The Best Homemade German Vanilla and Chocolate Pudding

Originally posted October 23, 2015. Revised and updated October 31, 2016.

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If you take a look back at your childhood, I am pretty sure there are certain dishes that will come to mind, some things you just loved as well as some recipes you couldn’t stand.

Homemade pudding is simple to make, and you'll love the delicious results. We share the recipe for both chocolate and vanilla versions:

This creamy vanilla pudding is definitely one of the dishes that fills my memories. On cold days I liked to enjoy it right away, while it was still warm and soft. But it’s also worth waiting a couple of hours to consume it chilled. In that case, a nice fruit compote or syrup would be an amazing addition!

What could be better than a creamy, real vanilla or chocolate flavored milk pudding on a rainy day in the fall? Whether warm and soft or cold and firm, enjoy this delicious homemade dessert whenever you’re craving some sweet comfort food. Read on and indulge in this special treat today! Get the recipe here:

Fresh fruit or berries, chocolate flakes, caramel sauce, or some whipped cream would be fantastic too. And spices like ground cinnamon or orange zest add a nice twist.

Vanilla Pudding with Tea |

The term “pudding” itself has different meanings in different countries. Here in Germany it describes this special dessert, a cream that consists of milk, vanilla or chocolate, and starch to thicken it. You can spoon it right from the bowl or chill it in a mold for a fancy look. Italy has a similar luscious dessert, called budino.

In Great Britain, the term can describe something entirely different.

Do you know Yorkshire pudding? It is not even a dessert, but a traditional savory pastry served with roast chicken or beef.

The Scots serve so-called black puddings, really hearty recipes made of blood and spices.

There is also a sweet Christmas pudding (sometimes called figgy pudding, if it has fig content). It is steamed and contains dried fruits, nuts, syrup, seasonal spices, and alcohol. It has an intense flavor and is extremely long-lasting, as a result of the cooking process.

As you can see, although Christmas pudding is a sweet dish, it is not quite comparable to my favorite kind of milky dessert. This type of pudding became popular when starch products were developed that allowed the dish to be chilled in a mold.

Skip the boxed powder packets and make this German-style pudding from scratch, with real chocolate or vanilla. Get the recipe:

Here’s the best thing about this recipe:

You can adjust the following basic guidelines almost completely to suit your tastes or needs.

For example, do you suffer from lactose intolerance or other food allergies?

Chocolate and Vanilla German-Style Pudding |

Use soy milk or – what I believe is even tastier and suitable for just about everyone – almond or coconut milk. These alternatives will give your dish a more distinct flavor as well. Add some chopped nuts or small fruit chunks for a more varied texture, and just leave the whipped cream aside.

Or, maybe I can get you interested in another version?

Chocolate Pudding with Walnuts |

Replace the vanilla with about a cup of dark or milk chocolate chunks, and leave them to melt in the milk. Then proceed as directed. Choc-o-licious!

The Recipe

German Vanilla Pudding for Dessert |
Homemade German Vanilla & Chocolate Pudding
Votes: 10
Rating: 4.9
Rate this recipe!
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German Vanilla Pudding for Dessert |
Homemade German Vanilla & Chocolate Pudding
Votes: 10
Rating: 4.9
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups milk, (may substitute non-dairy almond, soy, coconut)
  • 1 vanilla bean sub 1 cup of chocolate chunks for a chocolate version
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sugar to taste
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg* separated
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  1. Mix the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons milk and beat until completely smooth, without any lumps. Up to 2/3 cup cornstarch can be used if you plan to use dessert molds, since a thicker mixture will help with the unmolding.
  2. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut the remaining pod in half cross-wise.
  3. Add the remaining milk to a saucepan along with the sugar, salt, vanilla pulp and the pod. Place on the stove over high heat.
  4. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the stove and add the starch mixture while stirring constantly.
  5. Put the pan back on the stove over high heat, and wait until it starts bubbling once more and the milk thickens.
  6. Remove from the heat immediately and take out the vanilla pod.
  7. Thoroughly stir in the egg yolk and leave to cool until lukewarm. You can whisk the mixture regularly or cover with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin as it cools.
  8. Whisk the egg white and the cream separately until stiff. Fold in both ingredients one after the other and transfer the pudding into a fresh bowl, or into small jars or ramekins.
  9. Enjoy it straight away or refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
Recipe Notes


*You can also make this recipe egg-free. The yolk provides a nice yellow color and the stiff white loosens up the cream nicely, but it isn't necessary. If you do include the egg, keep in mind that the shelf life of your pudding will be a bit shorter than if you left it out.

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Combine Milk and Cornstarch

Mix the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of the milk, and stir until no lumps are left.

Whether you choose to flavor it with vanilla or chocolate, you'll love this homemade German-style pudding. And it takes just a few minutes to cook up a batch on the stove! Click for the recipe:

If you’re planning to chill the pudding in a fancy mold for presentation at the table, you’ll need to add some more cornstarch in order to be able to remove it from the mold, and to allow it to retain its shape. Increasing the total amount to 2/3 cup should suffice.

Step 2 – Add Vanilla (or Chocolate)

Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod. Pour the remaining milk into a saucepan, and add the sugar, salt, the vanilla seeds, and the pod.

Flavored with real vanilla, this homemade German-style pudding is a sweet treat that you don't want to miss! Get the recipe:

Place over high heat, stirring occasionally.

If you’d like to make a chocolate version instead, simply add the chocolate to the milk instead of the vanilla, and let it melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk.

Combine Chocolate with Milk to Flavor Pudding |

Then proceed with the instructions as described.

Step 3 – Thicken

As soon as the milk mixture comes to a boil, take the saucepan off the stove and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Continue stirring until the pudding starts to thicken.

This German-style pudding is cooked on the stove, then transferred to pretty molds and chilled before serving. Get the recipe:

Put the pan back on the stove on very low heat and keep stirring until the pudding starts bubbling again.

Step 4 – Pour into Molds

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour into small jars, ramekins, or nice molds. Leave to cool for a couple of hours in the fridge – or enjoy straight from the jar while still warm.

German-style vanilla pudding shaped in pretty molds makes a sweet ending to any meal. Get the recipe:

For the best results, rinse your molds with cold water before filling. Or you could even coat them first with some chocolate or vanilla syrup, for a classy look.

Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours until form, then turn carefully onto dessert plates when you’re ready to serve.

Whether you choose to make chocolate or vanilla, you're going to love this homemade German-style pudding. We share the recipe:

Want more German desserts? If you are looking for cute cookies to serve at your next party, use my recipe for Amerikaner cookie cakes, and decorate them as you wish!

If you love creamy puddings, we have some dreamy recipes to share with you:

Do you have any ideas to really “foo foo” up this recipe? Share your tips with other readers in the comment section below.

Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

29 thoughts on “The Best Homemade German Vanilla and Chocolate Pudding”

  1. Man, it’s been such a long time since I had pudding! I like the idea of chocolate pudding, though it sounds a bit boring and uninspiring to me since I see a lot of it wherever I go. If I could, I would like to suggest boiling different flavor teas in the milk and chilling it before turning it into pudding to add a unique flavor. I was experimenting with boiling dessert flavor teas in whole milk before chilling it so I could use it in an ice cream maker. I had teas like Maple Apple and White Chocolate Mocha that made it much more interesting than the recipes that came with the machine.

    • Thank you for this inspiration, I really like that idea! And it offers so many opportunities to try out the most different flavors. I will definitely keep this in mind for the next time I’m serving it.

  2. Thank God it is almost Christmas again, time for all those delicious puddings! When the family get together they always try out something new and there is always a large selection to choose from. I love the look of this recipe, especially the chocolate one. It looks so decadent and delicious. My mouth is watering! I am going to have to test this recipe quite soon.

    • You’re right, the dish fits right into season. And chocolate is always a winner for me, too. I am just not able to refuse any chocolatey dessert one would serve me 😉

  3. Me and my family love puddings. I ‘ve eaten a lot of puddings but this is best. I can’t stop eating it and you can prepared it on so many ways.

  4. There are large hearts in my eyes right now, if only you could see them. Pudding isn’t a very big thing here in the Philippines, but boy, I bet I’d eat a lot if it were. I’m so tempted to try this recipe at home!! Maybe introduce it into the family tradition, aye?

    • Great idea, why not? I’d be happy to have given you the right inspiration for a new dessert-tradition 😉 Good luck and enjoy it!

  5. This dessert looks amazing! I come from the Caribbean and we have a similar dish in many of the Spanish speaking islands. It is called Flan, and the recipe is similar to the one here. The 2 main differences I observed were that Flan does not have starch, and that it is cooked in a pan that goes inside another pan of boiling water. The rest is the same. I would sure love to try this recipe, specially the chocolate version since I’m a chocolate lover at heart.

    • I have heard of Flan before, although I haven’t tried it yet. You’re right, the way of preparation is a bit different. I think a Flan is mainly kept together by the eggs that are used and thicken in the boiling water, right? I will have to try that soon because I think it is also a wonderful creamy dessert, too. Meanwhile, you can try the pudding 🙂

  6. The texture and the ingredients of this dessert make it so far removed from any recipe for pudding here in the UK. Puddings here are usually a very carb-heavy, stodgy affair, served with hot custard. It’s almost like a cream jelly. I’d certainly love to try this out some time, it looks like a great alternative dessert.

    • The term cream jelly is a real good description.
      I am a big fan of the UK and I love to travel there. It’s strange that the same term “pudding” is being used for two such different products. Have fun trying out a “German-style” pudding now.

    • It turns out like cream jelly. It is disgusting. I am not accustomed to this type pudding. Wayyyyyyy too much starch. I ruined an $11 bourbon vanilla bean and a lot of organic starch and milk. And yes I know the conversions of corn starch vs tapioca. So disappointed.

  7. Wow, this is a lot different than the pudding that I see in the grocery store–the gooey substance in the plastic containers. I don’t like that kind, but I can see myself eating this. It looks scrumptious. I do have a question: If I don’t have a vanilla bean, could I use vanilla extract instead? Or amaretto? I can see this being a light and nutty dessert as well.

    • Sure, you can use vanilla extract to replace the bean. And amaretto is definitely a nice idea, too. As you say, this will provide some subtle nutty flavor, especially – but no neccessarily – in combination with almond milk.
      I hope you enjoy preparing this creamy treat!

  8. This dessert is just so decadent and beautiful! I love both chocolate and vanilla, so it’s a win-win for me. I really want to try it with the almond AND the coconut milk, with caramel drizzled over it. It will make a great holiday addition to a beautiful table.

    • Sounds delicious! Especially with coconut milk, this dish will become wonderful rich and full in flavor. And if you have some fancy molds, you can make some great shaped puddings that will make a nice impression when served. Enjoy!

  9. Oh boy! My tummy is smiling and making all kinds of sounds to let me know that a dessert like this one would make it happy. What excites my taste buds the most is the mixture of chocolate and vanilla. What a delectable combo. I’m definitely going to whip this little dish up.

    • Isn’t it? I also can’t resist this kind of combination. These tasty flavors, together with the creamy consistency really make it a winner for me – and hopefully for you, too. Have fun and enjoy preparing it!

  10. Oh my! I’m literally drooling just looking at the pictures, especially the chocolate version. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Desserts such as this just makes me so ready to ditch any plans to go on a diet and lose some weight.

  11. I’m craving for puddings! I really love desserts! I’ll make this own with the help of my mother then I will give it to my classmates. Thanks for this Idea. It’s awesome and I’m sure that the taste is great. Also, I like the pictures, it is so mouth-watering! I think I should put Ice cream with pudding (because I love ice creams) Yeah it’s weird but I love the taste of Pudding + Ice cream.

    • Great, I hope you and your mother have success – and make sure to prepare some sample portions for you both 😉 Oh and I think ice cream + pudding might not be the most common combination, but I believe they go well together, the creamy flavors of both are definitely indulging!

  12. This looks absolutely to die for! I love pudding and these look like that are super fancy and great tasting. I bet they taste great with coconut milk, I personally am addicted to coconut milk and coconut oil, I could live off the stuff if I could. I bet adding a nutty flavored pudding to this along with the vanilla would be an extra special dessert.

    • Oh yes Using coconut milk for the pudding is fantastic. I love the flavor and using its oil and milk in the kitchen for different recipes. I always works out amazing 🙂
      I see you are going to prepare a wonderful dessert here!

  13. Can I have a sample? Yum.

    I would love to make these. They look so pretty. I would definitely want to use a pretty mold.

    For a little extra foo foo, you could place a decorative object in the mold first, to make an imprint on what will end up being the top. I’d also drizzle them maybe. I was thinking caramel sauce over the vanilla one, and then add a garnish on the side. Maybe add fruit or and edible flower.

    • Hey, thanks for this great idea. Although the pudding seems quite unspectacular, you have many options to jazz it up with simple things like a fancy mold, or your suggestion of an imprint on top, or some edible flowers aside. That looks wonderful! I can imagine a nice, creamy vanilla variety with caramel sauce, and some colorful nasturtium flowers beside. Delicious and good-looking 🙂

  14. I haven’t had a homemade batch in years. My kids are not big pudding eaters. This recipe will be on my list for a Sunday dessert. You can dress it up or eat it as is. I plan on making the vanilla version with fresh cut apples,cinnamon, and caramel sauce.

    • Wonderful combination, these ingredients go so well together, this will be a great dessert. I also like the possibility to either leave it the way it is (in case you want or need to keep it simple) or to jazz it up a bit and turn it into a fancy treat. Enjoy!

  15. I am not usually a big fan of German desserts, although I love German food. This is an exception. This looks really good and I have had something similar to it before. I would eat this every night if I could. I will definately try your recipe

  16. Searching for puddings that will hold their shape in silicone molds today. Bought an adorable mold for a friend. Decided to search for pudding recipes to go with it and make an adorable book of them for her. Meantime need to test them in moldability first of course. OH YEAH YUM!!! Also looking for an almond pudding similar to vanilla only with almond extract. We had an elderly friend of my parents sit for us teenagers in the mid 60’s for 3 days and she was frugal and one day she cooked up this almond pudding that was out of the world. I’ve made my own recipes but never quite got her touch. Also a frozen dinner years later actually had a pudding very similar. I’ll attempt to make the vanilla version with half to all almond instead of all vanilla and see how that holds up in a molded version. I’ve never heard of freezing this kind of pudding. And I’ve made flans and custards and also the Mexican style where you cook the syrups into the molds and then add the pudding and when unmolded the syrup runs out and over the entire pudding custard dish. Thanks for these recipes and ideas to day.


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