Is There Milk In Pudding?

Written by: Kelly Donovan

When it comes to sweets, pudding is a choice that hits the spot almost every time! However, those with milk sensitivities, lactose intolerance, or who want to go dairy-free might have to think twice before they indulge in this custard-based dessert.

There is milk in pudding, particularly prepackaged pudding cups you buy from the store. However, instant pudding mix usually doesn’t contain milk unless added later in the cooking process.

In this article, we’ll break down everything about milk in pudding—from instant puddings to pudding cups—so that you can snack with complete and total confidence.

Does Pudding Have Milk in it?

As previously mentioned, milk is found in most prepared pudding unless it’s labeled milk and dairy-free! However, this doesn’t apply to instant pudding mixes.

Let’s break down the nuances between the two even further:

Is There Milk in Instant Pudding?

If you’re making pudding from a box mix, there’s a high likelihood that the powder itself is milk-free!

Regardless of what flavor you may decide to pick up, may it be chocolate, vanilla, or pistachio- the base ingredients of the product contain no milk powders or traces.

Perhaps the most popular brand of instant pudding you can purchase is Jell-O. The main ingredients found in every flavor are:

  • Sugar
  • Modified cornstarch
  • Less than 2% sodium phosphate
  • Salt
  • Phosphate-based ingredients for thickening.

While the powder itself is milk-free, the prepared dessert might not be. It all depends on what liquid you’re using to get your dessert to the right consistency. Most box mixes will call for you to add milk to the powder.

Milk substitutes of all kinds will set the pudding just fine- oat milk, almond milk, even soy!

Is There Milk in Prepared Pudding?

For those who aren’t fans of waiting for their pudding to set, you may want to buy pre-prepared brands like Snack Pack and the like.

Unfortunately, because you have no say over what liquid is used to bring the sweet to the desired consistency, chances are the product is not dairy-free.

While water is the main ingredient for prepared pudding mixes, the next ingredient is non-fat milk, making it a big no-no for those with milk sensitivities.

A general rule of thumb is that if the packaging doesn’t claim to be milk-free, it isn’t milk-free.

clear bowl of pudding surrounded with raspberries

Does Pudding Contain Dairy?

If you’re looking for dairy-free dessert options, pudding cups generally aren’t the best option. Most prepackaged pudding cups use milk as one of their main ingredients.

However, instant pudding mixes allow you to enjoy pudding with dairy substitutes, making them dairy-free!

Is There Dairy in Instant Pudding?

As previously mentioned, instant pudding mixes are milk-free. On top of that, there are also no eggs or animal products on the ingredient list.

Again, the pudding being dairy-free will depend on what kind of milk you use to prepare it.

In short, if you use dairy-free milk, you’ll be left with a dairy-free dessert! If you’re looking for a milk alternative that works well with instant puddings, oat milk and almond milk work particularly well!

Is There Dairy in Prepackaged Pudding?

Pudding packs and other types of ready-made puddings are often milk-based.

The milk of choice for prepared puddings is always whole or non-fat, which are dairy-based products and not safe for those with lactose sensitivities (or vegan lifestyles!).

Thankfully, there are dairy-free prepared puddings on the market. They’ll often specify “vegan” or “dairy-free” on the packaging.

two glasses of pudding with berries on top

Can You Make Dairy-Free Pudding?

If you like to cook, you can make dairy-free pudding at home. Here’s a great dairy-free chocolate pudding recipe from Ela Vegan:

Final Thoughts

Instant pudding mixes are the safer option if you’re strict about your lactose intake, have milk allergies, or want to avoid dairy altogether.

This is due to your ability to customize what liquid you’re using to set your dessert (milk substitutes make great-tasting puddings!).

When it comes to prepared packages, they’re likely milk-based, containing dairy and other lactose-based ingredients.

If you want to ensure the pudding is safe for your dietary needs, check for a clear label that specifies it’s dairy or milk free.

About the Author

Kelly Donovan is a freelance writer. She enjoys helping people reach their wellness goals by educating them about how food plays a role in their health.