Easy Egg-Free Vanilla Pudding

This recipe is my modified version of Mark Bittman’s Vanilla Pudding.

You might find it easy to believe that egg-thickened custards are vastly superior to puddings made with corn starch ( I use tapioca starch). But while they are generally richer and — if made well — considerably more delicate, there are few desserts more enjoyable than a good panna cotta or chocolate pudding, neither of which contains eggs.

Yield 4 servings
20 minutes, plus chilling (but it tastes great warm too)

Puddings thickened with cornstarch are dead easy — practically foolproof, in fact — and fairly quick. Start with half-and-half (or even cream), or at least whole milk. You can thicken skim milk if you like, but that’s like thickening water. Dessert, after all, is supposed to be a luxury.


2 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole organic milk
1/3 cup organic sugar (rapudura or honey) or even a little less and it will still be sweet enough
Pinch of sea salt
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons organic tapioca starch
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, softened (optional but really it makes it delicious)

  1. Put 2 cups of half-and-half or milk, sugar and salt in a small or medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. If using a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into milk or half-and-half using small sharp knife, then add pod. Cook just until mixture begins to steam.
  2. Combine tapioca and remaining milk or half-and-half in a bowl and blend; there should be no lumps. Fish pod from pot and discard. Add tapioca  mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick. Stir in butter and vanilla extract, if using.
  3. Pour mixture into a 1-quart dish or 4 to 6 small ramekins or bowls. Put plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent formation of a skin, or do not cover if you like skin. Refrigerate until chilled, and serve within a day, with whipped cream if you like.

To make chocolate pudding, shave or finely chop 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate. Stir into pudding with the butter.


The information and opinions expressed on this website, Lisa’s Counter Culture, and all related notes, workshops, coaching and other products, are intended for informational purposes only. Lisa’s Counter Culture does not claim responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the information presented herein.

This information is not meant to replace medical advice of any kind. The information presented herein has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Full medical clearance from a licensed physician should be obtained before beginning or modifying any diet, exercise, or lifestyle program.

This website contains “affiliate links” where appropriate. Lisa’s Counter Culture earns a small commission or referral fee on your purchase. This has no effect on your price. The income earned help maintain and support this website and free content. The content on this site is copyright of Lisa’s Counter Culture and no part of any article or image should be used without express, written permission of the author.