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Calling all chocoholics! This Chocolate Pudding Recipe is destined to be your new go-to when you are craving a rich, creamy, and chocolatey dessert. Sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings make it a little cooler, and a little extra creamy and decadent, but it is delicious even on its own.

Chocolate pudding in a glass cup topped with whipped cream.

Homemade chocolate pudding is easier to make from scratch than you might think it is. This pudding is essentially a classic custard with added cocoa powder for flavor and richness. You may want this as a mid-afternoon snack, but it is fancy enough to serve it for Valentine’s Day dinner.

This is the perfect chocolate pudding. It’s dark and rich with an incredibly silky texture. Cocoa powder and instant coffee granules make this homemade pudding recipe extra special. I love the depth of flavor that instant coffee adds to almost any chocolate recipe.

If you can never have enough chocolate, and let’s face it, who can… then try my chocolate pie, my chocolate chai cream pie, or my chocolate lava cake recipes.

Chocolate Pudding Recipe Details

  • Taste – Rich chocolate decadence is the best way to describe the flavor here. A touch of coffee enhances the chocolate making it tastes like an elegant treat.
  • Texture – The pudding is smooth with a silky mouthfeel.
  • Ease – While the recipe seems simple and straight forward, it can be tricky to temper the eggs.
  • Time – It takes about 15 minutes to prep the recipe, 20 minutes to cook, and 2 hours for the pudding to chill.

What You’ll Need

Ingredients

Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder: For smooth, chocolate flavor. It’s a little less bitter than regular cocoa powder.
Cornstarch: This thickens the custard.
Heavy Cream: Creamy richness. You can use half and half or whole milk, but it won’t be quite as luxurious.
Egg Yolks: Eggs should be at room temperature. They will combine better with other ingredients. (Save the egg whites for another purpose)
Milk: Whole milk is preferable but other milk will do.
Granulated Sugar: To sweeten the pudding.
Instant Coffee Granules: These add depth to the chocolate flavor. But note, instant coffee granules are NOT the same as ground coffee. Regular ground coffee won’t dissolve, so make sure you use instant coffee.
Vanilla extract: I use homemade but feel free to use store-bought or even vanilla paste if you have it.

Recommended tools

  • This chocolate pudding recipe comes together easily with a mixing bowl, a sauce pan and a whisk. Ramekins are great for serving, but you can use water glasses or even wine glasses if you don’t have ramekins.
chocolate pudding in ramekins.

How to Make Chocolate Pudding

It’s easy to make chocolate pudding from scratch. It does require a little extra attention to make sure you don’t scorch the milk. However, I guarantee the hardest part of this recipe will be waiting for it to set in the refrigerator before you can enjoy it!

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients (cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt) and then slowly whisk in the cream, trying to dissolve any clumps.
  2. Whisk in the egg yolks.
  1. In a sauce pan, heat milk, coffee and sugar over medium heat. Then slowly add the hot milk mixture into the cocoa mixture while stirring constantly.
  2. Pour the pudding back into the sauce pan, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. This is where you want to carefully whisk slowly to make sure it doesn’t scorch. It will start to thicken as it reaches a full boil. Turn heat to medium, whisk constantly for 2 minutes, and then remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  3. Pour into ramekins, cover with plastic wrap (you want this right on the surface of the pudding so a skin doesn’t form). Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours.
Chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream.

Tips For Success

• Make sure you use instant coffee granules and not ground coffee. Ground coffee won’t dissolve.
• Whisk slowly while bringing the pudding to a boil. This will keep the pudding from scorching in the saucepan.
• Make sure the plastic wrap touches the top of the pudding so it doesn’t get a skin when refrigerated.
• Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings or cocoa nibs.
• The egg yolks should be at room temperature when using.
• Add the milk mixture slowly to the cocoa mixture so you temper the eggs – bring them to warm temperature slowly so they don’t scramble.


Recipe FAQs

Do I have to use coffee?

I like the depth of flavor the coffee adds. You can use decaf if you want to avoid caffeine, or you can omit it altogether.

What can I use instead of heavy cream?

You can use any combination of cream, half and half, or whole milk for the heavy cream, but know that cream will produce the thickest, most luxurious consistency. This is a pudding, after all.

Can I use chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder?

I don’t recommend using chocolate chips when making this pudding since the recipe was designed around cocoa powder.

Chocolate pudding spooned out of a ramekin.

Storage & Freezing

The pudding will keep in the fridge for three days, covered in plastic wrap. Do not freeze.

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Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

After trying this Chocolate Pudding, you will most likely have a new favorite pudding recipe. This smooth and decadent chocolate pudding is made with just a handful of ingredients and topped with a sweetened whipped cream, making it a wonderfully sweet dessert. Instant coffee is added to enhance the chocolate flavor in this decadent pudding. This recipe is definitely a chocolate lover's comfort food!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (42 g) Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup (360 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • homemade whipped cream, optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt together until well combined. Slowly whisk in the cream. Try to work out as many clumps as you can. The mixture will start out thick but will thin out as you continue to add the cream.
  2. Whisk in the egg yolks until well incorporated. You may find it easier to use a rubber spatula.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, and coffee, over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat when small bubbles begin to form around the edges and the mixture is steaming.
  4. Gradually add the hot milk into the cocoa mixture while whisking continuously. Whisk the cocoa mixture back into the saucepan.
  5. Bring the pudding to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking slowly to prevent the bottom from scorching. As the pudding reaches a full boil, it will begin to thicken.
  6. As soon as large bubbles begin to surface turn the heat down to medium and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla.
  7. Transfer to 4 6-ounce ramekins and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  8. Just before serving, top it with homemade whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired.

Notes

Dutch-processed cocoa powder: I find that Dutch-process cocoa has a smoother flavor. It's less bitter. You can use natural cocoa if that's all you have.

Cornstarch: While potato starch, tapioca, rice starch, etc. are typical substitutes for cornstarch, I have not tested them with this recipe and can't guarantee results if you choose to use them.

Instant coffee: You may omit this if you prefer not to use it. You can also select decaffeinated coffee if you are concerned about the added caffeine.

Make ahead tip:

  1. The pudding will remain good in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 ramekin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 668Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 247mgSodium: 238mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 2gSugar: 57gProtein: 11g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients you used in the recipe.

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36 Comments

  1. Hi I need to make this for an elementary class for Halloween. Could I put the pudding in 9 oz clear plastic cups instead of the ramekins? Does that matter? Do I need to wrap them in cling wrap? Also, since they are children, is the coffee necessary?

    1. Hi Kim! It really doesn’t matter what you store the pudding in. I’d allow it to cool some before putting into the plastic cups though. And yes, still top the pudding with plastic wrap touching the surface so a gross film doesn’t form on top and it cools in the fridge. And of course, you don’t need to use the coffee since it’s being served to children.

  2. Liz @ Teta Lizza's Kitchen says:

    I love Fine Cooking magazine! And by love, I mean I usually drool over every single page. Your addition of coffee is a perfect compliment and no doubt makes a great recipe even better. Thanks Jen!

  3. Jen, this chocolate pudding looks perfect!!!! love this and I’m gonna try this one! I haven’t made pudding in ages!

  4. Chocolate pudding always reminds me of when I was a kid — except that it was always instant. This pudding looks like perfection and I’m dying to try it!

    1. Now you can enjoy an adult version of a childhood favorite! I really think you should try it.

  5. This pudding looks sensational, Jen! I love the addition of coffee! So rich, chocolaty and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  6. So gorgeous, I love this chocolate pudding recipe! Definitely a great little recipe for a Valentine’s treat 🙂

  7. Oh yum, I love how rich and chocolaty this looks! I definitely want to try this out, and then make those Spiced Chocolate Coconut Macaroons with the egg whites!!