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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.)
- Sift the cocoa powder in a saucepan.
- Stir in the sugar.
- Slowly whisk in three-quarters of your milk until smooth.
- Set pot over medium-high heat and stir constantly while bringing the mixture to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the remaining milk with the cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt until smooth and well-combined.
- Whisk rapidly while very slowly pouring the warm milk/cocoa powder mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
- 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.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking for a couple more minutes until the pudding is thick.
- Remove from heat and mix in melted chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
- Strain pudding through a fine mesh sieve. This step is optional but recommended for ultimate silkiness.
- Divide between four cups or small bowls.
- Chill until set, for at least 4 hours.
- 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!
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.
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:
- 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.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract over the whipped cream.
- 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.
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.
More Chocolate Delights
- Mini S'mores Trifles
- Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix
- Fluffy Chocolate Fruit Dip
- Warm Chocolate Cobbler
- One-Minute Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake
- Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookies
- Zucchini Fudge Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze
BEST Homemade Chocolate Pudding
- ⅓ 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
- Fresh whipped cream & chocolate shavings
- 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.
- 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.
Originally published on August 11, 2015, and updated on February 8, 2022.
Adapted from Food Network.