Organic Vanilla Bean Pudding

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organic-vanilla-bean-pudding-recipeThis luscious vanilla pudding is a lesson in why you should use organic milk and eggs in a custard. The USDA’s 2011 decision to deregulate genetically engineered alfalfa raised concerns among organic dairy farmers, who rely on organic alfalfa to feed their herds. Certified organic fare–including milk and eggs–is still your best bet to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Heck, I even found GMO-free cornstarch to thicken this custard. And, of course, you’ll want to use organic sugar, made from sugar cane to steer clear of sugar made from GE sugar beets.


Organic Vanilla Bean Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  1. /4 cup sugar, divided
  2. 1 whole vanilla bean
  3. 3 cups 2% low-fat milk, divided
  4. 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. Pinch of sea salt
  6. 2 large egg yolks
  7. Toasted walnuts, for garnish (optional)
  8. Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish (optional)


Place 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Slit vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Open the bean up and scrape the seeds from the bean using the back of a paring knife. Add the seeds to the sugar; rub the seeds into the sugar with your fingers (this helps disperse the seeds in the pudding). Whisk in 2-1/2 cups milk; add vanilla bean pod to pan. Place pan over medium-high heat and bring to 180 degrees F or until tiny bubbles form around the edge.

Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup milk and yolks. Add yolk mixture to cornstarch mixture, whisking thoroughly to eliminate any lumps. Gradually whisk in half the hot milk mixture. Return egg-milk mixture to pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes or until thick, whisking constantly.

Scrape pudding into a clean bowl; discard vanilla bean pod. Fill a larger bowl with ice water. Set pudding-filled bowl in ice bath; cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap, and chill. Serve garnished with toasted nuts and shaved chocolate.

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  • Andrea

    This looks delicious! Do you know of any stores that you can buy vanilla beans that don’t cost one million dollars? Everywhere I look they are super expensive, which I suppose is expected. But is there anywhere that I can find them at a reasonable price?

    • Michelle

      I buy mine at my local co-op by the bean they cost ~1.55 each

  • Alison Ashton

    Hi, Andrea!

    Vanilla beans are a premium ingredient, to be sure, and hard to find as a bargain. But here’s an online outlet that sells the beans individually: (If there’s a spice store in your area, you might also try there to purchase beans individually.) This same site also offers a concentrated vanilla bean paste: A little goes a long way, so the jar would last quite awhile.

    You also can get a bit more mileage out of your investment by using the seeds in the recipe, but reserving the pod to flavor sugar or beverages. Or you could use just half a bean, which will give the pudding more subtle vanilla flavor but still be delicious.

    And when all else fails, substitute a high-quality vanilla extract (no imitation stuff!). Start by stirring in 1 tablespoon at the end of cooking; taste, and stir in more if you want more intense vanilla flavor.

    Hope this helps!

  • Andrea

    Thank you very much for the suggestions Alison! I will try a couple out and see how it goes! :)

  • Alison Ashton

    Glad I could help. Between you ‘n’ me, if I had a yen for vanilla pudding and some decent vanilla extract in the cupboard, I’d go for it. Not as fancy-schmancy as vanilla bean, but yummy nonetheless. ;)

  • Mandy

    I just made this this evening, and it’s delicious! I dug two vanilla beans out from the back of the cupboard that were pretty old and hard, but used the scrapings from them anyway & it was super vanilla-beany and delicious! Also used skim milk and it worked well.

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I’m sure I’ll use it very often!

  • Alison Ashton

    So glad you liked it, Mandy! Thanks for lettin’ us know!

  • Anita Strauss

    I really like that you make a point to eat GMO-free. I have two little ones and I am trying so hard to keep genetically altered food out of their diets. I had no idea they sold GMO-free cornstarch though! I have to get some of that!

    • Lia Huber

      Good for you, Anita!