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Ever find yourself craving something sweet, creamy, and utterly comforting? Well, this easy single serve vanilla pudding recipe is just the ticket! It’s a classic dessert that’s both simple to make and incredibly satisfying. No more wrestling with instant mixes or settling for store-bought options. With a handful of basic ingredients and a little time, you can whip up a dessert that’s not only delicious but also feels a bit nostalgic.

Discover a variety of exquisite single serving pudding recipes, including our decadent Chocolate Pudding, smooth Butterscotch Pudding, classic Rice Pudding, indulgent Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, and delightful Banana Pudding.

Why You’ll Love This Vanilla Pudding Recipe

  • Quick and Easy: This single serve pudding recipe is straightforward and takes minimal time to prepare. Perfect for a quick dessert fix!
  • Simple Ingredients: Made with everyday ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.
  • No Artificial Flavors: Say goodbye to artificial thickeners and flavors – this pudding is all about natural, wholesome goodness.
  • Perfect Portion: Ideal for one or two servings, so you won’t be left with an overwhelming amount of leftovers. Want to make vanilla pudding for two? Just double the ingredient amounts.
  • Creamy and Comforting: The end result is a creamy, rich pudding that’s bound to bring a smile to your face.

Watch How To Make Vanilla Pudding

A spoonful of vanilla pudding topped with whipped cream, a raspberry, and mint leaves in a dessert glass.

Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this homemade vanilla pudding recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Whole Milk: The base of the pudding. Whole milk yields a thicker, creamier texture. You can substitute with 2% milk or half-and-half, but the pudding will be less thick.
  • Heavy Cream: Adds richness to the pudding. Heavy whipping cream is a suitable alternative. We use heavy cream in many of our single serving and small batch recipes like a mini White Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream, Nanaimo Bar, and a No-Bake Cheesecake.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the pudding. Adjust the amount to your preference.
  • Salt: Enhances flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract: For that classic vanilla flavor. Pure extract is recommended for the best taste.
  • Cornstarch: The thickening agent. Ensures the pudding sets properly without eggs.
  • Butter: A small amount of butter is stirred in at the end for added richness. Salted butter is preferred for a balanced flavor.
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How To Make Vanilla Pudding For One

The photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make a small batch of vanilla pudding. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Start with Milk: In a 1-quart saucepan, gently heat the milk over medium-low heat. Mix in sugar and salt. Allow it to cook, stirring now and then, until it starts to steam, which should take about 5 minutes.
vanilla pudding simmering in a small pot on the stove.
  1. Prepare Cornstarch Mixture: As the milk heats, in a separate small bowl, whisk together the cream and cornstarch until smooth.

Pro Tip: Avoid adding cornstarch directly to the milk. Instead, make a slurry with cream and cornstarch to prevent clumping. Cornstarch must reach boiling to activate and thicken the pudding.

a cornstarch slurry in a small bowl.
  1. Combine and Cook: Pour the cornstarch slurry into the warm milk. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to simmer, about another 5 minutes.
  2. Thicken the Pudding: Lower the heat and stir for 5 minutes, until the pudding thickens to the desired consistency.
  3. Add Flavor: Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and butter until the butter is fully melted.
vanilla pudding in a small pot cooking on a kitchen counter.
  1. Cool and Set: Let the pudding cool to lukewarm. Then transfer it into a small ramekin or dessert bowl. Cover it and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
homemade vanilla pudding in a dessert bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Whisk Thoroughly: Be sure to whisk the cornstarch with the cream until it’s completely smooth before adding it to the pot. This step is crucial for a lump-free pudding.
  • Add Flavor Post-Cooking: Stir in the butter and vanilla extract after removing the pot from heat. This technique enhances the richness and intensity of the vanilla flavor.
  • Versatile Topping Ideas: This vanilla pudding serves as an excellent foundation for various toppings. Classic options include a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit. For a creative twist, try it in a mini trifle or topped with crushed butter cookies, graham crackers, or nuts for added texture.
  • Recipe Adaptations: Use this simple vanilla pudding recipe as a base to create delightful desserts like a mini banana pudding or a single serving banana cream pie.

RELATED: 15 Easy Dessert Recipes For One

A half eaten bowl of vanilla pudding topped with whipped cream, a raspberry, and mint leaves in a dessert glass.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is pudding different from custard?

While both pudding and custard start with a sweetened cream or milk base, the key distinction lies in their thickening agents. Puddings typically use cornstarch or flour for thickening, whereas custards rely on eggs to achieve their thicker consistency.

How long will homemade vanilla pudding last in the fridge?

Properly stored, it can last up to 3 days.

Can I make vanilla pudding for two?

Absolutely, just double the ingredients and follow the same steps.

Why is my vanilla pudding not thickening?

Ensure the heat is medium-low and give it enough time to thicken, sometimes it takes an extra few minutes.

Is vanilla pudding gluten-free?

Yes, this is a gluten-free vanilla pudding recipe.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this vanilla pudding recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

RELATED: Comfort Food Recipes For One

If you’ve tried this homemade vanilla pudding or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Vanilla Pudding For One

4.85 from 20 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Cool: 20 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Whip up this easy single serve vanilla pudding recipe! Simple, real ingredients create a creamy, homemade dessert perfect for a small treat.

Ingredients 
 

  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup heavy cream , or heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional toppings: whipped cream and fresh berries
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Instructions 

  • Start with Milk: In a 1-quart saucepan, gently heat the milk over medium-low heat. Mix in sugar and salt. Allow it to cook, stirring now and then, until it starts to steam, which should take about 5 minutes.
  • Prepare Cornstarch Mixture: As the milk heats, in a separate small bowl, whisk together the cream and cornstarch until smooth.
    Pro Tip: Avoid adding cornstarch directly to the milk. Instead, make a slurry with cream and cornstarch to prevent clumping. Cornstarch must reach boiling to activate and thicken the pudding.
  • Combine and Cook: Pour the cornstarch slurry into the warm milk. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to simmer, about another 5 minutes.
  • Thicken the Pudding: Lower the heat and stir for 5 minutes, until the pudding thickens to the desired consistency.
  • Add Flavor: Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and butter until the butter is fully melted.
  • Cool and Set: Let the pudding cool to lukewarm. Then transfer it into a small ramekin or dessert bowl. Cover it and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
    Top with berries or whipped cream or enjoy as-is.

Notes

  • Whisk Thoroughly: Be sure to whisk the cornstarch with the cream until it’s completely smooth before adding it to the pot. This step is crucial for a lump-free pudding.
  • Add Flavor Post-Cooking: Stir in the butter and vanilla extract after removing the pot from heat. This technique enhances the richness and intensity of the vanilla flavor.
  • Versatile Topping Ideas: This vanilla pudding serves as an excellent foundation for various toppings. Classic options include a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit. For a creative twist, try it in a mini trifle or topped with crushed butter cookies, graham crackers, or nuts for added texture.
  • Recipe Adaptations: Use this simple vanilla pudding recipe as a base to create delightful desserts like a mini banana pudding or a single serving banana cream pie.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 449kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 399mg, Potassium: 242mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 1247IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 192mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

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Recipe Rating




35 Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    Can I make this using all heavy cream?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes, you can.

  2. Susan says:

    I cannot eat corn products. Will arrowroot powder work in this recipe?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Although I haven’t tested arrowroot powder in this recipe, it should work well as a substitute for cornstarch. I recommend using 2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder instead of the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

  3. Ailsa says:

    Lovely old fashioned vanilla pudding! Thank you.

  4. Basia P says:

    Sooo good, but on the rich side. Will make this again but maybe with half and half or make two servings instead of one and add fresh berries to it. Anyway now I have to go out and shovel some snow to burn off calories.

  5. Laura Ashley says:

    I didn’t have any cream so I used equal parts coffee creamer and milk for the 1/4 cup and this turned out great! I would say to use a little less sugar if you use sweetened creamer though! I love trying your recipes, thanks for the site.