How to Make Chia Pudding

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Learn how to make chia pudding with four simple ingredients! Just mix and let the seeds thicken into a delicious, healthy treat. It’s easy to customize the base with exciting flavors and toppings.

For more healthy breakfast ideas, try my overnight oats, steel cut oats, and vegan pancakes.

Learn how to make chia pudding as a quick healthy snack.

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.
  • The mucilage in chia seeds thickens the mixture as it hydrates, creating a pudding-like texture without the need for heat or additional thickeners.
  • Chia seeds’ ability to absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid makes them an excellent base for a nutrient-dense, satiating pudding that retains moisture and flavors well.

Why It Works

Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse! Each serving contains health benefits and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and calcium. This chia seed pudding recipe makes for a healthy and satiating snack that’s easy to meal prep. You only need four kitchen staples: chia seeds, milk, sweetener, and vanilla.

I’ll teach you how to make chia seed pudding that yields the perfect thickened consistency. I’m a big fan of making individual portions to chill in the fridge overnight, then grabbing a jar in the morning for a quick breakfast. There are many ways to customize the flavor. This guide will inspire your next batch of pudding!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make this chia pudding recipe.
  • Chia Seeds: Use black chia seeds or white chia seeds to make the pudding. They are similar in flavor and have slight nutritional differences. Black chia is slightly higher in protein, and white has more Omega-3s healthy fats. Chia seeds are naturally gluten-free. Use fresh chia seeds for the best thickening capability.
  • Milk: The seeds need to absorb a liquid to swell. The water in dairy milk or plant-based milk helps with thickening and adds a richer consistency. Using full-fat milk creates a creamier texture.
  • Sweetener: If desired, add a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, agave, brown sugar, or granulated sugar. It can be omitted if dried or fresh fruit is added.
  • Flavoring: A small amount of vanilla extract adds a sweet taste and aroma to the bland taste of the chia seeds.

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

Ingredient Substitutions

This chia seed recipe makes switching up the flavor and texture easy. Try experimenting with the following ingredients in your next batch.

  • Milk: Use dairy, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, or other plant-based alternatives. Add some yogurt to the base for a creamier taste.
  • Sweetener: Try maple syrup, honey, date paste, agave, brown sugar, or cane sugar to sweeten the pudding. Erythritol, stevia, or monk fruit can be used as a low-calorie or high-intensity sweetener without sugar.
  • Chocolate: Add cocoa powder or cacao powder for a rich chocolatey taste. Once thickened, drizzle on magic shell chocolate sauce for a fun treat. Add cocoa nibs for crunch!
  • Fruit: Add fresh berries, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, peaches, or cherries on top. Stir in jam for a fruity sweetness. Add dried cranberries or raisins.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Top with crunchy almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or toasted coconut. Add peanut butter or almond butter for creaminess.
  • Granola: Add homemade granola for extra crunch on top.
  • Spices: Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cardamom to add sweet baked flavors.

How to Make Chia Pudding

Chia seeds being added to a small glass jar.

Step 1: Make the Pudding

In an 8-ounce jar, cup, or larger bowl, add the milk and the chia seeds.

Measuring spoon adding maple syrup.

Add the maple syrup (or desired sweetener) and vanilla extract. Give it a good stir and let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the seeds to absorb the liquid.

This recipe for chia seed pudding makes individual servings, but it’s easy to scale up into larger batches. I like to use 8-ounce mason jars or larger ones for extra volume to add toppings. This makes it simple to add all of the ingredients, stir, cover, and refrigerate to enjoy later. If you’re making a large batch to serve a family, put the chia pudding in a large bowl.

Chia seed pudding in a small mason jar being mixed with a spoon.

Step 2: Cover and Refrigerate

It will start to get a little clumpy. Stir to break them up.

A covered glass mason jar with chia pudding inside.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to maximize the chia seeds’ swelling capability. Overnight is optional for a thick pudding-like consistency.

Close up of chia seed pudding showing the gelatinization after refrigerating.

Step 3: Ready to Serve

After refrigeration, you can enjoy it as is or add toppings for extra nutrition and texture.

Two bowls of chia seed pudding served with colorful fruit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why didn’t my chia seeds turn into pudding?

There are various reasons that chia seeds don’t swell. Typically, not enough water or liquid was added. If the liquid is too cold, it will take longer to swell. Try warming it to speed up gelatinization, but don’t boil the liquid. Don’t use expired chia seeds; they have reduced swelling capability. If mixing with acidic juices for high-solid ingredients like cocoa powder or yogurt, wait to add them until after the seeds have swelled so the ingredients don’t compete for moisture.

Do chia seeds need to be rinsed before using?

Rinsing the chia seeds is not required. Add them to a fine-mesh strainer if you want to give them a quick wash with cold water. Don’t allow them to sit longer than a minute; they may start to gel on the surface.

Can I soak chia seeds in yogurt?

Add water or milk first to hydrate the seeds, or dilute the yogurt. Adding yogurt to the seeds alone won’t gelatinize them, as there is insufficient liquid to absorb.

What liquid is best to soak chia seeds?

All you need is water to help the seeds gelatinize. However, that can taste bland. To make the consistency slightly thicker and more flavorful, use dairy milk or plant-based milk. Do not just add a thick product like yogurt, as the solids and protein make less moisture available for the seeds to swell. Do not use acidic juices like cranberry or orange juice. I’ve noticed that it prevents the soluble fibers from gelling.

More Chia Recipes

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How to Make Chia Pudding

Create a creamy and nutritious treat that will leave you feeling energized and satisfied. Enjoy this delicious and customizable dessert any time of the day.
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Course Snack
Cuisine American


  • ½ cup milk, or dairy-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, (optional)


  • Make the Pudding – In 8-ounce mason jars, cups, or a large bowl, add the milk, chia seeds, maple syrup (if using), and vanilla extract (if using). Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Alternatively, if making a larger batch, combine ingredients in a bowl or container.
  • Refrigerate – Stir to break up any remaining clumps. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. The pudding thickens more the longer it sits.
  • To Serve – Remove from the refrigerator. Add desired toppings like fruit, nuts, jam, nutter butter, or granola.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Dairy-Free Milk Options: Almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, cashew milk, oat milk, or coconut milk. These will give a slightly thinner consistency. 
  • Topping Suggestions: Fresh berries, nuts, seeds, granola, jam, nut butter, or coconut.
  • 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.
  • Chia Not Thickening: Old chia seeds lose their gelling thickening power. If they don’t thicken after 15 minutes, it’s time for a new bag. Fresh seeds will thicken the most if left overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 1 serving
Calories 212kcal (11%)Carbohydrates 21g (7%)Protein 8g (16%)Fat 11g (17%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Polyunsaturated Fat 6gMonounsaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0.03gCholesterol 15mg (5%)Sodium 51mg (2%)Potassium 298mg (9%)Fiber 8g (32%)Sugar 10g (11%)Vitamin A 211IU (4%)Vitamin C 0.4mgCalcium 309mg (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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2 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Elena says

    My family loves this recipe. I make it weekly now. Love the vanilla notes and for sweetener I use agave. I love all the topping suggestions- can’t wait to try some other ideas like the cinnamon and cardamom. So far I’ve used sweetened coconut flakes and fruit. thank you!