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Out of One, Many

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Or, for those of you speak Latin, “The Opposite of E Pluribus Unum.”

Today’s recipe is super-exciting because it’s flexible, so it yields itself to over a million variations. You get to be creative: Vegan Whipped Cream? Banana pudding? Pumpkin pudding? Chocolate-mocha-fudge? You can make all these and more from this one basic recipe! Working with agar agar can be troublesome because certain ingredients (such as citrus fruits) may inhibit the gelling process. So you’re never sure if the final product’ll turn out right. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to make recipes on a prayer; if I’m making something, I want to KNOW it’s going to turn out well and that my time won’t have been wasted.

But agar is such a useful ingredient when it does work, so I didn’t want to give up on it completely. Therefore, I experimented until I figured out a way to have my agar and eat it too– no risk involved! I’ve tweaked the recipe so it’ll work with just about any add-ins, even those pesky citrus fruits. Plus, you can make up a big batch of the “base” ahead of time and then portion it out to make different-flavored puddings all at once!

“Working with Agar” Tutorial


Basic Agar Pudding

(makes about 2 cups, or two large servings)

  • 2 and 2/3 cups milk of choice (640g) (I like almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons agar flakes (5 to 6 g)

Follow the directions shown under the photos below. Then refer to the “add in ideas” section to make puddings, mousses, sauces, and more!

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Step One: Measure the agar and milk into a pot. Before turning on the heat, let the two sit for 5 minutes to help the gelling process.

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Step Two: Slowly bring to a boil. After it starts to boil, lower to a simmer until the agar flakes pretty much dissolve, about 5-8 minutes. (They won’t dissolve completely. It should look something like the above photo.)

Step Three: Turn off heat and leave for a few minutes (5ish) to cool, then put in the fridge (covered or not).

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Step Four: When it’s cooled and gelled, the fun part begins.

Now you get to make pudding, or my favorite Vegan Whipped Cream.

Be creative! And, as I said before, nothing’s stopping you from making extra, dividing the recipe, and adding different mix-ins to each serving! Put your mix-ins into the pot, and use your hand blender to blend it all together (or, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Lately, I’ve been loving my Magic Bullet).

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Below are some add-in ideas I’ve brainstormed (not all of which I’ve tried)… maybe after you experiment, you can come back and leave me comments telling me what YOU did with the basic mix. I’d love to know! (Seriously.)
Add-In Ideas:
(I’ve tried 1, 3, 5, and 6, with great results)

  • Add pureed pumpkin, winter squash, or sweet potato, and add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Add pureed fruit, or even a jar of baby food or applesauce!
  • Decrease the amount of milk, and add some coffee, for a coffee-flavored pudding.
  • Use a flavored beverage as your milk, such as Silk Coffee, Silk Eggnog or Chai Latte.
  • Mix in some protein powder.
  • Add veggies to make a thick, creamy soup.
  • Use coconut milk as the non-dairy milk, and add coconut shavings (and maybe even chocolate chips!).
  • Mix in some nut butter, and jelly, fruit, or chocolate chips(!) for PB&J, PB-Banana, or Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Cup Pudding.

Anyone have other flavor ideas?

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. magpie says:

    I am so excited to try one of these agar agar recipes!!! I have to go grocery shopping soon so HOPEFULLY I will try one before the end of the week. Happy Monday!

  2. says:

    mm adding pumpkin to it sounds like a great idea 🙂

  3. *Andrea* says:

    that looks amazing!! i’ve never tried agar agar. cute name though 😉 but i am a huge fan of smoothies/ puddings so i need to try this! coconut creme sounds deeelish

  4. ConsiderEatz! says:

    Wonderful little tutorial! I’ve only used it a handful of times, for this reason exactly! So oodles of thanks to ya! Puddin looks delish per usual girl!

  5. talieworld says:

    I’m definitely going to try some of these out. Especially since my usual soy pudding has been hard to find these days!

  6. shelby says:

    I love this idea! I always want to make your puddings but then I have to make multiple batches…this is perfect!!

  7. Ricki says:

    I’m so glad you’re touting the joys of agar–I think so many people are scared of it! Next, I have to get me a Magic Bullet. . . 🙂

  8. Meg says:

    I sure hope I get an immersion blender for Christmas so I can make all these yummy puddings.

    Definitely, let’s get together after the Holidays!

  9. aTxVegn says:

    Now you are not only the Cupcake Queen, but the Pudding Queen too! I have not enjoyed agar agar pie fillings in the past, but the blending idea certainly seems like it would make it more pudding like and therefore much more palatable. The tutorial was great and all the flavor ideas are wonderful.

  10. Joanna says:

    this is soo cool!!! i got the agar flakes exactly where you said they’d be in the asian section.

    i will definitely try this pudding. it looks so easy.

  11. Ruby Red Vegan says:

    Your little agar formula is so simple and convenient! I like your idea for using flavored soymilk — Chocolate Peppermint Vitasoy is my current addiction, and it would probably make quite a pleasing pudding! Guess we’ll have to crown you as “agar queen” in addition to the many other tiaras and crowns you hold.

  12. River says:

    The Coconut-Cream Pudding!! I choose the Coconut-Cream Pudding!! I need an intervention for this coconut addiction.

    OK, that’s it! I’m making the pudding tomorrow. No more laziness! Plus, I slowed down on the eating a little bit today, so food is starting to look good again… already! 🙂

  13. Erin of Care to Eat says:

    This is awesome! Starred it. 🙂 Thanks!

  14. vegetalion says:

    ha ha yeah you DEFINITELY get a YAY for this! Awesome!

  15. Vegetation says:

    Mmmm suddenly I’m seeing peanut butter puddings in my future….not to mention notella puddings…….oh YUM!

  16. ChickPea says:

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve already tried your pumpkin pudding recipe and loved it–can’t wait to get creative:)

  17. shellyfish says:

    This is so weird…why am I suddenly craving pudding? Very strange indeed.

  18. VegSpinz says:

    Have you ever tried tapioca flour as a thickener? The recipe I found in Vegan With a Vengeance calls for it- I haven’t tried it yet- will let you know if I like it… I’m looking for a good pudding recipe right now. You read my mind!

  19. imadedinner says:

    Those are SUCH creative recipes… I just wish I didn’t have such an aversion to food that jiggles!

  20. TavoLini says:

    Pudding madness!!!

    I’ve never worked with agar agar before–thanks for breaking it down 🙂

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