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Creamy, homemade pumpkin pudding is an easy way to make a beautiful pumpkin dessert for the holidays. The velvety smooth pudding is full of pumpkin and spice and can be dressed up with your favorite whipped cream. This is a delicious small batch holiday dessert that can easily compete with the prettiest of pies!
Pumpkin Pudding Recipe
With all of the pumpkin desserts this time of year, it is nice to have one that delivers all of the flavor with about half of the effort!
And the wonderful thing about pumpkin pudding, is that it is beautiful enough to stand on its own as a pretty dessert. Or, it can be combined with other desserts. Like the center of pumpkin Napoleons, or swap out the gingerbread cream and use it as a filling in the vanilla orange layer cake.
Everything To Love About This Pudding
- Super creamy – This is a dairy pudding and thanks to heavy cream, milk, and an egg yolk, the pudding is incredibly silky, creamy, and smooth.
- Great pumpkin and spice flavor – The pudding has the right amount of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to still taste like pudding – and not pie filling.
- A perfect Thanksgiving dessert – Yes, we still want pumpkin pie at our Thanksgiving table. But should you happen to have a desire for something a little different, pumpkin pudding with a dollop of whipped cream is just as tasty!
Key Ingredients For Pumpkin Pudding
- Canned Pumpkin – Make sure it is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Milk – I have used whole milk, 2 %, and even coocnut milk. My preference for creamy pudding is whole milk.
- Heavy Cream – As with the milk, the heavy cream makes this pumpkin pudding extra creamy.
- Cornstarch – We use cornstarch to thicken the pudding.
- Egg Yolk – The egg yolk helps to thicken and it makes the pudding velvety.
- Maple Syrup – I love maple syrup as the sweetener for its buttery and caramel flavor.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – Pumpkin pie spice to deliver all the cozy notes, and enhance the pumpkin flavor.
- Butter – A little butter at the end makes the pudding smooth.
How To Make A Small Batch of Pumpkin Pudding
Pudding is an easy dessert that can deliver a lot of flavor. The beauty of pudding is that it is so versatile and can be made into really any flavor. Chocolate pudding, butterscotch pudding, or strawberry pudding. Even a healthier pumpkin pie chia pudding!
Here is a brief overview of how to make pumpkin pudding. The complete instructions are in the recipe card at the end of the post!
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, egg yolk and cream. Mix until there are no clumps of cornstarch and the mix is smooth.
- Add the milk and maple syrup to a small saucepan. I recommend a good heavy duty saucepan so heat is distributed evenly and the pudding cooks evenly. Heat until scalding. This is just before boiling and small bubbles will form along the sides of the pan.
- Temper the egg mixture: To temper is to bring to temperature. In pudding, we take some of the heated milk and whisk into the egg mixture to bring the egg to temperature so it doesn’t scramble.
- Transfer it all back to the saucepan and heat the pudding until it starts to thicken.
- Remove the pudding from the heat and add the pumpkin, butter, spices, and salt. Stir to combine then transfer to your serving glasses.
- Cover the top of the pudding directly with plastic wrap. This will keep a skin from forming.
- Chill the pudding for at least 2 hours to give the pudding time to set up and get firm. Overnight also works great!
- Top with whipped cream and pumpkin cookie sprinkles to serve!
Tips For Success
- Whisk the cornstarch mixture well to ensure you have no cornstarch lumps. Otherwise, you may end up with lumpy pudding!
- Constantly whisk while you are tempering the egg mixture. This will ensure we don’t scramble the egg yolk!
- Don’t overcook the pudding. If the pumpkin pudding stays on the stove too long it will become incredibly thick – almost like jelly. The pudding will thicken as it cools.
- Cover the top of the pudding directly with plastic wrap to avoid a pudding skin from forming.
- Chill the pudding for at least 2 hours to give it time to thicken. You can even chill the pumpkin pudding overnight.
Yes! It is an easy recipe to double to make a larger batch.
It may, if you blot out the excess moisture.
You can use just cinnamon if you prefer.
It’s possible you didn’t heat the pudding long enough. The cornstarch does need time to cook to thicken. Or, it needs to chill longer. Or, if for some reason your pumpkin puree is super wet, that may cause the pudding to be loose.
Up to 2 days covered in the refrigerator. Beyond that, and the pudding will start to loosen.
Creamy Pumpkin Pudding Dessert
- In a medium bowl add the cream, egg yolk, and corn starch. Whisk until the corn starch dissolves.½ cup heavy cream, 1 large egg yolk, 2 tablespoons corn starch
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the milk and maple syrup. Heat until it is scalding (just below boiling – small bubbles will form around the side of the saucepan) – do not boil. Remove from the heat.½ cup whole milk, ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- Slowly drizzle about half of the heated milk into the corn starch mixture, whisking constantly. This tempers the egg yolk so it does not scramble. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and return to medium heat. Gently whisk constantly until the pudding just starts to thicken – about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overheat, or the pudding will get too thick and jelly-like.
- Remove the pudding from the heat. Add the pumpkin, butter, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Whisk until fully incorporated.¼ cup pure canned pumpkin, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Transfer the pudding to a bowl or serving glasses. Optional – Strain the pudding through a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl to remove any lumps.
- Cover the pudding with plastic wrap set directly on top of the pudding – this keeps a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours – or overnight -to allow the pumpkin to set and firm.
- Serving Size – This small batch recipe can easily be doubled.
- Pumpkin – Be sure is is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling!
- Leftover Pumpkin – You will have leftover pumpkin, regardless of the size can you use. Check out my other pumpkin recipes to make another batch of pumpkin desserts!
- Milk and Cream – I have had success making pudding with canned coconut milk and cream, and even carton coconut milk
- Make it Vegan – You can omit the egg and use the above dairy substitutes. You will want to add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch to make sure the pudding thickens.
- Make Ahead – The pudding can be made the night before.
about the author ...
I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!
I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!