Homemade No-Cook Instant Pudding Mix | Make Ahead Mondays

Homemade Chocolate and Vanilla No-Cook Instant Pudding Mix from Foodie with Family

We are on the tail end of a two week tour of our household by the flu. The only person who has -thus far- remained unscathed is my germaphobe husband. Don’t get me wrong, I am the original Purell poster girl, but next to me, my hubby is Howard Hughes. The poor guy looks like a man on death row awaiting his fate. He jumps at the rattle of every cough (which means he’s been getting quite a cardiovascular workout lately.) He’s been bravely facing his fate, making runs to the store for more boxes of tissues, whipping together dinner for his furniture jockey crew, delivering, “Hey! It’s been five days! I bet you’ll be feeling great soon! Can I throw an ibuprofen to you from over here?” pep talks, and sitting on the couch with his tuberculoid family with barely a deer-in-the-headlight look in his eyes.

It’s been anything-goes on television here. The kids have been glutting themselves on Phineas and Ferb, Little Bill (the little guys), Full Metal Alchemist (the big guys), and recorded episodes of Monk, Nova, and Star Trek. (Wavin’ the nerd flag even when sick. Holla!) And food? Oh gosh. Let’s just say that letting my eleven year old mix up a box of instant chocolate pudding for himself sounded like a perfectly reasonable lunch option for a few days especially if it meant I could remain in my chair with a blanket pulled up under my chin. The boxed instant pudding ran out pretty quickly because I don’t stock much of that (two box maximum is my usual count). We prefer homemade cooked pudding for both flavour and nutritive (HA!) value. Look. I know I’ll never win a parenting award for feeding my kids pudding, so I pretend that homemade is enough better for you that it cancels out anything I’m doing wrong. Yes? Anyone?

But I was saying we ran out of instant pudding. TRAGEDY! And my husband had just come home from a tissue procuring mission and retreated to the home-office germ-free fortress. HORRORS! And the kids were hungry and wanted pudding. And I wanted my blankie and chair. So I did what any insane woman would do. I got up and whipped together homemade instant pudding mix. The first iteration of it didn’t go over so well. They said there was a funny after-taste. I -who could taste NOTHING ANYWAY- had to take their word for it. Take two went much more smoothly. In fact, the one child I have who DOESN’T like pudding (to which I say, what have I done wrong?) actually liked it. In fact, he ate his own serving and part of someone else’s serving, too.

Homemade Chocolate and Vanilla No-Cook Instant Pudding from Foodie with Family

There were two mixes I made for the kids: chocolate and vanilla. Almost to a man, they preferred the vanilla with one hold out for the chocolate. Howard Hughes, er, my husband, also preferred the chocolate.

How did I get a pudding texture with no cooking? I used instant clear jel. (Please note, this is an affiliate link.)

Have you used this stuff before? It’s seriously fun. It is a modified corn starch (and thus gluten-free!) that does not require heat to thicken liquids. It’s most commonly used in fresh berry pies or fruit glazes. Mmmmm… Fresh strawberry pie! It can be used to thicken gravies, sauces and stews, too. When you’re using it in a cold application (like a drink, berry pie, or this pudding) the key is to whisk it into other dry ingredients -like sugar- before combining it with the liquid you want to thicken. This prevents clumping in the final product. If you do end up with clumping, all is not lost, though. You can save the day by tossing everything in the blender and whizzing it together or using a stick-blender to bust up the lumps. When it’s fully hydrated, it yields a silky smooth, soft gelled product.

Naturally, the final product is going to be different than the boxed instant pudding… It’s lighter in texture, in fact, it’s almost fluffy and mousse like. The vanilla pudding is milk white and the chocolate is almost speckly looking because of the lack of artificial food colouring. If you want it to look closer to its storebought counterpart, you can add a drop of yellow food dye to the vanilla and a drop of brown to the chocolate.

One final word before I get on with giving you the recipe. Aside from the fact that I was thrilled to be able to avoid going out in the blowing cold with tissues stuffed up my nose to buy boxed pudding mix for my kids, I’m wicked excited about this no-cook instant pudding mix for another reason; my nieces and nephew have some fierce food sensitivities including gluten. My sister, Jessamine, has spent years making everything from scratch for her kids to avoid ingredients that would make them sick. While that’s just fine most of the time, when she’s feeling poorly or her oven is on the fritz (both of which were true this past week), it is nice to have a couple of go-to convenience items. I can’t even wait to shove a big quart jar of this with directions written on a card into her paws the next time I see her. The pudding is naturally gluten-free, being made with modified corn starch but can also easily be mixed up with coconut, soy, almond, or rice milk to yield a deliciously creamy dairy-free, vegan pudding. I’m having fun picturing my nieces and nephew sitting down to a bowl of homemade instant pudding. Sometimes it’s the little things…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear my husband mumbling something about a Spruce Goose…

Homemade No-Cook Instant Pudding Mix | Make Ahead Mondays
Easy to put together and just as easy to turn into pudding, this dry Homemade Instant No-Cook Pudding Mix is a pantry friendly staple that stores for up to a year at room temperature. This mix is a wonderful homemade alternative to its storebought counterpart, is gluten-free and can be prepared to be dairy-free and vegan with coconut, almond, soy, or rice milk.
For Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups instant clear jel
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups instant clear jel
  • 2 cups dutch process cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
To Prepare Pudding:
  • 2 cups of milk (Whole, 2%, 1% or Fat-free Cow's milk, Goat milk, Coconut, Soy, Almond or Rice milk.)
  • ¾ cup pudding mix
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (for the vanilla) or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (for the chocolate.)
To Make Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix:
  1. Add the granulated sugar, instant clear jel, and salt to the carafe of a blender. Fix the lid firmly in place and blend on high for about 30 seconds, or until the ingredients are completely mixed and finely powdered. Let the contents rest about 5 minutes before transferring to canning jars or airtight containers with tight fitting lids. I use a spoon to transfer the mix to prevent powder going POUF in the air.
To Make Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix:
  1. Add the granulated sugar, instant clear jel and salt to the carafe of a blender. Fix the lid firmly in place and blend on high for about 30 seconds, or until the ingredients are completely mixed and finely powdered. Let the contents rest about 5 minutes before removing the lid and adding the dutch process cocoa powder. Replace the lid tightly and blend on high for about 15 seconds, or until the mixture is a uniform colour. Let the contents rest about 5 minutes before transferring to canning jars or airtight containers with tight fitting lids. I use a spoon to transfer the mix to prevent powder going POUF in the air.
  2. Store the mix in the airtight containers in a cool, dark place for up to a year. A cabinet or basement shelf should work well.
To Make Pudding from Either Mix:
  1. Pour 2 cups of cold milk into a mixing bowl and add the appropriate amount of vanilla extract. Sprinkle ¾ of a cup of mix over the top and whisk in thoroughly until thickened. If you are having trouble with clumping, you can either pour the contents into a blender and blend on medium until smooth or use a stick blender to break up the lumps and smooth the mixture. It will be soft set immediately, but improves in flavour and texture if it is allowed to rest (with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface) for at least 30 minutes.
If the pudding is too soft set, you can add extra pudding mix, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it thickens to your liking.

Oh! And before I go, I want to invite each of you to a Twitter party sponsored by Land O’Lakes tomorrow evening from 8-9pmEST. It will be co-hosted by Amber, from the Land O’Lakes test kitchen and yours truly. We will be talking about recipes from the Big Game Collection for the upcoming Super Bowl, sharing tips for entertaining a crowd, and giving away prizes. All you have to do to participate is tweet using the hashtag #CheeseChatter during that timeframe and you’ll be entered to win one of several prize packages that will include:

  • One Mario Batali pizza stone
  • One bamboo cutting board
  • One six-inch gourmet chef’s knife
  • Set of four canapé plates
  • One reusable refrigerated grocery bag
  • One high-value Land O’Lakes deli cheese coupon

I hope to see you all there! For more information on how to participate, click here!


    • says

      Thank you, Liz! It’s fun to be able to have these fast things even with dietary restrictions, isn’t it? And geez… pudding is just plain yummy any way you make it!

  1. Rena says

    you are a great writer! loved this post and recipe. and im honored to be posting a comment below 2 of my fav food bloggers!!

  2. Soliegh says

    Sooooo, this probably would not work without the clear gel OR the pudding mix, right?? I think it’s a good idea, and I maybe will be able to use both, based on what happened last time I tried to make pudding from scratch…..But still…. ?

    • says

      Hi Ellen. Instant clear jel actually is the brand name. I have bought it through my local Amish bulk foods place, a health food coop in the city, and amazon.com. There is an affiliate link to instant clear jel in the body of the post above. If you click on that, it will take you to amazon where you can order it and have it shipped to you. (Full disclosure: I am an Amazon.com affiliate and I receive compensation for referring people to their site.)

  3. Chandra says

    I love you! Having a hard time with milk, I nearly gave up on having pudding without an asthma attack. Now I can enjoy what I love :)

  4. CJ says

    Modified corn starch is GMO (genetically modified organisms) try to find non-GMO stuff to feed yourself and your families!

  5. S. Harris says

    I’m wondering, would the mixing instructions/amounts really be the same for both the vanilla and the chocolate mix? The chocolate mix would seem to have less clear gel per cup because of the added cocoa powder. Maybe it works out okay but before I mix up a batch of this I wanted to be sure. Thanks for the great recipe. I buy the packaged stuff all the time and feel so guilty about it so I’m super excited to try these recipes! Quick chocolate cream pie: here I come!

  6. Amber says

    Just wondering if this would work as a replacement for baking recipes that call for pudding mix- ie: Amish Friendship bread. What do you think? Thanks!

  7. Harvey says

    Since my wife is on the perpetual diet, is there a way to make this recipe with Truvia or some other natural sugar substitute, and what would the conversion be like.

    • says

      Well, Harvey, I’m sure there’s a way because there are sugar free instant puddings at the store, I’m just not familiar with the conversion factor on it. If you play with it, please do come back here and leave your results so other folks with similar questions can check in!

  8. Shelly says

    I need the pudding mix for a healthy brownie that I make but need it soy free. I’m just not sure when you say to store the mix up to a year, is it already premix with the jel. Don’t know if I over looked that.

  9. Meg says

    Hi Rebecca- thank you for the wonderful recipe! Yum! I’m sorry to ask question #582, because this is about as thorough a post on pudding as you can get :), but- do you think Knox clear gelatin could be used in place of the clearjel? (I can’t find an allergen free brand of the clearjel). Thanks so much for any tips.

    • says

      Hi Meg! Don’t apologize for a good question! Gelatin would not work here because it’s a completely different product, unfortunately. Gelatin requires heat and a solution to set items, Instant Clearjel is a modified food starch made of corn. I’m sorry!

  10. Eric Schwartz says

    Hi Rebecca, Thank you for posting the recipe. I have a question though maybe you could help with. I have a recipe that calls for one store bought 3.9oz instant chocolate pudding mix to be added (dry powder added to the other ingredients) would you advise substituting 3.9 of your “Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix” in place of the store bought pudding mix, If not what ratio.

    • Eric Schwartz says

      I did some reading about the instant clear gel… it says for making cold products. the prior comment I made about using it in another recipe requires baking the final mix for 25 minutes at 325 degrees. So with that in mind, perhaps your homemade replacement recipe is not a proper replacement for the store bought kind for my needs? Please advise.

      Double thank you, (because I forget to say thank you in my prior post 😉 )


  11. Mel says

    Well, if your recipe requires a cooked pudding, I guess this is not the right one (look for cooked puddings then, there are plenty of recipes, a good looking one with a homemade pre-mix is here:
    Otherwise – fresh – take milk, vanilla, starch and sugar, add egg yolk if you like for colour and creaminess (add egg white for even getting more fluffy) – as simple as that! (I always struggle to remember how much starch – a tablespoon on a liter maybe? – the rest to taste). (Mix dry ingredients with a little bit of milk, mix egg yolk (and white?) with a bit of milk if using. Heat milk in a pot, add dry ingredients to hot milk while whisking, add egg yolk mix while whisking. When thickening, take off heat and eat hot or let cool to set) This is rough-cut, but that’s how I do fresh vanilla pudding.

    However, if your recipe requires a non-cooked one, it should be alright, because all the non-cooked puddings are obviously made with cold-gelling agents (however, there are many different ones).

    In doubt, try out :)

    And I always find it amusingly irritating, when these old fashioned temperature units are used when I search internationally *lol 325 degrees will burn anything to death, then I have to guess the webpage is based in the US and funny units such as Fahrenheit are used (325 Celcius would be 617 Fahrenheit). Either way, good luck with the pudding hunt!
    Thanks for this cold-gelling pudding recipe – it is FAN-(<-me is a fan now)-tastic (and now I need to find the thickener – modified starch for cold-gelling – should be feasible).

  12. Doug Williams says

    I guess my blender must be old and the ingredients didn’t mix well so I put all the ingredients through a fine mesh strainer and then mixed it well with a wire whisk. The first time I made the pudding I used 2 cups cold whole milk and the 3/4 cup mix as the recipe calls for. The result was very thick, like mashed potatoes that had been in the fridge overnight. The next time, I used 2 cups cold whole milk and 1/2 cup of the mix. The result was much better and the pudding had the consistency of mousse or stiff peak whipped cream and I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased with the ‘mouth feel’ of it!!! Next time I’ll try using 1/2 cup mix and adding 1-2 Tbsp more of the mix just to see the end product comes out with a more pudding like consistency. In the mean time, I must say I really did like the mousse result!!!

  13. Barbara Dawn says

    Hi Rebecca. I am going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2015 (a 5 to 6 month hike) and wanted to take instant pudding as a treat. However, I don’t like the taste of the boxed kind. When I found your recipe I was very excited to try it. I made some up this morning, and it is definitely going with me on the trail! I used Nido milk powder, since I will be adding water, and it worked just fine.
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  14. KareninStLouis says

    Is there a reason we can’t just use powdered/confectioners sugar? If so, how much? Thank you.

    • says

      The confectioner’s sugar contains cornstarch which will change the overall consistency. You’re welcome to try it, but I haven’t tested it, so I couldn’t really say how much you should use for similar results to what I have here.

  15. Dinah says

    I also am looking for a sugar-free version – I expect a lot of folks are these days. I am willing to experiment a bit, but could someone kick-start me? as I am not a cook at all. Which sugar substitute(s) should I try? I will post results.

    • says

      Hi Dinah- I’m afraid I’m not going to be a whole ton of help there as I don’t use sugar substitutes. I’ve used different sugars like coconut sugar, date sugar, and raw sugar and been happy, but I’m assuming what you’re going for is a non-sugar option, right? I don’t know if I’d go all in on a whole batch but maybe try a small batch with Stevia in the raw? (Disclaimer: I have NOT tried this and have no idea whether it will work!)

  16. MaryLinda says

    Dinah, I haven’t made this recipe yet because I don’t have the instant ClearJel, but I plan to use a sugar alternative due to my husband’s diabetes. Since it is not a cooked pudding I would try Stevia, (my favorite is Stevia in the Raw), or erythritol, (Swerve). Both measure 1:1 like sugar. Both are healthier than sugar substitutes and I think they taste better too! Please post the results of your trials. I feel sure others are also interested.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: