Chocolate Pudding · GF (serves 4)

Nothing fires up my culinary time machine like Jell-O style chocolate pudding. Homemade puddings tend to go overboard with chocolate and eggs, winding up so custardy, thick and French you can’t eat more than a few spoonfuls. Petite pots de crème have their place, but sometimes only a big bowl of puddin’ will do.

homemade Jello chocolate pudding

This recipe has a crazy silky texture and a totally unpretentious chocolate flavor untainted by eggs. It only takes about 2 minutes to prepare and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now. You do have to wait a few hours for the gelatin to do its thing, so plan accordingly.

For a fun experiement, make one batch with Dutched cocoa and the other with natural. Then you do a side by side tasting. People often ask me about the flavor differences between the two; what a great way to find out for yourself!

Chocolate Pudding
1/4 ounce powdered gelatin (one packet)
2 1/2 ounces milk
5 ounces sugar
3/4 ounce cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces milk (coconut and soy milk work especially well too)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bloom the gelatin and 2 1/2 ounces milk in a medium bowl.

Combine the sugar, cocoa, salt and remaining milk in a small pot over medium low heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture beings to bubble around the edges, about five minutes.

Immediately pour into the bowl of gelatin and whisk to combine. Stir in the vanilla.

Refrigerate, uncovered, for about fifteen minutes then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the mixture. If you’re in a hurry, speed the cooling process by chilling the custard in an ice bath, then refrigerate. Continue refrigerating until you have a solid chocolate mass, about 3 or 4 hours.

Before serving, you must whip the pudding with a hand or stand mixer. I’ve tried beating it smooth with a spatula, but I just can’t get the job done by hand; To whip, start with the mixer on low speed for about 15 seconds, then crank it to medium-high. Whip until silky smooth, two-ish minutes.

Spoon the whipped pudding into four serving dishes.

chocolate puddin'

If you don’t gobble up all the pudding the first time around, it’s necessary to re-whip the leftovers before serving as the pudding will revert to its stiff chocolate-blob state over time.


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Any questions?

Feb 05, 2012 · 10:45 AM

That looks SO good. Would I ruin the experience if I added just a dollop of whipped cream? : )

 · Michelle Jaffee ·

Feb 05, 2012 · 11:18 AM

@Michelle, with puddin’ like this, I don’t think it’s possible to ruin it.


Feb 05, 2012 ·  1:23 PM

oooooh! Any tips on using the basic recipe to make other flavors of pudding? I’ve got a Creme Bruelee hot chocolate mix, you see ….. (and then there’s butterscotch and …..

 · TrilliumLady · 

Feb 05, 2012 ·  4:01 PM

@TrilliumLady, stay tuned. I have my eyes set on butterscotch!!


Feb 06, 2012 · 10:37 AM

O wow, this looks amazing! I’m about to start drooling over your pictures… this chocolate pudding looks delicious

 · Kristina ·

Feb 06, 2012 ·  2:49 PM

I want this for breakfast!

 · Priscilla M ·

Feb 06, 2012 ·  6:55 PM

My husband eats the whole bowl of the large size package of Jello cooked pudding by himself, after dinner, in one sitting (and weighs 148 lbs). Do you think it would be a problem to double or triple your recipe? I’m excited to see this recipe but I know he’ll want more, and more and…..!

 · Maureen, Milwaukee · 

Feb 06, 2012 ·  7:59 PM

@Kristina, thanks so much! This is one of my favorite recipes of all time…

@Maureen, you can definitely double or triple it! It may take longer to set up, so just give yourself plenty of time. You’ll have to come back and tell me how he likes it!


Feb 07, 2012 · 12:40 AM

I want to swim in that stuff. It really does look lusciously smooth. Love that you used gelatin too. Definitely a must try!

 · Terris @ Free Eats ·

Feb 07, 2012 ·  9:58 AM

this is better on the mouth than anything else

 · hannah @ Bake Five ·

Feb 07, 2012 ·  4:18 PM

Yep, sometimes good ol’ fashioned chocolate pudding hits the spot! I can just picture how delicious this would be with coconut milk.

 · Julia ·

Feb 07, 2012 · 10:39 PM

no cream?! you are my saviour! I’m going to make this

 · Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen ·

Feb 08, 2012 ·  1:05 AM

Chocolate lusciousness I do believe this should be called! Shiny and wibbly it looks great.
Take care…

 · Gerry @ Foodness Gracious ·

Feb 08, 2012 ·  3:12 AM

This looks so good! I’ve never had homemade pudding before. Will have to try this.

 · Christine ·

Feb 08, 2012 ·  9:51 AM

@Terris, the gelatin was a surprise winner! I just couldn’t get the pudding silky enough with cornstarch….I hope you try it out.

@hannah, amen to that!

@Julia, I’ll give you a hint: amazing!

@Jesica, true story, it’s even good with 2%….

@Gerry, oooh, I like this word wibbly.

@Christine, oh my goodness! This will be a great place to start, please let me know what you think!


Feb 09, 2012 ·  3:43 AM

Perhaps I need to upgrade my choco pudding recipe a bit…This one is much simpler but looks really smooth and delicious. This is it! Thanks for the post!

 · myfudo ·

Feb 09, 2012 · 10:41 AM

@myfudo, I love this recipe because I can put it together in about 3 minutes in the afternoon and then spend 2 minutes whipping it up after dinner. Even with the wait in-between, there’s only about 5 minutes of active work….


Feb 11, 2012 · 10:38 AM

My goodness these photos are pure food porn. We don’t really have “pudding” here in Australia so I’m keen to give this a try!

 · Alana ·

Feb 13, 2012 · 12:03 PM

Amazing. No, like seriously. This pudding is dead on Jell-O except like… on crack. I decided since the recipe was so simple that it could benefit from quality ingredients. Organic milk and Black Onyx cocoa not only made the most amazing chocolate flavor but the texture was PERFECT!! If you or your Valentine is like my own and just wants a simple bowl of 100% comfort for this V-Day, then look no further than this bowl of chocolate ambrosia. THANK YOU STELLA!!!

 · BtoneGourmand · 

Feb 13, 2012 · 12:30 PM

Likening a pudding recipe to Jello pudding cups sent up red flags of skepticism for me. As a child I ADORED those little pre-made pudding cups. My faith in Stella outweighed my fear of coming up short on nostalgia.

Is this pudding unpretentious? Yes. Did it satisfy every redolent hope I would have for a childhood favorite? Yes. Was it a cinch to make? Yes. Did I finish the whole batch by my lonesome? I plead the fifth…

 · Alex K ·

Feb 13, 2012 ·  7:35 PM

@Alana, no pudding in Australia?!? What the what?!

@BtoneGourmand, agreed, this recipe really is all about the quality. Except, even if you make it with the crappiest milk and cocoa, it just tastes all the more like Jello, haha. But with the good stuff, yeah, it’s pretty much crack.

@Alex, ahaha, I love imagining you just noming the puddin’ all by your lonesome. Thanks for the ringing endorsement!


Mar 02, 2012 ·  9:29 AM

Hello, I have made your recipe but because here in Portugal we don’t have really dark cocoa, it was very pale compared to yours. The flavour though, was excellent!!! (here’s mine!)

 · Maria ·

Mar 03, 2012 · 10:28 AM

@Maria, I’ve definitely found the results differ visually depending on the brand of cocoa. But the taste is what matters! So glad you enjoyed it, hope you can get ahold of some darker cocoa in the future.


Jun 22, 2012 ·  3:24 PM

Hi Stella, I had just discovered your blog when my oven broke. I am so glad it did now because I got to make this delicious pudding. I had a question though, would it be possible to turn it into a low-fat-chocolate mousse by adding a couple of beating egg whites to it? I wanted to try but I wasn’t sure if I should add them before the pudding set or after it’s been whipped…
Love your blog and totally agree on supporting local farmers, God knows we need it right now over in Ireland x

 · Sophie S · 

Jun 22, 2012 ·  7:04 PM

@Sophie, so happy to provide something you can make without an oven! I haven’t tried mousse-ifying it, but if you want to give it a shot, I would fold in the whites after you’ve whipped the set pudding. Then I’d say to eat it within an hour or two, lest it firm up too much. If you give it a shot, let me know! I’d love to hear how it turns out.


Aug 01, 2012 ·  8:44 AM

Hi Stella, it turned out great in the end! It tasted just as delicious but the texture was more meringue-y, not quite like a mousse but very nice indeed. I had another question though, I have a friend coming over who’s on a “detox”, do you think I’d be able to use something like agave syrup instead of sugar or would it change the flavour/texture too much? Also, would unsweetened almond or rice milk do the trick instead of milk? Oh, and congratulations on the book deal!!

 · Sophie S · 

Aug 01, 2012 ·  9:10 AM

@Sophie, thank you so much! I’m finally past the wild excitement of the book and moving on to the sheer terror. So much to write!! Ha, ha. I definitely think you could swap out the milk for whatever you like. And the agave syrup would probably work too. But I would recommend to only make one change at a time, that way if it doesn’t turn out you know exactly which ingredient caused the problem. It takes a little more time to perfect a recipe this way, but you just have to eat more pudding, so it’s not a huge problem.


Sep 19, 2012 ·  4:39 PM

Ohh….this looks so good, I would love to put it on my face after I’ve eaten my fill!

 · chefpinky ·

Sep 19, 2012 · 10:24 PM

@chefpinky, haha, I know the feeling!


Sep 20, 2012 · 10:18 AM

We used to be given this sort of pudding when I was a child. However, Marietje (who cooked for five generations of my family, until she was 86!), made it with eggs – a sort of custard thickened with gelatin. She made it in “Hopjes” flavour – dutch sweets that taste of coffee and caramel – I’ve recreated her version by making caramel and adding a cup of two of espresso…

 · kateg · 

Sep 20, 2012 ·  4:43 PM

Hi kate! Marietje sounds like an incredible person, what an amazing culinary legacy! I’ve never heard of hopjes before, but that sounds fabulous. Thanks for sharing, I may have to give that a try!


Sep 21, 2012 · 11:37 AM

I’ll send you some – what’s the address of the restaurant? Marietje was a legend – I’m working on a book about her/family recipes… for some reason I was the only one (of nine children) that she allowed in the kitchen with her — probably my early displays of greed/fascination with cooking!

 · kateg · 

Sep 21, 2012 ·  3:56 PM

Stella this is awesome! I also made some honeycomb to sprinkle on top. Split between two of us – very greedy but good. Thanks once again, Nonie.

 · madmacaw · 

Sep 21, 2012 ·  6:10 PM

Oh, Kate! That would be amazing, wow! It’s Table 310, attn: Stella Parks, 310 W. Short Street, Lexington KY 40511. So excited! And your book sounds intriguing too…

Nonnie, honeycomb on top sounds incredible, I love the idea of contrasting textures. Mr. BraveTart and I have definitely killed a batch of this between just the two of us, so I know what you mean. It’s four servings if you’re feeling nice.


Feb 14, 2013 ·  4:25 PM

I’m on a gelatin roll, so might as well go with it here too. Maybe I should have bought the huge box of Knox envelopes

 · MotherWouldKnow ·

Feb 14, 2013 ·  5:44 PM

cookbook… cookbook,… I can’t wait till your cookbook…i want to pre-order it now!!

(set to me singing)

 · Maria in NJ · 

Feb 14, 2013 ·  5:56 PM

@Laura, ooh, you’ll have to let me know if you try it! It’s really, really silky.

@Maria, awwww! Thanks so much for the support; what a catchy song!


Feb 16, 2013 ·  4:17 AM

My puddingdidn’t set Stella,please help!!!!! Was so looking forwardto it,but the liquidy choco does taste divine, would love to serve it as a dessert in pudding form.

 · Gerryberry · 

Feb 16, 2013 ·  9:42 AM

Oh, no, Gerryberry! Did you have a scale to weigh the gelatin (and other ingredients) or did you go for “one packet”? I just dawned on me that perhaps not all brands of gelatin sell 1/4 oz packets, maybe some use less? Next question: how long did you chill before trying to whip? By now has it set up? Let me know and we’ll get to the bottom of it.


Feb 16, 2013 · 11:28 AM

7.5g gelatine (approx 1 1/2 teaspoon) bloomed in 75ml of milk, 150g sugar, 360ml milk, 25g cocoa, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 2teaspoon vanilla. And I let it chilll overnight just to make sure!!! Left it in the coldest part of the fridge too. either way I triedwhipping it up but it ended up being just bubbly and liquidy. But thank you, because the kids really enjoyed the chocolate syrupy pudding so it would really be nice to have the gello effect, btw the bloom of gelatine was 200,just fyi. Any advice woulf be most welcome because I am really determined to get this one right because it is fuss free inexpensive and tastes awesome!!!!

 · Gerryberry · 

Feb 16, 2013 ·  2:11 PM

Hi Gerryberry! Oh thanks so much for the details, that helped me solve it! It seems some things got rounded up in the conversion. They’re small differences (5oz sugar = 142g, 3/4 oz = 21g, etc), but it adds up to a 37 gram difference between my formula and yours, plenty enough dilute the mixture beyond the gelatin’s gelling capacity.

Compounding the issue our bloom difference. Thanks so much for adding that detail! I’m so used to working exclusively with powdered gelatin (since it’s what Americans home cooks have easiest access to) that I hadn’t even thought of that. Powdered gelatin has a 225 bloom strength, so that would definitely come into play too.

Here’s the conversion I’d use, including an increase in gelatin to account for the bloom strength differences between them:

8.4g sheet gelatin (you’ll have to break a sheet)
70g milk for blooming
142g sugar
21g cocoa
3/4 t salt
340g milk
2 t vanilla

I use grams in the liquid conversion, not mL, because I weight my milk on a scale using ounces (a weight measurement). If a recipe calls for “fluid ounces” you can convert to mL, as fluid ounces are a measure of volume too.

Hope that clears everything up and you can try the pudding again! It’s one of my favorites.


Feb 18, 2013 ·  3:44 AM

THank you so much for your precise instructions Stella, measurements really helped, just one last question and I hope not to bother you again! When I whipped it up first ata low speed and then a medium high with my handmixer for twoish mins…. butit was not that smooth silky texture. Moreblobby and lumpy…. any idea why?

 · Gerryberry · 

Feb 18, 2013 ·  8:23 AM

Hi Gerryberry! No bother at all! I normally make it with a stand mixer, the paddle attachment really helps smooth things out. But I have made it with a hand mixer before, and it can take a few minutes to get creamy. The wire beater blades tend to “cut” the pudding for a good while before they actually break it up enough to start creaming. A little more time should give it a chance to smooth back out…


Feb 20, 2013 · 11:13 PM

Eureka!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally Stella!!! i managed to pull it off thanks to you!!!! Simply love this and can’t get enough of it! Now for the choc chip cookies!!!!

 · Gerryberry · 

Feb 22, 2013 ·  9:44 AM

Hi Gerryberry! I’m so glad you’ve finally worked it all out, thanks so much for sticking with it until it turned out right. I know many people would have thrown in the towel by know. I hope it was worth the efforts!


Aug 09, 2013 · 12:05 AM

Stella, Could I add in some Cointreau? If so how much and at what stage? Thanks in advance. I have been doubling this recipe and looks like now it is time to triple it!!!!

 · Gerryberry · 

Aug 09, 2013 · 10:40 AM

Hi Gerryberry! Ahhh, I’m so happy to hear that this recipe has been working out for you after that bumpy start. I don’t think there would be any trouble adding Cointreau. I’d try reducing the milk by 25 grams (per batch). Make the pudding as normal, and after heating stir in 25g of Cointreau at the end. Let me know how it goes!


Aug 11, 2013 ·  4:41 AM

so so so so so gorgeous….. yum yum yum…… Just having it…
If I were to do butterscotch how would I go about it? I would understand if you wouldn’t be able to reply because I know you are busy with your book. Thank you soooooo much

 · Gerryberry · 

Aug 12, 2013 · 12:58 AM

Hi Stella, If I were to make a butterscotch how would I go about it? Would understand if you are unable to reply because I know you are busy with your book.

 · Gerryberry · 

Aug 12, 2013 · 10:06 AM

Hey Gerryberry, so glad the boozy version turned out!! You know, I’ve been trying to puzzle out a butterscotch version for a while, but without much success. The cocoa gives the pudding such a great texture that when you take it out it’s really weird. If I come up with a butterscotch recipe, you’ll be the first to know!


Mar 21, 2016 · 12:21 PM

I was so happy to find a pudding recipe that uses gelatin, so I made this over the weekend…though the texture was quite nice, the taste was a bit off—the pudding tasted rather sour/bitter. Could this be due to the quality of the cocoa powder I used? I just used the cheap stuff from Trader Joe’s.

 · Rachel · 

Mar 25, 2016 · 10:51 AM

Hi Rachel! So glad the texture turned out, anyway. Yes, since the pudding itself is so simple, the flavor is 100% dependent on the quality of the cocoa. Cocoa powder is, by nature, acidic, and the cheaper it is the more harsh that acidity which is exactly why yours had a sour taste. Next time, give Dutch cocoa a try! It has a darker, more mellow flavor and isn’t acidic at all.


Feb 21, 2017 ·  3:43 PM


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