This simple milk pudding is just 4 ingredients. It has a silky, creamy texture and tastes like ice cream in pudding form. Japanese-style milk pudding can be found in convenience stores all over Japan, but you can easily make this treat at home too.
One of the foods I obsess over when I visit Japan is their milk pudding. It’s one of several things I always buy when shopping at all the convenience stores like Lawson’s, 7-Eleven and Family Mart. It’s a very simple pudding but there is something so delightful in its simplicity.
What is Japanese Milk Pudding?
Japanese milk pudding is made almost purely of milk, which is why it tastes so much like ice cream. It is not the same as purin pudding, another popular Japanese pudding which is made from eggs.
In Hokkaido, you’ll find a version of this made with Hokkaido’s famous milk
The pudding is made with whole milk, sugar, cream and gelatin. You can also add a splash of vanilla to make it taste even more like ice cream.
It makes a delicious snack, afternoon treat, or dessert.
How to Make Milk Pudding
To make the milk pudding, all the ingredients are added to a large pot and then heated over low heat so that the gelatin and sugar can dissolve into the milk and cream.
Once all the ingredients are completely mixed, the pudding mixture is then poured into small cups/jars/bowls.
They are then placed in the fridge for about 6 hours to set.
The puddings can be eaten straight from the fridge. You can also add fruit or syrup on top before serving.
Looking for more Japanese recipes to try? I’ve also made Japanese souffle pancakes, 3 Ingredient Japanese Cheesecake, Japanese egg salad sandwiches, and a microwave version of purin pudding.
Japanese Milk Pudding
- 500 ml whole milk
- 50 ml heavy cream
- 3 tbsp granulated white sugar
- 2.5 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
- Add milk, cream, sugar, vanilla to a large pot. Sprinkle gelatin over top. Stir with a whisk until gelatin is almost dissolved.
- Warm pudding mixture over low heat on the stove. You do not want it to simmer or come to a boil. While the mixture is heating up, continue to stir with whisk until gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved. This should only take 1-2 minutes once the mixture begins to heat up. Once dissolved, remove from heat.
- Pour pudding into small bowls/jars or similar containers. You should have about 20 oz of pudding mixture. I divided mine into 4 oz servings.
- Place pudding containers into fridge to set. This will take about 4-6 hours. Once set, they can be eaten as is. You can also decorate the tops with fruit or syrup before eating. I recommend taking them out of the fridge 15-20 minutes before eating, which will yield a softer pudding. It can be eaten straight out of the fridge but the texture will be more firm.
- Slightly adapted from Peachy Bunny Mel.
- I used Knox gelatin.*
- When the puddings solidifies, the surface may be slightly wrinkly. This is normal. You can cover it up with fruits or syrup if you are serving this to guests.
- This recipe works best with whole milk to achieve the right level of creaminess.
- Make sure you do not let the pudding mixture come to a boil when heating it up.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Loved it!!!!!! Looking forward to a recipe for a Japanese cheesecake. We have not found one or recipe for ov3r 7yrs. I could to go SAN FRANCISCO TO BUY a slice,LOL
We have a 3 Ingredient Japanese Cheesecake you might like!
Was tempted to try out this after watching a Japanese series. Tried it and it was so so delicious! I think I will keep making it again and again. It was perfectly sweet, creamy and wobbly. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!
We’re so glad you loved the recipe!
Hello, do you think this recipe would work if I substitute the whole milk with rice milk?
We haven’t tried it with rice milk so not sure what the result would be.
Like the old insurance commercial,so easy a caveman could do it! Love the silky texture.
That’s great! Thanks for letting us know.
Ike again. I tried this recipe again,but,this time with full fat,high octane,chocolate milk! It came out amazing.
Thank you again for this tasty treat!
Hi! I just wanna say I’m super glad I found this recipe and I really love it!! Since I moved to a different area I strangely couldn’t find gelatin powder but I have access to gelatin sheets so, how much gelatin sheets should I use? Still confused on how to convert them myself ?
Sorry, but we don’t have that information.
3 sheets is about 2.5g of gelatin
thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! my family and i love the pudding so much!
the kids had fun making it too!
We’re so glad you loved the recipe!
Do you have a conversion for using gelatin sheets instead of powder?
Sorry, but we’ve only tested the recipe with gelatin powder.
I just made a second batch this weekend, my new favorite dessert!! I added a teaspoon of rose water after taking the milk off the heat. May add a small spoonful of raspberry rose syrup for color.
Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! The rose water sounds lovely
I made a batch with slightly less sugar and added cinnamon yesterday, and it was soooo tasty. So tasty, in fact, that I’m making a coffee milk version as we speak, which smells amazing. Great recipe, thanks! : )
Thanks for letting us know!
Thank you, I tried to make this last night and it turned out perfectly! Also not too sweet for my preference.
I’m so glad it worked out for you!
Kirbie, thank you very much for the recipe! It is so very delicious! It was not an easy job to find a good recipe of such a pudding. I tried several panna cotta recipes, unsuccessfully. But yours works perfectly. I think the wording is very accurate and it gives the understanding of the whole process (I think it is important).
By the way, I used more cream and reduced the quantity of whole milk respectively.
And I have a question as to whether it is possible to make coconut pudding using your recipe. Probably you have already tried…
We haven’t tried making this recipe into a coconut pudding. We do have a Mango Coconut Pudding you might like to try.
So I tried this and after sitting in the fridge overnight I just had sweet milk.
I can’t have gelatin so I usually use agar agar powder. I’m assuming that this substitution is what caused the fail. Anyone else use agar agar and canoe out with different results?
Thanks for sharing your experience – we haven’t tested it with agar agar powder, but in general agar agar does not yield the same results/texture as gelatin so that is likely what caused it to not work.
It took me a couple tries, but agar agar works! The first time I followed the instructions exactly, but then I discovered 8 hours later it just got stuck to the side of the pot (this was my first time working with agar in cooking). So I poured everything back into the pot and re-added the agar powder after reading that agar can be redone and it needs to be heated to 90 C (198 F) first to properly set. This time I allowed the mixture to simmer but not fully boil while also making sure nothing is sticking on the sides. Within a few minutes of me finishing, the pudding was already set at room temperature (though I still refrigerated to chill them).
It tasted perfectly soft and smooth. It would seem that the difference between agar agar and gelatin is that agar needs to be simmered while gelatin must not (per the recipe).
Thanks for sharing those tips!
Thank you, I’ve tried to make this a few times and it has always turned out amazing!
Just another question, is it possible to replace milk with soy milk so that we can make soy milk pudding?
Looking forward to your reply!
Sorry I haven’t tried with soy milk. Let me know if you test it out!
I tried this recipe first by whole milk and it was amazing! I wanted a bit more taste into the pudding (without using fruit syrup as a topping) so I decided to use evaporated milk with the same portion as whole milk (I did half portion overall since I didnt want to waste any evap milk if it turned out bad) and it turned out even better! Creamier than before but still giving that slightly sweeter taste as well!
I’m so glad it worked out for you! Thank you for sharing your results
It is very tasty!
I’m so glad you liked it!
Just wanted to come back and say that I tried this with 2% milk and whole cream, but it tasted more like a traditional Jello pudding rather than that rich creaminess of milk pudding. I added just under the amount of 2% milk, and increased the whole cream a tiny bit to compensate, but it wasn’t enough. Also some water seeped out of it while it was in my fridge. So, 2% is “okay” but you won’t get that quintessential Japanese milk pudding taste.
thanks for sharing your results with 2% milk!
Hi, I want to make this tonight for Thanksgiving, but the yield seems small. If I want double the yield, should I just double all the ingredients? Please let know asap. Thanks!
Thanks. I actually made the dessert before I saw your reply. I’m glad I doubled the quantity except for the sugar. The dessert was a hit, but I think the directions could be clearer eg “begins to heat up” is vague and perhaps even incorrect. Do you mean once the pot is uniformly warm to the touch, heat for 1-2 minutes?
I used dairy from the fridge, but is it better to use the dairy at room temp?
Even on gas stove, it took much, much longer than 1-2 minutes (like one of the previous posters implied) for the gelatin to really dissolve. Also, I stirred with a spoon, and no matter how long I heated, the dairy on the back of the spoon always seemed to have some crystals (perhaps gelatin crystals?). My mom wanted me to stay on the heating step until the dairy on the back of the spoon did not have any crystals, but I saw numerous small bubbles forming so I got scared the dairy was simmering and turned off the heat. Idk if it’s possible for all the gelatin to “completely dissolve.”
I was very tempted to use 2% milk and honey, but I read through your posts first. Still, next time I will probably try 2% and/or honey. Haha
The instructions say “once the mixture begins to heat up” The mixture is the pudding, not the pot. So it’s not about when the pot is warm or uniformly warm, it’s when the mixture is starting to warm up. Keep in mind that since you doubled the recipe, it may increase your cooking time, so that may be why your mixture took longer. Only one person commented it took longer and that person also said she did it on very low heat.
The gelatin can be fully dissolved but you need to dissolve most of it before heating it up.
I don’t recommend using 2% milk. Another reader commented that the pudding was not nearly as creamy and more gelatin like.
Hi, I spent quite a bit of time stirring in the gelatin even before heating. I also took into account that because I doubled the quantity, the cooking time would probably be longer, but I still think that “begins to heat up” regarding the dairy mixture is vague. I was just trying to provide helpful feedback.
– Also, is it better for the dairy to be at room temp or cold, or does it not matter?
I’m glad somebody posted their results using 2% milk.
Perhaps I will try using honey or no sweetener at all. I assume people can always add sweetener on top.
-Actually, what happens if you don’t use any sugar at all? Is the sugar necessary for the texture, or is gelatin all that is needed for the texture?
Because you doubled the recipe, it can be more difficult to dissolve the larger quantity of gelatin. You might want to try adding half of it first and dissolving and then adding the second half. You also need to make sure you sprinkle it in rather than just dumping it in. The dairy can be cold or room temp. Room temp will be a bit easier to dissolve but it will also dissolve with the ingredients straight from the fridge.
Sugar affects the texture of the gelatin so not including the sugar will definitely affect the texture and it may not set.
Tried making this a few times already for family and friends and they all loved it! Great to eat plain and also with toppings. Our favourites are topping it with citron honey tea mix (the one where you it’s a jam-like consistency and you mix it with water). It’s super refreshing with this topping.
I’m so glad they all love it!
Ugh, this is SO creamy and delicious! I just want to eat it all in one go. I made it exactly as listed. Suuuper easy. While the mixture was cold, I stirred it until the sugar was mostly dissolved, then I heated it. It was basically lukewarm; easily cool enough to test with a fingertip. It takes a little time to heat over low, but don’t try to rush it by starting at a higher temperature.. I probably stood there for 5-10 minutes stirring over low heat until the gelatin was dissolved.
I’m glad you like the pudding!
Love the Photos. Looking Awesome!
I want to try this but only have jelly/agar powder in hand. Have you ever try making it with agar powder?
i have not but I don’t think the texture will come out right based on my experience working with agar
This recipe looks good but I dont have Heavy cream.. is there anyways i can just use all whole milk instead?
I don’t believe it will set correctly without the heavy cream. It also won’t taste quite as rich or creamy
Can I use honey in place of sugar? And if so, how much honey should I use? Thanks!
I don’t think honey would work well because it’s a liquid sweetener and would change the texture of the pudding.
Hello! I’ll be making this the night before, how do I store it in the fridge? Covered or uncovered? And what should I cover it with if it needs to be covered? Thanks!
covered. any lid or covering should work. you can also put plastic wrap over the tops
Made this with half and half instead of the heavy cream because that’s what I had on hand, and it worked great! Definitely making this again.
I’m glad it worked out for you
Do you think it would be fine with half and half instead of heavy cream?
the texture and consistency won’t be the same with half and half.
Hi. Thanks for the recipe. Could I replace the heavy cream with milk?
no the recipe needs both.
Hi! Can I substitute low fat milk instead of fresh milk?
the recipe needs whole milk. lowfat does not have enough fat content
Hi! Can I use a flavoured gelatin instead of unflavoured one?
No, flavored gelatin has a lot of other ingredients added to it and you wouldn’t have the right ratio of gelatin needed since you can’t determine how much of your flavored gelatin is actually gelatin
Got it. Thanks for replying! 🙂
Hello! Love the recipe! Where did you get the little jars and what size are they? I want to buy some and use them to hold all the pudding!
I used weck mini tulip jelly jars which I purchased from amazon
I found the cream was a little too much and my pudding was quite firm. Next batch I’m going to try a little less cream and only 2 teaspoons of gelatin. Otherwise very delicious.
You can definitely adjust to your liking. The pudding is a little firm when it first comes out of the fridge, but softens a little if you let them sit out for about 20 minutes.
Hi! Is there any way to substitute the gelatin in this recipe, maybe agar?
Sorry I have not tested this with agar
I was in doubt about how much heat the milk, I tried to make another recipe on another site but it did not work. With your tips hit the point thank you was a delight!
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
This was lovely, though I had a bit of trouble executing this. With the first batch, the pudding separated into two parts. The fat from the milk and the cream floated to the top. The bottom was a jello consistency. I thought it was because I kept it on the burner too long (although I needed to keep it on the burner for more than two minutes for the sugar and gelatin to dissolve and for the milk to get somewhat warm). The second time, I decided not to heat it too long, but then the gelatin didn’t bloom and the pudding didn’t set. It remained a liquid form. It was an interesting experiment though, and I’m determined to keep trying and do some more research.
If the milk and cream separated, it sounds like you cooked the pudding too much. It should only be heated up so that the sugar can dissolve, but should never reach a simmer or boil. On your second attempt, it sounds like you began to heat up before the gelatin dissolved. The gelatin should be almost completely dissolved before you even begin to heat up the mixture.
Hi. Are the flowers in your display edible? Where do you find flower decorations for food? Absolutely love your blog!
Thank you! The flowers that are touching the food are edible, but not necessarily tasty. My family usually just pushed them off to the side. Sometimes I have surrounding flowers that are not in the food that may or may not be edible. I grow my own flowers to ensure they are free of pesticides and edible. You can purchase edible flowers, but you will need to look for them at specialty stores, like stores that sell to restaurants.
The flowers are a beautiful touch. I once used an organically-grown rose in order to crystallize the petals for a cake topping, so that may be an option. I’ve also used dried sakura blossoms in dishes (they’re salty, so they need to be soaked, maybe twice, then dried). Thank you for your blog and recipes.
I’ve used dried sakura too!
I’ve never had Japanese milk pudding, so this sounds tasty. Is it similar to the pudding that you’ll get in some boba drinks?
I don’t usually get the pudding added to the boba drinks, but from what I can recall, I think that pudding is firmer (more gelatin) and not as creamy. I’m sure it is similar though. This one is a little more delicate.
So delicate and so beautiful ! Thank you so much and enjoy your weekend 🙂
So it’s basically panna cotta?
panna cotta is made mainly of cream, whereas Japanese milk pudding is made mostly out of milk with only a touch of cream to make it richer and creamier.
Has anyone tried with dairy free milk ingredients? I’m allergic… and just want some “milk” pudding 🙁