Chocolate Chia Pudding

5 from 4 votes
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This chocolate chia pudding recipe is a decadent yet healthy dessert or snack! Made with only six simple ingredients, stir them together to create a rich and thick pudding. Customize with your favorite toppings, like berries and cream, for a delicious treat.

Learn how to make chocolate chia pudding.

Recipe Science

  • Chia seeds form a gel-like consistency when mixed with liquid due to their high soluble fiber content, which absorbs water and expands to create a thick pudding texture.
  • Mixing cocoa powder with the chia seeds and liquid introduces chocolate flavor and antioxidants, enhancing the nutritional profile and taste of the pudding.
  • Allowing the mixture to sit and chill enables the chia seeds to fully hydrate and thicken, resulting in a smooth, cohesive pudding that holds its shape.

Why It Works

If you’re a fan of chocolate and looking for a healthy breakfast or snack option, try this recipe. Each chocolate chia seed pudding serving is packed with fiber and nutrients. The scoopable texture is similar to the pudding snack cups when you were a kid but much healthier!

Chia chocolate pudding is ideal for meal prep because it requires time to allow the seeds to gelatinize. Prepare it the day before. Then, it’s ready to grab and add your favorite toppings the next day. I’ve added juicy red raspberries, coconut cream, and chocolate shavings. It is the ultimate quick snack or guilt-free dessert. Have fun customizing each cup!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make this chocolate chia seed pudding recipe.
  • Milk: Use unsweetened almond milk, your favorite plant-based milk, or dairy milk. This adds creaminess and moisture so the chia seeds can absorb it and swell to thicken the pudding.
  • Chia Seeds: Chia seeds deliver fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy boost of nutrition in each serving. When mixed with liquid, the surface creates a gel-like coating. After several hours, the consistency will become thick, like tapioca pudding.
  • Sweetener: Add maple syrup or honey to balance the natural bitterness of the cocoa powder. Adjust the amount if you like a sweeter flavor.
  • Flavoring: Adding vanilla extract enhances the chocolate flavor. A sprinkle of sea salt balances the bitter and sweet flavors.
  • Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is used for an intense chocolate flavor. I prefer Dutch-processed cocoa because it’s sweeter and not as acidic and will have a darker hue. Less processed cacao powder can be used but will be more bitter and lighter in color.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

Now that you know how to make a delicious gluten-free chia pudding snack, the base is easy to customize! Try these tasty ways to enhance the chocolate flavor:

  • Milk: Use dairy-free coconut milk, oat milk, cashew milk, rice milk, soy milk, or almond milk. Add dairy for a creamier texture.
  • Sweetener: Try honey, maple syrup, date paste, agave, or brown sugar. Use erythritol, stevia, or monk fruit for a low-calorie or high-intensity sweetener option.
  • Spices: Add warm spices like, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice to enhance the sweetness.
  • Flavoring: Add a small amount of peppermint or mint extract; it’s ideal with chocolate. Add Nutella, almond butter, or peanut butter for a nutty taste. Add banana extract for a fruity flavor.
  • Chocolate: Use unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed) or cacao powder. Drizzle magic shell sauce on top for a crisp chocolate crust.
  • Fruit: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries complement chocolate well.
  • Nuts and Seeds: For added crunch, add sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, walnuts, or pistachios. I like to add pumpkin seeds during the fall and toasted shredded coconut during the summer.
  • Granola: Add homemade granola for extra crunch and fiber, but add it right before serving so it doesn’t become soggy.
  • Cream: Add coconut cream or homemade whipped cream for a decadent topping.

How to Make Chocolate Chia Pudding

Bowl of chia seeds and almond milk.

Step 1: Make the Chia Pudding

Whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla together.

Chia seeds after a few hours of swelling in a bowl of almond milk.

Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before adding the cocoa powder to allow the seeds to absorb the water first to kickstart gelatinization.

Pro Tip: This recipe for chia pudding with chocolate makes enough for two servings, but it’s easy to make a larger batch.

Cocoa powder added to a bowl of chia seeds.

Step 2: Add the Chocolate

After the 30-minute resting period, add the cocoa powder to the bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Spoon holding chocolate chia pudding over a bowl.

Step 3: Cover and Refrigerate

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. The longer the pudding sits, the thicker it will become. Serve in bowls, and add your desired toppings or portion it out into individual mason jars or containers for meal prep.

Spoon taking a scoop of chocolate chia pudding with raspberries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use cacao powder for chia pudding?

Yes, you can use less processed raw powder. However, with the low heat treatment, it will have a more pungent bitter taste and more acidic flavor than regular cocoa powder.

What’s the difference between cocoa and Dutch-processed cocoa?

Cocoa powder is beans that have been fermented, then roasted at a higher temperature, then milled. Using the Dutch process to alkalize the powder reduces acidity. It will have a sweeter, less bitter taste and a darker hue. It also dissolves more readily into liquids than regular cocoa powder, making it ideal for adding to chia pudding.

Why do you wait to add the cocoa powder?

When hydrated with a liquid, chia seeds naturally create a gel-like coating on the surface. The result is a thickened pudding-like consistency. If you immediately add a dehydrated ingredient like cocoa powder to the seeds, they will compete for the water in the mixture. This will take the pudding a lot longer to thicken. Allow the seeds to swell for 30 minutes to kickstart thickening, then mix in the cocoa.

More Chia Pudding Flavors

If you tried this Chocolate Chia Pudding, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Indulge in a luscious and guilt-free treat filled with rich chocolate flavor while enjoying the added health benefits of chia seeds that provide a boost of energy and ample omega-3 fatty acids.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time4 hours
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Servings 2 servings
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon sea salt, or kosher salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-processed recommended

Instructions 

  • Make the Pudding – In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt (if using). Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the seeds to swell.
  • Add the Chocolate – Whisk in the cocoa powder until combined.
  • Refrigerate – Cover and refrigerate the mixture until thickened, about four hours or overnight. Alternatively, transfer to individual mason jars and cover.
  • To Serve – Stir the pudding. Divide evenly into serving cups. Add desired toppings like fruit, cream, or chocolate chips.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Dairy-Free Milk Options: Almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, cashew milk, oat milk, or coconut milk. These will give a slightly thinner consistency compared to dairy milk.
  • Cocoa Powder Options: Use Dutch-processed for a sweeter taste and darker color. Regular cocoa powder or cacao will have a slightly bitter taste and a lighter color.
  • Topping Suggestions: Fresh berries, chocolate chip or shavings, cinnamon, nuts, coconut cream, or whipped cream.
  • Storage Containers: Use 8-ounce wide-mouth glass jars or plastic containers for individual servings. To make a large batch, store it in an airtight container.
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container or glass jar for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 2 servings
Calories 192kcal (10%)Carbohydrates 26g (9%)Protein 5g (10%)Fat 9g (14%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 6gMonounsaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0.03gSodium 314mg (13%)Potassium 210mg (6%)Fiber 10g (40%)Sugar 12g (13%)Vitamin A 11IUVitamin C 0.3mgCalcium 313mg (31%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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