Toss out the snack packs and make this homemade chocolate pudding recipe! This egg-free, richly chocolatey treat is so easy and tastes remarkably better than the store-bought version.
The Best Chocolate Pudding Recipe
This rich, chocolatey, homemade chocolate pudding recipe is much more sophisticated than anything from a box mix or plastic pudding cup. It’s inspired by the filling in my chocolate pie recipe, and the flavor is so rich and satisfying (and you can make it even richer and darker by using a higher percentage cocoa chocolate bar!).
Sure, there is a bit more work involved than shaking chocolate gelatin powder into a bowl of milk, but it’s really not that much more work. And the taste improvement is worth every extra second of stirring–I promise!
Feeling fancy? Add a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top, and you’ll never look back 🤎
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- No eggs! This pudding is naturally egg-free, which means it’s a great eggless dessert option.
- Perfect consistency every time with my spoon trick. I talk more about this below, but as long as your pudding thickens to a consistency that coats the back of a spoon, your finished product will have the right texture. I provide visuals, too!
- Ideal make-ahead dessert since it has to chill in the fridge for a few hours to set.
- Made with real melted chocolate and cocoa powder, so it has a rich chocolate flavor that is SO much better than those foil-topped snack packs you’d find in your lunchbox.
Gather all of your ingredients and have them prepped and ready to go before you begin. Once the pudding has thickened, you’ll want to work quickly to add your chocolate, butter, and vanilla immediately so that they melt.
- Cocoa powder. Either natural or dutch process cocoa will work for this recipe. Dutch process will produce a richer flavor and darker color though, so keep that in mind. Personally, I prefer natural cocoa in my chocolate pudding.
- Milk. I like whole milk, but you could try experimenting with other types. I talk more about this in the FAQ section below.
- Chocolate. Use a high quality dark chocolate bar; I prefer 60% cacao. I’ve used Baker’s, Lindt, or Ghirardelli chocolate bars with success here. Whatever you use, make sure to chop it into small pieces so it melts evenly into your pudding.
- Butter. Either salted or unsalted butter will work in this recipe, since it’s such a small amount. Use whatever you have on hand!
- Vanilla. Yes, even though we are making chocolate pudding, we are still adding vanilla extract! It complements the chocolate flavor so well, so don’t skip it!
SAM’S TIP: The cornstarch in this recipe is essential, but if not smoothly whisked it could cause some small lumps in the final product. To ensure a totally smooth texture, pour the pudding through a fine mesh strainer once it’s finished cooking to eliminate any lumps. This is the one I use (affiliate).
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Chocolate Pudding
- Whisk the sugar and dry ingredients together in a medium saucepan, then pour in the milk.
- Whisk over medium-low heat until the mixture begins to thicken. How long it will take for the pudding to reach this consistency will vary depending on your stovetop, but for me it usually takes 10 minutes, sometimes longer. Do NOT increase the heat of your burner to speed up the cooking process!
- Test for the proper consistency: Dip a spoon in the pudding mixture and check to make sure it coats the back with no metal showing through (pictured above, and shown in the video in the recipe card). Do not remove your pudding from the stovetop unless it passes this test! Otherwise, it will never firm up in the fridge, and you’ll be left with a runny mess.
- Whisk constantly and let the mixture come to a boil (without increasing the heat!), then whisk for an additional minute before removing the pot from the heat.
- Stir in the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla until the pudding is smooth and combined.
- Pour the pudding through a fine mesh strainer and into a heatproof bowl. Let cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pudding. This will prevent a skin from forming over the surface as it cools.
- Place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
SAM’S TIP: I pour my chocolate pudding into a large bowl to chill, then portion it out into separate serving dishes when I’m ready to serve. If you prefer to chill it directly in your serving cups, that’s fine too; just make sure to still cover each one with cling wrap!
Frequently Asked Questions
Not quite! Aside from ingredients (mousse is made with eggs!) the biggest difference between the two is the texture. Mousse is light and airy, while chocolate pudding is thick and creamy. I have a classic chocolate mousse recipe is you’d like to make some and compare the two!
Several of my readers have successfully prepared this recipe with non-dairy milks like coconut, almond, and soy. I have not personally tried making chocolate pudding with those milks, so I can’t say for sure what tweaks you might need to make if you use them.
This pudding needs to cook slowly to reach the proper consistency; however, if you are going on 20-25 minutes and not seeing any signs thickening, you may need to bump up your heat a bit. Just like ovens, every stove is different.
I have a recipe for chocolate pot de creme coming soon, which is like a thicker, fudgier chocolate pudding recipe. I can’t wait for you to try it!
Homemade Chocolate Pudding Recipe
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons natural cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups (710 ml) milk
- 4 oz (113 g) dark chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces I use 60% dark chocolate
- 2 Tablespoons butter cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Homemade Whipped Cream for topping, optional
- Read through the recipe and prepare and gather all of your ingredients before beginning.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt.¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, 3 Tablespoons cornstarch, 2 Tablespoons natural cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Add milk and transfer to stovetop over medium-low heat and whisk ingredients together.3 cups (710 ml) milk
- Whisk ingredients frequently on medium heat until ingredients begin to thicken (this will take several minutes). Do not increase the heat to expedite the process, as it is important that the sugars melt for the pudding to ultimately reach the desired consistency.
- Once mixture has thickened (it should be approaching a pudding consistency and be able to coat the back of a spoon so that no metal shows through) whisk constantly, the mixture will come to a boil (again, don’t increase heat, this will take several minutes but the mixture will eventually come to a boil) and continue to whisk for 60 seconds (use a timer) before removing from heat (still whisking constantly).
- Immediately add chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract.4 oz (113 g) dark chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces, 2 Tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk until ingredients are smooth and chocolate and butter are completely melted.
- Pour your pudding through a fine mesh sieve (optional, but this will eliminate any lumps) into a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent skin from forming.
- Cover the surface of your pudding with clear plastic wrap, making sure that the clear wrap is pressed against the surface of the chocolate to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours to allow pudding to cool completely before serving, topped with homemade whipped cream (if desired).Homemade Whipped Cream
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.