Rich, chocolaty, and oh so creamy, this homemade chocolate pudding is a must-make treat! Healthier and just as easy to make as boxed pudding, you’ll never want to go back to the storebought stuff. This easy to follow pudding recipe is made with 6 simple ingredients and comes together in about 10 minutes. 

A top down photo with two glasses of chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream on the pink counter and the bottom glass has a bite taken out with two spoons to the left and a white plate with a glass of chocolate pudding on top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

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

When I went back to the drawing board, I started to notice 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.

Why Make Your Own

You know I am always an advocate for 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. 

  • No additives or preservatives: You know exactly what you are putting 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. 

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Milk: You can use whole milk or half-and-half to make this creamy pudding.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the pudding and the chocolate.
  • Bittersweet Chocolate: Gives the pudding a rich chocolaty flavor without making it overly sweet.
  • Salt: Brings out the chocolate flavor.
  • Cornstarch: Used to thicken the pudding to a creamy consistency.
  • Vanilla: Flavor, flavor, flavor!

Top down photo of the ingredients for chocolate pudding with purple labels naming each ingredient.

How to Make It

  • Melt the chocolate: In a medium saucepan, stir together 1¾ cup of milk, sugar, chocolate, and salt. Place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted.
  • Make cornstarch slurry: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup of milk and cornstarch until no lumps remain.

Two side by side photos on the left the chocolate melting into the milk mixture in a saucepan and on the right a bowl with the cornstarch slurry.

  • Whisk in cornstarch slurry: Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens and begins to boil.
  • Add vanilla: Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for an additional minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.
  • Line with plastic wrap: 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.

Two side by side photos of chocolate pudding prep on the left the cornstarch slurry being added to the melted chocolate mixture and on the right chocolate pudding being spooned into a glass cup.

  • Chill: Refrigerate the pudding until completely chilled, at least 4 hours.
  • Serve: Whisk prior to serving, if stored in a large bowl.

FAQ and Success Tips

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 cornstarch slurry. By mixing the cornstarch with milk you smooth out the starch and prevent clumping in the pudding while also thickening the pudding.

How to Make Pudding without Cornstarch?

If you are looking to make this pudding recipe without cornstarch, you can substitute arrowroot powder with a simple one-to-one conversion.

The other way to make pudding without cornstarch would be to try making a pudding with a custard base using eggs. 

A close up of a glass of chocolate pudding with whipped cream and chocolate shavings with two cups behind it.

Recipe Variations

  • Sweeter: Without adding additional sugar, you can make your pudding sweeter by using semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet.
  • Less Sweet: 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.

Serving Suggestions

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

  • 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

A top down photo with two glasses of pudding topped with whipped cream on the pink counter with two spoons to the left and a white plate with a glass of chocolate pudding on top.

Storing and Shelf Life

  • Storing: Once the chocolate pudding cools, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 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 delicious chocolate pudding pops!

A top down photo of a glass of chocolate pudding with whipped cream and a scoop taken out of the left side of the cup.

Perfect Pudding Recipes to Try Next

Grab a spoon and dig in! This thick and creamy homemade chocolate pudding is a decadent dessert you can enjoy any night of the week. Made with just 6 ingredients, this chocolaty treat has never been easier to make!

If you make this 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!
4.45 (9 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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?

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Photography by Dee Frances