Perfectly tart and sweet, this dairy-free lemon pudding is a winner. It's made with coconut milk and coconut oil, and wonderful topped with fruit, nuts, and more.
I pride myself in the fact that, barring the rare occasion, I'm a lover of all foods. Still though, my preferences are fairly strong in ranking my culinary options when it comes to dinner, dessert, etc.
Let's say there's a dessert table. Even without knowing the individual options available, I can say that 99% of the time I'd make a beeline for the chocolate. Chocolate in any form.
However that 1% though...that 1% is reserved for lemon pudding. Especially when it comes to this dairy-free lemon pudding made with coconut milk.
Reasons to love this recipe
This dairy-free pudding straddles the line beautifully between sweet and sour. Just enough on both fronts. It thickens nicely on the stovetop from the addition of cornstarch and has a smooth, more luxe texture from the addition of egg yolks and melted coconut oil.
Only the best combination of tart and creamy can get me to stray with my chocolate-obsessed sweet tooth, and this is it.
Although I'm in the know because I've been the one to make it each time I've eaten it, I'd venture to say that your crowd wouldn't even suspect that it's any deviation from classic pudding (a.k.a. a pudding with a dairy base). The bright lemon flavor from the zest and juice mask any hint of coconut from the coconut milk, and the creamy, thick consistency is spot on.
This pudding recipe transforms basic ingredients into a rich and smooth dairy-free lemon dessert treat! You'll need:
- Granulated sugar: A half-cup of sugar balances the tartness from the lemon zest and juice wonderfully.
- Cornstarch: This is an important ingredient that allows the pudding mixture to thicken on the stovetop.
- Salt: Just a little bit in dessert recipes counteracts the sweetness.
- Coconut milk: Regular, lite, or a combination will all work here. Mixing the two is a great way to balance richness and the calorie count/nutrition.
- Egg yolks: These add a richness to homemade pudding recipes. Don't worry about final pudding tasting "eggy" at all.
- Lemons: We're using the juice and zest of three lemons here to bring a bold but not overwhelming flavor.
- Coconut oil: Stirring in coconut oil at the end of the recipe adds a rich texture and mouthfeel. Refined or unrefined works.
There are four main steps to this dairy-free lemon pudding recipe.
The first is to combine ingredients in a medium saucepan. Start with whisking together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan, and then stir in the coconut milk. Set this all over medium heat.
The second step is to separately whisk the egg yolks until they're creamy. Whisk this into the saucepan along with the lemon zest.
Next stir while it heats, until it's thickened to the point it can coat the back of a wooden spoon in a thick layer. This will take somewhere around fifteen minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat, stir in the coconut oil and lemon juice, and let it cool to room temperature.
The last step, once it has cooled, is to strain out the lemon zest and chill well before serving.
Dairy-free banana pudding features real bananas in the pudding mixture itself for a boldly-flavored take on a dessert classic. Using dairy-free vanilla wafers ensures this entire dessert is dairy-free.
Another favorite that can be tweaked for dairy-free eating? Fudge pops. Dairy-free fudgesicles are so rich and chocolate-y, with such a simple recipe method.
- Pressing a layer of plastic wrap along the top of the pudding as it's cooling to room temperature (and in the refrigerator) prevents an off-putting film from forming.
Dairy-Free Lemon Pudding
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ cups coconut milk, regular or lite
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 ½ tablespoon lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- Add sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a saucepan and whisk to combine. Add coconut milk and whisk again until all ingredients are combined evenly. Set saucepan over medium heat.
- In a mixing bowl, add egg yolks and whisk until creamy. Add whisked egg yolks and lemon zest to the saucepan with the coconut milk mixture and stir to combine. Stir the mixture often as it heats, keeping an even closer eye on it as it begins to thicken (after 12-15 minutes, for me). When the pudding mixture can coat the back of a wooden spoon in a thick layer (not just thinly), it's done.
- Remove the saucepan from heat, pour in lemon juice and coconut oil, and whisk or stir until the oil has melted (it should melt quickly). Once everything is evenly combined, let the pudding cool to room temperature (see tip).
- Once at room temperature, pour pudding through a strainer to remove out the lemon zest. Refrigerate pudding for at least 2-3 hours before serving, or overnight.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
Very excited to try this! I'd like to substitute honey or maple syrup for the granulated sugar. Do you think that would work (and do you have suggestions on quantities)? Thank you!
Hi Kate, I haven't tried those substitutions myself, but I think they would work just fine. I'd stick with the same quantity. Please let me know if you end up giving it a try!
Lori Ramseier says
Hi Alyssa, is it possible to use almond milk instead of coconut? I have found that I can taste the coconut when I use it in desserts and I really don't like coconut. Will it thicken enough if I use almond milk?
Hi Lori, I haven't tried a pudding with all almond milk so I couldn't say for sure how it would do, but I think it would work fine. I have made dairy-free pudding using about half coconut milk and half almond milk and it worked well. That recipe used the same amount of cornstarch as this one does - 2 tbsp. I've also made Italian hot chocolate (which is very thick and creamy, almost like a sippable pudding) with all almond milk and cornstarch did the trick to thicken it nicely there. I hope that's helpful, and please let me know if you give it a try!
Omg! This is so good! I made it for my afternoon book club and they loved it!
So glad you like it, Sue! 🙂
Monte brown says
I have a vegetarian daughter. I was wondering if you think or if you've tried using cornstarch as a thickener in place of the eggs. Would it work?
Hi Monte, I've never replaced the eggs with cornstarch in this recipe before, so I'm not sure how it would turn out. If you were to give it a try, I'd say either increasing the cornstarch or using another acceptable thickening agent could work until the pudding reaches the right consistency. I'd also suggest using full-fat coconut milk vs. the lite varieties because I've found it's thicker to start. I hope that helps!
Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says
Girl, you know I'm with ya regarding chocolate and dessert tables but I also understand the allure of a delicious lemon dessert! This looks delicious and so perfect for summer, too!
Thanks Bianca! It's one of those problems-but-not-really liking all types of dessert. 😉
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
I love most foods too, and that's something that I pride myself on, because I will try everything once! I've never had a dairy free pudding before, but I'm loving the looks of this lemon version! Looks so pretty with the blueberries on top!