How to Make Protein Pudding

So…while you guys are working hard on your Bariatric Foodie Pledge goals for week one, I thought I’d post this little tutorial since one of my recipes this week requires protein pudding.

Many bariatric companies sell protein pudding mixes, which always makes me shake my head. It’s so easy (and way cheaper) to make it yourself!

Let’s go over how you make vanilla protein pudding.

Nik’s Vanilla Protein Pudding


  • 16 oz. milk (so there’s been some debate about whether you can use other milk besides cow’s milk. I’ve always been told traditional instant pudding won’t set with soy or almond milk – and the global collective brain…er…Google…seems to agree – and a Foodie below in the comments tried almond milk and it did not set. So…while you may use whatever type of milk you want, my official suggestion is cow’s milk of some sort. I believe you CAN use Lactaid if you are lactose intolerant)
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used this)
  • 1 box (1.5 oz) nonfat, sugar-free vanilla pudding mix


Get out your blender (I’ll wait). If you’re using a big pitcher blender, pour both cups of milk and both scoops of protein into the blender and blend until smooth (About 45 seconds. Also, it may be slightly bubbly but don’t worry about that). If you, like me, have a Magic Bullet blender, you have to do it one cup at a time.

Once your protein and milk are blended, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add your pudding powder.

Using a hand mixer on low speed, mix in pudding until fully incorporated (about 90 seconds). The pudding will be mostly set when you’re done. If you’ve mixed your milk/protein well, there should be no lumps! Refrigerate one hour before serving. (NOTE: My wonderful Foodie Friend, Taz, says she simply adds the pudding powder to her blender. Whichever way works, go for it! From my perspective what works about this process is mixing the lumps out of the protein with the milk BEFORE adding the pudding powder.)

This makes about 6 – 8 servings of pudding, depending on how much you can eat. If you have more than you think you can eat right away, no worries! Break out the old popsicle molds and make protein pudding pops! They keep in the freezer for a few weeks and make a nice “faux-naughty” treat.

If you’re adventurous, you can add different things to flavor this up. In the past I’ve added a splash of Davinci sugar-free Butter Rum syrup for a faux-boozy pudding. I’ve done Davinci Chai Tea Concentrate for an exotic chai pudding. I’ve even added green tea powder to make green tea pudding. The possibilities are endless.

Just remember, if you’re using flavor additives, add them to the protein/milk mixture in the blender BEFORE adding the pudding powder.

How to Make Protein Pudding
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How to Make Protein Pudding
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  1. Stupid question…is there any reason you couldn't mix the pudding mix in the blender with the milk and protein powder? That is how I usually make it and I'm wondering if it comes out better if you use a beater?

  2. Hey Taz,

    I always get at least a few lumps when I do it that way. This way it is always completely lump free. But if mixing it all together works, go for it!!! Play with your food!

  3. I'm going to try it this way next time and see what I like best.

  4. Mixed up a batch about a half hour ago, with instant nonfat vanilla pudding – all in the blender. Mixed the protein and (unsweetened almond) milk first, for two full minutes (similar to the Triple X method, only with no ice), and I then added the pudding mix very slowly.
    It's setting in the fridge, and appeared to be lump-free.

  5. – Will have to try this again… Nik, what size box of instant pudding did you use? Not sure if there wasn't enough pudding mix, or if the almond milk may have affected it, but after 8 hours in the fridge, it was still not set. So, I did what any self-respect BF reader would do – I PLAYED WITH MY FOOD! I brought a serving to work, and put it in the freezer for an hour or two. Right before I wanted to try it, I stirred it up well – it was like eating gelato, or frozen custard! I may mix a bit of instant espresso (maybe decaf, maybe not…) in one of the other servings before I freeze and eat it – I may also stir in some gelatin to see if it'll firm up any more.

  6. Ah-HA! I feel semi vindicated. A Foodie on FB said that the pudding not setting right with almond milk was a myth (well I think she said she made it with soy), so I removed that from the post, thinking hey maybe they are right. I'm sorry your batch turned out poorly. For the record I just asked the earth's collective brain (aka Google) who agreed that generally most pudding mixes don't set right with almond or soy milk. So…I'm putting it back into the directions! But way to go for playing with your food!

    • Although I have not tried it, yet, if you use almond milk, you need to use less…like 1-1.5 cups rather than 2 cups…and it may not set up exactly like with cows milk. If using protein prefer, that may help it thicken!

  7. I've made pudding this way for years and it's great. Like Nik says, the combinations are endless when you add SF syrups. Occasionally I will have a batch that doesn't set and I've chalked it up to adding too much liquid (if I get really ambitious with the syrup). But I notice that Nik's recipe uses 2 scoops of protein powder. I've always used 1 scoop and I think that's the issue. I'm making a batch today with 2 scoops and I'll see how it goes.

  8. Hey Mary! Yep, I add one scoop of protein for every 8 oz. milk. That's my basic formula for any place I put milk/protein together. And you can even measure it down that way. If you do something that has 4 oz. milk, add half a scoop protein powder, etc.

  9. Hi Nik, Was wondering if you used skim or fat free cows milk?? I tried this last night measured everthing out and it did not set by this am? I had made it once a long time ago and it set but broke broke by the next day. Not sure if it has something to do with the addition of the protien? Anyhow I am going to freeze it like the poster above did!!

  10. Yep. I used fat-free cow's milk. What kind of milk did you use?

  11. I did use fat-free cows milk. Not sure what went wrong?? Next time I am not going to use the full amount of milk maybe only 12 oz instead of the 16oz amount.

  12. Play with your food! 🙂

  13. I have used soy milk with no problem. I just substitute 1 cup of soy milk for 1 cup of cow milk.

  14. I made it exactly like you said, only using choc & choc! It wouldn't even start to set up or thicken. Then I realized I made a mistake when shopping and bought the pudding mix you have to cook. So then I had to cook…It was by far better than any instant pudding ever was. It took a couple of minutes longer and a dirty pan to clean, but was worth it. Just try it sometime. It was delicious, creamy, fudgey…

    • I just added whey protein to my usual method for chocolate pudding pie. The only protein powder I had was vanilla flavored, always mixes well in milk, and is delicious. I always make pudding pie with a walnut crust (our Meijer store carries them) and use Jello Fat-Free, Sugar Free cooked pudding. Both are excellent! I totally agree with another person here who said cooked is much better than instant pudding. Try it.
      This was an experiment, as I didn’t know if the protein would work OK with the cooked pudding. A little research proved that cooking would have no adverse effect on the pudding (nor the protein)., so I mixed the dry ingredients first, then added them to cow’s milk in a blender. I also added a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, just to offset the vanilla flavor. It was good, but probably not necessary.
      FYI, I tried lactose-free milk last time- the cooked pudding set up, but the texture was softer. It was alright, but I didn’t like the texture as much.
      End result: this pie was perfect! If anything, the protein powder made the pie filling slightly smoother. But family members never noticed anything, and the pie is much more friendly for diabetics like me who need to watch carbs and sugar.

  15. I'm late to the game having only found this recipe today. Decided to give it a try but I used chocolate protein & SF pudding with raspberry Torani. Mixed the milk & protein for a couple minutes in the blender then added the pudding and blended a couple minutes more. Yummy! Doing it that way gave it a mousse like texture. Made the mistake of letting my DH & DSs try it and then I had to share. :-/ would make a good chocolate cream pie if I could find a wls friendly Graham cracker type crust 🙂

  16. Instant pudding mix definitely does not set up with almond milk! I should know—I have a 6 year old waiting right now for her vanilla pudding to set while I search the internet for a way to fix what we have mixed up: Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding and 2 cups of almond milk. Wish I’d known sooner that it does not work! Am frantically trying to fix it as we speak by adding extra corn starch before I lose the Best Nana Award!

    • I’ve never tried this but I’d think dry milk might do the trick if you have some. Use the DRY amount equivalent to the amount of milk you were supposed to put in. I’d beat it with a hand mixer to avoid lumps. Let me know if you try that and if it works out!

  17. I just tried this using 2% cows milk, but I used a protein that was not whey based and it is not setting at all!!! I will try it with whey protein in the future to see if that helps. Its not lumpy, but it is basically drinkable which isn’t what I had hoped for.

    • Hi there, Erin. The type of protein should not have affected it setting. Have you refrigerated it for an hour? Is it still soupy? If so, it may be that you got a bum package of pudding (that’s happened to me before!) or it may require less liquid and you might just have to play around with it, but I wanted you to know that using non-whey protein does not affect a pudding’s ability to set. The only thing that (theoretically) affects the ability to set is the type of milk you use. If anything, the protein should make it set faster and firmer.

  18. Nice to know that you use “Pure Protein” brand as well!

  19. Good for you trick with the pudding ? I used almond or coconut or even cashew! Add some oat fiber to your pudding!! Each teaspoon adds 3 grams of fiber and carbs? to your pudding, I use a 2 tablespoon per box of sf pudding. I double dog dare it not to set!!!? usually within 5 minutes!!!!

  20. Alright, i started out with 1 question and it turned into several.

    1. Is there a reason why you use 2 cups milk instead of the 3 it calls for? Setting is what i figured.

    2. My scoop is 33.3g of powder, ( protein ). Should i add milk for that reason?

    3. Set time: My shakes are about 2dys in the fridge. I’ve pushed 3 but it changes a lil & not as tasty.

    4. Being as there is protein, do you think it would be an issue having it in a ready use graham cracker crust?

    Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you!
    Thank you,

    • Hi Jon. Sorry to take so long to reply! My computer needed an exorcism. Ok let’s tackle these questions:

        My pudding box 2 cups. Your mileage may vary. I’d suggest using whatever is on your box!
        That’s a pretty standard size scoop so I would not add any additional milk to what the box says.
        My pudding sets without me putting it in the fridge. When in the fridge, 30 minutes max. Protein shakes and pudding are different (mostly b/c pudding has egg in it to help it set).
        I don’t believe in issues with recipes except with what YOU are comfortable eating! I mostly do Fiber One crusts because I like Fiber One and I struggle to get enough fiber so it’s a win-win. Run the numbers on a graham cracker crust and see how you feel about it. If you’re ok with the numbers, go for it! They are yummy!
      • So if the egg is what makes it set why can’t you add some meringue powder?

        • Most homemade puddings are set using egg yolks. Meringue powder is egg whites. The whites are mostly protein whereas the yolk is mostly fat. That fat is important to the final texture of the pudding and for it to set. You can certainly use meringue powder in pudding (instant or homemade) but just be aware that by adding that extra protein, the texture will be changed.

  21. Have used silk almond milk, chocolate flavor and the 30 cal/cup variant, and pudding set fine in the fridge over night. 1 scoop chocolate muscle milk protein powder at 25g protein and 155 calories, brings 2 cups of pudding to around 315! Very delicious dessert indeed! Oh, and I just make sure to blend the protein powder with milk before adding the pudding. No lumps

  22. I have been making Protein Pudding using 2 cups milk, sugar free pudding mix and 1 to 1 1/2 servings of Protein powder. (i use all different flavors of protein powder for variety) It sets up great, but the calories in the milk was making my calorie, as well as carb & sugar count higher than I’m supposed to have.

    When I just use the protein powder to make a drink, I use water instead of milk.

    I have tried making my protein drink with water, then using that in place of the milk in the recipe. I can’t get it to set that way though.

    I have even tried adding some beef gelatin to it along with the sugar free pudding mix & it still will not set. I don’t understand why it wont set in either of those ways. I haven’t tried using just gelatin powder, with just the protein powder mixed in water though. I’ve been afraid it will give it a jello texture instead of a pudding texture, which just seems like it would taste weird.

    I make this in a 16 oz wide mouth mason jar.
    put in 4 to 6 oz of hot water, start steering slowly,
    add a single serving packet of sugar free Kool aid type drink mix
    add 1 1/2 tablespoons of beef gelatin continue steering slowly
    add as much collagen peptides protein as you want (it doesn’t have any color or taste and doesn’t change the texture at all) I use 20 grams.
    Once that is all dissolved, finish filling the jar, to the 16 oz line, with room temp or cold water
    let the jar cool to room temp, then put a lid on the jar and put in the refrigerator until it jells.
    (Jolly Ranchers watermelon, Jolly Ranchers Green Apple, and Walmart brand Blackberry Lemonade are my favorite flavors)

    drink mix (Jolly Ranchers brand 10 calories, 0 protein, 0 fat, 0 carb 0 sodium/ Great Value brand 10 calories, 0 protein, 0 fat, 2 carb, 50 sodium)
    Beef Gelatin has 37 calories, 9 protein, 0 fat, 0 carbs, 30 sodium
    Collagen Peptides protein has 70 calories, 18 protein, 0 fat, 0 carbs 100 sodium
    Total Macro’s 117 calories, 27 protein, 0 carbs, 0 fat

    It takes my about 2-3 hours to eat one of the 16 oz jars of the gelatin, If it starts to get to soft, I put it back in the fridge for 15 – 30 minutes. You could also just pour it into smaller containers after you get all of the items mixed in good and dissolved. You could divide it into 4 4oz servings to make it easier, if you can only eat very small meals at a time or your doctor doesn’t want you grazing, etc. I count it as a protein drink, sense technically it is just a congealed protein drink.

  23. I feel vindicated! I knew you could add protein powder to Jello SF pudding. I just didn’t know how much or if there was a special process. I also knew if anyone had a sane recipe it would be Nikki. Sorry some sites are just crazy with how and what they want you to do to make well anything. I just have one question.

    How long does it last in the fridge? If it makes 6 servings and I’m the only one eating the happy pudding then that’s six days of happy yummy pudding. Will it last or should I be calling up my sister and saying let’s go to the dollar store for popsicle molds! Or even if she has some.

    • Hey there! A quick Google search tells me that pudding prepared with milk from dry mix lasts about 7 days in the fridge. So I think it should be ok! I love pudding pops though and highly recommend them!

    • It’s delicious in the freezer. I buy sf chocolate pudding mix, 3 scoops of dark chocolate whey protein and lactose free 1% chocolate milk. It’s 120 cal a cup. I only use 1 1/2 cup for 4 small containers and freeze it. It doesn’t freeze like ice instead like a thick fudge pudding pop. It reminds me chocolate pudding pops but tastes even better in my opinion.

    • It’s delicious in the freezer. I buy sf chocolate pudding mix, 3 scoops of dark chocolate whey protein and lactose free 1% chocolate milk. It’s 120 cal a cup. I only use 1 1/2 cup for 4 small containers and freeze it. It doesn’t freeze like ice instead like a thick fudge pudding pop. It reminds me chocolate pudding pops but tastes even better in my opinion.

  24. I love these puddings. I use different flavors of pudding with the same flavors of protein such as chocolate, banana cream, butterscotch, chocolate mint protein with chocolate protein, but still use sugar free fat free vanilla or French vanilla puddings with strawberry cream protein, orange cream protein, etc. During this time of year you can also make healthy eggnog with the puddings, milk and spices and it tastes exactly like eggnog.

  25. So how much protein so you get in each serving . And what is a serving size?

    • I know I’m hella late with this response but I don’t give nutritional info for my recipes. I have my reasons (and yes, I do know everyone else does it but I don’t!) The best way to get info like the protein is to plug the ingredients you’ll use into your favorite recipe calculator. That way you’ll get the exact information you need. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

  26. So I am not supposed to heat the pudding as you do usually?

    • You make a good point in that I did not specify that I use instant pudding. These directions are not for cooked pudding. Sorry for that!

  27. 8 oz almond milk, 2 scoops pure protein vanilla powder, 1 1.5 Oz sugar free chocolate pudding. Mixed all in my ninja mixer for about 45 secs. Had to use a rubber spatula to spoon it out because it thickened already! Put in serving bowls, added a few sugar free dark chocolate chips on top and let the fridge do the work! Amazing and delicious!

  1. Pingback: How do you make instant pudding without lumps? - Microwave Recipes

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