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Vanilla Pudding Mix

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Make this homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix and you’ll never want to buy boxed pudding again. Full of flavor and preservative free homemade vanilla pudding mix in a jar!

I have often thought about making a homemade vanilla pudding mix. I mean, I’ve made homemade pudding many times. But I never took the time to actually make the pudding into a readily available staple in my pantry.

I use pudding mix in cake and cookie recipes all the time. So, why shouldn’t I make my own pudding mix?

jar of vanilla pudding mix

Vanilla Pudding Mix

Well, I finally got the push when a reader shared with me that she was gifting jars of pudding mix as Christmas gifts. She shared her recipe with me and that started my search online for the best homemade vanilla pudding mix.

I also found recipes from The Make Your Own Zone, Coffee with Us Three, Friendship Bread Kitchen,, and The Spruce Eats and they were all pretty similar. If you’d like to find different flavors of pudding mix, be sure to check some of these other sites out!

jar of vanilla pudding mix

Supplies Needed

The ingredients for homemade vanilla pudding mix are pretty simple and you just may have them on hand already.

  • granulated sugar (you can also use Splenda or a 1:1 sugar substitute)
  • powdered milk
  • cornstarch
  • salt

When you actually turn the mix into pudding, you will also need:

  • butter
  • vanilla extract

Equipment Needed

There are just a few pieces of equipment/tools you’ll need to make up the vanilla pudding mix:

When you are ready to make the vanilla pudding, you will also need:

Pretty simple, right? Now, here’s the recipe for the Vanilla Pudding Mix and how to make pudding using the mix.

Make this homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix and you'll never want to buy boxed pudding again. Full of flavor and preservative free homemade vanilla pudding mix in a jar!

Vanilla Pudding Mix

Yield: 2-1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Whisk together this homemade vanilla pudding mix and you'll never use store bought mix again!


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

To Make Pudding

  • ½ cup pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, dry milk powder, and salt.
  2. Store in an airtight jar or container.

To Make Pudding

In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine 2 cups of milk with ½ cup of the pudding mix, whisking constantly.

Continue to whisk over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking until the pudding mixture thickens. (This will usually take 3-5 minutes and will coat the back of a spoon once thickened.)

Stir in vanilla extract and butter.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


    • Do not add the vanilla extract to the pudding mix. The vanilla extract is added when you make the pudding.
    • You can substitute vanilla beans for the vanilla extract. Use two vanilla beans. Split the beans open and scrape out the inside with a spoon. Add to the pudding mix and whisk to combine. Cut the beans into several pieces and add to the pudding mix; again, whisk to combine.


    Q: Is this a “Quick Pudding”?

    This Vanilla Pudding Mix recipe is not a “quick pudding” because you do have to heat the mix. Because it uses corn starch as a thickening agent, you do have to heat it, stir it, and it takes a little bit of time. Store bought instant puddings contain modified cornstarch that does not need to be heated to thicken.

    Q: How much mix equals a 3.5 oz package of instant pudding?

    Although this is not an instant pudding, you can use this mix in recipes – like cookies and cakes. One cup of this mix is equivalent to a 3.5 oz package of instant pudding. So, if you are following a recipe that calls for one packing of instant pudding, you can substitute the package with 1 cup of mix.

    Q: What is the shelf life of the pudding mix?

    Technically speaking, powdered milk and baking soda have almost an indefinite shelf life – assuming they are kept clean and dry. Sugar has a recommended shelf life of two years. Whereas salt has a shelf life of two to three years. So then, what is the expected shelf life of the pudding mix? Based on this information from the FDA, I would say the pudding mix has a shelf life of approximately two years.

    HOWEVER, this shelf life is dependent upon the pudding mix being stored properly in an airtight container. I would say to be on the safe side, that you can safely state the pudding mix has a shelf life of 12 months.

    Q: Is there a substitute for corn starch?

    First, I have not made the pudding mix without corn starch. So, I cannot vouch for any of the listed substitutions.

    However, I did do some reading research and found there are a number of substitutions for corn starch. What you need is a starch-based thickener substitute. Some possible considerations are:

    • arrowroot powder – according to Food52, you can use this powder 1:1 as a substitute
    • tapioca powder – since it’s less potent, you will want to use 2 tablespoons for every 1 tablespoon of corn starch. So it has a 2:1 substitution ratio.
    • rice starch – it also has a 2:1 substitution ratio. So, use twice as much rice starch as corn starch.
    • unflavored gelatin – use 3/4 teaspoon for every cup of milk. You’ll find instructions for how to make this substitution HERE. And HERE is a recipe for chocolate pudding made with unflavored gelatin instead of corn starch.

    If you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!

    Printable Labels / Gift Tags

    I created this set of three different sized labels or gift tags for your Homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix. Below is a picture of the three different sized labels. The round labels are intended to be used to label the jar containing the mix. The other two rectangular labels or tags contain instructions for making pudding from the mix.

    vanilla pudding mix labels

    The three labels measure:

    • 2-1/2″ round labels
    • 4.58″Hx2.59″W large rectangle tags
    • 3.28″Hx1.85″W small rectangle tags

    The 2-1/2″ round labels will fit on the top of a wide mouth Mason jar. The rectangular labels or tags were designed with the idea of punching a hole in the top and attaching to the jar with twine or ribbon. You could also print them out on a sheet of waterproof label paper or sticker paper, cut out the rectangles and affix to your jar.

    Download Labels

    You can download the set of labels by completing the below form. Simply provide your first name and email address to be added to The Birch Cottage mailing list and have the labels delivered straight to your email inbox. (If you are already a subscriber, just complete the form. You will NOT be added again.)

    Your privacy is important to me. I promise to never sell or give your information away. And you can unsubscribe at any time.

    More Recipe Ideas

    If you enjoyed learning how to make homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix, then you might also like these recipe ideas from The Birch Cottage:

    And this Homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix makes for a great “gift in a jar”!

    jar of vanilla pudding mix

    Share this idea!

    Nancy Brown

    Saturday 11th of November 2023

    I'm interested in your vanilla pudding recipe, but as a gift I'm sure I will be asked what the shelf life is. Do you have a recommendation? With thanks in advance - ~Nancy

    Pamela Baker

    Saturday 11th of November 2023

    Hi, Nancy. That's a great question. I just also updated this post to include your question. The short answer is, I feel confident stating a 12 months shelf life for the pudding mix. This is, of course, assuming the mix is stored in an airtight container and kept dry.

    I hope this helps!

    Pam Baker The Birch cottage

    Laurie C

    Saturday 11th of November 2023

    Although I can’t use this recipe since my husband is diabetic and can’t have that much cornstarch, I love the idea and will pass it on. I do have one question though. If you’re not adding the vanilla flavor until you cook it, could you add dry cocoa powder to the mix for chocolate pudding instead?

    Pamela Baker

    Saturday 11th of November 2023

    Hi, Laurie, that's a great question. In order to make a chocolate pudding, I recommend you add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the dry (for the make the pudding part of the recipe). If you want to make a batch of chocolate pudding mix, then add 3/4 cup cocoa powder to the dry mix.

    I also recommend you use vanilla and butter as listed in the make the vanilla pudding mix recipe. You can consider the vanilla pudding mix recipe a "base recipe" for other pudding flavors. I hope this helps!

    Pam Baker The Birch Cottage

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