The Best Chocolate Pudding You’ll Ever Have (in 15 minutes!)

If you grew up in the eighties, like me, your main memory of chocolate pudding might be those plastic cups you buy at the grocery store. Great for an eight-year-old, not so much for a grown-up. Real chocolate pudding should be rich, decadent and bursting with chocolate flavor. An incredible way to end an evening. Luckily for us, Kristin of Pastry Affair has agreed to share her best recipe (and it takes only 15 minutes!)…

The Best Chocolate Pudding You’ll Ever Have
By Kristin Rosenau of Pastry Affair

Warm or cold, pudding cups were a part of my childhood routine. I even had a special pudding-eating spoon. Long and skinny, it was the smallest spoon we had in the house (which meant that I got to draw out the satisfaction of eating the pudding much longer than anyone else). Nowadays, even though there seems to be a countless number of flavored puddings and custards, I always come back to good old-fashioned chocolate. Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with an original.

Chocolate pudding is surprisingly easy to make, and takes only fifteen minutes to whip up from start to finish. The pudding is thickened with a combination of cornstarch and egg yolks, which gives it a custard-like quality. A mixture of cocoa powder and melted chocolate lends a proper chocolate touch, while whole milk gives the pudding a rich and creamy flavor. (Two-percent milk would be a great alternative if it’s all you have in the house, but I would not use a milk lower in fat—the pudding will lose a little of its magic).

The real secret to this recipe is the addition of salt and vanilla extract. Both ingredients provide a contrasting flavor to the sweet chocolate, and the combination of the three takes the flavor of the pudding from one-dimensional to downright delicious. This chocolate pudding may be simple, but simplicity is often just what we need.

Recipe: Chocolate Pudding
Makes 6 1/2-cup servings

You’ll need:
3 cups (710 ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large egg yolks
3 oz. (85 grams) dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk with the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. When well blended, whisk in the egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups of milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently so as not to scorch the bottom. As soon as milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer. Gradually whisk in egg mixture, stirring quickly to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring until pudding thickens enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until it is completely melted and the pudding is smooth. If there are any small lumps, you may optionally run the pudding through a fine mesh strainer to remove them. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Serve the pudding warm or cold, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or nuts, or a dollop of whipped cream. The pudding will thicken up quite a bit when cooled.

WOW. Thank you, Kristin!

P.S. More best recipes, including the best chocolate chip cookies, the best salted caramel brownies and the best chocolate ice cream.

(Recipe and photos by Kristin Rosenau of Pastry Affair. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

  1. Sadly, I have to agree with the other reviewers that this was a fail. Despite being super excited to try this recipe, cooking well past the 2-3 minutes, and chilling overnight, it remained nothing more than wonderfully flavored chocolate soup. Thumbs down.

  2. Yummy…This is really a delicious and best chocolate pudding I have ever seen and I hope in taste it will be very delightful. I will try for sure.

  3. I have made this twice, the first time exactly as written. It was very good if you like dark chocolate.chefs cuisinier

  4. I made this and am so sad to say it was a complete disaster. It never thickened and I followed it to a T! The recipe on Smitten Kitchen is much better.

  5. I’ve made chocolate pudding from scratch before and it was a breeze. This recipe doesn’t quite work and it took way more than 15 minutes. It wouldn’t thicken so I checked the original recipe and comments on Pastry Affair. She said it might take longer (up to 15″ of stirring) and to add another tablespoon of cornstarch (if you’re concerned about the pudding thickening). I tried it and it’s still not very thick. More like drinking chocolate and my kids, who are chocoholics, said, “Yuck!”. How do you decide about “The Best” recipes? Do you try them yourself or do friends try them? The photos are always gorgeous but this recipe doesn’t seem like “the best”, especially since so many others had trouble. This is the first recipe I’ve tried in the series so I don’t know about the others. I really love your blog and think it’s so much fun. This recipe just didn’t do it for me.

    • I stirred in more melted chocolate (about a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips) and put the pudding in the fridge. I checked it several times over the next few hours but it took a good overnight chilling to reach a more pudding-like consistency. The flavor was good, even better when we finished it two days later.

  6. Thought I was doing something wrong, but according to the comments, I guess not! It will NOT thicken.

    Jo, did you try this recipe before you decided to post it?

  7. Sadly I had the same bad experience with this recipe. After doing some research it seems that far more cornstarch is needed for a basic recipe, around 1/4 cup vs 2 tbsp…I’m assuming this is why it didn’t set up. Any other insight would be appreciated, I’ve got four ramekins in the fridge of chocolate syrup.

  8. just before I saw the draft for $8994, I be certain that…my… cousin could realie receiving money in there spare time at their laptop.. there neighbour has been doing this for under eight months and a short time ago paid the mortgage on there apartment and bought themselves a Fiat Panda. read more at(===== =====)

  9. Looks amazing! I included this in my favorite posts of the week: )
    Lovely Llorys

  10. i’m surprised by those posts above: my pudding isn’t as thick as i thought it might be, but it’s definitely thick enough to be pudding (and delicious). i had to simmer the milk and egg mixture much longer than 2-3 minutes for it be thick enough to “thickly coat the back of a spoon,” but otherwise i followed the directions exactly. my toddler girls thoroughly enjoyed our post-dinner finger-painting with pudding. thanks for the recipe!

  11. I resonate with the previous posters. I made it for Valentine’s day all excited and it bombed, it never came together. I cook and bake a lot, and have made puddings from scratch before. I thought maybe my cornstarch was bad but reading the other reviews I don’t think it was. Pretty disappointing in the end. Flavor was fine, but I didn’t want chocolate soup.

  12. I tried this recipe today. It tasted great, however, the texture was somewhat grainy and diluted. Is there a way to make it smoother and more viscous?

  13. My husband and I made this tonight for our Valentines dessert and it was quite disappointing. We followed the recipe exactly and it just never thickened up at all. It probably took us about 30 minutes instead of 15 because we kept waiting for it to thicken up on the stove while it simmered. Placed it in the fridge for about an hour hoping it would thicken but it never did. It was more like a thick, rich hot chocolate. The flavor was delicious, however. I would love to know what went wrong. Seems like the recipe calls for way too much milk.

  14. Recipe was inedible. I followed it to a T and it never got thick.

  15. Made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! I used half and half cream and five ounces of dark chocolate and served it with ice cream. Super rich but amazing.

  16. I wonder what happens with skim milk? Guess I will have to try and find out :}

    Thanks for the inspiration :}

  17. Gonna try this pretty soon than should (as I just made a batch of brownies yesterday) :p
    Thnx for sharing Jo!

  18. ah! these photos are simply amazing! xoxo

  19. I think what is so devilish about this recipe is the simplicity! I will definitely be trying it!

  20. I’m realizing now that I’ve never had home-made pudding before. I will HAVE to give this a try!!!

  21. This looks and sounds delicious! And…I actually have all of the ingredients in my house. Just what I need — lots of chocolate pudding!

  22. Oh YUM! I think it’s dangerous that it looks so simple to make….

  23. Two things: 1) this look incredible, and 2) AH HOW GOOD IS THE PASTRY AFFAIR??? It’s one of my go-to blogs, so glad that Kristin is featured here :). I hope the exposure gets you lots of new followers!

    • I have to agree with you! I hadn’t seen her blog before and now I’m in love! She should have a cookbook out. Her pictures and writing are to die for……

  24. jm says...

    I have never made chocolate pudding, but this looks really delicious. I am surprised it is so quick to make. For some reason I always thought you had to cook pudding for ages. Can’t wait to try it!

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  26. I don’t know… I’m kind of in love with the grocery store chocolate pudding cups with the vanilla stripe through the middle.

  27. Her food blog is amazing!!!!

  28. Not trying to be argumentative here…or maybe I am, but I’m surprised that so many people think these are beautiful pictures! Don’t get me wrong, the pudding looks delicious, but I just want to cringe at the mess on the table! Guess it really drives home the point that these are homemade, but that style just doesn’t appeal to me. Am I the only one bothered by it? Feeling a little OCD!

    • I think the pictures are beautiful, but I was also thinking about how silly it is to put all the fabric and dishes around, just to be in the way and get covered in sugar! (I know it’s just for the photo, but it is impractical!)

      We also had a tiny sterling silver baby spoon in our silverware drawer that I would always choose to eat my yogurt with. It felt more fun and special, for some reason.

  29. This looks amazing! When I was little I remember waiting for our instant pudding to be finished. This looks like an adult version I’ll have to try soon!


  30. yum yum yum yum yum.

  31. This is a cruel, cruel post to put up today, just as all us Catholics are fasting today for Ash Wednesday and lots of people are giving up chocolate for Lent! Mmmmm….It’s going on my Easter brunch menu!

    • Ditto! Looks so delicious but it will have to wait until Easter.

  32. Sweet dear Lord… chocolate heaven :D

  33. my mom used to make the instant jell-o pudding all the time growing up. love that this recipe is totally doable on a busy schedule.

  34. plastic cups & bill cosby!!!!! :)

  35. Um, I still LOVE the chocolate pudding in those plastic cups!!! But you’re right, the homemade stuff is the best.

  36. i was just thinking i needed to make a little something for my valentines. this i could manage! excited to surprise them:)

  37. Great. I’ll make this after Lent – I gave up sweets. Would semisweet chocolate chips suffice for finely chopped chocolate?

  38. Thank you for reminding me…..smiles

  39. That’s my menu for valentines day sorted! I might even make extra to give to my boyfriend. Thank you for sharing the recipe x Becky

  40. YUM! I was wondering what I should make for Valentine’s Day dessert. Now I know! Thanks!

  41. I will never have a snack pack again!!! This sounds delicious!! I will HAVE to try it out!

    Ergo – Blog

  42. OH NO – this is one of my weaknesses fo sho!

  43. Looks great, could have done with this for last night’s majoy chocolate craving! Thanks for the recipe!

  44. I love this! Thank you for sharing. I love just about anything and will try anything once but have never been a fan of instant pudding or the ready made pudding purchased from the grocery store. I am excited to try this!

  45. This is right up my alley! I have been making a chocolate pudding similar to this, but never used cornstarch in it before… will have to try this recipe, especially if it only takes 15 minutes! Thanks for sharing! YUM!!

  46. Does chocolate pudding pair well with Thai food? Because we are ordering in for Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I don’t really care. This looks too delish to skip.

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  48. Um… totally trying this!! I LOVE chocolate pudding! It was my go to snack, for sure, when I was pregnant. I’m sure my little girl has a sweet tooth because of it!

  49. This looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! Might use this for valentines too x

  50. Looks delicious! My memories of pudding are making up a batch of the instant jell-o chocolate pudding, and then we wouldn’t put it in the fridge and wait for it to set, we’d just eat it all liquidy straight out of the bowl. Good habits start young ;) This definitely seems like a better option now, certainly a more dignified one!

  51. Chocolate pudding is my husband’s absolute favorite dessert – looks like I have a plan for Valentine’s Day now!