Can you eat cook-and-serve pudding without cooking?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat cook-and-serve pudding without cooking?” and discuss the risks of eating cook-and-serve pudding without cooking.

Can you eat cook-and-serve pudding without cooking?

Yes, you can eat cook-and-serve pudding without cooking. However, it will not have the consistency of a pudding, rather it will be a liquid food containing a powder. You can use a mixer to help dissolve the powder in the milk, but the flavor and texture will not be of a pudding. 

Unlike the instant pudding, which is made by mixing the pudding powder with the milk (or water) and a rest time of 5 minutes to be ready to eat, cook-and-serve pudding requires cooking and cooling (1,3,5,6). 

In addition, it will not be possible to use the pudding in recipes, as the texture will be watery and not full-bodied.

What are the risks of eating cook-and-serve pudding without cooking?

The risks of eating cook-and-serve pudding without cooking are of experiencing a foodborne disease. Several food outbreaks were related to the ingestion of contaminated food products, such as pudding mixes (7).

Bacteria such as Klebsiella spp., Citrobacter spp., Erwinia spp., Enterobacter cloacae, E. coli, Enterobacter were found in powdered foods.

Cooking can reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, as it reduces the microbial load of the food. When the food is eaten uncooked, the risk of infection is higher (4). 

The ingestion of foods infected by such bacteria or their toxins can lead to diseases, with possible symptoms being diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and flu-like symptoms, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2).

Why do you need to cook cook-and-serve pudding?

You need to cook the cook-and-serve pudding to swell the starch grains present in the pudding mix through the action of heat and the incorporation of milk. This will result in the increase of the viscosity (1,3).

The texture of the cook-and-serve pudding is not the same as instant pudding without cooking because these products have different compositions and different properties.

The starch in the instant pudding mix has been modified to allow swelling of the starch grains without the need of heat, while the starch in the cook-and-serve pudding mix, although containing a type of modified starch, the starch requires cooking.

Starch granules in contact with liquids swell and are able to attract a high amount of water (due to their composition) through partial binding of the polysaccharide molecules with the water molecules.

Once heat is applied, the starch granules melt and are partially denatured and bind to water, incorporating the water molecules into their molecules in a process called gelatinization.

When the cook-and-serve pudding mix is not cooked, this process cannot happen.

What is the alternative to cook-and-serve pudding?

The alternative to cook-and-serve pudding is instant pudding. The benefits of using instant pudding are (1,3,5):

  • The instant pudding can be readily consumed or eaten after 5 minutes
  • The instant pudding does not require cooking, therefore you can serve time by the preparation
  • Instant pudding is easily and readily prepared, and does not need to be refrigerated when used in cold applications, such as cakes, where they can be applied right after preparation
  • Instant pudding is less affected by syneresis during storage than cook and serve pudding

Other FAQs about Pudding that you may be interested in.

Can you eat black pudding without cooking it?

Can dogs eat rice pudding?

Can you cook jam roly-poly in a microwave?


In this article, we have answered the question “Can you eat cook-and-serve pudding without cooking?” and discussed the risks of eating cook-and-serve pudding without cooking.


  1. Thompson, L. U., et al. Succinylated whey protein concentrates in ice cream and instant puddings. J dairy sci, 1983, 66, 1630-1637.
  2. Foodborne illness and disease. United States Department of Agriculture.
  3. Wurzburg, Otto B. Modified starches. Food polysaccharides and their applications. 2006, 87-118.
  4. Fung, Daniel YC, and F. E. Cunningham. Effect of microwaves on microorganisms in foods. J Food Protect, 1980, 43, 641-650.
  5. Jell-O instant pudding.
  6. Jell-O cook and serve pudding.
  7. Kandhai, M. C., et al. A study into the occurrence of Cronobacter spp. in the Netherlands between 2001 and 2005. Food Control, 2010, 21, 1127-1136.

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