Southern Living, Men's Fitness, Redbook, TRADHome, and Real Simple magazines and on various sites including Lifehacker, Fast Co., Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, Quipsologies, Explore, and Fine Cooking. Follow Russell on Twitter @rvank and Instagram. Get more delicious @chasedelicious.


  • Danny

    Love the video Russell!

  • kjn

    Awesome video. Now I’m craving pudding!

  • Shumaila

    Both the puddings look sinful but if I had a choice I would go for the chocolate one. That one has me drooling on my keyboard!

  • Shumaila

    Oh and the video is great!

  • Marcello Arena


  • Riley

    I’ll take a bowl of chocolate! Please and thank you!

  • Reem | Simply Reem

    Beautiful Video!!!
    Your mom is so beautiful!!
    God this video is making me miss my mom so much more.. I hate distances..
    Now b/w vanilla and chocolate, I think I will go for chocolate coz it is mom makes the best pudding right..LOL
    But after eating a bowl of chocolate goodness I will end up eating vanilla too… I cannot resist that either..

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Fabulous video, Russell. I have always been a pudding fan (love the skin too ;-)) – While I love chocolate pudding, I can always go for butterscotch… or tapioca… or rice pudding.

  • Maria

    I will take both!

  • Karman

    Pudding isn’t something I ever have a craving for…until I watched this video! It was lovely.

  • jacquie

    beautiful video.

    but what about butterscotch? :)

  • Amy @ fragrantvanillacake

    Your puddings both sound delicious, but I would have to go with the vanilla were I forced to choose ;)! It reminds me of when I was little. I love this recipe, because to me the vanilla bean is essential :)!

  • Stephanie

    Love that video!

    I also love pudding, it’s totally my vice. I can leave a plate of cookies or cake or pie sitting untouched but if there is pudding in the fridge I won’t stop eating it until it’s gone.

    Ah craving both chocolate and vanilla pudding in the same bowl.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I love both puddings so much! Vanilla is my favorite though – so plain, and so delicious.

  • Spencer

    Looks absolutely delicious! I could so eat some of that right now! It looks amazing.

  • Evan Thomas

    Do you have any extra vanilla pudding in the fridge? I’ll be right over…

  • Medeja

    They look just amazing! I am a big fan of puddings!

  • Zita @ Zizi's Adventures

    Thanks for commenting on my blog (raw brownie) I found your blog! Wonderful photos, great recipes and amazing videos. I especially love this one!

  • thelittleloaf

    My boyfriend insisted on me making butterscotch pudding for him recently because it reminded him of his childhood so much. Now seems a good time to branch out into other classic flavours, so this is the perfect post for me. Vanilla AND chocolate pudding both sound (and look) amazing.

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    Great video Russell and I have such a weak spot for puddings. Be it Vanilla or Chocolate. Just love them both to bits. Now that I am older.. or getting old .. LOL, I have started to be addicted to butterscotch too, and with some scotch whiskey added to the pudding. However, nothing beats the classic.. Have a good week ahead!! cheers, Jo

  • Betty Bake

    well done on a great video and recipe.
    I know how many hours go into a short video that people just watch and think oh cool! :)

    beautifully photographed
    enjoyed the post

    Betty Bake

  • TidyMom

    thanks…… I’m craving pudding! lol

    Beautiful video Russell!!

  • Carolyn

    Lovely lovely pudding. So creamy and good!

  • Shaina

    Love the videos. I made a vanilla bean pudding last week, and I kept thinking to myself how I should do it more often because it is just easy and good food.

  • Sandy @ tinytinyfork

    A childhood fav done so elegantly!

  • Sarah

    Thanks for stopping by! Can’t believe I only now saw your site – I am already in love with it. As for pudding, I’d be partial to chocolate – would adding some brandied cherries be over the top?

  • Kankana

    Loved the video! I would love to mix it up :)

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Chocolate and Vanilla pudding are definitely childhood favorites along Rice pudding, they are so comforting to eat.

  • bianca @ sweet dreaming

    chocolate allll the wayy :) looks scrumptious!

  • Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having

    I love pudding, but I’m sad to say I’ve never made my own (unless the jello mix counts). I’ll definitely be trying both!

  • Beth {local milk}

    My grandmother made chocolate pudding. I remember hers always had these little lumps in it that I found dubious, but I loved it none the less. And she always served it in dainty little glass sundae bowls and chilled it, yep, on the highest shelf in the fridge! I would so put cayenne in my chocolate pudding.

  • Squash Blossom Babies

    Wow! That looks incredible! Congrats on the Foodbuzz Top 9!

  • DB-The Foodie Stuntman

    Two dishes in one post. Nice! Also, congratulations on making the Top 9!

  • Jenn and Seth

    love this! i’m now totally craving pudding :)

  • Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings

    Who can resist puddings? Not me! This is my husband’s fave dessert, so if I made it now, I will be ‘the star’ at home!

  • The Wimpy Vegetarian

    Pudding is such a wonderful comfort food! And even though I LOVE chocolate, vanilla pudding was always my favorite as a child.

  • kitchenriffs

    My mom was a package pudding cook. So I never really liked pudding. But scratch pudding? That’s good stuff, and something I enjoy. It’s simple and easy – just like your recipes! Good stuff. Thank you.

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  • Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand

    Absolutely brilliant video Russel1. Couldn’t stop smiling watching it. Delicious and creative. Bravo!

  • Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

    I just love pudding. My husband loves to eat it hot with a little cream poured over the top. I’ve made other flavors, but never found one I like better than good old-fashioned chocolate!

  • OliePants

    I adore homemade pudding. Gorgeous pictures and great video!

  • Sasha

    Beautiful work! I love it. Now I want some puddin’…

  • Roberta

    beautiful story about sharing food even though we have different tastes… the video is cute!
    I am for vanilla pudding, though they both look gorgeous and mouth watering…
    Have a good summer

  • Anita at Hungry Couple

    I’ve always loved mixing the two flavors together. Not fully incorporated, just streaks of each going all the way through. :)

  • Viviane Bauquet Farre

    What wondrous food photography. All of the silverware and dishware adds a real elegance to an otherwise simple (but delicious!) dessert.

  • Meeta

    Oh I would have just loved to have been on the other side of you on that table spooning some of the chocolate pudding. ;o) I am a chocoholic and would be in that kitchen with your mum licking the spoons. Lovely video Russell!

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    Sugar also contributes to the moistness of desserts and their tenderness. The flour or starch component in most desserts serves as a protein and gives the dessert structure. Different flours such as All-Purpose Flour or Pastry Flour provide a less rigid gluten network and therefore a different texture. Along with flour desserts may contain a dairy product.;:

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  • Amrita

    I love a good pudding. Vanilla always reminds me of school rooms and crayons. Chocolate reminds me of summer hols I spent with my grandmothers in Wales. Although the most puddings I come across nowadays are lumpy gelatinous wobbles that are just plain put-offs.
    I love that video and yours look decadent, almost like a mousse or a panna cotta. Oh yum.

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