You guys. This homemade chocolate pudding recipe is LEGIT. I kid you not, I ate two jars of it while taking the pictures!!
Which seems to be the trend anytime I’m re-making some of my childhood favorites…
Like homemade Cheez-it’s? Ate them all.
Black bean brownies (that taste like Little Debbie Fudge Brownies)? At them all, too…
Thankfully, it’s a good thing when I make something so good that I can’t help but eat it all. It means the recipe is a winner and there’s a highly probability that your family will like it, too.
And also, thankfully, I exercise daily so my pants still fit!!
I’m not sure what got into me to want to make homemade pudding, but I do know that…
- I wanted something fun. Something that I could make for the kids, totally surprise them and make them feel special.
- I wanted something NOT loaded down with sugar. Especially when we’re on a constant quest to quit sugar and you know you’re on the right track when your daughter (who LOVES sugar) says hot chocolate from the local coffee shop is a bit too sweet for her. (We must be doing something right, eh?)
- I wanted something easy. Most recipes I’ve seen for homemade pudding call for lots of ingredients and they just seem like a lot of work. In this season of life, that’s not happening.
- I wanted something that was similar to what I had growing up. Do you ever have those Snack Pack pudding cups as a kid? I did, and so did all of my friends, and I wanted to replicate that.
And when it’s all said and done, this homemade chocolate pudding recipe is definitely easy, fun, not loaded with sugar and EERILY similar to the kind I had as a kid. (Dare I say better?!)
How to Make this Homemade Chocolate Pudding Recipe
There are only 3 required ingredients in this homemade chocolate pudding recipe, which means each one is important, so let’s break them down.
I used 2% milk because my husband went to the store for me and that’s what he brought home. I actually wanted to test this using whole milk, but knowing it works with 2% means I have NO DOUBT it would be just as good (possibly better!) with whole milk.
If you’re dairy-free, I suggest using canned coconut milk. You’ll probably want the lite version, as the full-fat version will make an incredibly rich chocolate pudding. This isn’t a bad thing, but it will be a bit more indulgent than the pudding snacks we had as a kid.
There is no added sugar in this recipe so choose your chocolate chips wisely. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and as I mentioned, I ate two servings of pudding without batting an eyelash.
- If your family is used to sweeter things, you might consider using milk chocolate chips or a combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate.
- If your family is also quitting sugar, you might consider using a blend of semi-sweet chocolate chips with dark chocolate chips. I’m actually going to do that the next time I make this!
- If you don’t have chocolate chips, chopped up chocolate bars would work just as well! Give them a rough chop and measure into the measuring cup.
I tested this chocolate pudding recipe using less chocolate chips and to me, it just wasn’t chocolate-y enough. Have you ever had watered down hot chocolate? It was kind of like that. Unappealing and not worthy of a second bite. (My kids agreed!)
Bumping up the chocolate chips fixed that right up!
This is THE KEY ingredient to delicious homemade chocolate pudding and surprisingly, it’s good for you!
Gelatin is essentially cooked collagen. You’ve heard of collagen before, right?
(If not, it’s the secret to strong hair, long nails and healthy skin. I add one tablespoon to my coffee or tea every day! You can read more about the benefits of collagen here.)
Gelatin is the key ingredient to making homemade jello – including homemade gummies, elderberry gummies and charcoal gummies – and it’s also the secret to making amazing homemade chocolate pudding.
There is one catch here: do not over-measure.
In my recipe testing, I made chocolate pudding using three different amounts of gelatin: less, normal and more. The difference between each of the recipes was just ½ teaspoon, but let me tell you – that half teaspoon makes a HUGE difference!
The chocolate pudding recipe made with less gelatin was too runny. It barely stayed on the spoon. Boo.
The chocolate pudding recipe made with more gelatin was WAY too thick. Literally, it tasted like chocolate jell-o. I had my kids try it and sure enough, they agreed. They thought it was weird, weren’t fans, and went outside to play without asking for a second bite.
The chocolate pudding recipe made with normal amounts of gelatin was absolutely perfect. (Maybe that’s why I ate two servings?)
Just like collagen, not all gelatin is created equal. I did a side-by-side tests of two popular brands of collagen and one failed miserably and one blew my expectations out of the water. Because of that test, I only recommend Perfect Supplements brand collagen and gelatin.
I know you work hard for your grocery dollars and I certainly don’t want you wasting it on things that won’t work like you expect them to!
I know you might have a few questions about this chocolate pudding recipe, so let’s talk about a few of them:
Can you freeze homemade chocolate pudding?
I haven’t done this – mostly because this makes a small batch and we devour it before it has a chance to be considered for the freezer – but I’m going to say no.
I made one test batch and intentionally stirred it a lot after it set… and it kind of lost its pudding texture. It became kind of gloopy and not creamy (as I thought it would) and it just wasn’t appealing.
My guess is that if you were to freeze chocolate pudding, you’d need to stir it after it thawed, and then it would lose it’s puddingness.
How long is chocolate pudding good for?
This recipe will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I recommend portioning the pudding into 4 oz mason jars, keeping the plastic covering on top, and then putting the mason jar lid on top of that, in order to keep the pudding from getting a weird film on top.
Can I make this chocolate pudding without the vanilla?
Absolutely! I thought it tasted better WITH the vanilla, but if you’re out, you can skip it. OR, use these ideas for vanilla extract substitutions!
- 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 1 tsp Perfect Supplements gelatin
- ½ cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
- ⅛ tsp vanilla extract
- tiny pinch of salt
- Measure milk into a small measuring glass (I use this one-cup glass measuring cup.)
- Pour ¾ cup of milk into a small saucepan.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the remaining ¼ cup of milk still in the measuring cup. Let it sit to bloom.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in the saucepan over medium heat and add the chocolate chips. Using a flat whisk (I use this flat whisk), stir the chocolate chips until they begin to melt.
- When the chips are melting, whisk well until they’re completely dissolved and then immediately remove the milk from the heat.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Stir the measuring cup with the bloomed gelatin so it’s mixed well. While whisking continuously, pour the gelatin mixture into the chocolate milk. Whisk well.
- Pour evenly between four 4 oz mason jars. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the mixture to prevent a thick film from forming. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but do your best to avoid any significant air pockets.
- Place in the refrigerator and let it set for 2 hours. At that point you can serve or keep it for later.
- When you serve, remove the plastic wrap and top with homemade whipped cream, homemade chocolate whipped cream, fresh fruit and/or just eat plain.
Have you ever made homemade pudding before, NOT from a pudding mix? If not, you must give this a try!! When you do, come back and leave a note in the comments and tell us what you thought!