Our quest for the perfect vanilla pudding led us here. Afterwards we discovered that most vanilla pudding recipes are very similar. We like this best when making Banana Pudding Cups with vanilla wafers.


  • 3 cups half and half

  • ½ - 3/4 cup sugar (depending on use and taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, separated, use yolks (use whites for Swiss meringue)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (see chef note* for measuring)
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons of fresh unsalted cold butter, cut up, for shine and richness


Heat the milk over medium heat to simmer. Meantime, beat egg yolks with sugar until thickened slightly; add cornstarch and beat until color is pale yellow. Add a cup or so of the warm milk to eggs to temper the eggs (warm them slowly); then stir all egg mixture into warm milk whisking quickly. Bring mixture to a false boil while stirring; it will bubble but should not go to full boil. Instead when the mixture is thick and two or three bubbles break the surface it is ready to remove from the heat. At this point push pudding through a fine mesh strainer and add the vanilla, with the butter, if using.

*To measure cornstarch, lightly spoon into measuring spoon and level off with straight edge without packing.


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