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Why settle for store-bought chocolate pudding when homemade is so easy to make?
If you’ve never had homemade chocolate pudding, you’re in for a real treat. It’s silky-smooth and intensely chocolatey — a world apart from the instant or store-bought varieties. While kids may love chocolate pudding, its nostalgic appeal makes it a fun and crowd-pleasing dessert for grown-ups too. Despite the ease and convenience of ready-made mixes, making chocolate pudding from scratch is surprisingly simple. With just a few ingredients, like milk, cocoa powder, cornstarch, chocolate, and sugar, you can whip up a rich, creamy pudding that will please everyone’s sweet tooth. The only challenge is waiting for it to set up in the fridge — you’ll need to allow at least 5 hours — but the wait is well worth it!
What You’ll Need To Make Chocolate Pudding
Combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a heavy medium saucepan.
Whisk to combine.
Add half of the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk.
Continue whisking over medium heat until the pudding thickens and comes to boil, about 8 minutes. Continue to boil 1 minute longer, whisking constantly.
Off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and vanilla.
Whisk until the chocolate melts and the pudding is smooth. Pour the pudding into a medium bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pudding to prevent a film from forming at the top.
Cool in the refrigerator until set, 5 to 6 hours. Before serving, whisk the chilled pudding until smooth.
Spoon the pudding evenly into 4 dessert bowls.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired, and serve.
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Why settle for store-bought chocolate pudding when homemade is so easy to make?
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, such as Hershey's
- 2½ tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups whole milk
- 1½ ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (best quality, such as Ghirardelli)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Homemade whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- Whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Add half of the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk. Continue whisking over medium heat until the pudding thickens and comes to boil, about 8 minutes. Continue to boil 1 minute longer, whisking constantly.
- Remove the pudding from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and vanilla; whisk until the chocolate melts and the pudding is smooth. Pour the pudding into a medium bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pudding to prevent a film from forming at the top. Cool in the refrigerator until set, 5 to 6 hours. Whisk the chilled pudding until smooth, and then spoon it evenly into 4 dessert bowls. Top each pudding with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired, and serve.
Gluten-Free Adaptable Note
To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.
hello, the recipe says 1½ ounces of semi-sweet chocolate – is this correct – this seems like a small quantity.
Regis, I know it’s not much, but it’s correct. 🙂
I asked my wife if I could give some of the pudding I made to my mom. She said no (doesn’t want to share)!
Can you put the measures in metric please?
This is very similar to a recipe I use from Let’s Eat In by Brooke Dojny and Melanie Barnard. They make the claim that it only takes about three minutes longer to make than a mix, and say they did an unscientific test to determine that it tastes much better by rounding up neighborhood children and the mail man who all agreed it tasted much better. I’m sure this recipe does, too. I thought you would enjoy this story.
Can you use this recipe for chocolate cream pie?
Hi Mel, It’s not firm enough for chocolate cream pie. I’d use this recipe instead.
This recipe is absolutely delicious and so easy! The only substitutions I must make for my family is to use gf ingredients and full-fat oat milk. I use Dutch cocoa powder or natural cocoa powder, whichever I have on hand, and it always tastes scrumptious either way. I add 1/4 tsp. espresso powder, if I have it. A non-dairy whipped topping is fun, but I also sprinkle each cup with Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips, or Andes Crushed Peppermint Baking Chips, both of which are gluten free, no cross-contamination. (Amazon) I have also made it many times now using an entire chopped Ghirardelli (4 oz.) white chocolate baking bar instead of the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate baking bar, and, of course, no espresso powder either. (White chocolate dreamy!) Thank you, Jenn for another family favorite recipe that is in constant rotation at our house, and even the adults at family gathering just love!
Quick and easy dessert, delicious. A big hit with small kids
Was looking for a quick and simple dessert and this hit the spot! I never would have thought about adding whipped cream and sprinkles to pudding and the kids thought it was great. The recipe and instructions were spot on.
When I made this, the pudding did not thicken up enough. It was very runny. Still delicious though! I only had 1% milk. Is that the reason why it stayed thin? I am going to make it again with whole milk, but was wondering if I should add more cornstarch?
Hi Anna, It should thicken up using whole milk; I wouldn’t add any more cornstarch. You may also need to let it set up in the fridge a bit longer. Hope that helps!
In answer to another comment I believe any milk will do. I used coconut milk (in a carton, not the canned type-that might be too rich) and I would not hesitate to use almond milk also. I used half black cocoa (the ultra-Dutched kind) just because I’m trying to use it up and it was perfect. The only problem was I ate too much pudding!
My pantry is getting a much needed workout. That being said, conventional wisdom out the door! In other words you gotta take chances on subbing when you can no longer just run out to the store. Good quality chocolate chips for high cocoa % chocolate bar was the substitute and it worked with mixed results. Constant stirring to break down the chips was needed but eventually the pudding smoothed out beautifully. Also the texture was much looser but was perfectly delicious served over fruit or ice cream.
I made half the recipe in a small saucepan, with turbinado sugar and semi-sweet mini morsels (what I had on hand). The pudding still was smooth and delicious, both warm and cold.
Would I be able to substitute semi sweet chocolate chips for the chocolate in this recipe?
I’d recommend sticking with the solid chocolate here – chocolate chips are made with stabilizers to help them retain their shape when heated, so they’re not the best option for this. Sorry!
I made this with erythritol which is a sugar substitute and Lily’s extra dark chocolate which is sweetened with Stevia. The recipe was so simple to make, came out with a creamy perfect texture, thickness, and wonderful chocolate flavor. Without question I would make this recipe again. I like that it does not use eggs and there is no chance of scrambling the eggs while trying to incorporate them. I thought it wouldn’t be creamy enough without the egg yolks but I did not miss them at all. In fact you wouldn’t know it did not contain the egg yolks. Thanks for another great recipe.
I made this for my kids, and they loved it! (As did their parents!) 😉 How far in advance can I make a pudding like this for company? Can I make it the day or night before, and refrigerate the individual puddings overnight? (To serve the following evening?)
Thank you for yet another delectable dish! ☺️
Glad it was a hit! I think you can get away with making this up to about 24 hours in advance. 🙂
I made this over the weekend with my chocoholic teenage son, who happens to be taking chemistry. It turned out delicious with the added bonus of a chemistry lab for him! Very fun and equally yummy
This pudding was fabulous! Thank you Jenn for your amazing recipes and constant help for the home cook.
Something this chocolatey and decadent shouldn’t be so easy to make. This recipe is so easy. I always have the ingredients so I can whip this up for unexpected company. It is absurdly good. My husband’s favorite!!
Can you freeze them?
Hi Susan, with all the milk they contain, I don’t think they’d be a great candidate for freezing – sorry!
Could I do a white chocolate version of this by omitting the cocoa and stirring in white chocolate at the end?
I wouldn’t recommend it, Karen, as I think it would necessitate other adjustments to the recipe. I’d suggest just looking for a white chocolate pudding recipe to use here.
Easy and delicious! A HUGE hit with the kids.
So delicious and easy. Didn’t add any toppings, and stirred in a tablespoon of butter once taken off the heat. It was so creamy without being overly rich. Thank you Jenn for another amazing recipe !
Hi Jenn, I used your recipe to make chocolate pudding tonight. Loved the flavor, but the consistency was a bit grainy. How can I get a smoother consistency?
Hmmmm…. if it was grainy, it could be that the sugar cocoa mixture wasn’t cooked long enough to get the sugar to fully dissolve. You used the word grainy, but if it was lumpy, that would be caused by not enough whisking of the mixture. Hope that helps at least a bit!
Is there anyway I could use Dutch processed cocoa powder to make this?
Thank you !
That’s fine, Malak – won’t make a big difference here. Enjoy and please lmk how it turns out!
Ridiculously easy and delicious. Starting to make homemade chocolate milk instead of Nesquik. Thank you for freeing me from so many pre-boxed mixes. I feel so silly that I have not done this sooner.
OMG – this is an amazing recipe! Seems unfair to call it just “pudding” – so much better than the boxed stuff. One question: could I use almond milk in place of the whole milk? All or part of it? Thanks, Jen.
This review is not so much a criticism, but more of an affirmation that this recipes works just as it instructs. I’ve made it twice. First time, I was too lazy to put the plastic wrap on top to cover it before chilling, and the thick pudding skin was not tasty at all! Second time, I eye balled the amount of vanilla extract and ended up putting in too much vanilla… total overkill and there was too much competition between the chocolate flavor and the vanilla flavor – again, no bueno. If I had measured out the vanilla extract, the pudding would have been perfect on its own! It’s easy to make, and I highly recommend! It is a lot tastier than the ones out of a box.
fun and easy to make. a hit with the kids!
This recipe takes me back to my childhood. Can not wait until this evening when I am going to attempt to make it. I am sure that my family will love it!
What a fabulous combination- chocolate and pudding! I can not wait to make this treat! Homemade chocolate pudding is the best!
Chocolate should be a food group! I love pudding but have never made it. Very easy and yummy and I now know to double the recipe for at least a midnight snack. 🙂
Just found this blog (and entry) today – gonna try my hand at making it tomorrow. Fingers crossed it goes well! Looks gorgeous!
This is amazing! I just made it today with homemade whip cream and fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market. Thanks for sharing this yummy homemade pudding recipe – what a big difference from the instant box kind!
Love it. I think I’m going to make these for an adult dinner party, we are all kids at heart 🙂
I Love this Recipe! I use the same ingredients with a bit more milk and sometimes heavy cream! Delicious!
This was excellent! It tastes just like the chocolate pudding that my mom used to make, and brought back many happy and yummy childhood memories. It’s what I used to call a real homemade pudding, as opposed to the Jello Instant variety. This recipe was delicious. Came out nice consistency. Thanks for this!
Nothing better than homemade pudding! Kids bring the best imaginations!
Just made this with 70% chopped chocolate and skim milk and it’s bittersweet and delicious! Thanks, we love it!
Is there a vanilla flavor version of this recipe?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a vanilla version of this (yet) — sorry! I do have this banana pudding and these Lemon Berry Parfaits. Hope you enjoy if you try either one of these.
yum- I have two girls that would LOVE this- and you are sooooo right about homemade chocolate pudding- It is so much better!
Sarah, The chocolate pudding sounds great for a dinner party. Unfortunately, vanilla is a bit more involved to make and I don’t have a go-to recipe that I can pass on to you. Most good homemade vanilla puddings call for eggs. You might try this recipe: http://www.joyofbaking.com/VanillaPudding.html …I haven’t made it myself but everything else I’ve made from the site has been good. Good luck!
Oh, I love it. I have never made pudding before, isn’t that pathetic. Thanks for the recipe!
What a wonderful idea for the kids! Such a nice alternative to the classic ice cream sundae.
The pudding recipe itself looks yummy, perhaps it would make for a good filling in a chocolate pie 🙂
Thanks for the recipe!
This looks awesome! Reading this made my mouth water!
I love this idea and think I will use it for an upcoming dinner party. I would also like to offer a vanilla option – would I just leave out the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate?
I am loving your blog – I check it daily to see if there are new posts and the recipes have all turned out wonderfully!