14 Dreamy and Creamy Pudding Recipes

The proof is in the pudding

Banana pudding in a trifle bowl

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Forget instant pudding mixes. When it comes to homey, comforting, old-fashioned desserts, nothing beats a perfect pudding from scratch. You may think of pudding as a treat for kids but never underestimate its potential. Doctored with toppings, layered with whipped cream and cookies, or tweaked with liqueurs, you can easily transform pudding into a grown-up treat. Browse our recipe collection of the best homemade puddings, from classics like chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, and pistachio, to pumpkin spice and even roses. You'll also find excellent egg-free and dairy-free vegan puddings, plus budget-friendly rice puddings. Get your spoons ready.

  • 01 of 14

    Classic Vanilla Pudding

    Classic vanilla pudding

    The Spruce

    If you have only ever eaten vanilla pudding from a mix, this perfect vanilla pudding recipe is here to blow your mind. It is a creamy, classic, no-fuss, no-bake dessert that you can make on your stovetop, with only five ingredients you probably have in the pantry. Enjoy it for a treat all on its own, top it with crumbled cookies, or add it into cakes, trifles, and even doughnuts.

  • 02 of 14

    Butterscotch Pudding

    Butterscotch pudding

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Old-fashioned butterscotch pudding made from scratch is like a bowlful of happy childhood memories. Made from egg yolks, milk, and cream, with a rich, thick custard tasting of brown sugar and butter, the pudding comes together in a snap on your stovetop. Top it for serving with fluffy whipped cream, toasted coconut shreds, or a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

  • 03 of 14

    Banana Pudding

    Banana pudding

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Kids and adults alike go bananas for this delicious and deeply comforting banana pudding dessert. The beloved American treat is nearly impossible to resist, with luscious layers of instant vanilla pudding, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla wafers, whipped cream, and sliced bananas. Assemble it in a glass serving dish to show off the attractive layers for a winning dessert.

  • 04 of 14

    Pistachio Pudding

    Pistachio pudding

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Pistachio pudding is thick, rich, and delicious, with an elegant look that makes it the perfect make-ahead dessert for guests. It is made with ground pistachios, which are added to basic stovetop pudding ingredients to create its beautiful color and nutty flavor. The pudding is blended before chilling and serving for a fluffy, thickened texture. Top with more chopped nuts for a sophisticated presentation.

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  • 05 of 14

    Instant Pot Rice Pudding

    Instant pot rice pudding

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Rice pudding is a comforting, warming, homestyle dessert that always hits the spot on cold or rainy days. Use the Instant Pot for a fuss-free rice pudding that includes common pantry ingredients and cooks to perfection in an amazing five minutes (but be sure to plan on an extra 20 minutes for pressure buildup and release). You can decorate it with your choice of raisins, dried cherries, or cranberries, or leave out the dried fruit for a smoother taste.

  • 06 of 14

    Cinnamon and Date Chia Pudding

    Cinnamon and Date Chia Pudding

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Superfood chia seeds plump up nicely in liquid, making them a fun textural addition to velvety smooth puddings. This dessert combines chia seeds with dairy-free almond milk, honey, vanilla paste, ground cinnamon, and sweet, chopped, medjool dates, for a rich, sweet, irresistibly good-for-you treat.

  • 07 of 14

    Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

    Old-fashioned chocolate pudding

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    What's not to love about rich and creamy chocolate pudding? You'll love this wholesome, old-fashioned chocolate pudding recipe that makes a wonderful, chilled treat for the kids, with or without a whipped cream topping. You can also easily transform it into a special treat for grown-ups by stirring in a spoonful or two of liqueur; try an Irish cream or Cointreau.

  • 08 of 14

    Lemon Pudding

    Lemon pudding

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    When it's too much trouble to bake up a lemon meringue pie, satisfy a lemon dessert craving with this quick and easy lemon pudding. It's full of zingy citrus flavor, thanks to both lemon juice and zest. For an even sweeter version, try making it with Meyer lemons, which are at their seasonal peak from November through January. Top with berries and whipped cream for an elegant, all-season dessert.

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  • 09 of 14

    Spiced Pumpkin Pudding

    Spiced pumpkin pudding

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Celebrate pumpkin spice season at any time of year with this scrumptious pumpkin pudding that includes real pumpkin puree. It tastes a whole lot like a pumpkin pie without the crust and will fill your kitchen with the wonderful spicy scent while it bakes in your oven.

  • 10 of 14

    Malabi Rose Water Milk Pudding

    Malabi rose water milk pudding

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Talk about an elegant dessert. This light, silky custard flavored with exotic rose water has a beautiful fragrance and a pretty pink color. The flower-scented pudding is topped with sweet syrup and nuts, or shredded coconut if you prefer, for a showstopping ending to Middle Eastern-themed meals.

  • 11 of 14

    Vegan Coconut Pudding

    Vegan coconut pudding

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Vegan coconut pudding is an ideal ending to a meatless meal with Thai or Caribbean flavors or a delicious lunch-box treat for vegan kids. You need only four basic pantry items to whip it up, and it comes together in 10 minutes on the stovetop, with an hour (at least) of chill time in the fridge.

  • 12 of 14

    Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Sticky toffee pudding

    Diana Miller / Getty Images 

    Sticky toffee pudding is one of Britain's most loved puddings. With its signature dark, rich, date-filled sponge, and thick and sticky toffee sauce topping, it is the ultimate traditional Christmas pudding to serve with ice cream or custard. It freezes well, too, for a make-ahead holiday dessert.

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  • 13 of 14

    Arroz Con Dulce

    Arroz con dulce (Puerto Rican rice pudding)

    The Spruce

    Arroz con dulce is a sweet Puerto Rican rice pudding traditionally served for Christmas dessert. Creamy, studded with golden raisins and coconut flakes, and nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, it makes a fragrant treat any time you find yourself craving a warm, comforting dessert.

  • 14 of 14

    Dairy-Free Vegan Chocolate Pudding

    Dairy-Free vegan chocolate pudding

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Instead of eggs, this divinely rich and decadent vegan chocolate pudding uses cornstarch to thicken the mixture, and almond milk stands in for the dairy. The result is a luscious, creamy, chocolaty pudding that's dairy free, egg free, and healthier than your average dessert. Cook up a batch on the stove for an after-school treat or a virtuous alternative to chocolate mousse. Fancy it up easily with dark chocolate shavings, sliced strawberries, or shredded coconut.