The BEST Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding is a classic, creamy dessert that's surprisingly easy to make…and after trying this silky, decadent chocolate pudding recipe, you'll never want store-bought again!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding with text overlay.


 

Sometimes a girl gets a craving for chocolate pudding, and I'm not talking about the packaged stuff from the store. Nooo, I'm talking about Homemade Chocolate Pudding: rich, thick, smooth and silky, with no weird ingredients or powdery aftertaste. Pudding that's simple, classic, and positively addictive!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding is magical in its simplicity and deliciousness. It's a challenge not to eat it warm, straight out of the pot. But allowed to chill, it becomes thick and glossy, ready to satisfy any chocoholic or pudding lover's deepest cravings.

Aerial zoom of Homemade Chocolate Pudding with spoon.

Homemade Pudding for the Win

Can I admit a little something if you promise not to judge? I'm a pudding snob.

That's right...I can't stand the instant boxed kind that requires no cooking. The cook-and-serve variety is immeasurably better, but guess what?

With only slightly more effort, you can cook up a pot of 100% Homemade Chocolate Pudding that is above and beyond anything you can find in the inner aisles of the grocery store.

In fact, I have no doubt that I could ingest a whole pot of this stuff in one sitting. But fortunately for my waistline, I have pudding aficionado children who wouldn't allow such a travesty to occur in their presence. Nooo, if I tried to keep it to myself, you'd be able to hear their protests (AKA, whining) from here to Timbuktu. So as long as I don't make this recipe in solitary confinement, I have no choice but to share. Yay and darn.

Four glass bowls of Homemade Chocolate Pudding on tray.

Ingredients

So enough of my yammering about how amazing this chocolate pudding is. The first important order of business is what you'll need to make it!

Aerial view of labeled ingredients.

Just a handful of simple ingredients...

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. Since the primary flavor in Homemade Chocolate Pudding is, well, chocolate, it's important to use a good quality cocoa powder if at all possible. I find the flavor of Dutch processed cocoa to be a bit too intense in pudding, but it will work in this recipe if you're going for a deep, dark chocolate flavor.
  • Granulated sugar. The regular ol' white stuff...not powdered sugar.
  • Whole milk. The standard for homemade pudding. If you opt to use 2% or 1% milk instead, keep in mind that your pudding may turn out a bit less decadent and rich-tasting. I have not personally tested this recipe using a non-dairy milk, but a commenter reported success making it multiple times with unsweetened almond, cashew, and coconut milks.
  • Cornstarch. The primary thickening agent in this recipe.
  • Egg yolks. For further thickening and creaminess.
  • Salt. To enhance flavor. I use my favorite fine sea salt.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips. Melted. I find that stirring some melted chocolate into my finished chocolate pudding makes it even silkier and acts to "smooth out" the chocolate flavor.
  • Unsalted butter. Again, to further enhance the decadent flavor and texture of homemade pudding.
  • Pure vanilla extract. As counterintuitive as it sounds, vanilla adds important depth of flavor to chocolate pudding.
Spoonful of Chocolate Pudding.

How to Make Chocolate Pudding

(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)

  1. Sift the cocoa powder in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Slowly whisk in three-quarters of your milk until smooth.
  4. Set pot over medium-high heat and stir constantly while bringing the mixture to a simmer.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
Aerial view of cocoa powder being sifted.
Cocoa and sugar added to pot.
Whisking milk into pot.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining milk with the cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt until smooth and well-combined.
  2. Whisk rapidly while very slowly pouring the warm milk/cocoa powder mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
Whisking egg yoks, milk, cornstarch, and salt.
Pouring cocoa mixture into egg mixture.
Chocolate pudding mixture in bowl before boiling.
  1. Transfer the entire mixture back to the saucepan and set the pot over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate pudding comes to a full boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking for a couple more minutes until the pudding is thick.
Close-up of whisking in pot on stove.
Aerial view of chocolate pudding recipe in pot.
  1. Remove from heat and mix in melted chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
  2. Strain pudding through a fine mesh sieve. This step is optional but recommended for ultimate silkiness.
Adding butter and melted chocolate to chocolate pudding recipe.
Straining chocolate pudding through sieve.
Aerial view of bowl of strained chocolate pudding.
  1. Divide between four cups or small bowls.
Spoon scooping chocolate pudding.
Spooning into individual serving dishes.
  1. Chill until set, for at least 4 hours.
  2. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings -- I mean, since we took the time to make Homemade Chocolate Pudding, now we're going all out here 😉 -- and ENJOY!
Spoonful of chocolate pudding recipe in glass.

And if you prefer chilling your pudding in one big bowl without messing with individual serving dishes, that works fine, too!

Individual dishes just make homemade pudding feel fancy. 🙂

Tip to Prevent Skin on Pudding

Before going any further, I feel obliged to share my favorite Homemade Chocolate Pudding-making trick, in case you're not already privy to it. (And it actually works for any flavor of pudding!)

If you don't like the thick skin that forms on top of cooked pudding as it cools, simply lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding while it's still warm. Ensure that the plastic is touching the entire surface with no air bubbles.

Putting plastic wrap on surface to prevent skin from forming on pudding.
Preventing skin on pudding with plastic wrap.
Removing plastic wrap to prevent pudding skin.

The plastic wrap will act as a replacement for the "skin" and, once peeled off, it will reveal completely smooth and silky pudding underneath.

To Make Whipped Cream

You should definitely use canned whipped cream if you've already got some on hand! But in case you only have plain heavy cream in the fridge, it's super easy to make your own homemade whipped cream:

  1. Using the wire whisk attachment(s) of an electric mixer, beat ½ cup chilled heavy cream at medium speed until soft peaks begin to appear.
  2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract over the whipped cream.
  3. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks just form. (Be careful not to overbeat or you'll end up with butter instead of whipped cream!)

HINT: Whipped cream beats up the fluffiest when your heavy cream, your whisk, and your bowl are all chilled.

How to Store Chocolate Pudding

Tightly cover any leftover chocolate pudding and refrigerate for up to three or four days.

But to be honest, it's never lasted that long at my house!

And NO...you cannot freeze and then thaw pudding, as the texture will unpleasantly change upon thawing. However, if you'd like to consume your pudding in frozen form -- à la a frozen pudding popsicle -- that will work just dandy.

Aerial view of four bowls of Homemade Chocolate Pudding.

So are you a fellow pudding fanatic?

There's nothing really groundbreaking about this Homemade Chocolate Pudding, y'all. It's just simple and straightforward to make, and dang good, and a recipe that I feel you should have in your repertoire.

Say it with me now! Easy…homemade…BLISS.

Close-up of chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top.

More Chocolate Delights

Homemade Chocolate Pudding in bowl and on spoon.

BEST Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding is a classic, creamy dessert that's surprisingly easy to make…and after trying this silky, decadent chocolate pudding recipe, you'll never want store-bought again!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (4-ounce) servings
Calories: 335kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • cup good-quality cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk, DIVIDED
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

OPTIONAL GARNISHES:

  • Fresh whipped cream & chocolate shavings

Instructions

  • Sift the cocoa powder into a medium saucepan and stir in the sugar. Slowly whisk in 1 ½ cups milk until the mixture is smooth. Set on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup milk, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt until smooth and well-combined. Continue to whisk rapidly while very slowly pouring the hot milk/cocoa powder mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  • Transfer the entire mixture back to the saucepan and set pot over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and continue whisking until pudding is thick, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and mix in melted chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
  • Strain pudding through a fine mesh sieve and divide between four (4-ounce) cups or small bowls. Cover each pudding with plastic wrap, ensuring that the plastic is touching the entire surface with no air bubbles (to prevent a skin from forming). Chill until set, for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  • Garnish chilled pudding with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Store any leftovers in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to four days.

Video

Notes

  • Take care not to cook the pudding too long or over heat that's too high, which can cause the cornstarch to break down and result in watery pudding. Similarly, pudding that isn't cooked long enough won't thicken properly either.
  • The quickest way to melt such a small quantity of chocolate chips is to microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring well in between and repeating until melted and smooth.
  • TO MAKE HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM: Beat ½ cup chilled heavy cream (using the wire whisk of an electric beater) until soft peaks begin to appear. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract over the whipped cream and beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, taking care not to overbeat.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Originally published on August 11, 2015, and updated on February 8, 2022.
Adapted from Food Network.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




35 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This pudding tastes like literal brownie batter. Delicious! Made this for my brother but I am very tempted to eat it all myself!!

  2. 5 stars
    This pudding is amazing! I don't typically leave reviews, but this recipe deserves a good one! I never before attempted from-scratch pudding...it was always Jell-O brand pudding. My pantry supply was out and I didn't want to make a trip to the store. I found this recipe after a quick Google search. Now, I'll never go back!! Even my husband, a die hard Jell-O fan, agreed that this pudding is great! I used it in a Four Layer dessert and it worked perfect! Although, I just had to try the pudding by itself...amazingly, chocolatey and sooo smooth!! Btw, I used Nestle cocoa and Hershey's dark chocolate chips.

  3. 4 stars
    Prior to making this, I only made Jello cooked choc. pudding for my chocolate cream pies. I thought this was rich and creamy. But, in a survey of pie eaters at my table, they said - TOO MUCH cocoa. So next time I will cut back on cocoa and omit the chips. For 1 pie I doubled the recipe so there was plenty.

  4. 5 stars
    Classic and delicious. One suggestion I would make is to explore the option of making your whipped cream in a blender… incredible time saver, no premixing of ingredients, takes less than 5 minutes and taste the exact same as the stand mixer version!

    1. 5 stars
      The only chocolate pudding recipe that you need! I only ever make this one! Silky and decadent. Incomparable. The best.

  5. 5 stars
    I have tried a few homemade pudding recipes before and this is by far the best. The texture was very creamy/silky. This will be my go-to recipe from now on. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    This is very good. I've made homemade pudding many times over the years so I have a few options for others--

    You can use skim or 2% milk. Especially in a pudding recipe with egg yolks, it will be rich enough without using whole milk. If you cannot eat eggs, you can omit eggs. The pudding will be less rich but still delicious. Tapioca flour/starch is an equal substitute for corn starch.

    You can reduce the sugar if you prefer a more dark chocolate flavor, or add melted unsweetened chocolate rather than semi-sweet.

    You do not have to push pudding through a sieve. When made properly, this is completely unnecessary. Whisk the egg mixture briskly as you pour the hot milk in a very thin stream. Then you will not have any curdled egg bits.

    You can add a bit of liqueur at the end for an adult treat.

  7. 4 stars
    This pudding was very tasty however, next time I will add less sugar or omit the chocolate chips. It was a bit too sweet for my liking. Very creamy and delicious though.