18 Ways To Upgrade Instant Pudding Mix

Jell-O brand instant pudding mix
Jell-O brand instant pudding mix - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Instant pudding mix is wonderfully convenient, both in the flavors it comes in -- chocolate, vanilla, cheesecake, banana cream, pistachio, butterscotch, white chocolate, strawberry, and more -- and what you can do with it. We're all about stocking up on pantry essentials and items that you can almost always get a use out of. Since instant pudding comes in so many flavors, you'll be able to find a long list of things to make.

Whether it's whipping up a cookie tiramisu for a special occasion or something like frosting or cake batter that you integrate into your weekly repertoire, there are loads of interesting ways to transform this simple boxed pantry item into a unique dessert. When you're looking for a sweet treat that doesn't involve a lot of effort, this pantry staple is the way to go. From pudding lasagna to using it to enhance your cake batter, there are a surprising amount of ways to upgrade instant pudding mix.

Read more: Hacks That Will Make Boiling Your Eggs So Much Easier

Give Instant Pudding Mix A Splash Of Booze

pouring whiskey from bottle
pouring whiskey from bottle - Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Like many desserts, a splash of booze will give your store-bought pudding mix a grown-up twist. It all boils down to the pudding mix and the spirit you want to pair with it. Chocolate pudding goes well with tequila, whereas butterscotch pudding goes with the notes of caramel that you'll often taste in whiskey. A bold lemon pudding could pair well with a botanical gin or plain vodka.

Then, there's the world of flavored liquors and liqueurs to consider. Pistachio or strawberry pudding goes nicely with a nutty pistachio liqueur, while a chocolate pudding matches with a coffee liqueur. See what kind of combinations you can come up with. There are plenty of flavored liqueurs or spirits that could easily pair with your pudding. You don't need to pour too much, just a dash to give it some body.

Fold In Whipped Cream For Extra Creaminess

person using mixer for whipped cream
person using mixer for whipped cream - Eclipse_images/Getty Images

Pudding has a melt-in-your-mouth quality on its own, sliding through your teeth with ease. No chewing is necessary, but you could also choose to enhance the creaminess and thickness by adding a scoop of whipped cream. Add your large dollop of whipped cream to the mix and stir lightly until fully incorporated. The fluffy addition gives the pudding added creaminess without making it heavy.

This subtle addition makes an extra creamy instant pudding, but you don't have to stop at a regular whipped cream. Go the extra mile and try using some of the best add-ins for homemade whipped cream to give your whole dessert a flavor upgrade. A citrus zest whipped cream in a lemon pudding would be perfect for a summer get-together. A nut butter whipped cream with banana pudding makes for an enticing banana nut dessert. These combinations can take a basic instant pudding mix and make it into something divine.

Pair Instant Pudding With Baked Goods

three frosted cupcakes on plate
three frosted cupcakes on plate - Alvarez/Getty Images

You have to enjoy instant pudding with some cupcakes to understand what a delight it is. When you're looking for a buttercream alternative, adding instant pudding to the frosting can be a game-changing swap. This is also a great option when you're in warmer climates or the temperature starts to creep up because buttercream isn't the best at holding up under higher temperatures. However, pudding can hold its own, and you can choose the pudding flavor to match your desired frosting.

Go for a classic vanilla pudding if you want a vanilla frosting, and add a sprinkle of vanilla bean paste to give it a smidge of extra flavor. Also, consider butterscotch pudding for a chocolate cake to get a chocolate caramel profile. Pudding makes a lightweight and fluffy addition to your frosting, so consider this clever instant pudding hack for when you need to quickly decorate your cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more.

Enjoy It With A Dessert Grazing Board

pudding on dessert charcuterie board
pudding on dessert charcuterie board - Lazhko Svetlana/Shutterstock

Grazing boards are the best. If you're making it for yourself, you can open up your pantry to see what goodies lie within. If you're making it to impress or bring to a party, you can strategize what you'd like to add to your platter. No matter what you end up putting on the board, pudding will taste great with it, and it makes a fantastic sweet dip, especially for a holiday or color-themed dessert charcuterie board. An added benefit is that it's sturdy, so it won't melt or look dubious as time goes on.

Have one dish of chocolate and one dish of strawberry pudding that can go with a bunch of items on the board. Dip fruits, such as strawberries or pineapples, into the pudding. Use graham crackers or pretzel sticks to provide your guests with different textures. You don't have to stick with chocolate pudding, either. Cheesecake or lemon pudding would make lighter additions, whereas tapioca could give some compelling texture to the board.

Mix Pudding With Cake Batter

beating cake batter close up
beating cake batter close up - Daria_vg/Shutterstock

Add pudding mix to cake batter, banana bread, poke cake, and other baked goods to give it a creamy decadence. No matter what type of batter, the pudding can provide moisture and a fresh texture to a standard cake. When adding instant pudding to the cake batter, simply combine the powder packet with the dry ingredients and then mix in your wet ingredients. You can use the pudding flavor based on the cake that you're making.

For banana bread, try vanilla pudding or banana pudding to complement it. Use white chocolate pudding to pair beautifully with matcha cake. Coconut cream instant pudding just might be the star of your coconut poke cake, but vanilla would be a great pick as well. The pudding makes a moist addition similar to what canned pumpkin purée or banana offers for baked goods. Because who wants a dry cake?

Turn Instant Pudding Mix Into French Toast

French toast with strawberries and blueberries
French toast with strawberries and blueberries - Jmichl/Getty Images

When you want to switch up the way you have your pudding, think of French toast. French toast is a brunch favorite because it's scrumptious but not too labor-intensive, and instant pudding adds a creamy twist to it. This is particularly helpful because you usually make French toast with slightly stale bread. The pudding addition can turn your toast into an unforgettably rich treat. Simply add the pudding powder to the milk, egg, and cinnamon mixture, and whisk it together. Now, you're ready to dip the bread and start frying.

You aren't obligated to stick with a vanilla pudding for this hack either. Use chocolate pudding for chocolate French toast, or try a cheesecake pudding for a slightly tangy unique flavor. A seasonal pumpkin spice pudding would be fantastic for an autumnal French toast. While there are plenty of ways to upgrade instant pudding mix, this easy trick can truly transform how you enjoy your weekend brunch.

Choose A Richer Milk

condensed milk in a bowl
condensed milk in a bowl - Towfiqu Ahamed/Getty Images

The directions to make instant pudding are pretty straightforward. You only need milk and pudding mix, and then you beat it together with a whisk. Now, this particular tip revolves around choosing a not-so-average milk. Make pudding from a boxed mix creamier by using richer types of milk, such as whole milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, or something else.

You can also give your pudding a refresh by using coconut milk, which will slightly alter the taste of any type of pudding flavor while offering a smooth texture. Fat-free evaporated milk is a wonderful option when you want to enhance the taste of your pudding but also want to monitor your fat intake. It's denser than regular milk, so it gives a welcome creaminess without sacrificing the taste.

Create Pudding Layers In A Cup

layered pudding dessert
layered pudding dessert - Stefan Tomic/Getty Images

Adding layers can be a simple but creative way to upgrade your instant pudding mix and make your standard pudding into an enjoyable concept. Simply layer various pudding flavors that would taste good together, such as banana pudding and chocolate pudding, in a cup or bowl. Layer it with jam, peanut butter, or another ingredient to diversify each layer. Find satisfaction from making different color gradients and texture profiles. Do a colorful layered pudding with pistachio pudding and vanilla pudding or whatever combination you like.

You can also opt for similar ingredient flavors like chocolate chips with a chocolate pudding or cheesecake bites with a cheesecake pudding. Kids would love to help construct a layered dirt pudding with chocolate pudding, crushed cookies to look like dirt, and those unforgettable gummy worms. Banana fans will enjoy banana pudding with a layer of banana pudding mix, a layer of sliced bananas, and vanilla wafer cookies, topped with a last layer of pudding.

Fresh Fruit Will Brighten Up Instant Pudding Mix

pudding with blueberries in jars
pudding with blueberries in jars - Vladislav Noseek/Shutterstock

Fruit goes with many flavors, making it a bright inclusion for any pudding. Whether you pair it with vanilla, pistachio, white chocolate, or some other flavor, the fruit helps the pudding come alive with vibrancy. Not just in taste but looks as well. Punch up pudding colors of beige, brown, and yellow with a rainbow of fruit. Fruit is among the best ingredients you should add to pudding for an aesthetically alluring dessert.

Chocolate pudding with berries such as fresh blueberries or raspberries not only tastes good but looks beautiful. Vanilla pudding can go with nearly any fruit, whether you choose mango, kiwi, or pomegranate. Make a pantry dessert with your instant pudding and canned pineapple or peaches. To keep the fruit looking tasty, chop them into even pieces and either fold them in or add them to the top of the pudding.

Don't Omit The Mix-Ins

candy and cookies laid out
candy and cookies laid out - Fedinchik/Getty Images

When you're struggling to find ways to upgrade instant pudding, mix-ins are your greatest ally. You're certainly welcome to head to the store to find perfect pairings, but we love a convenient moment, so we prefer to look in the cabinet or refrigerator first. Pick anything from nuts and chocolate chips to chia seeds. Incorporating them can turn a quick dessert into something considerably more interesting.

Granola and crushed cookie pieces can offer a unique texture that's not too hard to chew. Meanwhile, chopped pecans and macadamia can give it a welcome crunch that works wonderfully with the softness of a pudding. Try chocolate pudding with chopped chocolate-covered raisins for a sweet and chewy combination. Or experiment with a small amount of frosted flakes or cinnamon cereal in vanilla pudding. Don't sleep on lemon curd mixed into lemon pudding. Add the mix-in once you're ready to serve so they don't get soggy while sitting in the fridge for hours.

Layer Pudding Into A Cookie Lasagna

cookie lasagna on plate
cookie lasagna on plate - Jennine Bryant/Tasting Table

When you want to serve instant pudding mix in a way that will impress a crowd, try a cookie lasagna. It's a completely unexpected way to use instant pudding mix, but it makes a lot of sense to create a creamy foundation. It's probably not the most common way to use pudding, but it will certainly look amazing and taste delicious. This concoction has a base cookie layer and a sandwich of sweet cream cheese and pudding layers to create an unforgettable treat.

This has just about everything you could look for in a dessert, from cookie crumbs to cheesecake and chocolate pudding mix to whipped cream. Not a fan of chocolate? Switch the chocolate cookie base and chocolate pudding for a vanilla cookie base and vanilla pudding. Since the cream base of this dessert is cheesecake, you could opt to make cheesecake pudding instead of chocolate.

Freeze Instant Pudding Mix Into Ice Pops

chocolate fudge ice pop
chocolate fudge ice pop - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Pudding doesn't have to remain something you eat out of a bowl; you can turn it into an icy treat. To make it, stir together a batch of pudding as directed and then pour it into your favorite ice pop mold to freeze. The molds alone can be captivating, with intriguing shapes such as zombies, dinosaurs, or monsters. Keep it classic with chocolate pudding, or turn it into something with more seasoning, like frozen spicy chocolate pudding bars made with chipotle and cayenne pepper for a dose of spiciness.

You can also combine different pudding flavors for the ice pops. Make a batch of strawberry pudding and a batch of chocolate pudding, then lightly swirl them into the ice mold. It's an eye-catching and tasty duo. Another delicious idea is frozen lemon pudding bars. The refreshing treat is for a scorcher of a summer's day and pairs wonderfully with a lemon-lime shirley temple drink or a fresh lemonade. Once you've tried all those creations, make a chocolate hard shell with chocolate chips and coconut oil to coat the inside of the molds, freeze, and then add vanilla pudding.

Utilized Mashed Avocado

fresh avocados with water droplets
fresh avocados with water droplets - Sandra Chia/Shutterstock

Avocado can add a welcome creaminess to many dishes. You'll find this fruit in anything from smoothies to green goddess sauce for a satisfactory silky addition. This ingredient will change your pudding for the better by giving it a potential boost in vitamins, minerals, and smoothness. The green superfood contains fiber, fat, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, folate, magnesium, potassium, and other nutritional components.

It can offer a hearty, lush, and pleasant addition when making pudding. We particularly recommend it with chocolate pudding since the flavors will integrate much more easily. Vanilla is also a good option, particularly if you want a lovely light green dessert. Avocados have a buttery richness that can turn a standard instant pudding mix into an indulgent treat. It's also a great way to integrate possible nutritional value into your kid's afternoon snack. Mash up the avocado so it doesn't have large chunks, then mix it in your pudding.

Have A Bite Of Ice Cream With It

ice cream buffet with various toppings
ice cream buffet with various toppings - Jenifoto/Getty Images

Forget the hot fudge sauce and the standard chocolate shell for ice cream, and try an instant pudding instead. If you're in the mood for something sweet, pudding with ice cream is essentially two desserts in one. Place a scoop of chocolate pudding on any type of berry ice cream or drizzle cheesecake pudding on top of a strawberry ice cream. Try them once, and these inspired combinations are something you'll never forget.

If caramel sauce on ice cream is more up your alley, use butterscotch pudding for a similar effect. Don't stop at ice cream; you can add pudding to frozen yogurt and gelato, too. Since pudding can be thicker than hot fudge sauce, this topping is best added to a bowl, otherwise, it'll be dripping all over your hand in a cone. Pour a bit more milk into the instant mix than directed to give it more fluidity if you want to mimic chocolate sauce.

Use Pudding Mix To Make Tiramisu

homemade tiramisu cake on plate
homemade tiramisu cake on plate - Fascinadora/Shutterstock

Classic tiramisu is one of those desserts that seems unapproachable with all its steps. You have to soak ladyfingers, make whipped cream, finagle raw eggs, layer everything, and then let it set for at least six hours in the fridge. It may be a dessert to tackle when you have extra time, but when you're looking for hacks, instant pudding is your secret weapon for easy tiramisu. The pudding works as a custard base, so you won't have to deal with the raw eggs.

This turns an involved dessert into an easier one, but it's just as delicious and moist as ever. This truly simplifies the process of making tiramisu, so you can still have an incredible dessert but it won't take all day to whip up. Vanilla pudding is the perfect option but you could also try cheesecake pudding for a little punch. Mix the pudding with heavy cream, powdered sugar, and mascarpone to layer on the soaked ladyfingers.

Scoop In Protein Powder For A Boost

plant base protein powder in scoop
plant base protein powder in scoop - SrideeStudio/Shutterstock

Why not turn your afternoon snack into something that has a bit of protein? Placing a scoop of protein powder in the dry ingredients can provide a potential boost of protein in your pudding. You can have fun choosing the type of protein powder and pudding flavor mixture you want to create. There are many types of both on the market, so you can create an unparalleled combination that will make your pudding even more delicious.

Make a chocolate peanut butter cup protein pudding with both peanut butter and protein powder for a protein increase. Peanut butter and chocolate are a quintessential combination for good reason. Vanilla pudding with vanilla protein powder is an easy blend, but something like salted caramel protein powder with chocolate pudding can end up tasting like a distinctive confection. Experiment with the protein powder flavors, but you want to factor in complementary tastes that won't overwhelm the pudding.

Incorporate Instant Pudding Mix Into Smoothies And Milkshakes

chocolate banana smoothie
chocolate banana smoothie - Dina Photo Stories/Shutterstock

Give your next smoothie or milkshake an unforgettable creaminess by integrating pudding. This is not only a cool way to upgrade instant pudding mix, but it upgrades your beverage, too. For both milkshakes and smoothies, stir the instant pudding mix into your wet mixture before combining it with any other ingredients. You don't want to be left with powdery chunks as you sip.

Chocolate or vanilla pudding is easy to use as they go with most combinations, whether you want to add strawberries or a handful of spinach. Make an easy banana shake with milk, vanilla or banana pudding mix, and bananas. Try a berry smoothie with strawberry pudding mix, milk, blackberries, and blueberries, or go the nutty route with pistachio pudding, yogurt, banana, and a spoonful of almond butter. Butterscotch pudding and vanilla ice cream make a decadent milkshake that doesn't involve a lot of ingredients. There are many flavor profiles and ingredients to customize a pudding smoothie or milkshake.

Throw In Some Pineapple For A Watergate Salad

Watergate salad with nuts in bowl
Watergate salad with nuts in bowl - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Bust out that pistachio pudding packet to make Watergate salad. Yes, this pastel green dessert is indeed a sweet confection, not a salad with leafy greens. If you're unfamiliar, Watergate salad is a blend of pudding, canned crushed pineapple, whipped topping, mini marshmallows, and chopped pecans. It's soft with a light nutty crunch, and the pistachio pudding provides color while holding everything together.

This treat has been around since the 1970s, and true to its ingredients, used to be referred to as a pineapple pistachio delight. Bring this reto, nostalgic, and entertaining Watergate salad to your next potluck or family get-together. Keep it traditional with the classic ingredients, or add goodies, such as coconut or maraschino cherries, for added texture and color.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.