Maizena

$2.87 recipe / $0.72 serving
by Monti - Budget Bytes
4.20 from 5 votes
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Maizena is a delicious, silky, vanilla-and-cinnamon-scented Puerto Rican breakfast pudding that’s ready in minutes! It’s also ridiculously easy on your wallet and comes in under a dollar a serving. My mother used to make it for me when times were really, really tight. It was so mouthwateringly luscious I had no idea it wasn’t a fancy treat.

Overhead shot of three white bowls of Maizena with cinnamon sprinkled on top with one bowl in the foreground being held by a hand and with a black spoon being dipped into it.

What Is Maizena?

Maizena is a popular Latin milk-based breakfast pudding that gets its name from the brand of cornstarch it’s thickened with. It’s flavored lightly with vanilla and cinnamon and sweetened with granulated sugar. Like any pudding, you can eat it cold, but it’s traditionally consumed while steaming hot. The Maizena I grew up eating was a stark white color. I mix cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg into mine while it cooks to deepen its flavors. This gives my recipe for Maizena a creamier color.

What You Need To Make Maizena

You can get this easy, budget-friendly, and ridiculously delicious breakfast pudding on your table in no time! Here’s what you’ll need:

Whole Milk– is preferred because the fat content helps create a silky mouth feel. But you can use evaporated milk or plant-based milk. If going the plant-based route, make sure you use fatty milk like coconut, soy, or macadamia. It helps create the velvety texture Maizena is known for.

Heavy Cream- adds a satiny finish. If you don’t have cream, just substitute it with a cup of whole milk and a tablespoon of butter. You can also substitute heavy cream with unsweetened coconut cream if you don’t do dairy.

Sugar– granulated sugar is the standard but feel free to use your favorite sweetener. Honey, brown sugar, and agave are all great options.

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Vanilla – add earthy flavor, floral notes, and depth. If you want to steer from traditional flavors, you can also use apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, orange zest, lemon zest, or mix in some chocolate syrup.

Cornstarch– thickens the pudding and gives it a beautiful glossy finish. If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use double the amount of flour, but the consistency won’t be as silky, and you’ll have to cook it longer to get the taste of raw flour out of the mix.

Storing Maizena

Maizena is best eaten hot and fresh, but you can store it and reheat it. It will last up to 5 days in the fridge. Freezing is not recommended. Place Maizena in an air-tight container with a sheet of plastic or parchment directly on the surface to prevent a thick skin from forming. Before reheating it, mix in a tablespoon of milk per cup to help loosen it. You can warm it in a microwave in 30-second increments until steaming.

Side shot of three white bowls of Maizena with cinnamon sprinkled on top with one bowl in the foreground being held by a hand and with a black spoon being dipped into it.
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Maizena

4.20 from 5 votes
This delicious, silky, vanilla-and-cinnamon-scented Puerto Rican breakfast pudding comes together in minutes and is ridiculously easy on your wallet.
Overhead shot of three white bowls of Maizena with cinnamon sprinkled on top with one bowl one the forground being held by a hand and with a black spoon being dipped into it.
Servings 4 bowls
Prep 4 minutes
Cook 6 minutes
Total 10 minutes

Ingredients

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Instructions 

  • Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla. Mix to incorporate.
  • Add the cream to a bowl and mix in the cornstarch until no lumps remain.
  • Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the milk mixture little by little.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to whisk until the milk is pudding consistency and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Serve hot with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 431kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 10gFat: 29gSodium: 119mgFiber: 0.3g
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Overhead shot of three white bowls of Maizena with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

How to Make Maizena – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of Maizena ingredients in a silver pot.

Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the 4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix to incorporate.

Overhead shot of cornstarch being added to milk.

Add 1 cup of heavy cream to a bowl and mix in the 1/4 cup of cornstarch until no lumps remain.

Overhead shot of cornstarch slurry being whisked into a silver pot.

Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the milk mixture little by little.

Overhead shot of Maizena in a silver pot with a wook=den spoon in the foreground showing the Maizena's consistency.

Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to whisk until the milk is pudding consistency, about 3 to 5 minutes. The pudding should coat the back of a wooden spoon and have clearly defined edges when a finger is run through it.

Overhead shot of finished Maizena in a white bowl with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Serve Maizena hot with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top. Then give yourself a pat on the back for making a delicious breakfast from scratch without breaking the bank!

Overhead shot of three white bowls of Maizena with cinnamon sprinkled on top with one bowl in the foreground being held by a hand and with a black spoon being dipped into it.

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  1. Maizena originally made and marketed for Mexico as a take on atole. And it’s not made as a pudding. It’s supposed to be a drink. Though you could make it thicker and call a pudding I guess.

  2. This was one of my favourites growing up in Portugal (also called Maizena for the same reason). So interesting to see these bridges between cultures. Even as adults, me and my my mum would happily have it for supper if it was just the two of us and it felt so special.

    I make it a bit thicker, just with milk and sugar flavoured with lemon peel and a cinnamon stick. My partner adds butter to the above and makes it even thicker than me. I thing every household had its preferences. ;)

  3. I made this and it wasn’t my favorite as far as taste, but it was okay. Mine came out more like a thick drink than a pudding, but I didn’t have whole milk, so that could be why.

    If I ever find myself in possession of whole milk I might try it again.

  4. This was my favorite growing up and STILL is. My mom would only make it with coconut milk (never regular milk) so that’s all I’ve ever known really. I still love to make it on cold mornings or if I’m wanting something sweet in the evenings. It’s the best. <3 Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    As a side note: most hispanic supermarkets also sell a maizena de coco mix that is fortified with extra nutrients, in case you have lazy days where all you want to do is add coconut milk and stir. Not as good as homemade but still hits the spot! :)

  5. I could genuinely cry right now. I have spent so long looking for this recipe -years and to just stumble upon accidently is hilarious. My mom used to make this for me too. But we never had a name for it. Thank you ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Santiago- you made me cry. I love the power food has to take you back to a time and place and to feel a loved one is right next to you. I’m so glad you found this and I hope it takes you back home! XOXO

  6. Question: if using coconut milk, would this resemble a thin/un-set/warm tembleque? Because tembleque for breakfast sounds decadent. :)

  7. I could have cried when I saw this; I haven’t had good maizena since I left PR over ten years ago. Thank you!

  8. Ive always just called that vanilla pudding and eaten it for dessert. Thank you for the idea to eat it for breakfast, too. I do enjoy pudding warm better than cold, too.

    1. Yup–that’s what it was at my house, too. I usually add a full tsp vanilla, maybe another tablespoon of cornstarch for a thicker pudding, and serve with fruit on top–here in NC, the strawberries are still going strong and blueberries just starting to show up. The sweetness in this recipe is perfect. For breakfast, this beats cold cereal hands down, although come to think of it, a handful of granola on top would be lovely. Thanks, Monti Carlo, for a nice recipe–good memories and lots of fresh ideas.