Skip to Content

How to make chocolate pudding from scratch

Though I often tout chocolate pudding as a great way to use up slightly sour milk, and though I’ve posted at length about making homemade pudding pops, I have somehow neglected to post the actual pudding recipe here.

We’re going to rectify that today.

Homemade chocolate pudding requires only a short list of ingredients, all of which are pantry staples at my house…cocoa powder, sugar, salt, vanilla, cornstarch, and milk.

And thanks to my detailed calculations last summer, we know that it’s cheaper even than the $0.50 boxes of pudding mix at Aldi.

Ok! Let’s get started. First, measure the cocoa powder into a medium saucepan and whisk in just enough water to make a smooth paste.

Stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt.

Stir in all but 1/2 cup of the milk.

Heat the milk mixture over medium heat, stirring regularly. If you are lucky, you can slough this task off onto some small people at your house.

While the milk is heating, mix the cornstarch with the remaining milk and set aside.

When the cocoa/milk mixture reaches a full boil, stir in the cornstarch/milk mixture, stirring constantly.

Bring the pudding back to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute. The pudding should be noticeably thicker at this point.

Off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract. Vanilla has more flavor if it’s not cooked, so that’s why we’re adding it now instead of earlier.

Pour the pudding into a bowl or into individual serving cups. Of course, you can always dish it into individual bowls later on, but it looks neater if you do it while the pudding is warm.

Chill until completely cool. Serve plain or topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

Or, you can use your pudding to make homemade pudding pops, which, as we discovered last year, are 50% less expensive than even Aldi’s pudding pops.

I almost always double this recipe, since 2 cups of pudding doesn’t go too far around here.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Printable Chocolate Pudding Recipe

2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 cups milk, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Measure cocoa powder into a saucepan. Whisk in enough water to make a smooth paste. Stir in sugar and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups milk, reserving 1/2 cup.

Heat cocoa/milk mixture over medium heat, stirring regularly, to boiling. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and milk together.

When cocoa/milk mixture reaches a boil, whisk in cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil and cook and stir for 1 minute.

Remove pudding from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour pudding into individual dishes or a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Makes 2 cups.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Sunday 8th of October 2023

I’ve been making this recipe for years. I changed it up because I’m a lazy cook. I put 1/4c of cocoa, 1/4 c sugar, 1/4t salt and the 3 T cornstartch into the saucepan and whisk until mixed. I Start adding the 2C milk slowly until it’s smooth-all the while whisking. As soon as it starts to bubble, I add 1T ish of butter stirring until blended. Pull off the stove, add a 1T of vanilla. Super easy! I served it as dessert to a friend who was unimpressed. ..And she ended up running her finger around the bowl to get it all!


Friday 31st of December 2021

My variations to your recipe 1. Dump it in one sauce pan and whisk dry ( I’m a lazy cook) 2. 1/4 C of cocoa instead of 2 1/2 T 3. 1/3 C sugar instead of 1/2 C 4. If I’m being “ fancy”, I add 2T tapioca with the dry ingredients 5. Pour all the milk in and stir. If I used tapioca, I let it rest 10 minutes.

6. Turn on the heat and stir until thickened. Allow pudding to bubble for about a minute. 7. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes, stirring a few times to keep skin from forming. 8. Add 1t vanilla and 1-2T butter stirring until melted. 9. Pour into cups and cool!

I served this as dessert one night to guests and got a side eye look from my friend. By the end of her dessert, she was wiping the inside of her dish and licking her finger!

Christine Otterstrom

Wednesday 25th of September 2019

Do you have any tips for making a super think pudding? I was thinking of trying 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 heavy cream. Would the consistency still be creamy?

Also, I want to mention that I've already tried the recipe with whole milk and it was super yummy! Thanks!

Christine Otterstrom

Wednesday 25th of September 2019

Oops, I meant to say "thick" not "think".


Sunday 12th of March 2017

I just made your pudding for the first time and loved it! Do you double the cornstarch too? I used whole milk but will try 2% next time but I'm wondering if I will be disappointed.

(FYI- I was unsure about when to add the vanilla, I don't think the printed version state when to add it. I do see it on the web site.)

Thank you!


Sunday 12th of March 2017

oh now I see when to add the vanilla in the recipe.


Sunday 14th of August 2016

hi, i really want to make this pudding for my son.. could you pls tell me how much is a cup equal to in grams in your recipe?


Sunday 14th of August 2016

According to this site: it looks like one liquid cup is 240 grams.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.