Lemony Vanilla Pudding with Summer Berries

This is the star-studded dessert you need this July 4th. A do-ahead, perfectly smooth lemon-infused vanilla pudding topped with RED and BLUE summer berries. Heaven in a jar!

vanilla pudding topped with blueberries and raspberries in glass with strawberries in background

I first came across Natilla, a traditional Portuguese dessert a few years ago when I was researching for a dessert to go along with a Portuguese meal I was preparing. I can’t even remember what I made for dinner that night, but WHOA do I remember this grand finale!

close up of three vanilla puddings topped with blueberries and raspberries on wooden background

Luscious and custardy, at it’s core it is a pretty standard stovetop pudding.

But I love the addition of the lemon peel and cinnamon which give it a fun twist, taking it in the Iberian direction.

close up of three vanilla puddings topped with blueberries and raspberries on wooden background

Traditional Natilla is the inspiration for my recipe, but I’ve tinkered with this dessert over the years to get it exactly how I want it- no fuss, incredible flavor, and topped with bright summer berries to accentuate the incredible lemon/cinnamon laced cream.

This isn’t your kids’ pudding in a cup – though I bet you won’t find a kid who can’t stop gobbling this up!

close up of three vanilla puddings topped with blueberries and raspberries on wooden background

I’ve had this one in mind for Independence Day for months.

First off, it’s make-ahead which is always a must for celebratory sweets.

Secondly, the red and blue berries add that festive touch.

And finally, you can serve this in individual sized jars or glasses, bowls or teacups, or even disposable cups for easy post-party clean up! (Just make sure you let it cool down sufficiently before pouring it into anything that isn’t heat safe.)

close up of vanilla pudding topped with blueberries and raspberries in glass

A beautiful light and airy dessert for a warm summer’s night… Happy 4th!


Are There Any Substitutions?

  • You can use any mix of berries or fruit that you like.
  • The sliced almonds are optional, but add a nice crunch. If you prefer different nuts try pistachios or walnuts.
  • I love the flavor of real vanilla bean, but it is a splurge for sure. If you would like, you can use ½ vanilla bean instead of the extract. Split the bean and scrape the seeds into the milk, along with the pod, when you are bringing the milk to a simmer with the cinnamon and lemon peel. When you are removing the peel and cinnamon, make sure to fish out the vanilla pod as well.

three vanilla puddings topped with blueberries and raspberries on white dotted background

Who’s ready for some fun?

So as a reminder, here’s how it works. Watch this short 4 min. video where one of my kids helps me demonstrate a kitchen technique, then we use it to make a YUMMY recipe!

** Video will be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. This is part of the special Key Lime KIDS series, designed to help families during these challenging times by providing entertaining and engaging activities to do at home.

Subscribe to the full Key Lime Kids series on YouTube.

Our goal is to help as many families as possible with our Key Lime KIDS project, so please share this with a friend.



Make Ahead Dinner Party Quick & Easy

Lemony Vanilla Pudding with Summer Berries

Prep Time20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 6


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 strip of lemon zest use a vegetable peeler
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ pint raspberries or 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • ½ pint blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds lightly toasted, optional


  • Combine the milk, lemon, and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring just to a simmer.
  • Whisk the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, salt and sugar on high speed until pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Stir the cornstarch mixture again to make sure it is dissolved, and add that to the egg yolks.
  • Carefully and slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture whisking the whole time. Return to the saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 7 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. You can strain through a fine mesh strainer if you like a super silky smooth pudding, otherwise just remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick and discard. If the pudding has formed a skin or looks clumpy, give it a good whisk and it will smooth out. Pour the custard into 6 serving glasses or jars and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Combine the fruit with the remaining two teaspoons of sugar and combine gently. Spoon the fruit on top of the custards and sprinkle the toasted almonds, if using, over the fruit and serve.


We’ve got so much more fun in store. If you are new to Key Lime Lexi and don’t yet receive my emails with new recipes and ideas for better living, scroll to the bottom of this page and SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss out.


Most Recent Posts…


You’ll Also Love…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

© 2018 T/Street LLC. |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact
Key Lime Lexi is a trademark of T/Street LLC.