Who doesn’t love a nice and set pudding? While quite simple to make, they are a definite crowd-pleaser. In almost every part of the world, there is some variation of a pudding.
They may not require a complex recipe, but puddings are certainly not easy to make. Especially beginners have a really hard time dealing with getting their pudding set.
You might be making your own pudding from scratch and are worried that your pudding might not set in time.
In that case, learning how to thicken pudding can help you with your pudding game, and you can impress anyone with good your pudding looks.
Things You Will Need
There are quite a few ways to make your pudding condense up when you are cooking it. Every method has its pros and cons, so you can choose which one suits you best.
Whichever method you use, you need to have your tools ready, or you may be setting yourself up to fail!
- A good saucepan, preferably with a heavy bottom
- A whisk
- A silicone spatula
- Ramekins or cups for setting the pudding
- A stovetop with good heat control
Don’t get coarse starches! One of the mistakes that people make is using rice flour instead of regular flour or starches.
Rice flour is coarse and doesn’t have as many free saccharides as regular starches do. Using rice flour won’t help in thickening your pudding and will also give it a horrible texture.
Best Ways of Thickening Your Pudding
Now that you know about the tools you need and things you have to avoid, follow any one of these methods that suits you.
Method 1: Using Eggs
Almost all recipes call for using eggs in some form. The number of egg whites and yolk in the recipes can vary, but both the white and the yolk can help thicken up your pudding in some way.
Separate your egg yolks from the egg whites. Beat in the yolks with your sugar and ¼ of the total amount of milk with a whisk really well. Then add the rest of the milk and other ingredients that you want for your base.
Cook on medium heat until the base starts getting close to a simmer and lower the heat to the low side of low-medium.
Get your spatula and keep stirring throughout the process. Reduce the base to the desired consistency. It should take about 15-20 minutes.
You can also use the whites to firm up your pudding too. Get your separated whites and whisks them to a soft-peak.
Let your base completely cool down and add in small bits of your beaten whites at a time and fold them in.
Method 2: Using Milk Substitutes
You can help the thickening process by substituting part of your milk with these products.
You can substitute half the milk in your recipe with unsweetened evaporated milk. This is a milk product that has already been cooked down.
Using this will thicken up your pudding much more easily, as there will be less water for you to cook out.
Substituting ¼ of the total milk with condensed milk will also help with this. Condensed milk is sweetened, so make sure to adjust the amount of sugar you put in if you use this.
Method 3: Thickening Pudding with Starches
Many recipes already have starches in them. But if yours don’t, and you are struggling with runny pudding, then don’t hesitate to add some.
Most common starches used as thickening agents are regular flour, corn starch, or arrowroot starch. You should not use potato starch as it has a distinct smell and flavor profile that not everyone likes.
- In a bowl, get your desired starch and sugar together.
- Make sure not to use too much corn starch or arrowroot powder as they have a higher thickening power than regular flour.
- Add a little bit of your milk into it and make a sludge.
- Add the rest of the milk to create the base of the pudding.
- Cook it down on low heat to the required thickness.
- Add vanilla extracts or other flavorings to your liking.
Method 4: Using Gelatin for Thickening
Gelatins are the thickening agent of choice for many professional chefs. But they can be tricky to work with for those who don’t have experience using them. Gelatins are animal products, so if you are planning to serve your pudding to your vegetarian friends, then refrain from using gelatin. But it is keto-friendly.
And gelatins come in powder and sheet forms. Get the powdered version if possible, as they are easier to work with. But you can do it with sheet gelatins too.
- Prepare your cold pudding base as you want to without using any starches.
- Measure out your gelatin powder. You should use about 1-1¼ teaspoon or ½ – ¾ tablespoon of gelatin powder per cup of liquid you are using.
- Use 2 tablespoons of warm water to bloom your gelatin for 5 minutes before adding it to anything.
- Heat up your milk or cream.
- Mix in your bloomed gelatin thoroughly with the milk.
- Cook on low heat until you reach doneness. DO NOT boil your gelatin, as it will kill the gelatin’s power to thicken up the base.
- Gelatin can cause lumps in your pudding, so use a strainer to strain out any odd bits.
- Put the base in molds and chill them for the setting.
Sheet of Leaf Gelatin
- For every ¾ teaspoon of powdered gelatin required, use 1 sheet of gelatin.
- You can cut the gelatin sheets in half or quarters for using them more easily.
- Get your gelatin sheets in a bowl and cover with a cup of cold water.
- Let them rest for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, they will be softened. Strain out the gelatin from the water.
- Use your hands to wring out any excess water from the softened sheets.
- Get your milk to heat up to a simmer.
- Dissolve the gelatin sheets into the milk.
Method 5: Vegan and Keto-Friendly Ways of Thickening Puddings
You may want to make a vegan or keto-diet friendly pudding but don’t know of any way to thicken it without having to put starches or animal products. Here are some tips for you.
This is a seaweed-based thicken agent for your vegan puddings. It doesn’t require any special process to get it working. Add ¾ to 1 teaspoon of agar for every cup of liquid in your pudding.
Xanthan Gum is a very potent thickener but a bit tricky to use. It doesn’t dissolve in water, only in oil products.
Use only a small amount of xanthan gum – about one-fifth of a teaspoon per cup of liquid, and dissolve it into some oil. Add the oil into your mixture for the pudding.
Thickening after the Cooking Stage
This is a bit harder than getting your pudding base to thicken up when you cook it. But if your pudding is already past the cooking phase and has not set up, these methods are for you.
Freeze the Pudding Overnight
The simplest solution to saving your runny pudding is to let it stay in the freezer overnight. Normally you would put it in for only 20-30 minutes.
Freezing overnight will cause excess water to harden. If your pudding has starch in it, the water will not set into hard ice, so don’t worry.
This method won’t get you a smooth texture, but your pudding will be set, and you can serve it to anyone.
Put It in a Preheated Oven
If, during the cooking process, you can’t get the pudding to thicken to the desired consistency on your stovetop without burning it, and you are worried it might not set later, then use this method.
Preheat your oven to 320 F. Transfer your pudding into a large pot with a lid. Make sure the pot is room temperature.
After preheating, turn off your oven and put the pot in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour with a lid on. This should slowly dehydrate your pudding but not burn it.
And after it has reached the desired consistency, chill it in a cup and serve.
Make Your Pudding with Confidence
Now that you know the methods of how to thicken pudding, go and make your own to impress your friends with your amazing pudding setting powers.