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Pudding vs. Parfait — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 9, 2024
Pudding is a creamy, cooked dessert often thickened with starch, while parfait is a layered, chilled dessert typically made with yogurt or ice cream and fruits or granola.
Pudding vs. Parfait — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Pudding and Parfait


Key Differences

Pudding is a smooth and creamy dessert, usually thickened with cornstarch, flour, or eggs, and often flavored with chocolate, vanilla, or caramel. Parfait, on the other hand, is a cold, layered dessert traditionally consisting of yogurt or ice cream, with fruits or granola.
Pudding is generally cooked to achieve its thick consistency, then chilled before serving. Parfait is assembled by layering its components in a glass without cooking, creating visually appealing layers.
Pudding can be served warm or cold and is often topped with whipped cream or fruit. Parfait is always served cold, offering a refreshing and visually striking treat with its combination of creamy and crunchy textures.
Pudding is a popular dessert that can be customized with different flavors or toppings. Parfait is more versatile in ingredients, allowing combinations of yogurt, ice cream, nuts, fruits, and more, making it a healthier or more indulgent treat.
Pudding is typically served in individual bowls or ramekins. Parfait is served in tall glasses or parfait cups to highlight its layered structure.

Comparison Chart


Smooth, creamy
Creamy, with crunchy or chewy layers


Cooked and thickened
Assembled without cooking

Base Ingredients

Milk, eggs, cornstarch, sugar
Yogurt or ice cream, fruits, granola


Warm or chilled
Always chilled


In individual bowls or ramekins
In tall glasses or cups

Compare with Definitions


A creamy, cooked dessert thickened with cornstarch or flour.
The chocolate pudding was rich and velvety.


A cold, layered dessert traditionally made with yogurt or ice cream.
He served the parfait with layers of fresh berries.


A sweet dessert of boiled or steamed ingredients.
He enjoyed the figgy pudding during Christmas.


A dessert served in tall glasses to showcase its layers.
The parfait glass highlighted the beautiful layers.


A savory or sweet British dish made from various ingredients.
She prepared a Yorkshire pudding for dinner.


A frozen dessert popular in American cuisine.
The ice cream parfait was topped with caramel sauce.


A general term for a dessert in some British dialects.
What will be our pudding after dinner?


A dessert of frozen cream or custard in French cuisine.
The French chef made a raspberry parfait.


A custard-like dessert made with eggs.
Vanilla pudding pairs well with fresh berries.


A layered breakfast dish with yogurt, granola, and fruits.
She loves having a parfait for breakfast.


Pudding is a type of food that can be either a dessert or a savory (salty or spicy) dish that is part of the main meal.In the United States and Canada, pudding characteristically denotes a sweet, milk-based dessert similar in consistency to egg-based custards, instant custards or a mousse, often commercially set using cornstarch, gelatin or similar collagen agent such as Jell-O. The modern American usage to denote a specific kind of dessert has evolved over time from the originally almost exclusive use of the term to describe savory dishes, specifically those created using a process similar to that used for sausages, in which meat and other ingredients in mostly liquid form are encased and then steamed or boiled to set the contents. Black (blood) pudding and haggis survive from this tradition.In the United Kingdom and some of the Commonwealth countries, the word pudding is still used to describe both sweet and savory dishes.


Parfait (, also UK: , French: [paʁfɛ] (listen); meaning "perfect") is either of two types of dessert. In France, where the dish originated, parfait is made by boiling cream, egg, sugar and syrup to create a custard-like puree.


A sweet, soft dessert, often with a base of milk or cream thickened by flour, cornstarch, or a cereal product, that has been boiled, steamed, or baked
Chocolate pudding.
Rice pudding.


A dessert made of cream, eggs, sugar, and flavoring frozen together and served in a tall glass.


An edible mixture with a soft, puddinglike consistency
Corn pudding.


A sweet dish usually made of ice cream, yogurt, or other creamy food layered with fruit, granola, nuts, or other ingredients, often served in a tall glass.


A sweet dish eaten at the end of a meal; dessert.


A French parfait (parfait glacé), an iced dessert made with egg yolks, sugar, cream, and flavouring (usually fruit), sometimes with the addition of a liqueur.


A sausagelike preparation made with minced meat or various other ingredients stuffed into a bag or skin and boiled.


An American parfait, a layered dessert often consisting of fruit, ice cream, pastries, whipped topping, etc. and served in a glass, often a parfait glass.


Any of various dishes, sweet or savoury, prepared by boiling or steaming, or from batter.


(UK) A smooth pâté, usually made from liver and flavoured with liqueurs.


A type of cake or dessert cooked usually by boiling or steaming.


Layers of ice cream and syrup and whipped cream


A type of dessert that has a texture similar to custard or mousse but using some kind of starch as the thickening agent.


Dessert; the dessert course of a meal.
We have apple pie for pudding today.


(originally) A sausage made primarily from blood.


(slang) An overweight person.


(slang) Entrails.


(obsolete) Any food or victuals.


A piece of good fortune.


A species of food of a soft or moderately hard consistence, variously made, but often a compound of flour or meal, with milk and eggs, etc.
And solid pudding against empty praise.


Anything resembling, or of the softness and consistency of, pudding.


An intestine; especially, an intestine stuffed with meat, etc.; a sausage.


Any food or victuals.
Eat your pudding, slave, and hold your tongue.


Same as Puddening.
Mars, that still protects the stout,In pudding time came to his aid.


Any of various soft thick unsweetened baked dishes;
Corn pudding


(British) the dessert course of a meal (`pud' is used informally)


Any of various soft sweet desserts thickened usually with flour and baked or boiled or steamed

Common Curiosities

Are parfaits suitable for breakfast?

Yes, breakfast parfaits with yogurt, fruits, and granola are popular and nutritious.

Is pudding always served cold?

No, pudding can be served warm or chilled depending on preference and type.

What is the main ingredient in a parfait?

Parfaits commonly use yogurt or ice cream as the base, layered with fruits or granola.

Is pudding always sweet?

No, in British cuisine, there are savory puddings like Yorkshire pudding.

Is pudding vegan-friendly?

Some puddings can be made vegan using plant-based milk and thickeners.

Can you make a parfait without yogurt?

Yes, ice cream or custard can also be used as the base in parfaits.

Can you freeze a pudding?

Some puddings can be frozen, though it may affect the texture.

What type of granola is best for parfaits?

Any granola with a crunchy texture and complementary flavor pairs well in parfaits.

Is it necessary to cook a parfait?

No, parfaits are typically assembled without cooking.

Does pudding require refrigeration?

Yes, most puddings should be refrigerated to set properly and maintain freshness.

Is it possible to make a sugar-free pudding?

Yes, sugar substitutes can be used to make sugar-free puddings.

What flavors are common in parfaits?

Common parfait flavors include vanilla, berry, and chocolate.

Is parfait considered healthy?

Parfaits with yogurt, fruits, and nuts can be a healthy choice, but ice cream parfaits may be high in sugar.

Are parfaits gluten-free?

Parfaits can be gluten-free if made with gluten-free granola or omitted entirely.

How long does a parfait last in the fridge?

Parfaits can last 2-3 days in the fridge if stored properly.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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