Homemade chocolate pudding comes together in just a few minutes. With just sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, milk, salt, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips, you can whip up an easy stovetop chocolate pudding.
If you pack your pudding in small containers with lids, you can add them to packable lunches.
When I was a kid, pudding came in a box. Or a plastic cup. But usually a box that I added cold milk to and whipped with the mixer. In five minutes, I had a sweet chocolately treat. #childofthe70s
For my husband, nine years my senior, pudding also came in boxes and plastic cups, but if you were to mix up a box, you did so in a pan on the stovetop. And had to wait hours for it to cool. And risk its forming a skin, which he actually liked. Ew. #childofthe60s
Clearly, we had different childhoods. 😉
Good thing we both love homemade chocolate pudding. I don’t go for the skin, but that’s okay. We can both have it our own way.
Why Make This
It’s simple! Chocolate pudding is a thick, cooked dessert made from milk, sugar, and some form of chocolate that is thickened with either eggs or cornstarch. It can be served hot or cold.
This chocolate pudding is super simple to make. Serve it in pudding cups or in a Homemade Chocolate Cream Pie.
It uses standard kitchen staples. You don’t need any fancy ingredients or equipment, just sugar, cocoa powder, milk, chocolate chips, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla extract. It’s a great recipe to help you use up a lot of milk.
You get to control the ingredients. The little extra work to make homemade chocolate pudding is totally worth it since you get to control what goes into the pudding. (The commercial stuff has a pretty sketchy ingredients list. Takes about 90 seconds to measure those ingredients, and you’ll know that your pudding is all real food. Amen. Hallelujah.
Many recipes for homemade chocolate pudding call for egg yolks mixed into it, creating a custard. This recipe is egg-free, making it a little bit cheaper and easier to make. It’s thickened with cornstarch instead.
This recipe is made with:
- sugar – granulated sugar is best
- cornstarch – cornstarch is what helps the pudding thicken
- cocoa powder – unsweetened cocoa powder is the first layer of chocolate
- salt – salt helps round out the flavor of chocolate
- milk – you can use whatever milk you like: cow’s milk or a plant-based version. If going with dairy milk, the fuller fat you use, the thicker and more flavorful the pudding will be
- chocolate chips – any variety or size you like is fine here. I like dark chocolate. If you’re making this dairy-free, be sure to use DF chips.
- vanilla extract – adds another layer of flavor. You can use another extract if you prefer to add a different twist, such as coffee or peppermint.
You can definitely customize this pudding and add some fun things to it to have it take on a whole new flavor.
Add ¼ teaspoon of another extract, such as coffee, almond, or peppermint. Try my Mint Chocolate Cream Parfaits for a fun twist on the recipe!
If you want to go in the mocha direction, add some instant coffee or espresso powder to the mixture as you’re heating it.
1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt until well combined.
2. Whisk in the milk, taking care to get the dry bits in the corner of the pan.
3. Heat the mixture. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and starts to bubble lightly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla extract.
Divide the pudding into six 4-ounce ramekins. Place a bit of plastic wrap or waxed paper ON the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from developing. Refrigerate for several hours until cold. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Tips for success
- Have all of your ingredients ready. That way when your pudding is ready to come off the stove you can quickly add the vanilla and chocolate!
- Whisk constantly. The pudding mixture could easily burn on you. So don’t walk away. And stir like you mean it!
- Don’t forget to cover the surface. If you don’t your pudding will definitely get this skin on top. And nobody wants to eat that. So make sure it’s not just covering the pudding, but in actually ON the pudding surface.
- Finish with whipped cream! Once your pudding is ready, it’s time to serve! And there’s nothing like homemade whipped cream on top. Be a little extra and use chocolate whipped cream for a triple dose of chocolate.
Mousse is a lighter, airier version of chocolate pudding. Air is whipped into chocolate mousse, unlike chocolate pudding. It is accomplished by either adding whipped egg whites, or whipped cream, into the mixture.
You absolutely can! Just swap out the milk for any plant-based milk you like. Be sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips or omit the chips.
This is probably because you didn’t keep it on the stove long enough. If the pudding is ready then it should coat the back of a spoon. If it doesn’t it needs to be cooked longer. Every stovetop is different so use this as your visual cue that your pudding is ready!
You need to make sure to cover the pudding while it’s chilling. Make sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface of your pudding not just covering the container.
The best part of making homemade chocolate pudding is that it can last up to 4 days, covered in the refrigerator. So this makes a great make ahead dessert to entertain with.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- sugar – $0.11
- cornstarch – $0.16
- cocoa powder – $0.16
- vanilla extract – $0.13
- salt – $0.02
- chocolate chips – $1.00
- milk – $0.42
Made with non-sale prices at a midrange grocery store, this recipe costs $2/batch or $0.33/serving.
Comparatively speaking, 4-packs of pudding cups sell at the same grocery store for between $0.89 and $2.50. A boxed mix goes for $2.19, but you still need to add milk.
Admittedly, you could buy the low-end cups for just 22 cents each. It’s up to you to decide if homemade is worth it. Personally, I think homemade is a winner. You can get your costs down even lower using the Good Cheap Eats System.
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Homemade Chocolate Pudding Recipe
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cup milk
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream for serving with the pudding, optional
- In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt until well combined. Whisk in the milk, making sure to get all the dry bits incorporated.
- Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and starts to bubble lightly, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla extract.
- Divide the pudding into six 4-ounce ramekins. Place a bit of plastic wrap or waxed paper ON the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from developing.
- Refrigerate for several hours until cold. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
This post was originally published on November 30, 2015. It has been updated for content and clarity.