8 Tips for Making Pudding from Grandma’s Kitchen

Making pudding from scratch? Don't skip these old-school tips that'll make it taste even better.

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Add more flavor

Whether you’re making pudding from scratch or starting with a box mix, you can always add a little extra flavor. A teaspoon of vanilla extract can add richness to any pudding. A bit of espresso powder can make chocolate puddings taste more chocolaty—add more for a mocha flavor.

You can stir in a bit of your favorite liqueur too. A splash of Irish cream, creme de menthe or even bourbon can take your go-to pudding recipe to a new place.

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Swap out the milk for something creamier

If you’re using a boxed mix that calls for milk, you can make the mix taste more homemade by subbing in another ingredient like evaporated milk or canned coconut milk. These substitutions will make the pudding even creamier.

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Always use a whisk

While it can be tempting to break out Nana’s wooden spoon to make an old-fashioned recipe like pudding, stick with a whisk instead (it’s what any nana would recommend). Whisking the ingredients will prevent any clumps from forming. The last thing you want in a creamy pudding is to find a lump of flour or cornstarch.

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Don’t skimp on the toppings

Yes, homemade pudding is a delicious treat all on its own, but you can make this treat even more indulgent by topping it with a few extras. Fresh whipped cream is a great place to start, but you can level up this old-fashioned dessert with crushed candies, chopped nuts or cookie crumbles.

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Take your time

When it comes to tapioca pudding, you’ll need to plan a bit in advance. Tapioca pearls need to soak and soften up before you start whisking up your other ingredients. You can do this by soaking the pearls in water for 12 hours or use your slow cooker like in this tapioca pudding recipe.

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Recycle your butter wrappers

To prevent a film from developing on top of your pudding while it chills, many recipes recommend pressing a bit of waxed paper or plastic wrap onto the pudding. But if you really want to do it the grandma way, be thrifty! Press a butter wrapper onto the surface as it chills instead.

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Resist the urge to stir

Once your pudding is set and chilling in the fridge, you’re done stirring. Nope, don’t even give it a swirl before serving up in dessert dishes. Extra stirring after the fact will loosen up the rich texture of the pudding that you worked so hard to create.

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Use leftovers for other desserts

If you’ve got leftover pudding, but not enough to serve the whole fam, don’t scrap it! Use pudding to make other yummy desserts like parfaits, trifles or mini layered treats like this layered chocolate pudding.

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.