Kirbie's Cravings

Japanese Milk Pudding

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. 

photo of milk pudding in a jar with more jars in the background

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.

close-up photo of Japanese Milk Pudding garnishes with flowers

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.

overhead photo of a spoon scooping some milk pudding

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.

overehead photos of  jars of Japanese Milk Puddings with flour garnishes

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

Servings: 5 (4 oz) servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
This popular Japanese snack can be made at home with just 4 ingredients. It tastes like ice cream in pudding form.
4.86 from 7 votes

Ingredients

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 50 ml heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 2.5 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.
*Some of the product links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

Nutrition

Serving: 1(4 oz) pudding, Calories: 128kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 47mg, Potassium: 139mg, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 302IU, Calcium: 119mg, Net Carbs: 12g

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.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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54 comments on “Japanese Milk Pudding”

  1. 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 🙁

  2. So delicate and so beautiful ! Thank you so much and enjoy your weekend 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. Hi! Is there any way to substitute the gelatin in this recipe, maybe agar?

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. Hi! Can I substitute low fat milk instead of fresh milk?

  12. Hi. Thanks for the recipe. Could I replace the heavy cream with milk?

  13. Do you think it would be fine with half and half instead of heavy cream?

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. Can I use honey in place of sugar? And if so, how much honey should I use? Thanks!

  17. This recipe looks good but I dont have Heavy cream.. is there anyways i can just use all whole milk instead?

  18. I want to try this but only have jelly/agar powder in hand. Have you ever try making it with agar powder?

  19. Love the Photos. Looking Awesome!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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
        Thx

      • 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?
        Thanks again

      • 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.

  23. 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.

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