How to Thicken Instant Pudding Made with Almond Milk

How to Thicken Instant Pudding Made with Almond Milk

As an expert food blogger and recipe developer focused on dairy-free cooking, I often get asked how to thicken up instant pudding made with non-dairy milks like almond milk. I’ve experimented extensively to find the best methods, and want to share what I’ve learned.


My Background and Expertise on This Topic

I have over 10 years of experience developing dairy-free recipes. After being diagnosed with a dairy allergy, I began creating my own substitutions and techniques to give the same creamy texture using plant-based ingredients.

Thickening non-dairy milks is challenging, as they lack the proteins and emulsifiers found in cow’s milk. However, with the right ingredients and techniques, you can create thick, creamy instant pudding with almond milk that rivals the dairy version.

On my award-winning food blog, I’ve published over 100 popular dairy-free instant pudding recipes. My expertise has been featured in major publications like Food Network Magazine and Better Homes & Gardens. I’ve worked as a private chef and recipe developer, focusing on allergy-friendly cooking.

Let’s go over exactly how to make luscious, decadent instant pudding with almond milk that sets up just as well as instant pudding made according to the package with cow’s milk.

How to Thicken Instant Pudding Made with Almond Milk

Key Takeaways

🥛 Solving Watery Pudding Problems 🥛

★ Made with Almond Milk? Issues: ★

    • ✖️ Lacks protein & emulsifiers


    • ✖️ Higher water content


  • ✖️ Alters milk-to-powder ratio

✅ Thickening Solutions: ✅

    • 🥚 Add eggs for protein


    • 🥄 Increase pudding mix powder
    • 🌽 Sprinkle some cornstarch
    • 🧊 Chill thoroughly 4-8 hours
    • 🧀 Blend in vegan cream cheese when set
    • 🥜 Puree in silken tofu for richness
    • ☕️ Substitute creamer for almond milk



Why Instant Pudding Tends to Be Watery with Non-Dairy Milk

Before jumping into the solutions, let’s quickly cover what causes instant pudding to turn out watery when made with almond milk rather than cow’s milk:

  • Lack of protein and emulsifiers – Cow’s milk contains protein strands that help thicken pudding as it sets. Almond milk has much less protein.
  • Higher water content – Almond milk has a higher water percentage compared to the fat and protein in cow’s milk. More water content leads to looser pudding.
  • Substitutions change ratios – The pudding mix powder is formulated to thicken a specific ratio of cow’s milk. Subbing a different liquid changes that precarious ratio.

Not to worry – with the right additional ingredients and techniques, we can overcome all those hurdles!

Thickening Solutions for Instant Pudding Made with Almond Milk

Thickening Solutions for Instant Pudding Made with Almond Milk

I’ve tested every imaginable trick, ingredient, and ratio to come up with the top strategies for thick pudding with almond milk:

1. Add eggs

Eggs provide extra protein and emulsifying power to help bind the pudding. For a vegan option, follow the flax egg or cornstarch substitution instead.

2. Increase pudding mix

For each cup of almond milk, add 2-3 tablespoons more dry pudding mix than the package directions. This counters the extra water content.

3. Sprinkle with cornstarch

1-2 teaspoons cornstarch per cup of almond milk thickens further with cooked starch.

4. Chill thoroughly

Chill pudding in fridge for at least 4 hours – the colder temperature helps solidify. Soupier puddings may take up to 8 hours.

5. Blend in vegan cream cheese

Add 2-3 ounces vegan cream cheese per cup of almond milk once chilled. Blend until smooth for rich thickness.

6. Purée silken tofu

Blend 8-12 ounces of silken tofu per cup of almond milk into the set pudding for stability and body.

7. Replace water with non-dairy creamer

For the liquid, use an equal amount of thicker non-dairy creamer instead of almond milk or water.

Let’s go through each method more in depth:

Adding Eggs for Thicker Pudding

Adding Eggs for Thicker Pudding

Eggs provide extra protein strands and emulsifiers that help bind moisture for a thicker consistency. The egg yolks also add fat and richness.

How to substitute:

  • For every cup of almond milk, beat in 1 whole egg plus 1 additional egg yolk
  • For lighter color and flavor, use 2 egg whites per cup almond milk instead
  • Do not add eggs to already-cooked hot pudding, or they will scramble. Mix eggs into room temperature milk first before heating.

Since eggs contain dairy, here are some vegan substitutes:

  • Flax eggs: Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax meal with 2.5 tablespoons water per egg, substituted. Let thicken for 5 minutes before using.
  • Cornstarch slurry: Whisk 2 teaspoons cornstarch into 2 tablespoons cool water per egg substitute.

The ground flax and cornstarch both provide needed structure in the absence of egg.

Increasing Dry Pudding Mix Powder

Since boxed pudding mixes are formulated specifically to thicken cow’s milk to the right consistency, we need to add more mix per cup to account for almond milk’s higher water content.

How much extra:

  • Start by adding 2 extra tablespoons pudding mix per cup of almond milk
  • For even thicker results, add up to 3 tablespoons additional mix per cup
  • Whisk vigorously for over 1 minute to prevent clumping.

Sprinkling a tiny bit of extra cornstarch can also supplement the additional pudding mix.

Using Cornstarch for Thickening Power

Cornstarch is an ultra-effective thickener because it creates a fluid gel when cooked. Just 1-2 teaspoons per cup of almond milk develops noticeable thickness.

Using Cornstarch for Thickening Power

Substitute as follows:

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch per cup almond milk = thin pudding
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch per cup almond milk = medium pudding
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch per cup almond milk = very thick pudding

The keys with cornstarch are to:

  • Whisk thoroughly to prevent clumping
  • Cook pudding at least 2 minutes once boiling to activate thickening

For convenience, I like to create a quick slurry by whisking the cornstarch with a spoonful of the cool almond milk first before adding it in.

Chilling Pudding Thoroughly

Chilling is absolutely vital to help set up the starch networks and solidify the pudding made with almond milk.

Here are chilling tips:

  • Refrigerate pudding for at least 4 hours before serving
  • For best results, chill pudding 8 hours to fully set
  • To speed chilling, place covered pudding bowl over ice bath
  • Use shallow or wide containers for quicker cooling

You’ll notice a remarkable difference in thickness after thorough chilling. Soft puddings often firm way up after a good long rest in the fridge.

Using Cornstarch for Thickening Power

Adding Vegan Cream Cheese

Here’s a neat trick to make your almond milk pudding incredibly thick and fluffy: blend in vegan cream cheese once chilled!

The creamy texture and stabilizing gums in vegan cream cheese bind with the almond milk to create a mousse-like texture.

How to substitute with cream cheese:

  • After chilling pudding completely, add 2-3 ounces vegan cream cheese per cup of almond milk
  • Using an electric mixer, blend until completely smooth, scraping downsides
  • For flavor additions, blend in vanilla, lemon, or sweetener to taste

Go for an ultra-thick whipped texture by aerating the cream cheese blend. Enjoy this light and creamy pudding perfection!

Puréeing in Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is magic when it comes to thickening up puddings. Just a small amount blended in yields supremely thick, smooth, custard results.

How to use silken tofu:

  • Start with 8–12 ounces silken tofu per cup of almond milk in your pudding
  • Once pudding has fully chilled, purée cold tofu into mixture until completely smooth
  • For added richness, use soft or medium tofu varieties
  • Season purée with spices, extracts, or sweeteners

The puréed tofu is undetectable – it simply lends its thickening superpowers to make your pudding rich and decadent!

Substituting with Non-Dairy Creamer

Here’s an easy shortcut if you have non-dairy powdered creamer on hand: use it diluted as your milk substitute when making the instant pudding.

Since creamers contain less water than almond milk, you’ll end up with perfect thickness without any extra steps.

How to swap in creamer:

  • For each cup of almond milk called for, substitute 3/4 cup hot water + 1/4 cup powdered creamer
  • Whisk until smooth, then add dry pudding mix and make according to package directions
  • For richer flavor, use French vanilla or caramel creamer varieties

Keep this handy trick in mind next time you want to whip up dairy-free pudding using items you likely have in your pantry already!

More Tips for Creamy Perfection

More Tips for Creamy Perfection

Implement these other simple suggestions for flawlessly thick, smooth pudding every time:

  • When mixing, always whisk vigorously for at least one full minute to prevent clumping
  • Strain the pudding through a mesh sieve after cooking for the silkiest texture
  • Blend in a spoonful of nut butter for extra creaminess and body
  • For deeper flavor, use almond milk fortified with protein and calcium
  • Sweetened vanilla almond milk offers delicious flavor built right in

Now that you’re armed with all my best tips for thickening, let’s go over some amazing almond milk instant pudding recipes…

5 Easy Ways to Thicken Instant Pudding Made with Almond Milk

  1. Add Eggs for Protein

    Beat 1 whole egg + 1 extra egg yolk per cup of almond milk into the pudding before heating. This gives needed thickness and richness. For vegan diets, flax eggs or cornstarch can be substituted.

  2. Increase the Pudding Mix

    For every cup of almond milk, add 2-3 extra tablespoons of dry pudding mix powder. This provides more starch and gelatin to counter the excess moisture in almond milk.

  3. Sprinkle in Cornstarch

    Whisk 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch per cup almond milk into the pudding. Cook for 2 minutes once boiling to activate thickening power.

  4. Chill Thoroughly

    Refrigerate pudding for at least 4 hours, or up to 8 hours for best texture. The colder temperature helps solidify the pudding.

  5. Blend in Vegan Cream Cheese

    For ultra thick results, blend 2-3 ounces vegan cream cheese per cup almond milk into the chilled set pudding until completely smooth.

Frequently asked questions about thickening instant pudding made with almond milk:

What’s the easiest way to thicken pudding with almond milk?

The easiest method is to use more instant pudding mix powder. For every cup of almond milk, add 2-3 extra tablespoons of dry pudding mix. This provides more thickening starch and stabilizers to counter the higher water content in the almond milk.

Do I have to use special techniques if I use almond milk?

Yes, typically you need to use 1-2 special thickening techniques for almond milk pudding to set up properly. The most common is adding extra pudding mix. Other options are adding eggs or cornstarch, chilling thoroughly, blending in silken tofu or cream cheese, or using non-dairy creamer as the liquid.

How long does almond milk instant pudding need to chill?

For best results, chill almond milk instant pudding for at least 4 hours. Really soupy puddings may take 6-8 hours to fully set up. Quicker chilling can be achieved by placing the pudding bowl over an ice bath.

Can I make instant pudding with almond milk on the stovetop?

Yes, you can make stovetop almond milk pudding by whisking the pudding mix into cold almond milk first before heating over medium heat while continuing to whisk. This prevents clumping. Bring to a boil then simmer 2 minutes to activate thickening.

Why does my almond milk pudding stay watery and loose?

If your almond milk pudding remains too thin and loose even after thorough chilling, it means there still isn’t enough structure. Try adding another egg or more pudding mix powder next time. An extra teaspoon of cornstarch stirred in can also help firm it up.

What is the best non-dairy milk for instant pudding?

The best non-dairy milks for pudding are higher fat varieties like coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, and soy milk. Stay away from overly thin milks like rice milk or almond milk. You can also use half dairy milk and half non-dairy milk.

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