The Best Chocolate Pudding

UPDATE: I used to have both the chocolate and vanilla pudding recipes in this same post but I split them out so that each could be added to the Ziplist plugin and recipe box. The vanilla pudding is now here.

Let me tell you, if you haven’t converted over to homemade pudding, you’ve just got to do it. For me. Promise?

The taste, richness and texture is worlds better than the boxed variety – and not that much more difficult. You’ll love it. And because I love you, here are two fantastic homemade puddings – a chocolate and vanilla – to keep handy. You just never know when you’ll need to be whipping out homemade pudding.

But the real reason I’m sharing these puddings today is in preparation for what is coming tomorrow. Oh, you just wait. Think cute. Think original. Think Valentine’s.

One Year Ago: Balsamic and Black Bean Salsa
Two Years Ago: Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken
Three Years Ago: Gourmet Buttermilk Cookies

The Best Chocolate Pudding

Yield: Makes about 4 cups of pudding

The Best Chocolate Pudding


  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process or regular)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (or 6 ounces bar milk chocolate chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt, whisking lightly. Whisk in the milk and cream to the sugar mixture until it is smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking or stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is at a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and large bubbles pop at the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  2. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin starting to form. Refrigerate the pudding until it is completely cool, at least 4 hours but up to 3 days, if it is stored in an airtight container. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream...or not.

Recipe Source: adapted from Feb/March 2011 Cook’s Country

80 Responses to Chocolate Pudding

  1. Cindie says:

    I’ve been craving dark chocolate pudding for months. We’re expecting a wintry mix this MLK weekend, so I’m making this! To avoid lumps when whisking the milk and cream into the dry ingredients, I will heat both until lukewarm.

  2. Lynda says:

    This was amazing!! Just a note: I didn’t use any heavy cream (didn’t have any!) so used 3 cups of whole (goats’!) milk. I also used mini semi sweet choc chips. Came out great!! Thanks Mel!

  3. Maryam says:

    I made this yesterday, used semi sweet chocolate chips because that’s what I had on hand and I forgot to put in the vanilla extract but it didn’t matter because this was AMAZING! Thank you so much for this recipe! My kids, parents and sisters all loved it!

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Hello Maryam – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Thank you for reporting back that it was still awesome without the extract. I am glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Brandie Cotton says:

    I only have half and half…would that work?

  5. Poornima says:

    Such an easy pudding to make and so delicious! I have made it so many time now an posted it on my blog too. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

  6. Donna says:

    Recently found your site. Have tried two recipes -pork chops and chocolate pudding. Both were huge hits with family and friends. Can’t wait to try more!!

  7. Emma says:

    This is an amazing pudding. I loved it. I made it again today, however, forgot to add the vanilla, however, it didn’t matter, didn’t notice a difference. I used this pudding for a chocolate poke cake. It’s in the refrig now. I’m hoping it works out for the poke cake. Thank you for the recipe. I love it.

  8. Kate says:

    I’m ashamed to say that once I cheated on this recipe and I’ll never do it again. This is the best chocolate pudding recipe, just believe me!

  9. Sarah says:

    This was lick-the-bowl good. I used half and half and upped it to 1/2 cup and adjusted the whole milk a bit. Semi-sweet chips because that is what I had. I wanted to hog it for myself but ended up sharing with my pudding-faced boys (1.5 and 4). Whipped up quick and a big hit!

  10. Abby Perkins says:

    Made this yesterday, and it was delicious! I used it in a brownie trifle and it was real hit.
    Another winner, Mel!

  11. Cassie says:

    I was just wondering how long this is good for? can’t wait to try it:-)

  12. Beth Bilous says:

    Can I use this recipe for a chocolate cream pie

  13. cara says:

    Made the chocolate pudding this morning….OH.MY.WORD. Divine, delicious, incredible, divine…did I mention delicious??????? So, so good, thank you!

  14. Theresa says:

    I’m looking for a recipe. I think it was called rocky mountain desert. But it had chocolate pudding and cherries and I think marshmallows in it. Can anybody help me?

  15. Mel says:

    Hi Terri – yes, this pudding definitely sets up well for a pie!

  16. Terri says:

    Mel, would this pudding work to make a chocolate pie? My boys love chocolate pudding pie at Thanksgiving….just wondering if it “sets up” like the boxed kind, would love to get away from the processed “stuff” as much as possible!q

  17. Terri says:

    Mel, would this pudding work to make a chocolate pie? My boys love chocolate pudding pie at Thanksgiving….just wondering if it “sets up” like the boxed kind, would love to get away from the processed “stuff” as much as possible!

  18. 5 Boys Baker – Amazing Chocolate Pudding says:

    […] Source: adapted fromΒ  Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Chocolatepudding […]

  19. Mel says:

    Blanca, um, nope, never tried it with avocado. Sorry!

  20. Blanca says:

    Have you tried making this with avocado? I haven’t had the chance to make chocolate pudding yet, but have tasted a homemade batch made with avocado and it was delish!

  21. Mel says:

    Hi Laura – I’m not sure why your pudding is turning out lumpy but it might be because the heat needs to be lower while you are cooking it. Are the lumps large or really tiny?

  22. Laura says:

    For some reason my pudding keeps getting lumpy. It’s not lumpy after I cook it, but rather when it cools down. Any tips to fix this problem?

  23. Mel says:

    Bonny – hmm, I’m not sure what happened. Maybe increase the heat a bit next time to get it really bubbly and hot (just make sure it doesn’t scorch!).

  24. Bonny says:

    I made the chocolate pudding tonite. I had a hard time getting the bubbles to pop at the surface, it thickened but I never saw the bubbles, I stirred for 8 mins. Did I do something wrong?

  25. Karen says:

    Hi! I’m fifty (*coff coff*) something years old and over the years ever since a project in a junior high school Home Ec class, I have made many different recipes for vanilla pudding. I just made your recipe (it’s cooling in the fridge now). Licking the spoon as I was cleaning up, I can say that this is by far the best vanilla pudding recipe I’ve tried yet! Just pure vanilla pudding – not starchy tasting, lumpy, or greasy. Perfect! .When I get a fresh box of cocoa powder, I’ll definitely be trying your chocolate pudding recipe. Thanks for sharing this!

  26. cand says:

    um yes the chocolate pudding is amazing! we eat it really warm over vanilla ice cream best thing ever. thanks so much for sharing.

  27. Kristin says:

    Oh my goodness, the chocolate pudding is AMAZING! I have been searching for a homemade chocolate pudding recipe for awhile now and I’m happy to report that this recipe is it! Thanks!

  28. Michelle says:

    Love your blog!! πŸ™‚ I’m excited to try homemade pudding. Quick question…have you ever used homemade pudding in your vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls? Thanks!!

  29. Mel says:

    Hi Tracy – I usually use Trader Joe’s chocolate or Ghirardelli’s chocolate. As for cocoa, I have to confess that I use Hershey’s, mostly, unless I can find dutch-process for less than it usually is.

  30. Tracy says:

    What brand of cocoa and chocolate do you use? I think I used cheap stuff and I think that was a mistake. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks!

  31. Mel says:

    Ang – some pudding recipes have eggs, some don’t so it’s kind of a matter of preference on the recipe. I believe there are some fairly well-reviewed cornstarch based vanilla pudding recipes online. You could try googling for a good egg-free vanilla pudding recipe. Good luck!

  32. Ang says:

    Why does the vanilla have to have an egg in it? Is there a way to make it without using eggs? Thanks!

  33. Kathy says:

    Great pudding recipes. The chocolate is by far my favorite. So easy to make! My husband said that it was the best pudding he’s ever had!

  34. Lindsay says:

    Mel, are both of these recipes about equal to a box of pudding? Also, I am wanting to use these pudding recipe to make another dessert that calls for one box instant vanilla and one box instant chocolate pudding. Do you think I could skip the chilling for the plain pudding and just chill it where my recipe calls for chilling? And finally…..when I attempt this, I’ll send you the recipe….it’s a glorious dessert that I think you will love.

    • Mel says:

      Lindsay – it has been so long since I’ve used a box of instant pudding, to be honest, I don’t know how much those yield! Do you have a pudding box to compare by looking at the number/amount of each serving? The chocolate pudding makes about 3 cups of pudding and the vanilla pudding makes about 4 cups. I do think you’ll want to chill the pudding before using in your recipe, simply because it comes off the stove quite warm, whereas instant pudding is never warm it just needs to be chilled to set up. Hope the dessert turns out – let me know!

  35. Stacy says:

    Made this for dessert tonight. It was so yummy and very easy to make. My 5 year old had fun helping me mix the ingredients. I’ve made homemade pudding in the past and was very disappointed. I decided to give this one a try since I’ve loved so many of your recipes. This did not disappoint! Thanks for another great recipe!

  36. auntiepatch says:

    Can you tell me why the vanilla pudding has an egg in it & the chocolate doesn’t? Just asking…….

  37. A few times while I was pregnant, I DESPERATELY wanted chocolate pudding. Usually this was late at night, and we lived far from any grocery store. I thought, “I’ll make it myself!” I pulled out my cookbook, went through all the steps, whisking my little heart out, and the results were absolutely disgusting.

    Last night, I saw this recipe, and decided to try it, combined with a few bananas for a banana cream pie. Pretty much everything you’ve ever posted that I try is good, so I had great faith. It was not misplaced. The vanilla pudding I made was the perfect texture, and absolutely delicious. I will definitely be giving the chocolate pudding a shot now. Thank you for restoring my faith in homemade pudding.

  38. Diana says:

    Yuuuum! These look super tasty! I’ve never tried making pudding from scratch, but this looks divine. πŸ™‚

  39. Nicole says:

    Wow. Perfect summer dessert. My first, soon to be of many times making pudding from scratch. Easy too! There are some dairy sensitivities in our home, so I had some Silk Pure Coconut in the fridge, and tried using that instead of the whole milk. I also went for the ghiradelli bittersweet chips instead of milk chocolate, and then topped it with whipped cream sweetened with a bit of powdered sugar and also a teeny dash of coconut extract. Was asked for the recipe, and hubby who’s missing a sweet tooth asked me to make it again soon! I think next time calls for a double batch…

  40. Suzie says:

    I have recently been unable to take in anything with milk/dairy- could almond milk be substituted for the milk and cream?

  41. Kate says:

    I love your blog and check it everyday (almost.) I have made and loved many of your recipes. I made the chocolate pudding last night. This was my first time making homemade pudding (I have never cared for the box.) It is delicious & I am trying not to eat it all so that we can all share some together as a family tonight after dinner. It is lumpy though- like I could never make it for company lumpy. Am I supposed to strain it? If so then that is too much work for this lazy girl. I will just eat the chocolate bars. Maybe the heat was too high? Did I cook it too long? I tried to watch it pretty closely. I do have a couple little distractions though. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the great recipes.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kate – was it lumpy like big lumps or were the lumps really tiny like overcooked egg bits? Either way, it could probably be helped by straining (and even my lazy body doesn’t mind the 30 second straining process!) but if the lumps were really big, it’s an indicator that your heat might have been too high. I’ve had that happen a time or two. Sometimes, depending on my pot size, when I am making homemade pudding, I end up turning the temperature to medium-low once it starts to bubble so that it doesn’t cook so fast. Sorry the texture wasn’t great – glad the flavor was spot on, though!

  42. […] Pudding: Homemade Vanilla Pudding from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  43. Jill says:

    My, oh, my. Melanie, you never cease to amaze me with all you do. Thank you for inspiring me. And for providing recipes that have me racing to my kitchen. YUM!

  44. Amy T says:

    I made the chocolate pudding and it is fabulous! I used semi-sweet chips that I had on hand, then topped it off with sweetened whipped cream. The combination was delicious! While my waistline suffers, my sweet tooth thanks you =)

  45. Laura says:

    Best chocolate pudding i’ve ever had! Didn’t have whole milk, so I used 1% and it still turned out fabulous!

  46. Deborah says:

    Can you believe that I just barely made pudding from scratch not too long ago? I’m keeping these recipes on hand for sure!

  47. Megan says:

    This looks amazing! I’m debating about whether it would work for the Boston Cream Pie I’m going to attempt to make for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. I’ve never made either, but really, homemade pudding could save it if I mess up the cake, right? πŸ™‚

  48. carrian says:

    YUM! I haven’t had pudding since I was little

  49. I never thought to use brown sugar in chocolate pudding! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  50. JennyP says:

    Even bad pudding still tastes good. Nothing better than chocolate pudding pie. I confess to being lazy and not making homemade even though I know it’s really not difficult. OK, you’re right. I promise to make homemade from now on.

  51. Tiffany says:

    Mel, I like your new button it is really cute, I put your new one on my blog.

  52. Hi Mel!! I am always dropping by your awesome blog–but I need to comment more! Your puddings look amazingly good! I am excited to see what you are creating with them for Valentines! Yum!

  53. Delicious! I love pudding, and don’t have a good chocolate recipe yet. Thanks.

  54. Stephanie says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I love, love, LOVE chocolate pudding, especially the cooked kind, and especially still warm. I tried it from scratch a couple of years ago because I figured it would be at least 8000 times better than the stuff from the box.

    It wasn’t. It was terrible. So sweet that one of my kids begged to not have to finish it. I couldn’t blame him. I didn’t finish mine either.

    Just one question – can they be made with milk instead of cream?

    • Mel says:

      Stephanie – yes, you could make the pudding with lowfat milk, although it will definitely be lacking some richness and creaminess – and may even be a bit thinner in consistency – but even so, it would probably taste delicious.

      • Lynda says:

        Just fyi – I made it tonight without any cream, but used 3 cups of whole (goats) milk. Came out great!!! Thanks!

  55. Liz says:

    I have never done homemade pudding before- kind of scared to try, but it looks wonderful!

  56. Alisha says:

    Ok, so clearly this is not going to be made at my house right now, being off sugar and all, but I am glad that you posted this because I have always wanted to make my own pudding. I’m trying to veer away from processed stuff & this looks delish. And I love pudding! Ok, I gotta stop looking at this, I’m getting hungry.

  57. Joanne says:

    I haven’t had pudding in SO LONG because the only kind my grocery store has is the sugar free kind. Yuck. But now I can make it myself! Although I am totally on the edge of my seat waiting to see what you pull out tomorrow!

  58. Vanessa says:

    Hi Mel, I use the same recipe here in Germany but I do not use vanilla extract since it is not natural. I use a vanilla bean instead. Slice it open, take out the inside and add it to the milk. I then put the empty vanilla bean with the milk and just take it out before you add the other ingredients. I think it is so much better.
    I love your website, Vanessa

  59. Sherry says:

    Hi, Mel! Love the recipes, but have a question – do you have homemade pudding recipes that do not. contain any grain products? As a child, I had a friend whose mom made pudding without flour or cornstarch. She did not use arrowroot or tapioca either. I am guessing she used egg, but the result was not custardy. I have had no contact with them for about 40 years now, so…..

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sherry – I have made a lot of homemade pudding recipes over the last year and to be honest, haven’t come across one that doesn’t have cornstarch or flour. Sorry I’m not more help!

  60. Abby says:

    I LOVE pudding! I can’t wait for tomorrow’s post!

  61. Jen says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’ve recently found out that I’m allergic to gluten and soy, so homemade is so much safer for me. These recipes look delicious and just what I’ve been craving!

  62. yum! I love homemade pudding but haven’t made it in ages! Will definitely have to make some again!

  63. Homemade pudding IS the best but I haven’t made it in ages. I must make both of these ASAP!

  64. Marissa says:

    Yum. We’re having this for dessert tonight. Thanks for posting!

  65. Happy mommy says:

    Yum and yum! I love pudding! I’m excited to try these!

  66. Elise R. says:

    These puddings look AMAZING! A year ago we got snowed in for about a week and I made your Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls and your soft pretzels. They were a huge hit! Now I want to get snowed in again so I can make this pudding πŸ™‚

  67. We are seriously on the same page these days! Except I attempted homemade pudding for the first time last Wednesday (snow day!) and it was full of lumps. Talk about disappointment. I think my main problem was not using the cook’s illustrated version! Think I’ll try this one πŸ™‚

  68. Natalie says:

    I absolutely love pudding and can’t wait to make these homemade varieties. Yum!! Thank you.

  69. Kim in MD says:

    Wow…I wish I had one of each of these for breakfast this morning! I have to confess that I have never made home-made pudding before. Thanks to you that is going to change! Thanks for inspiring me, Melanie!

    Congrats to your Green Bay Packers! It was a great game! You DID watch the game, didn’t you? πŸ˜‰

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