How to Make Pudding Mix Taste Homemade

With a simple trick or two, it's easy to make pudding mix taste even better. No one will know it was instant pudding!

Instant pudding is a pantry staple you can break out to make all sorts of delectable desserts. While there’s nothing quite like pudding made from scratch, you can tinker with an instant mix to get that same rich texture and taste as the homemade version.

5 Ways to Make Instant Pudding Taste Better

1. Use Evaporated Milk

Kitchen towel and bowls with condensed milk on wooden backgroundAtlasStudio/Getty Images

Replace the regular milk for a can of evaporated milk to make a creamier, more decadent pudding. Not only does it yield a luxurious texture, it dramatically improves the flavor of a pudding mix. For a tropical twist, reach for some canned coconut milk. It’s rich, and the gorgeous taste is ideal for taking your instant pudding from meh to amazing.

If you’re running short on cans, you can always use a substitute for evaporated milk.

2. Add a Little Tipple

Short glasses of Irish cream Liquor or Coffee Liqueur on light beige backgroundSvittlana/Getty Images

Open your liquor cabinet before you break out the mixing bowl. You can add a splash of alcohol to your instant pudding mix and it will rival some of your best from-scratch pudding efforts. Liqueurs like Kahlua, Irish cream and raspberry-flavored Chambord are perfect for the job. Cognac and bourbon also work, especially if you’re working with chocolate or butterscotch mix, and spiced rum is wicked-good with banana pudding.

3. Mix in a Sweet Addition

Chocolate Pudding with shaved chocolate toppingBURCU ATALAY TANKUT/Getty Images

Sprinkle in chopped nuts, chocolate chips or baking spices like cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg. Don’t be surprised if folks go back for seconds! And you can always top with sprinkles, too. They make everything more fun!

These same sweet additions can even make brownie mix taste like it’s made from scratch.

4. Add a Topping

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Upgrade your instant pudding by layering it with a sweet topping. Put a dollop of whipped cream on top for a creamy taste with minimal effort. Or, place fresh fruit on top for an elaborate display. Use fruits like strawberries, raspberries or sliced banana for the best flavor combos.

5. Let It Chill

Homemade Vanilla Custard Puddingbhofack2/Getty Images

If you like your pudding on the thicker side, letting it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours can help achieve that goal. Chilling the dessert also creates an easy, go-to dessert for those nights when you want something a little cold and refreshing.

Bonus: How to Make Dairy-Free Instant Pudding

You can make pudding mix work on a dairy-free diet. Just replace the dairy milk with a plant-based alternative, using half the amount of milk called for in the recipe. Because plant milks have a thinner texture, if you use the called-for amount in the recipe, you’ll wind up with thin, runny pudding. Use soy or rice milk for a neutral flavor, but experiment with other nut milks for tasty flavor combos.

Up Next: Use your instant pudding mix as a trick for making cake mix taste homemade.

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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.