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Chocolate Pudding Recipe (Gluten Free, Egg Free)

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This homemade chocolate pudding recipe is easy to make, with a rich chocolate flavor. It tastes so much better than a box mix, and makes great fudgesicles.

old fashioned chocolate pudding

When I was a little girl, it was a special treat when mom took the time to make homemade chocolate pudding from scratch. I love pudding straight out of the pan, or chilled with the “skin” set up on top. (The skin is my favorite part.)

We had some extra milk on hand this week, so I went digging for a chocolate pudding recipe that reminded me of the one mom used to make.

The recipe below is adapted from the Chocolate Yummy recipe in “Favorite Recipes of America:  Desserts“, published in 1968. (This was one of my mom's favorite cookbooks. )

I used a little less sugar, a little more vanilla, and a different thickener. My youngest said he “could eat it at least ten times in a row”.

Unlike some custard-style recipes, you don't have to worry about overcooking the egg yolks and ending up with lumpy pudding.

ingredients for chocolate pudding
Chocolate Pudding Ingredients

Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (homemade extract is great if you have it)

Directions

Heat 3 cups milk in double boiler or heavy bottom pot. Reserve one cup of milk.

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl, whisking until thoroughly blended and all lumps are gone.

*Note:  These dry ingredients are all shelf stable, so you could make up your own pudding mix to have on hand for faster prep in the future.

homemade pudding mix

Stir reserved milk (1 cup) into dry ingredients and continue whisking until blended.

cocoa and milk mixture

Pour chocolate mix into hot milk. Whisk to blend. At this point, the chocolate pudding will look similar to hot chocolate.

Cook over medium high heat until thickened, mixing frequently. 

cooked pudding

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour the pudding into individual serving containers or large serving bowl. 

If you want to keep a skin from forming, press plastic wrap onto surface of pudding. If you do this, I don't want to hear about it, because it is blasphemy.

Top with whipped cream before serving, if desired.

Yields:  8 servings.

Homemade Fudgesicles

Beck Jo, a member of our Facebook community, shared:

“I made this chocolate pudding recipe, poured it into a cake pan lined with wax paper, and froze it.

It stayed soft enough to score for serving. (I didn't have popsicle molds available.)

OMG! This puts a fudgesicle to shame! These are the best chocolate pudding pops EVER! YUM!”

Some Notes on Chocolate Pudding Ingredients

I prefer cane sugar for cooking and baking, because it cooks differently than beet sugar. (Read “Sugar/Sugar: Cane and beet share the same chemistry but act differently in the kitchen” for more details.)

If your baked goods don't brown the way you expect, it could be the sugar.

If your granulated sugar doesn't say “cane sugar”, odds are that it's made from genetically modified sugar beets.

I also look for non-GMO cornstarch, and prefer grey sea salt or Real Salt over standard bleached table salt. I buy non-alkalized organic cocoa in bulk and repackage it into quart jars for storage.

Chocolate Pudding without Cornstarch

If you want to avoid cornstarch, substitute arrowroot powder instead.

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

This homemade chocolate pudding recipe is easy to make, with a rich chocolate flavor. It tastes so much better than a box mix, and makes great fudgesicles.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: stove top

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Heat 3 cups milk in double boiler or heavy bottom pot. Reserve one cup of milk.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl, whisking until thoroughly blended and all lumps are gone.
  3. Stir reserved milk (1 cup) into dry ingredients and continue whisking until blended.
  4. Pour chocolate mix into hot milk. Whisk to blend. At this point, the chocolate pudding will look similar to hot chocolate.
  5. Cook over medium high heat until thickened, mixing frequently.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour the pudding into individual serving containers or large serving bowl. Eat warm or store in refrigerator.
  7. Top with whipped cream before serving, if desired.

Keywords: chocolate, pudding, gluten free, egg free

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homemade chocolate pudding recipe

More Homemade Sweets and Treats

If you enjoy old fashioned desserts, you may want to check out the recipes and kitchen tips page, including:

Is there a favorite recipe you remember from years past that you'd like to see, or memory you'd like to share? Leave a comment below.

Originally published in 2014, last updated in 2020.

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32 Comments

  1. When my daughter was about 8yrs old, she entered a dessert contest
    She wanted to make vanilla pudding from scratch. Well, I’D never made it from scratch, and we were running late. It seemed to be taking forever to thicken and so I told her to keep adding corn starch. Poor girl, it ended up the consistency of firm jello! Not a blue ribbon winner

  2. Love the recipe, love the website, but I think there is some misinformation regarding beet sugar here. Beet Sugar… very little of beet sugar is GMO. Beet sugar was the sugar of choice by chefs. It became impossible to find when the Hawaiian sugar companies competed with them as it is much cheaper to refine Sugar Cane. Beet sugar is natural, awesome and full of extra trace elements you can’t get from sugar cane. It also doesn’t spike the insulin as much in the blood.

    I get slightly frustrated when the generic label is GM Beet Sugar is used as a way to deter people from using it. Most Beet Sugar isn’t GM. Homesteaders and naturalists who really do their homework and not listen to the fabricated lies regarding beet sugar (from the cane sugar competition, BTW) would not do this.

    1. Well, I’m not a “chef”, but my sugar of choice is cane sugar. Since it’s my website I suspect I’m allowed to have my opinion on such things. The photos in the linked story pretty clearly tell the difference between baking with cane and beet, so I’ll leave that for people to decide on their own.

      As for the statement, “most beet sugar isn’t GM”, the information I’ve seen suggests otherwise. Specifically, and I quote (source):

      (Sugar Beets) account for 44 percent of U.S. sugar production.

      By this year’s (2010) spring planting, Monsanto’s patented GM seeds covered a jaw-dropping 95 percent of sugar beet fields.

      1. I agree with Laurie here. And I believe the sugar beets are actually higher now than it was in 2010. There was just a big expose on it and discussing the effect it is having not only on the insects but on the digestive systems of diabetic patients and those with auto-immune disorders. We’ve been specifically asked by our children’s pediatrician to limit any sugar beet use in our ADD child.

  3. taught home econ for years. always had a taste test with instant, regular packaged, ready to eat and home made from scratch. Every year the scratch recipe won. Always thought that was interesting and the students were quite surprised. karen

  4. Laurie love this recipe and I’m so going to try this. My husband loves chocolate pudding and this will be awesome. I love that one can mix up the dry ingredients ahead of time and store whenever needed.

  5. Here’s a good brown gravy recipe for you Laurie.

    5 Minute, 5 Ingredient Brown Gravy

    Ingredients:

    1/4 c. unsalted butter
    1/4 c. organic all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    2 c. water
    4 teaspoons beef flavored Orrington Farms Broth Base (contains sea salt and NO MSG)

    Directions:

    Combine water and Beef base small saucepan.
    Heat beef broth in saucepan until steaming hot.
    Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, add flour and onion powder whisk together.
    Allow to cook for 1 minute whisking occasionally.
    Add beef broth to flour mixture and whisk.
    Bring to boil, reduce to simmer for 1 minute.

    * Substitute Orrington Farms Chicken Broth Base to make chicken gravy also.

  6. Hi Laurie, I just made chocolate pudding from avocados and bananas for my developmentally delayed sister in order to limit sugar intake as it seems to set her behaviors off the scale. Of course, both of those ingredients are not sustainable here in Vermont, but then neither is cocoa. I guess it is good that it is a rare treat.
    I too love the skin on pudding.
    Greatpost. Sorry you lost your goodies but at least it was at the end.
    Pam

    1. I made a version of the avocado pudding. I liked it, but the rest of the crew didn’t. I scraped the spilled pudding off the checked cloth, so not all was lost, it just didn’t look very pretty. 🙂

  7. I was wondering, would almond milk work in this recipe or does homemade pudding only work with regular milk? Thank you.

    1. I suppose it’s possible, but I don’t prefer to use the microwave for cooking. If you wanted to try it, I would heat in short bursts, stirring frequently, until it reaches the desired thickness.

  8. Wow, no eggs! and no butter either! The scratch recipe my mom gave me uses both of those, for a wonderfully rich chocolate pudding. We usually use arrowroot though, why is it not recommended with dairy?

    1. The recipe that my mom used that included eggs and butter we referred to as a custard. I’m no arrowroot expert, but one of the sources I checked said that it might make the end product sticky when used with dairy. If you’ve found otherwise, please let me know. For the most part I’ve only used it baked recipes, not as a thickener.

      1. It does not make the end product sticky. I have been using your recipe since you published it, subbing arrowroot. My husband is allergic to corn, no cornstarch is used in my home. It produces a lovely result, just as if one used cornstarch.

  9. Laurie,
    My mom used to make us kids homemade chocolate pudding this same way. I know exactly what you mean when you mentioned the “skin”! Great recipe.

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