35 Ways to Turn Pudding Mix into Top-Rated Desserts

Lemon Lush
Photo: Mackenzie Schieck

Busy home cooks appreciate time-saving shortcuts. And when it comes to desserts, a very popular shortcut ingredient is pudding mix — both the instant and the cook-and-serve varieties. After all, they're a quick and convenient way to add flavor and texture to cakes and cookies, and to make creamy custard fillings for pies and trifles. Here are 35 of our favorite ways to use the most popular pudding mix flavors in top-rated dessert recipes.

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Too Much Chocolate Cake

Too Much Chocolate Cake
Amber Dehn-Koenig

"This cake won me First Prize at the county fair," say recipe creator Denise. And with more than six thousand 5-star ratings, this is one of the most popular chocolate cakes on Allrecipes. Home cook Ellen E. says, "This chocolate cake is phenomenal! I have been making this for about two years now for many, many different occasions, and it always gets rave reviews."

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Giant Ding Dong Cake

Giant Ding Dong Cake
Christi Doehrer Bob Filanowski

"Wow, this was such a great idea! I made mine into cupcakes and used a pastry bag to fill them for a birthday party, and people were begging for the recipe," Brandy says.

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Death By Chocolate III

Death by Chocolate III
Allrecipes Magazine

Four ingredients are all it takes to make this five-star phenomenon. "This is so easy it is always a little embarrassing to hear all of the raves when I serve it to friends," says chellebelle. "To add even another chocolate punch, try drizzling hot fudge sauce from a jar between the whipped topping and brownie layers."

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S'mores Popsicles®

S'mores Popsicles
The Gruntled Gourmand

"My 13-year-old daughter created this recipe for a quick yummy summer snack. Easy for anyone to make and enjoy." —Beilerfam

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
EmmasMomma

"I added a layer of thinly sliced banana between the peanut butter and chocolate pudding and sprinkled the top with chocolate chips. Very, very yummy!" —BN61079

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Easy Chocolate Cookies

Easy Chocolate Cookies
Jodie Biesenthal

"These cookies rock! They are so simple to make and are super chewy and chocolaty. I like to make cookie sandwiches with them by spreading buttercream frosting between two cookies." —lynnmarie

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Ultimate Chocolate Turtles® Cheesecake

Ultimate Chocolate Turtles Cheesecake
Christina

"Made it exactly as written. Wouldn't change a thing. It was fantastic. Already sharing the recipe. Real crowd-pleaser." —mobaker

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RumChata® Pudding Shots

RumChata Pudding Shots
Soup Loving Nicole

"Made these with vanilla cheesecake pudding and chocolate as well. Won the best drink trophy at a friends' party. So simple and so good!" —Grandma Ham 2

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Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pictured: Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies by bd.weld. bd.weld

"Everybody wants this recipe when I take them in for a carry-in. To make them award winning, my daughter, Tegan, made them for a cookie baking contest and won a red ribbon! You can use any flavor pudding you like for this recipe," Debbi Borsick says.

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Cinnamon Rolls III

Cinnamon Rolls III
Jesse Raschk

"I had never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before this weekend when I tried this recipe. These are great and easy even for a beginner like me!" —Louise Maxine

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The Best Banana Pudding

a glass trifle bowl showing layers of banana pudding and Nilla wafers
DHUNTER9

"This one is a keeper!! The only thing that I did differently is that I used the cook 'n serve pudding and let it cool. This was much creamier than the instant pudding." —JRP-DLP

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Golden Rum Cake

Golden Rum Cake
Photo by Tricia. Tricia

"I've used this recipe quite a number of times and have experimented with many different rums. The best is actually a combination of two different kinds. For the cake, use Bacardi Dark/Select or Myers. For the glaze, use Appleton Estates. If you can't find Appleton Estates, use the Bacardi or Myers, but the Appleton really makes the glaze sweeter and almost tangy," says Lindsay W.

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No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake
Angela Thompson

"Only difference was out of necessity: I used half and half for the pudding mix as I was out of milk. So very rich and creamy! My husband said this was the best dessert I have ever made," says Crystal S. "Rave reviews by all who sampled!"

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Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs
MRSJPVAN2

"so easy with such elegant results. I've made this recipe more times than I can count and haven't changed a thing." —MommyFromSeattle

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Heath Bar Pie

Heath Bar Pie
Amy Young

"My family could not believe I made this. It was so good. I could not tell you about leftovers — there were none. The only change I made was I used a package of Heath Bar pieces instead of breaking my own," Kathy Fulop Chamberlain says.

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Pumpkin Pie Pudding Shots

Pumpkin Pie Pudding Shots
TINATED

"Spiced rum helps to create a not-so-traditional addition to your table or a fun adult treat to hand out Halloween night. These pudding shots are extra delicious with a layer of graham or spaced wafer crumbs." —TINATED

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Margarita Cake

Margarita Cake
sarahwalker

"This cake was a hit at two different occasions I made it for. I could not find orange cake mix, so I substituted with white cake mix and added 1 tablespoon of grated orange rind, squeezed some juice from the orange and added 2 teaspoons of orange extract. I also made extra glaze and coated the cake again before serving," Kim D. says.

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Berry Trifle

Berry Trifle
MELLYGIRL23

"This recipe is always a huge hit. One word of advice: After you put the first layer of cake and berries down, pour half the 'pudding' mixture over the top, then finish with another layer and pour the rest of the pudding mixture. The mixture is too thick to reach the bottom layer if you only pour over the top," Abby Zollinger Schultz says.

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Lemon Poke Cake II

Lemon Poke Cake II
MomTo6

"So lemony and so delicious! I used the lemon cake and lemon pudding mix. I also doubled the amount of glaze to go on top, and basically bathed it in glaze, letting it soak up into every inch of the cake. It turned out amazingly tasty!" —yummywife

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Key Lime Cake II

Key Lime Cake II
sweetserenade

"More of a lemon cake than a lime cake. The cupcakes were still very good and incredibly moist. I chose to make a lime cream cheese frosting. I used one of the lemon cream cheese frosting recipes from this site, and just subbed lime in place of the lemon. These were very popular at the get-together I took them to." —mominml

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Copycat of Starbucks® Lemon Bread

Copycat of Starbucks Lemon Bread
Yoly

"This was amazing! And virtually identical to Starbucks lemon loaf. I accidentally used instant pudding...but I added a little more liquid and it came out perfect. I brought it to work to share and it was gone in an hour! I would recommend this to anyone and will for sure be making this again," Kate says.

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Lemon Pudding Cookies

Lemon Pudding Cookies
Kriss Morton

"This is a great quick recipe, and surprisingly good cookies if you like soft cookies, which I do! I plan to experiment with other pudding flavors," Stephanie says. Tip: You can make an easy glaze with lemon juice and confectioners' sugar.

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Outrageous Lemon Berry Trifle

Outrageous Lemon Berry Trifle
nantothedob

"It was delicious and a hit. I will definitely be making it again this summer. Very refreshing." —codenamejag

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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
catherine.drew

"They were so quick and easy! The only thing I changed was adding a little bit of glaze made with powdered sugar, the juice of one lemon, and the zest of that same lemon. My hubby thought they were amazing and he's not much of a muffin man," Deanna Rebman Sommers says.

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Lemon Lush

Lemon Lush
Mackenzie Schieck

"This is a definite family request at our holiday get togethers and all our summer picnics! It tastes just like a cool and creamy version of lemon meringue pie but better." —MANOPA

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Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

Butterscotch Pecan Cookies
Karen Dean Covington

"Mmm! I love butterscotch and these are great. Very easy to make, too." —sweetiepeaz

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Butterscotch Pudding Pancakes

Butterscotch Pudding Pancakes
Tammy Lynn

"It's a little bit sweet and a whole lot of yummy, especially when there's a pile of crisp bacon served on the side. I came up with this variation looking to spice up the regular routine. Serve with sautéed apples and maple syrup," Leslie Kelly says.

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Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes on a white dish
Dianne

"Hit of the party. I had someone say, 'These are to die for!' The guests at the party also said that these were easily better than a local cupcakery that charges a small fortune for a cupcake," Julie says.

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Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
Mrs. Dr. The Ivan

"Incredible! I must say, I was wondering what all the fuss was about, but after trying them, I quickly found out. I made three batches: lemon pudding with white chocolate chips, vanilla pudding with butterscotch chips, and butterscotch pudding with milk chocolate chips." —KRANEY

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Quick and Easy Monkey Bread

Quick and Easy Monkey Bread
chef jai

"This is the best cinnamon roll monkey bread recipe I have ever tried. Everyone loves it. This is a keeper. I did find that I like to dip each bun in melted butter before assembling, though. It seems to make it more gooey." —A Baker's Dozen

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Apple Snicker Salad

Apple Snicker Salad
Makayla Lynn Frye

"Great recipe as is. Butterscotch pudding is what makes this recipe great. To make breaking the candy bars easier, freeze candy bars ahead of time. When ready to put the bars in, put them on a solid surface and hit with a hammer. Breaks them into nice small pieces." —scot

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Banana Trifle

Banana Trifle
kayleighkathleen

"Marvelous! I made this recipe exactly as stated. It gave such a nice presentation. I crushed the vanilla wafers by putting them in a zip lock bag and using a rolling pin. When I dished the dessert out, I sprinkled the top with extra crushed vanilla wafers I had set aside. It was the hit of the night." —SHORECOOK

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Easy Banana Pudding Cake

Easy Banana Pudding Cake
cookinggirl

"My family loves this cake. I add three or four sliced bananas over the top before I put the whip cream on," says Diane Culifer Akerman. "Yummy!"

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Banana Cream Pie Made Easy

Banana Cream Pie Made Easy
ph4hawks

"SUPER EASY, and delicious. also left the ice cubes out and it had a wonderful texture...could see the same method for chocolate cream too!" —idagal

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Fast and Easy Creamy Ice Cream

Fast and Easy Creamy Ice Cream
kennalou5

"Using only two ingredients, this ice cream recipe consistently produces thick, creamy ice cream. It can be made fat free or sugar free in any flavor available in a pudding mix." —Andi

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More Inspiration

a bowl of vanilla ice cream with sprinkles and wafers
happyschmoopies

Pudding mix is like a secret weapon for creating all kinds of delicious treats! Check out these recipe collections for loads more ideas:

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