6 Recipes Transforming Pudding Mix Into Impressive Desserts

Despite a fondness for sweet treats, Americans are cutting back on desserts. Most people simply don’t want to deal with the hassle since baking can be so finicky. Some recipes involve complex techniques that only pastry chefs have mastered, and some have ingredient lists so long they make your head spin. There’s a better way, though. We’ve discovered a super secret to making stellar sweets by using a shortcut ingredient that’s sitting mostly unused in the grocery store baking aisle: boxed pudding mix. These packages come in every flavor imaginable and can be used for way more than a humble bowl of custard. These 6 recipes show you how to turn that mix into a dessert that deserves a round of applause.

1. Funfetti Pudding Mix Cookies

Funfetti pudding mix cookes

Funfetti pudding mix cookies | iStock.com

Sprinkle-festooned ice cream cones and cakes might be common, but those festive candies are so cute that they deserve a little more time in the sun. These adorable treats from Cooking Classy show just how fun jimmies can be in other desserts. Adding pudding mix ensures theses treats stay really flavorful, but also gives them a beautifully soft texture. Just add it right before mixing in the dry ingredients. These tiny desserts will put a smile on your face any time, but we especially like them for a birthday party.

Ingredients:

  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • ⅔ cup rainbow sprinkles

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in egg and yolk, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add pudding mix and blend to combine. With mixer set on low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in sprinkles with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Scoop dough out using a 1½-inch cookie scoop, and shape into balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Gently press a few more sprinkles into top of each, and bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. Serve. Store, covered, in an airtight container.

2. Double Chocolate Pudding Brownies

Double chocolate pudding brownies

Double chocolate pudding brownies | iStock.com

There are two camps brownie lovers fall into: cakey and fudgy. Most of us tend toward the latter category, yet achieving that rich texture seems almost impossible. These goodies from The Sweet {Tooth} Life get it right by combining boxed pudding and brownie mixes into one delectable treat. To add even more decadence, these brownies get a dose of white and dark chocolate chips. You’ll never go back to your regular brownie recipe after one bite of these beauties.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3.5-ounce) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 (18.5-ounce) package brownie mix
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips, plus more
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips, plus more

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat eggs in a large bowl, then add water and oil. Whisk pudding mix and brownie mix in a separate bowl. Mix in the wet ingredients, then fold in the chips.

Pour mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle with additional white and dark chocolate chips. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve.

3. Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate pudding ice cream | iStock.com

Despite Americans’ love of chocolate, only two states list it as their favorite ice cream flavor. One taste of this indulgent version from Elizabeth Lou and Company is likely to convert more than a few of those vanilla fans, though. Made with just 5 ingredients and absolutely no cooking required, this is the rare ice cream that can be made and eaten in an afternoon.

While this recipe makes a wonderful, classic chocolate, it’s the perfect base to get really creative. Adding some crushed chocolate sandwich cookies or chocolate chips is a great place to start, but let your imagination run wild with different candies, cookies, and even brownie pieces. You can also swirl in a bit of fudge or caramel sauce at the last second for a marbled effect.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mix-ins, such as chocolate chips, optional

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together. Chill for 2 hours, until cold. Process mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add mix-ins during last few minutes of churning.

Transfer mixture to an airtight container, and store in the freezer. Serve.

4. Baked Pistachio Pudding Doughnuts

pistachio doughnut

Baked pistachio pudding doughnuts | iStock.com

If you’ve never made your own doughnuts before, then you’re in for a treat. These goodies usually require a ton of oil and a messy frying procedure, but this version from Well Plated, featured on Imperial Sugar, goes with an easier baking method. The pudding mix and buttermilk keep the baked goods tender and moist, so they’ll still taste every bit as decadent as the ones that go for a dip in sizzling oil. Topped off with a honey glaze and a sprinkle of pistachios, these are definitely a sophisticated take on the breakfast staple.

Ingredients:

 Doughnuts

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios

Glaze

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon milk, plus more
  • ¾ cup roughly chopped pistachios

Directions: Place racks in upper third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate, small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, oil, and almond extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just to incorporate. In a small bowl, toss pistachios with 1 teaspoon flour; fold into batter.

Scoop batter into prepared pan until each well is three-fourths full; smooth tops with the back of a spoon. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and doughnuts spring back lightly when touched. Allow to cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, honey, and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth. Thin with more milk, if necessary. Dip cooled doughnuts into glaze and return to wire rack. Immediately sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Allow glaze to set. Serve.

5. Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Blueberry Bundt Cake

Blueberry lemon cream cheese pound cake | iStock.com

For those who like desserts with a little bit of pucker, this blueberry lemon cream cheese pound cake from Food.com is a real treat. Using boxed cake and pudding mixes eliminates most of the measuring, so this dessert is great for when you want to make something impressive in a flash. Blueberries add a burst of freshness and make it feel like you baked the whole thing from scratch. Be sure not to skip the lemon glaze, because it adds tons of extra flavor.

Even if you don’t care for lemon desserts, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this method. You can adopt it for practically any flavor. It works especially well for a double chocolate version.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package lemon cake mix
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar. Make a well in center and add eggs, cream cheese. oil, extracts, and water. Mix on low speed until blended, scraping bowl as needed. Add zest, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Fold in blueberries using a rubber spatula. Pour into prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan, and let cool on a wire rack completely.

Mix confectioner’s sugar with lemon juice. Drizzle over cooled cake. Let glaze set. Serve.

6. Aunt Ruth’s Famous Butterscotch Cheesecake

cheesecake

Cheesecake | iStock.com

There are a lot of variations on cheesecake out there, and some of them seem downright insane. When you want something a little different without going overboard, look to this delicious recipes from Taste of Home. It takes everything you love about the flavor butterscotch pudding and gives it a new home in a decadent cheesecake. The recipe recommends serving with crushed butterscotch candies, but toffee bits make an outrageously tasty topper.

Ingredients:

Cheesecake

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup cold milk
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

To Serve

  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • Crushed butterscotch candies

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, then securely wrap bottom in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar. Add butter and mix to combine. Press mixture into bottom of pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk milks and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes, until beginning to set. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in pudding mixture and vanilla. Add eggs, beat on low speed until just combined. our over crust. Place pan in a large, deep baking pan. Pour hot water into larger pan until it reaches 1 inch in depth.

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until center is almost set when you jiggle the pan, and top appears dull. Remove from oven, then remove pan from water bath. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. run a knife around edge of pan, then cool for 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator and chill overnight. Garnish with whipped cream and candies, if desired. Serve.

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