Chia Seed Pudding
Tell me your innermost thoughts about Chia Seed Pudding. Love it? Not that into it? Have no clue what I’m talking about? Let’s discuss!
For those who haven’t had it before, chia seed pudding is made by combining chia seeds—a tiny seed often considered a “superfood” for its impressive levels of fiber and protein—with a liquid (usually some kind of milk, either dairy or non-dairy), plus other optional flavor mix-ins.
Overnight, the chia seeds plump as they absorb the liquid, and the mixture thickens into a pudding-like consistency. It’s culinary magic!
Chia pudding has been popular for a while now, and it does offer many features that attract me—it’s healthy, high protein, high fiber, and incredibly filling. You can top it off any which way you like. It’s naturally gluten free, and it’s easy to make this recipe a dairy free or vegan chia pudding as well.
Plus, since it is prepped the night before and can last several days in the refrigerator (similar to this Overnight Steel Cut Oats Recipe), you can mix up a big batch and have healthy breakfasts at the ready all week long.
My only problem with it? I couldn’t find a version that actually tasted good.
Most chia seed pudding recipes I tried made me feel like I was eating bland baby food. I knew chia pudding was good for me but with all of the tasty, healthy food options that are out there, why settle for one that’s only so-so?
Then HELLO, the answer came to me: chocolate.
Chocolate pudding is one of my lifetime comfort foods (throwback to Jell-O pudding cups!).
This chocolate chia seed pudding takes me right back to lunchbox (and OK, early 20s post-college) days of snacking on prepackaged chocolate pudding cups.
Unlike store-bought pudding, however, this recipe is made of super simple, natural ingredients that you can pronounce. It offers protein, fiber, and healthy fats and will keep you full and satisfied.
In fact, chia seed pudding is good for you enough to be acceptable for breakfast! Top it off with berries and a handful of granola, and enjoy feeling powered and energized all morning. Plus, since it’s prepped the night before, breakfast will be ready and waiting for you when you wake up.
And this chocolate version? It’s thick, rich, and tastes indulgent enough to eat for dessert. Top it off with a handful of chocolate chips and whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream if you’d like it dairy free), turn on your favorite playlist, and be transported to a mini chocolate escape.
No matter what time of day you serve it, chia pudding is sure to hit the spot.
What Does Chia Seed Pudding Taste Like?
For those who haven’t had it before, the taste and texture of chia seed pudding can be hard to visualize (taste-ualize?). Here’s how I’d describe it.
- Chia pudding is creamy with just the slightest hint of seedy texture (similar to tapioca pudding). Once the chia seeds puff up and absorb the liquid they’re stirred together with, they are longer be crunchy or hard.
- The chia seeds themselves have no flavor and take on the flavor of whatever items they’re mixed with. For this recipe, the chia pudding will have a deliciously rich chocolate taste. YES.
Looking for chia seed recipes that are not pudding? Check out all my delicious options here.
Is Chia Seed Pudding Healthy?
- Chia seeds contain antioxidants that help protect our cells from disease and damage.
- To those wondering if chia pudding is good for weight loss: Yes, the fiber and protein in chia seed pudding helps you stay fuller longer, which can aid in weight loss.*
- With a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids, chia seed pudding may help reduce your risk of heart disease.*
- Chia seed pudding is keto and Paleo friendly, making it a great option for those following either diet.
How to Make the Best Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
After playing around, these are my ideal ingredients. Feel free to adjust their amounts to suit your tastes!
- Chia Seeds. The most essential ingredient. They are wonderful because there are so many nutrients packed into these tiny, low-calorie seeds. Chia seeds contain antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and high levels of protein and fiber. They also have the delightful effect of plumping when they absorb liquid, which creates the pudding consistency. Chia pudding is the best way to eat chia seeds!
- Almond Milk. You can make chia seed pudding with milk (including cow’s milk), but I prefer to make almond milk chia seed pudding. It’s more neutral, mildly nutty flavor and creaminess are made for chia pudding. For an ultra indulgent, more dessert-like twist, make it a coconut milk chia seed pudding, either full fat (the richest!) or light like in this recipe for Coconut Chia Pudding. While you can make chia seed pudding with water, I think the milk creates the best flavor and texture.
- Yogurt. I prefer my chia seed pudding with yogurt, as the yogurt adds additional protein to the recipe, making it even more filling. For a dairy-free option, use a coconut milk-based yogurt.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. For that intense chocolate flavor. As the recipe is written, this pudding is quite chocolatey. If you’d like to add more, do it very slowly (1/2 teaspoon at a time). A little goes a long way!
- Espresso Powder. Adding a bit of espresso powder to any chocolate dessert intensifies the chocolate’s flavor (it won’t make the dessert taste like coffee, unless you add a substantial amount). It’s optional here but if you love chocolaty recipes, I highly recommend picking up a jar. You can buy espresso powder at most major grocery stores or online here.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. To give the pudding complexity (plus vanilla chia seed pudding is delicious!).
- Sweetener of Choice. I used pure maple syrup. I prefer it’s flavor with chocolate more than other natural sweeteners, but you can certainly swap honey or agave. This recipe uses a very moderate amount. I recommend starting with the recipe as written, then adding more to taste if you’d like it sweeter.
- Pinch of Kosher Salt. A key ingredient, even in sweet recipes, to give the flavors balance and pop.
The Right Ratios for Chia Seed Pudding
This recipe can be scaled up or down, whether you’d like to make a big batch or just a few servings. While you can just add chia seeds to yogurt, I think using milk helps it reach the perfect consistency. In general, I recommend the following chia seed pudding ratio:
- 1 part almond milk + ½ part yogurt + ½ part chia seeds, scant ¼ part sweetener.
For a serving of 4 that looks like this:
- 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice) + ½ cup yogurt + ½ cup chia seeds + 3 tablespoons sweetener
This will yield a rich, thick pudding that’s fit for breakfast or dessert!
The Directions + Recipe Tips
- Sift your cocoa powder (annoying, but so worth it). Add maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and espresso powder, whisking slowly until it becomes a fudge-like sauce.
- Whisk in a couple of splashes of almond milk. Pour in the rest of the almond milk and Greek yogurt while continuing to whisk.
- It’s time to whisk in the chia seeds! Cover your bowl, and place it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight. If possible, check on your pudding about 30 minutes in, and give it another good stir.
- Once everything is set, stir it one final time (for optimal creaminess), and serve!
If you’d like your chia seed pudding even thicker: Try adding an additional 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. The extra amount will soak up more liquid and thicken the pudding further. Note: As you can see from the pictures, this pudding is already quite thick, but if you want it super solid, up the chia seeds in your chocolate chia seed pudding with Greek yogurt. If your pudding has already rested overnight, you’re ready to eat it, and you’d like it thicker immediately, add more Greek yogurt.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Chia seed pudding recipes can last 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Mix some up on Sunday night, and you are good to go until Thursday or Friday…if you have any leftover anyway!
- To Store. Cover leftovers in a bowl or in small glass jars, and store them in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Yes, you can freeze chia seed pudding! Freeze it in small, airtight freezer-safe containers for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Serving Chia Seed Pudding
- Chia seed pudding is generally served cold, BUT, you can also serve chia seed pudding warm! Before serving the pudding warm or cold, give it a big stir, then add any of your favorite toppings and mix-ins.
- To Serve Warm. If you’d like to warm it up, place it in a microwave-safe container and gently microwave until warmed to your liking. You can also warm your chia pudding over low heat on the stove. I recommend adding in a splash of milk and stirring regularly.
- Topping Ideas. A few of my favorite toppings: fresh fruit (berries or bananas would be great in this recipe), granola (this Gluten Free Granola, Pumpkin Granola, Honey Almond Flax Granola, Gingerbread Granola, or Chocolate Almond Granola would be good), chopped nuts, or a drizzle of maple syrup for added sweetness.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Small Whisk. This smaller-scale whisk is so much better at stirring ingredients together without them splashing all over the counter than standard whisks. So much so that I bought two and almost never use a standard size whisk anymore.
- Cute Little Jars. Not necessary, but they do make breakfast and dessert more fun.
- Clear Mixing Bowls. I love the variety of sizes in this set, that they stack for easy storage, and when I keep them in the fridge, I can see exactly what’s in them.
So, what do you think?
Have you had chia seed pudding before? What do you think of it? I hope you’ll give this chocolate version a go, and if you try I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
Chia Seed Pudding
For The Pudding:
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - plus 2 additional teaspoons
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup - plus additional to taste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder - optional; will yield a more intense chocolate flavor
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk - or any milk you like
- ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- Fresh fruit - whipped cream (YUM!), chocolate chips, granola, nuts, anything you like!
- Sift cocoa powder over a medium mixing bowl to remove any lumps. (I know–sifting is the worst, but you don’t want any lumps in your pudding.)
- Add the maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and espresso powder, and whisk slowly to combine. The mixture will seem very dry at first but will come together eventually and resemble a thick, fudgy sauce.
- Pour in a few splashes of the milk and stir gently to create a paste (this will help prevent lumps from forming). Then add the rest of the milk, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the Greek yogurt until smooth.
- Add chia seeds and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours, until the mixture thickens into a pudding-like consistency. I find it helps to whisk it once about 30 minutes in to make sure the chia seeds stay distributed in the mixture.
- Once set, stir the pudding once more. Scoop out your desired portion, and enjoy with any toppings. You can also portion the mix into jars and store them in the refrigerator for 4 additional days.
- TO STORE: Cover your chia seed pudding and place in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO FREEZE: Place your chia seed pudding in small, airtight freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Place your pudding in the refrigerator to thaw the day before you want to eat it.
*Health benefits of chia seed pudding mentioned in this article were sourced from Healthline and are meant to be for general information, not any kind of specific medical advice. For specific dietary needs, I always recommend contacting your doctor or seeking professional advice.
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