I'm making the layered pudding dessert and without looking I dumped an instant pudding mix and a cook and serve pudding mix in the same bowl. I am now staring at said bowl in horror. Too late to scoop and separate. How do I save this? Was my last two packages!

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    The Horror! I recently found out that instant pudding will not set if you use Almond milk instead of cow milk. There was no way to get a do-over except by going to store and getting cow milk and more instant pudding. I suspect you are in the same spot. Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 0:27

4 Answers 4


update: It seems that the salts used in instant pudding are heat stable (one turns into the other one at 450°C), so it's possible that it might work by following the cooked directions ... but I'd advise a slurry as a backup.

You're going to have to add something to fix it. Either more gelatin (to have it set cold), or starch to have it set when boiling.

I'd probably go with the hot method -- you'll bring it to a boil, which will screw up the setting properties of the gelatin. I suspect that you'll want to let it boil for a minute or so, to make sure the gelatin isn't going to set at all (and possibly make it too thick, or interfere with the starch).

You didn't say which size of boxed mix you're using, but looking at a few recipes, it seems like you want 3 to 4 TB of cornstarch to set 2 cups of milk. Use that as a basis to scale your recipe.

(updating instructions per DebbieM's comment)

So :

  1. Mix cornstarch (1.5 to 2 TB per cup of milk needed for the instant pudding) with some (less than 1/4 c.) of milk in a jar, seal and shake to make a slurry.

  2. Stir in the cold milk (the sum of what's called for on both boxes).

  3. Heat to a boil (see notes from cooked pudding package about stirring, etc).
  4. Check to see how well the pudding coats the back of a spoon. (wipe a finger through it to get an accurate estimate of how thick it is)
  5. If not thick enough (note: it will thicken more when cooled), add some of the slurry, and let it boil for a minute or so (keep stirring or whisking during this).
  6. Repeat 4 & 5 'til you've achieved the thickness desired.
  7. Follow the cooked pudding package instructions from there.

If you don't have cornstarch, I've seen some recipes that use flour (about 1/4c. per 2 cups of milk), but they're always chocolate ... I suspect it's to cover up the raw flour taste.

If you have unflavored gelatin, you could also bloom some in some cold milk, and then mix it in with the cooked pudding as it's cooling to try to achieve the desired thickness, but too much might end up setting like a blancmange.

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    There isn't any gelatin in the popular US brand of instant pudding, but there is some starch, so you may want to cut back on the additional amount of cornstarch or flour you use.
    – Debbie M.
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 4:12
  • @DebbieM. : I always thought that was how they got it to set without heat. Hmm... looks like Jello brand contains "Modified Food Starch" and "Disodium Phosphate And Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (For Thickening)". Need to look into how they handle heat.
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 13:12
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    It worked! I used 3T for 2 cups of milk with the small box of lemon pudding! I can't count how many boxes of pudding I threw out over the years because I bought the instant but only eat the cooked brand. Thanks for ht advice!
    – khook
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 21:04

My annual holiday meal fail this year was : maxing instant and cook and serve pudding. I mixed the packages and prepared both as instant pudding. This was Wednesday at 11 pm. I debated to freak out, try making a new banana pudding pie with what I had left, or just wing it and stick it in the fridge... well I mentioned it was 11pm Wednesday? Yeah, so I opted out of an extra holiday melt down, stuck it in the fridge and hoped for the best. I decided not to chance messing up my entire day Thursday, I didn’t check the banana pudding until I served the rest of the desserts after dinner. I wanted to be just as surprised as everyone else if this thing was still in liquid form!

However, very much to my surprise, when I went to serve my banana pudding, “I’ll be damned, it’s pudding!”

So, when this happens to you less than 24 hours from holiday meal time: shrug your shoulders, stick it in the fridge, keep calm and holiday on!

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    Interesting. So I guess the starch in the cooked pudding doesn't need heat. Of course, there's a chance that this may vary brand-to-brand
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 0:32

I just did this exact same thing with Jello brand pudding and I just heated it in the microwave for 8 mins stirring every 2 mins ( as per cook and serve microwave directions) and it worked.


I did the same thing. Mixing up the cooked for instant. I just went ahead and used it uncooked and it set up fine and tasted delicious. Don’t sweat it because it works fine. Maybe a better flavor and texture to boot.

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