I’ve kicked up homemade vanilla pudding a notch with the addition of brown butter, adding a slightly nutty, completely irresistible flavor to the pudding.
I’ve recently discovered a simple, natural premade pudding at the grocery store. I treated the kids to it while we were out of power and in the hotel for five days. They’re completely obsessed now.
However, nothing compares to the comfort of homemade pudding. It’s totally different, ultra-thick, ultra-comforting. It reminds me of my childhood, and my mom’s cooking.
When I was young, she’d grow alfalfa sprouts under the kitchen sink, she’d make her own yogurt, can homemade applesauce every year and freeze Michigan sweet corn. Life had a slower pace back then. I still remember sitting at the kitchen table, pressing the apples through the large cone with a wooden tool made just for that job. I’m sure they both have names, but I have no clue what they may be (Google tells me it’s a chinois but I’m also seeing it called a food press….I like the sounds of chinois better, though).
I wonder if my mom still has hers – I might have to buy one just for the sake of reminiscing, although I’m sure the quality wouldn’t compare to the version from way back when. I remember the smells that filled the kitchen and how slowly the bright pink applesauce seemed to make its way through those holes. You’d have to take frequent breaks to scrape the seeds and peels out of the funnel. It was worth every turn of that unnamed wooden tool, though — the applesauce was divine.
I also remember cutting juicy yellow kernels off ears of corn, filling bags with sweet corn to enjoy during those long Michigan winters. She’d can and freeze other things too – we’d be running down into the basement all winter long to grab some of summer’s goodness.
Homemade pudding always reminds me of my mom, too – sometimes she’ll even whip up a batch for the grandkids when the mood strikes. Unfortunately, when I tested this recipe, E was on her dairy-free trial so I dubbed this “adult pudding”. I need to make another batch for her to enjoy now that we think she’s fine with dairy products.
This pudding tastes much like traditional vanilla pudding, but I took a few minutes to brown the butter before continuing with the rest of the steps. The result is a rich, nutty flavor that will make you want to lick the bowl clean.
Treat yourself today to this homemade vanilla pudding – you deserve it!
PS: Want plain vanilla pudding without brown butter? I don’t understand you, but you can make it that way. Just stir the cold butter into the hot pudding at the same time — you don’t even have to melt it. You can also make this into chocolate pudding, if you’d like! Make sure to check out the recipe notes for those simple adaptations.
Looking for more sweet treats? Try:
- Homemade Chocolate Pudding (my mom always made this)
- Chai Spiced Chia Pudding
- Slow Cooker Creme Brulee
- Tiramisu Dip
- 3 Ingredient Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Chocolate Chia Pudding
- Banana and Chocolate Pudding Dessert Bites (kind of fancy looking but so easy!)
- Vanilla Magic Custard Cake by Oh my Goodness Chocolate Desserts
- Vanilla Bean Caramel Blondies by Averie Cooks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups milk (I recommend whole milk or 2%)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- In medium sized saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, salt, and egg until blended and smooth.
- Place on medium heat and add milk slowly, whisking constantly. Continue to heat and whisk until it begins to boil and thicken, about 10 minutes. Cook and stir 1 additional minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.
- Serve warm or cold. If refrigerating, place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Pudding will thicken more if chilled overnight.
- Cook time will vary depending on the size of pan and cooking temperature.
- Optional garnishes: mini chocolate chips, fresh or canned fruit, granola, graham cracker crumbs
- Brown butter variation: In a saucepan or frying pan, melt butter over medium heat, simmer until browned, about two minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Stir into cooked pudding with vanilla.
- Recipe card updated 5/19/2022.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Husband’s take: “Best pudding I’ve ever eaten!”
Changes I would make: None are necessary, but try my adaptations for flavor variations.
Disclosure: I have been compensated by Milk Means More for my time to develop this recipe and write this post. All opinions are as always, my own. Find out more about why Milk Means More on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.