Rich, creamy, sweet, and enjoyed in both the summer and winter, vanilla pudding is one of my favorite desserts.
This vegan vanilla pudding is made super easily on the stove top with simple ingredients. And there are no weird hidden ingredients in this recipe, either! Plus, it tastes way better than any instant box pudding.
It makes a great base layer for different desserts and you can jazz it up with different flavor variations (see below). And if you want to get fancy, you can make a layered pudding dessert with this recipe and my vegan chocolate pudding. So fancy!
Why You’ll Love this Vegan Vanilla Pudding
- Smooth, creamy texture
- Full of vanilla flavor and perfectly sweet
- Easy to make on the stove
- Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and nut free recipe
What’s great about this recipe is how simple the ingredients are for making such a delicious dessert.
- Dairy free milk: Use your favorite plant based milk for this recipe. In these photos, I used coconut milk for a subtle coconut flavor that my family loves. You can also use soy milk, almond milk, or cashew milk. I’ve made this with oat milk and rice milk, however, I find that they don’t set up as well as the other milks. But that doesn’t affect the taste.
- Sugar: A bit of white sugar is needed. To make sure your sugar is vegan, use organic sugar or sugar that says it is beet sugar. They are always vegan.
- Cornstarch: Corn starch helps to thicken the pudding and transforms the milk into the sweet pudding. If you can’t have corn, see below for other options.
- Vanilla: The star of the show! I love to use a rich Madagascar vanilla for this, however a bourbon vanilla is also amazing. Use a good quality vanilla as this is the main flavor of the desert.
- Salt: A pinch of salt really balances out the sweetness of this recipe.
Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.
A good pudding is a practice in patience. Remember to just keep stirring and you will have the most amazing vanilla pudding in no time.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with about a quarter of a cup of the dairy free milk. Mix with a fork until mostly smooth. Add this to a sauce pot with the remaining milk, sugar, and salt.
Place the pot over a low to medium heat and stir almost constantly. This prevents any lumps from forming, and will help to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan so that nothing scalds.
The pudding needs to come to what is called a “first boil”. This is where the pudding has a big “blurp” bubble in the middle of the pot. For my stove, it usually reaches this stage at about 7 to 9 minutes in.
Tip! While you want this to come to a first boil, you don’t want to boil the pudding itself. A boil is too hot for making pudding and will burn the bottom of the pot without thickening it. And be careful so you don’t burn your hands. Hot pudding is really hot!
After the first boil is reached, immediately remove the pot from the stove and add in your vanilla extract. It should smell amazing.
Transfer the hot pudding to your dish of choice, bowls, cups, etc and let it cool on the countertop for a good 10 minutes. Then, you can enjoy it warm, or place it in the fridge to chill.
If you want to avoid a skin on top of the pudding, place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding before putting them in the fridge. This prevents that layer from forming.
You don’t need to limit this to just vanilla extract! Here are some ideas for mixing up different flavors.
Other extracts: Try lemon, orange, or peppermint extract
Chai pudding: After mixing the pudding, add dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger when adding the vanilla.
Chocolate Vanilla Swirl: Mix half vanilla pudding with half of vegan chocolate pudding for an old fashioned pudding cup.
Any of the thicker dairy free milks are great for this pudding. Coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk are my favorites. Rice milk and oat milk will also work, however, I find their consistency to always be on the thinner side.
- Stir almost constantly while making this pudding. It can burn so quickly on the bottom of the pot.
- Low and slow is the name of the game for pudding. Don’t put it on a high heat.
How to Store
Pudding makes for an amazing make-ahead dessert option. You can make this pudding a day or two in advance and keep it chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
While you can enjoy this pudding warm, you will want to keep this in the fridge until ready to serve. Store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
More Dessert Recipes
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- measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Mixing spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Sauce pot
- 2 cups dairy free milk coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk recommended
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch see above for allergy variations
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- dash salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract optional, or use other flavorings
- Whisk the cornstarch. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and ¼ cup of the milk of your choice. Mix until no lumps remain. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, sugar, cornstarch slurry, and salt.
- Cook the pudding. Over a low-medium flame, stir almost constantly until first boil, about 9-10 minutes.
- Finish cooking. After first boil, continue to stir for an additional 2-3 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved. Make sure to not burn the pudding on the bottom of the saucepan. If you notice brown flecks, the pudding is burning and remove from heat immediately.
- Cool the pudding. When pudding has reached the thickness you like, remove the pudding from the heat. Now, add in your vanilla extract and other flavorings if using. Let cool on the countertop for 10 minutes, making sure to stir so as a crust does not form.
- Transfer to dishes. Carefully transfer the pudding to the dishes of your choice to serve in. Let them cool on the countertop for 10 more minutes. Serve or chill.
- Chill (optional). Place a bit of cling film on the top of the pudding before placing in the fridge to chill completely, about 3 hours. This can be saved in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
- Chocolate: Add ¼ cup of cocoa powder to the pudding when you add the sugar. Make as directed.
- Other extracts: Try lemon, orange, or peppermint extract
- Chai pudding: After mixing the pudding, add dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger when adding the vanilla.
- Chocolate Vanilla Swirl: Mix half vanilla pudding with half of vegan chocolate pudding for an old fashioned pudding cup.
- How to Store
- Pudding makes for an amazing make-ahead dessert option. You can make this pudding a day or two in advance and keep it chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
- While you can enjoy this pudding warm, you will want to keep this in the fridge until ready to serve. Store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.