If you ever toted a lunch box or lunch bag to school, you know that the dessert it carries is the most important part. I recall looking forward to whatever treat mom tucked in there, be it Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies or chocolate pudding in a little metal can with a pull tab and razor-sharp lid.
Now that I’m a mom, who am I to deny my daughter that sweet moment of joy on a dreary school day? By extension, it gives me joy to slip something homemade in her lunch to break up the rotation of store-brand Oreos and Chips Ahoy knockoffs—what can I say, I’m cheap.
I don’t have time to bust out the cozy cookies from scratch that I daydream about. But I do have time to mix five ingredients together. And I know you do, too.
Bisquick + Pudding Mix = Awesome Cookies
Pudding mix and Bisquick were two staples when I was growing up. So of course I was super excited when I ran across a recipe calling for those very things while I was browsing through a 1967 Bisquick cookbook, just like I know we all do in our spare time. Upon baking, I found that they were soft and cake-like, required just one bowl, and were so easy a kid could—and should—make them.
I totally went down a wormhole with these things, trying five batches with five different kinds of pudding. I tweaked the original recipe by ditching the step of flattening the dough with a sugared glass, plus I upped the amount of Bisquick a little, since the recipe as written produced cookies so delicate they practically disintegrated. And I added chocolate chips because they make the cookie.
How To Make 5-Ingredient Pudding Mix Cookies
This recipe makes 14 to 16 cookies. You’ll need:
- 1 (3.4-ounce) package pudding mix of your choice (instant or cook & serve)
- 1 1/4 cups Bisquick (Measure it by spooning into the measuring cup and leveling off—don’t pack it in the cup.)
- 1/4 cup oil like canola, avocado, vegetable, or olive oil
- 1 egg, any size
- 1/3 cup chocolate or butterscotch chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Grab a medium bowl and a wooden spoon. Dump the pudding mix, Bisquick, and oil in the bowl. Then crack the egg in there and stir together until dough begins to form. At that point ditch the spoon and knead the dough together with your hands until the dough is soft and cohesive and resembles Play-Doh. Knead in the chocolate chips.
Shape rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and place them on the baking sheets. Do not press them flat.
Bake until the cookies are puffed and the centers are set, about 12 minutes. For evenly baked cookies, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking.
Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes. Slide a thin metal spatula under them and transfer to a wire rack. Eat these on baking day or the day after for the softest texture. Which isn’t hard. This only makes about 16 small cookies, and they vanish fast.
The Standout Flavor Combos
Initially I figured that chocolate or vanilla pudding with chocolate chips mixed in would yield the best cookies, but it turned out those ones were nothing special. The clear winners were the following combos:
- Butterscotch pudding + butterscotch chips
- Lemon pudding & filling mix + white chocolate chips
Of all pudding mixes, butterscotch and lemon are the most bursting with artificial flavor, a quality that totally works in these super simple cookies. “What are these cookies?” asked the dudes in my office when I took the butterscotch ones to share. They’ve never asked me for a recipe before, but they did this time. (Why do recipes that take the least effort always make the biggest impression?)
In my opinion, other combos are flat-out not worth eating. If you do want to try chocolate pudding, though, decrease the Bisquick to 1 cup, as the cocoa powder in the pudding mix can dry out the cookies.
At the grocery store I stocked up on boxes of generic pudding mix—it’s half the price and worked just as well as Jell-O brand did—so my daughter can make these herself when the urge strikes. And then she can be the one who makes her lunch that much better.