Rich, chocolaty, and oh-so-creamy, this homemade chocolate pudding is a must-make treat! Just as easy to make as boxed pudding, you’ll never want to go back to the store-bought stuff. This easy-to-follow pudding recipe is made with 6 simple ingredients and comes together in just 10 minutes (plus it’s egg-free!). An easy dessert for even a weeknight!

Small glass cups filled chocolate pudding and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

My first attempts at making homemade chocolate pudding used a custard (i.e. egg yolks) base. I cooked it for what seemed like eons, and it never got as thick as I thought it should have. However, I refrigerated it anyway, thinking that it might set up in the fridge. It never did, time after time.

When I returned to the drawing board, I noticed a pattern when researching chocolate pudding recipes – newer recipes all seemed to start with a custard egg base, while the older recipes all used cornstarch as the sole thickening agent. I’m a pretty traditional gal by nature, so I thought the cornstarch route might serve me well. Not surprisingly, it worked beautifully.

Overhead photo of three glass cups filled with chocolate pudding and a spoonful taken out of one.

Why Make Your Own

You know I love making homemade versions of store-bought classics. From Oreos to Twinkies, I’ve made it all! When it comes to homemade pudding, it’s more than just the satisfaction of making it from scratch; it truly is better. 

Here are a few more reasons if you need a gentle nudge:

  • No additives or preservatives: You know exactly what you put into your pudding, so you don’t have to question what ingredients are on the back of the box.
  • Same cook time: It takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, which isn’t much more than it would take to make the boxed stuff.
  • Not limited to flavors on the shelf: Once you’ve mastered the art of making a pudding base you can easily whip up any flavor you want.

The Key Ingredients

As long as you keep milk in your fridge and chocolate in your pantry, you probably already have the ingredients for this wonderful pudding! Below are a few ingredient notes, but as always, check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities.

Ingredients for chocolate pudding prepped and labeled.
  • Milk: You can use whole milk or half-and-half to make this pudding creamy and thick. I do not recommend using skim milk, 1% or 2% milk; the pudding may not set up properly.
  • Bittersweet Chocolate: Gives the pudding a rich flavor without making it overly sweet. I typically use chocolate that’s 60% cacao. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, you can substitute semisweet chocolate.
  • Cornstarch: Used to thicken the pudding to a creamy consistency; you can substitute arrowroot powder.

How to Make It

Step #1: Melt the Chocolate Mixture – Cook sugar, chocolate, salt, and most of the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the chocolate is completely melted.

Saucepan with milk and chopped chocolate.

Step #2: Add The Cornstarch Slurry and Cook – In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining milk and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens and begins to boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.

Side by side photos of small bowl with cornstarch slurry and then it being poured into chocolate mixture.

Step #3: Chill! – Pour the pudding into a bowl (or individual serving cups or ramekins) and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Chocolate pudding being spooned into glass parfait cups.

Topping Ideas

While I could dive right into a bowl of this creamy chocolate pudding on its own, here are a few different ways you can serve this pudding:

  • Top with homemade whipped cream
  • Garnish with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles
  • Serve with crushed Oreos or make into a Dirt Dessert
  • Top with sliced strawberries or fresh raspberries
  • Shave milk, white, or dark chocolate on top

Can You Make Chocolate Pudding Ahead of Time?

Yes! Pudding is such a phenomenal make-ahead dessert because it HAS to chill for a number of hours to set up properly. 

You can prepare it the morning you plan to serve it, or even the day before. Just be sure to press plastic wrap against the surface and keep it chilled until you’re ready to serve.

Storage Instructions

Once the pudding has been thoroughly chilled, it can be kept, covered in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.

I do not recommend freezing this pudding recipe, as the taste and texture will change considerably once thawed.

Close up photo of a glass serving cup with chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, with a spoonful taken out.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • For a Sweeter Pudding: Without adding additional sugar, you can make your pudding sweeter by using semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet.
  • For a Less Sweet Pudding: If you want a less sweet pudding, add cocoa powder to the pudding to add a bitter chocolate flavor that balances out the sweetness. Or you can slightly reduce the amount of sugar.
  • Dairy-Free Option: While I have not tested it myself, others have noted that this can be made successfully with oat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.
  • How to Prevent a Skin During Cooling: To keep your chocolate pudding, or truly any pudding for that matter, from forming a skin while it cools, place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the pudding while it cools. This will prevent air from hovering above the pudding and making a thin film along the top.
  • How to Thicken a Runny Pudding: The best way to thicken your chocolate pudding is with a corn starch slurry. Start by mixing together 1 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water to form a paste, then whisk it into the pudding mixture to thicken. Keep in mind that the pudding will continue to thicken as it cools and chills.
  • How to Make Pudding Without Cornstarch: If you want to make this pudding recipe without cornstarch, you can substitute arrowroot powder with a simple one-to-one conversion. 

More Delicious Pudding Recipes:

If you make this chocolate pudding recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

A square photo of two glasses of chocolate pudding with a scoop taken out of the bottom right one.

Chocolate Pudding

This ultra-rich and creamy chocolate pudding comes together with just 6 ingredients for a decadent dessert everyone will enjoy!
4.63 (24 ratings)


  • 2 cups (488 ml) whole milk or half-and-half, divided
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces (56.7 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a medium saucepan, stir together 1¾ cups of the milk, the sugar, chocolate and salt, and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup milk and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for an additional minute, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the pudding mixture into a clean bowl (or individual serving cups or ramekins), and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pudding until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Whisk prior to serving, if storing in a large bowl. The pudding can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.


  • Storing: Once the chocolate pudding cools, you do not need to keep the plastic wrap on the top layer of the pudding. Simply store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Shelf Life: Stored properly in the refrigerator, this homemade pudding should last up to 4 days.
  • Freezing: I would not recommend freezing and re-thawing this pudding recipe. Alternatively, you can freeze this pudding in a popsicle mold for a delicious Chocolate Pudding Pop!
Nutritional values are based on one serving
Calories: 361kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 59mg, Potassium: 237mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 430IU, Vitamin C: 1.1mg, Calcium: 136mg, Iron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

This recipe was originally published in February 2014.

Photography by Dee Frances