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Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding Recipe

This homemade chocolate pudding is an incredibly simple recipe. Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Perfect homemade chocolate pudding

Ever have a craving for something and decide you just can’t wait and have to have it right then?

That’s me with chocolate pudding. Every once in awhile, I just absolutely have to have it.

And yes, when I make it, I always enjoy some still warm. I don’t have the patience to wait for it to cool.

That lack of patience tells you something when it takes just fifteen minutes to make this chocolate pudding from scratch.

It makes a delicious and decadent pudding that’s both kid-friendly (hello after school snack) and perfect to serve for a fancy dinner party, too.

Make homemade chocolate pudding

In fact, this is one of my go to recipes when I plan a romantic dinner. Who doesn’t love a creamy, decadent dessert that’s surprisingly not super high in calories?

What milk do I need to use?

The good news is that you can use whatever milk you have in the fridge to make this homemade chocolate pudding. Well, within reason – don’t use buttermilk!

This makes life easier for me. While whole milk makes the richest chocolate pudding, you can use skim milk, too. It all works, and you just change how rich the end result ends up.

Regardless, it tastes delicious, whether you use skim, 1% milk, 2% milk, or whole milk. My only recommendation is that if you use whole milk, leave out the butter at the end. It doesn’t need the added richness.

Is chocolate pudding gluten free?

Here’s your good news! Yes, this chocolate pudding is gluten free.

With just eight common ingredients, this is a clean chocolate pudding recipe that has no ingredients that contain gluten. It’s just milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, butter, and coffee.

Why does this recipe have coffee in it?

Coffee and chocolate are best friends, and I don’t just say this because I love a good mocha. (Though if you need a good mocha recipe, you have got to try my spicy cinnamon mocha!)

When you add a bit of coffee to any recipe with chocolate, it simply makes the chocolate flavor richer and deeper. When I can turn up the flavor without adding calories, you know I’m all over it.

It doesn’t take much coffee. I just use the “leftover” coffee I brewed that morning when I bake. Simply replace the vanilla in your next chocolate recipe, whether that’s brownies or this chocolate pudding.

How do I prevent a skin from forming?

Homemade chocolate pudding is delicious, but the skin that forms on top of it is not. Simply keeping the pudding covered ensures that no rubbery skin forms on top of your hard work.

Keep it covered has the same definition as when you make guacamole. That means you need to let zero air touch your pudding. Take a piece of plastic wrap and gently tuck it on top of your pudding.

Apply plastic to prevent skin

This works whether you make individual pudding cups for an after school snack or one large dish to share with everyone. Make sure you start in the middle and then gently push the plastic wrap into all the edges.

If you eat some of your chocolate pudding and put the rest away for later, recover it and make sure you push the plastic wrap down into any divot that you made by eating some. If you don’t, that’s air touching your pudding.

Can I make this chocolate pudding without cornstarch?

Yes, you can! The cornstarch helps with the thickening, so you need something to take on that job. If you cannot have cornstarch, this recipe works just as well with arrowroot mixed with a touch of flour.

The original recipe calls for four teaspoons of cornstarch. Use one tablespoon of arrowroot and a half teaspoon of flour. Together with the eggs, that thickened it sufficiently for me when I tried it. Without the flour, it didn’t work quite as well as I wanted.

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Add one and three-quarters cup of the milk to your heavy saucepan along with the sugar and cocoa powder. Use a whisk to stir it over medium-high heat until it just starts to steam.

Remove it from the heat and set aside for the moment.

In a separate bowl, mix together the last quarter cup of milk with the cornstarch. Use a fork to stir it together.

Separate your eggs and save the egg whites for another purpose. Me? I like to make either meringues or marshmallow fluff with my extra egg whites.

Add the egg yolks and salt to the milk and cornstarch. Whisk all that together until it’s smooth and homogeneous.

Carefully pour half the hot milk mixture into a large liquid measuring cup. I do this because it gives me far more control that any other method I’ve tried.

While whisking your milk and eggs, slowly pour in the hot chocolate milk mixture. This lets you temper the eggs and keeps them from turning into scrambled eggs when you add the hot milk.

Once you have the hot milk added to the milk and eggs, pour that mixture back into the original heavy saucepan. Turn the heat back to medium high and whisk until it comes to a boil.

Turn the heat down so that the mixture just simmers. Cook it for another few minutes until it thickens and you can see the trail from your whisk as you stir.

Remove it from the heat and whisk in the coffee. Cut the butter into smaller chunks, then add them to the pudding and whisk again until they melt and are incorporated.

Immediately pour the pudding into your large measuring cup. Again, this ensures you have great control as you pour it into containers.

Pour the pudding into stemless martini glasses, ramekins, or a larger bowl – however you plan to serve it. Place plastic wrap carefully over the surface of your pudding to ensure no air touches it.

Place your pudding into the fridge for at least four hours – though I enjoy warm pudding, too!

Add whipped cream

Serve with freshly whipped cream. This would be fantastic with my cinnamon whipped cream for an extra flavor boost.

It lasts two to three days in the fridge. Do not try to freeze this; it won’t work.

Have you ever made homemade chocolate pudding?

More perfect crave-worthy recipes:

Chocolate Pudding from scratch

Chocolate Pudding

This old-fashioned chocolate pudding recipe has a secret ingredient that makes it the best and most decadent pudding you've ever tried.
4.77 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 2.75 cups
Calories: 158kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons coffee
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  • Add 1 3/4 cup milk and all sugar and cocoa powder to heavy saucepan. Whisk over medium-high heat until it starts to steam.
    2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, use a fork to mix remaining 1/4 cup milk with cornstarch.
    4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Separate eggs and add yolks and salt to milk and cornstarch. Save whites for another purpose. Whisk until smooth.
    3 egg yolks, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • While whisking milk and eggs, slowly pour hot chocolate milk mixture to temper eggs.
  • Pour tempered mixture into original heavy saucepan. Turn heat to medium high and whisk until boiling
  • Turn heat down to simmer. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in coffee and butter until melted and incorporated.
    2 teaspoons coffee, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pour pudding into serving vessels and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate at least four hours, then serve with freshly whipped cream.

Notes

  • I add coffee or espresso to make the chocolate flavor richer and deeper. If coffee is unavailable, substitute it with vanilla.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

Perfect homemade pudding recipe

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  1. John Wagner says:

    Hi. My mom used to make a similar recipe. I prefer the vanilla over the coffee. But I do love mixing things up. I made one batch with a little raspberry extract added. Another batch I added a little orange extract. Served with a mint leaf for color and whipped cream of course. But overall, I think I like your recipe as is except for vanilla. Thanks for sorting this.

    • Michelle says:

      I’m all about the deep chocolate flavor, so I love to add the coffee that really brings it out. But yes, absolutely play with it. Raspberry and orange extract sound delicious, too. They go really well with chocolate. Yum!

  2. LoRita says:

    I made this recipe and used two tablespoons of Truvia instead of the sugar to make a sugar free pudding. Delicious!

    • Michelle says:

      I’m so glad you liked this AND that you were able to successfully make it sugar free. I do not cook sugar free, so I am not the expert in how to do so nor in how well it will work for various recipes, but I love to get feedback and updates when it works for people so I can share that information with more. Thanks!

  3. Margie says:

    How much butter is used? Can’t find the amount.
    Thanks
    Margie

  4. […] I love chocolate pudding, a good homemade butterscotch pudding just transports me to childhood and my gram feeding me […]

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