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.
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 available here.
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 MondaysRate Recipe
For Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups instant clear jel
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups instant clear jel
- 2 cups dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 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.
- 3/4 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:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Pour 2 cups of cold milk into a mixing bowl and add the appropriate amount of vanilla extract. Sprinkle 3/4 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.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
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Made this last night, had to put extra milk to get it to the consistence that we like. Hubby Loves it and so don’t I.
I haven’t actually made this but was wondering if I could use the instant pudding in cookie recipes. I used to use the vanilla hersheys instant pudding in my cookies but they discontinued them and none of the others I’ve tried have been right.
Hi Ashley- I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be worth a shot!
Hilary Reed says
Hi. I was wondering if anyone has yet attempted a butterscotch variation. Thanks 🙂
That clear gel is produced in a place that also produces wheat products. This is not truly gluten free. Not for those with celiacs.
Hey there- if you find a certified gf substitute for the clear gel, please let us know!
jill caddy says
HI I HAVE MADE VANILLA MIX HAVE ADDED SUSTAGEN POWDER TO GIVE IT THE CHOCOLATE FLAVOUR & IT IS YUMM ALSO HAS VITAMINS & MINERALS FOR US OLDIES.. THANKS FOR YOUR INSTANT PUDDING POWDER MIX….KIND REGARDS JILL
That’s great idea, Jill! Thanks so much for letting me know that idea!
I am on a permanent puree diet and looking for easy way for pudding , and this is what been looking for.. I have made the cook version of homemade recipe with ensure liquid in place of milk and its awsome..I have very limited food intake with the diet I am restricted to.. so this is great change for me to tweak for treat.. and still get my nutrition I need 🙂
I’m so glad you love it, Charlene!
I will try this. I’ve been searching for a thickener to make my own pudding. I make my own sweetener, Healthy Sweet™, diabetic friendly, altho I’m not – so I’ve been wanting to make both a hot choc mix [ I DID IT YESTERDAY!!!!! 5.27.21] after a year of trying off and on. Although cornstarch is not in my stomach’s list of foods it like to see inside it, I’ll try it and probably try to find something else too.
But mostly, it was a FUN DELIGHT to read this article! I RARELy read the article, just get to the recipe, But this was actually a deliciously fun read.
Well, I see Hoosier Farms makes a heavy cream powder. That might be interesting to add like a T to the pudding mix to make it creamy. But there’s also oligofructose, which is inulin, a thickener. [think chicory root fiber]
Jo Lafitte says
Any idea on how to make a sugar free pudding?
Hi Jo- I haven’t tried making this sugar free myself, but I think some folks in the comments section have discussed making some alterations to the recipe to make it sugar free. I’d recommend reading through to see what they suggest. 🙂
Hi there! I would like to use this in a passover cake, and unfortunately the “instant clear jel” is essentially cornstarch, and it turns out corn (and corn-derived products) are not kosher for passover! So I’m wondering if there’s anything I can use as a substitute for the clear jel? Perhaps tapioca starch? Would it be 1-1 substitution? Would I need to add anything else like vegan gelatin? Thanks in advance for your help!
Hi Katia! I’m sorry to say that I’m not sure if there’s an instant-type sub for instant clear jel. Is it specifically instant pudding you’re looking to replicate or just homemade pudding? If homemade pudding is the goal, but instant doesn’t matter, this recipe is super easy! This vegan pudding recipe is almost instant (but uses silken tofu in place of anything like cornstarch or gelatin…)
there is, there is, I just have to find it.
I’m trying to find something that isn’t cornstarch, tapioca or flour. and is instant. So xanthan won’t work, it takes up to 10 min for xanthan to fully hydrate. agar HAS to be boiled to set. instant pudding has milk protein concentrate in it. 🙁 I want to stay away from that if possible.
We all need to research thickeners.
Thanks for the recipes. I discovered that I could use yogurt with store-bought instant pudding mix to make pudding with probiotics. I don’t want to kill the probiotics with heat and I want to try making my own mix at home, so this recipe excites me. I was hoping to buy a small quantity of the instant gelling agent locally just for a test before I buy a large container…but none sold Instant ClearJel near me. I can easily get instant pectin and gelatin, so I wonder if the instant pectin would work similarly to the recipe here? Or perhaps I could heat the gelatin in the microwave with yogurt whey and then mix back into the rest of the strained yogurt? If anyone has tried instant pectin or minimally heated gelatin to make yogurt please share.
Michelle M. says
Hi. I was wondering if I could omit the salt? Or is it required for the chemistry of the recipe?
I do low sodium for my husband due to a health condition, and this is a fantastic recipe if I can omit or drastically reduce the salt. Thanks!
You certainly can but it might taste flat!! Maybe just add a fraction of the amount. ❤️❤️
What or where would you get clear help
Hi Laura- I get instant clear gel from my local Amish bulk foods place, but I think Amazon has it as well!
Justine Holmes says
I’d love to try this! Sounds awesome! Could you use a sugar free substitute such as erythritol or monk fruit? TIA
Hi Justine! I imagine that would work, but that’s based on guesswork since I don’t have any real experience with erythritol or monk fruit. If you give it a go, please let me know how it works out for you!
Rachell Marie Grassman says
Can I add strawberry powder and vanilla powder to make strawberry pudding mix and vanilla pudding mix? If so, what quantities would you recommend?
Hi Rachell- That sounds delicious. Unfortunately, I have not tried that, so I cannot give you quantities. If you decide to give it a go, please let me know how it works out for you.
If a made from scratch cake seemed dry ‘could you add this as an instant pudding in the mix for moisture and how much, i e what exact ingredients for a dry instant pudding for one cake.
Hi Parker- I do believe this would work, but have not tried it personally! Let me know how it works out for you if you give it a go.
I use the store bought instant pudding mix to make a stabilized whip cream. I make the instant pudding with jus 1 cup milk and then add in 1 box cool whip. The final product is a firm whipping cream which i then use for decorating my cakes.
But I recently came to know that the store bought instant pudding mix has some kind of meat product. For some religious reasons I can’t use the store bought ones now.
My question to you is can i use this recipe of instant pudding mix the exact same way I have been using with cool whip?
Hi Tanzeel- I’m not sure, as I’ve never tried that. If you do give it a go, please let me know how it works out for you. Best of luck.
Thank you for this recipe!! Would you recommend using vanilla pods to infuse the flavor into the pudding mix instead of using vanilla extract? If yes, how many vanilla pods should I use based on your recipe? I do hope to get a reply from you!
Hi Myrah- You’re welcome to do that! I haven’t tried it personally, so I don’t know how much you’d want to you, but you’re welcome to play around a bit with it! xoxo