Vanilla Pudding Sauce

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After I posted my recipe for buttermilk pancakes with vanilla pudding sauce, I had several requests for the recipe for the sauce.  I don’t like to disappoint, so here it is. It is basically a recipe for vanilla pudding that I tweaked so it is thinner, and not quite as sweet. I make it all the time to put on pancakes and waffles of all types. I always serve it with fresh fruit. Strawberries and blueberries are some of our favorites, but bananas and raspberries are really good too.  When we’re really being fancy smancy, I add some whipped cream to the sauce. So delicious!!

Vanilla Pudding Sauce

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
Mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk together milk and egg thoroughly, and gradually stir in. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till mixture comes to a boil. (Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat; if it gets hot too fast, the egg will cook. And scrambled eggs in vanilla sauce would be bad. Really, really bad.) Boil for at least 1 minute, still stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm or chilled.

-I sometimes use one whole egg instead of the yolks. I crack the egg into a small bowl first and pull off those white stringy things. (I think they might be called albumen, but I could be totally wrong.) Then I beat the egg really well. It is a little trickier, but I don’t have to waste 2 egg whites. I am cheap thrifty that way.


  1. If I wanted to slightly alter/tweak this recipe for something a bit thicker (like a filling rather than a sauce, specifically for french toast roll-ups) could I make it according to your recipe aside from two changes; forgetting the eggs entirely and adding cream cheese to the mixture? If adding the cream cheese (say 8 oz.), should I first- in a separate bowel, whip together the cream cheese with powdered sugar (I’m thinking 1/4-1/3 of a cup for every 8oz. of cream cheese) then add that to your recipe? I’d love your opinion, thoughts, and advice regarding my in-queries and hope to hear back from you! Thank you for the recipe and ideas! Definately going to be making this (with or without the added thickness)!

  2. Jessica Baker says

    I just made this, but it turned out really think. More like a custard, I could be wrong but I thought it would be more in the ” saucey” side. Any suggestions as to why this happened?

    • All I can think of is that maybe you cooked it a little too long. If you need to make it thinner, just whisk in a little milk and it should be just fine. 🙂

  3. I’m diabetics and this will be perfect using a sugar substitute!!! Thanks

  4. This recipe works just as well with non-cow milk. I just made some using almond milk. I’m going to assume soy, coconut, or rice milk will also work. This was really yummy! I didn’t know pudding was so easy to make.

  5. There is a fine dining colonial restaurant in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, that is famous for their warm bread pudding with a vanilla sauce in the side. They make various at different times of.year but the vanilla sauce is always the same. I’ve wanted to try to make it at home for several years but had no clue about the sauce and here it is! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  6. Any idea if almond milk or soy milk would work? Know of anyone that has tried it? Can’t wait to give this a whirl!

    • I’ve never used almond or soy milk, but I would guess that they would work. Let me know if you try it!

    • Woops, I just posted my reply below before seeing yours. I just made a batch using almond milk – it works great. The finished product tastes exactly like it would with real dairy milk. I would suggest adding another tablespoon of corn starch if you’re using an alternative milk.

  7. I never liked frosting, so my Mother made this to put over cake topped with fruit for my Birthday or special occasions. Now I’m a Mom and do the same for my boys!

  8. primal_mama says

    Is there any natural substitute for Sugar (i.e. agave, honey, etc.)? I don’t like using sugar…real or fake 🙂

  9. I am always worried about scorching. Can this be done in a double boiler? I am asking because I found out Fudge can not be done in a double boiler it turns into a sauce instead of thickening. Its not the eggs that scare me its the milk.

    • Brook, I would guess that it would work in a double boiler, but I’ve never tried it. It would take longer for the sauce to thicken, but if you don’t have a heavy saucepan, you could try it. Let me know how it turns out!

  10. Just Made This – VERY GOOD!! We serve strawberries on top. My only problem was that once I took the pot off the stovetop to add the vanilla and butter – the pot was still “hot” and “cooking” even though it wasn’t on the burner anymore so it burnt the bottom of the pudding. So i’d just recommend pouring the pudding into a different bowl so it doesn’t burn the bottom while it sits there. Taste was delicious though!!

  11. I am going to make these tomorrow morning for a special breakfast. I will make the sauce first and use the egg whites in my pancakes.

  12. sounds like something my sister serves all the time with dutch baby’s….try mixing equal parts brown sugar with either sour cream or plain greek yogurt. Its sooo delicious and simple!

  13. Just made this and I used 2 T. Flour instead of cornstarch and 1 whole egg instead of 2 yolks. Delish, and so much healthier than syrup! I served over light wheat waffles with raspberries and bananas. Yummmmm.
    I was thinking of all the variations you could make with this syrup, us maple extract instead of vanilla, use coconut milk and coconut extract instead, or any number of different extracts.

    • Oh man, your waffles with berries and bananas sound divine! And you are right, the flavor of the sauce can be changed up. We’ve tried coconut and it’s yummy too. 🙂

  14. Vanilla Sauce is much more delicious… Love Vanilla and the picture wants to have me some right now!

  15. I keep seeing this on Pinterest so I had to come by and find the recipe. Sounds fabulous. I noticed on your sidebar that you are LDS! I am too. So nice to meet
    other members.

    • Nice to “meet” you Jacqueline! Hope you like the sauce as much as I do. I could seriously just eat it by the spoonful! 🙂

  16. Anonymous says

    Wow, this sounds amazing:) I think I may play with the flavoring a little…maybe almond extract or orange extract instead of the vanilla…I may just have to get my tush out of bed this morning and whip up some pancakes, yum!!

  17. WOW! Can’t wait to try this! FYI…If I make a sauce using eggs, I always pour the sauce through a mesh sieve or strainer to make sure no cooked eggs are in the sauce,

  18. I really don’t care for syrup so I made this today to put on whole wheat pancakes. We put fresh sliced strawberries on top and it was amazing! Much better than the jam I usually put on my pancakes.

  19. Michelle S. says

    Made it today to go ontop of some lemon pancakes – delicious!! I was out of sugar and substituted brown sugar instead, it turned out great! Thanks for sharing!!

  20. Hi!
    I found this on Pinterest, and I made this this morning, because I was out of syrup. And I also I didn’t have any eggs to add to this recipe.
    But, guess what? It turned out delicious, anyway!
    I served it with banana/toasted pecan pancakes.
    Everyone loved it (6 of us, 2 of them exchange students from S. Korea and Thailand)! And I think I will no longer need to buy the expensive real maple syrup like I used to.
    As we were eating, we came up with other additions to the sauce, like chocolate, raisins, coconut, etc…
    Thank you for posting this!
    Happy Spring!

  21. Just tried this on some basic gluten free pancakes. I love it! I think better then maple syrup by far. I’m not a great cook and I didn’t ruin it so its easy to make in my book. Can I put the leftover sauce in the fridge and heat up at a later day? If I did do I heat it on the stove again or can I use the microwave?

  22. Is there anything else you can use besides cornstarch?

  23. Kara,
    This is my first visit to your site (I linked via A Dusty Frame) and I am wondering if you can use reconstituted powdered milk in this recipe? I know that most pudding recipes do not recommend using anything less than 2%, but since this is a sauce and not a regular pudding I thought it might work. Have you tried powdered milk in this?

    I’m thinking of trying it on chocolate shortcakes, molten chocolate cakes or brownies and topping with strawberries.


    • I haven’t tried powdered milk, but I bet it would work. I use 1% milk when I make it, so powdered milk wouldn’t be that much different. Let me know how it works!

  24. Cheri Williams (@CheriWilliams) says

    Made it tonight. You’re genius, it’s delicious, and I am a reformed eater of pancakes–vanilla pudding style! Thank you for sharing!!

  25. Janice Williams says

    I’m new to your site. Is there a way to print out your recipes? Thank you!

    • Not yet. I tried using a plugin that would allow the recipes to be printed, but I couldn’t get it to work. I’m gonna need someone with more technical skills than I have to help me figure it out.

    • you can just highlight the words you want and go to” file” then “print”. on print menu there is a bubble that says “page range ” cick on selection and it will print only what you selected.

    • Thanks Paige for leaving the printing tip. It’s old school, but that’s how I print things on other sites. Shoulda thought of it myself.

  26. Amelia Erhart Lee says

    I have been looking for this recipe for a LONG time! My Mother used to make it when her cake got stale and it was cold out! There is nothing better!! YUM! Thank you thank you! BTW you dont have to wait till the cake is stale!

  27. Sounds delicious! Can you make some up ahead of time and save it? Does it keep in the fridge for an extended period of time?

    • You can make it up ahead of time, but it gets thicker as it chills. Just cover the top with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. When you are ready to serve it, give it a good whisk. If you need to, add milk to thin it.

  28. this looks sooo good! I am going to have to try it out this weekend!

  29. Even better on bread pudding!

  30. looks and sounds YUMMY!

  31. This sounds delicious! I will be making it soon! Also, the word “albumen” is just another name for the egg white. The stringy thing is “chalazae” and is what anchors the yolk in the center of the egg.

  32. Made this sauce for breakfast this morning and was so impressed! So simple and delicious. I added a little fresh lemon juice and plan to use for crepes later.

  33. This made an amazing breakfast this a.m. Thank you!

  34. Yummy! I am thinking that this would be a perfect addition to our conference morning breakfast! Thanks for sharing Kara!!

  35. ShannonSews says

    Oh wow. I think I see breakfast this Saturday morning…looks amazing!

  36. how about on French toast? Mmmmm

  37. Rhonda Steed says

    mmmmm sounds tasty!!!!

  38. Thanks for posting this today! It sounds SO good!
    Question: Do you serve it hot, just after you add the butter, or does it need to set or chill or anything? I am way excited to try this with the pancake recipe!

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