This easy homemade gluten-free chocolate pudding recipe is made from simple ingredients and tastes DELICIOUS! You’ll love all the classic flavor in this easy recipe!
It’s nostalgic bakes month here at Sweets & Thank You, where we’re re-making classic desserts gluten-free! I couldn’t think of a more nostalgic place to start than chocolate pudding. Yum!
Were you a fan of instant pudding mix or pudding cups as a kid? I’m not ashamed to admit I totally was! They always felt like such a fun treat for someone with a chocolate craving. (ME!)
This sweet treat was always one of my childhood favorites, and I’m so glad that even with food allergies going on at our house, I can still enjoy it following a gluten-free diet!
Today, we’re skipping the Jell-o chocolate pudding mix and making our own homemade chocolate pudding from scratch that tastes better than anything at the grocery store. Made with just a handful of ingredients, this easy recipe is the real deal. It’s got all the chocolate flavor you crave, simply made (naturally!) gluten-free.
It’s a total family favorite–it’s fun enough for kids, and can even be dressed up to be elegant enough for a dinner party. Really!
Here’s what you need to make this easy gluten-free chocolate pudding…
Our Homemade Gluten-Free Chocolate Pudding Recipe, At A Glance:
This Easy Chocolate Pudding Starts With Simple Ingredients:
Many chocolate pudding recipes use egg yolks, but I love the ease of making chocolate pudding without eggs! This homemade pudding recipe is not only super easy, but the end result is that it sets up a lot like store-bought pudding–it’s lovely!
- Sugar. Since we’ll add some chocolate later, our recipe uses less sugar than some! I use regular granulated sugar or cane sugar here.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. I prefer using regular cocoa/natural cocoa powder (like Hershey’s or Ghirardelli) rather than Dutch-processed cocoa powder here because it’s got a more classic flavor. If you love dark cocoa powder, feel free to use that instead, just know it will change the flavor of the pudding somewhat.
- Cornstarch. Our go-to thickener for chocolate pudding. It will give you the most consistent, reliable results. (More so than arrowroot or tapioca starch!)
- Salt. A little bit of kosher salt really improves the flavor of homemade chocolate pudding. It highlights the flavors in the chocolate and keeps it from tasting flat.
- Whole Milk. Using whole milk will give you the best texture and thickness. Using a lighter milk (like 2% lowfat or fat-free) will produce a much thinner pudding. I do not recommend low-fat or fat-free milk here!
- Chopped Chocolate or Chocolate Chips. I tried chocolate pudding recipes with cocoa powder only and chocolate pudding recipes with actual chocolate and side-by-side, we definitely preferred the flavor and texture of those with chocolate!
- A Tiny Bit Of Butter. This is kind of a little secret ingredient that works its magic at the end!
- Vanilla Extract. To bring out beautiful flavor.
How To Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Pudding, Step By Step
- Whisk Dry Ingredients. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to combine well.
- Pour In Milk. Add the milk to the cocoa mixture and whisk to combine. It will take a second to combine, and it will look pretty foamy at first.
- Cook To Thicken. Whisk the milk mixture over medium heat until the pudding begins to thicken. You want to stir pretty constantly, so the pudding doesn’t form lumps. You’ll know it’s thickened when any foamy bubbles go away, and you can see the path of the whisk in the pudding as you stir. Remove from the heat.
- Finish. Immediately add chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract to the hot milk mixture. Whisk to combine until the chocolate is melted. If desired, you can strain the pudding through a fine mesh sieve to remove any small lumps, but I don’t usually.
- Cover & Chill. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl, airtight container, or individual serving cups. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or food wrap so the pudding doesn’t develop a “skin” (a layer of thickened pudding on top). Chill in the refrigerator 2-3 hours or until completely cool.
- Serve & Store. Enjoy the pudding cold, or serve with a dollop of whipped cream and shaved chocolate for garnish. Leftover chocolate pudding will keep covered in the fridge 3-4 days.
KEEP IN MIND: The pudding will continue to thicken as it chills! If you want to loosen it up a bit before serving, feel free to whisk it until it loosens up. (I almost never do this unless I chilled it in one large bowl and want to spoon it into smaller serving dishes later.)
Serving Ideas & Variations To Try
I know it’s kind of a humble nostalgic dessert, but this gluten free chocolate pudding recipe is the perfect dessert to play around with when it comes to presentation!
- WHIPPED CREAM. My favorite trick is to add a dollop of whipped cream to each serving. I love the un-fussy look of a simple dollop, but if you really want to get fancy, try making whipped cream quenelles!
- CHOCOLATE CURLS. Adding some chopped chocolate or simple chocolate curls adds a touch of elegance and plays up the chocolate notes in the recipe. So easy & so fun!
- FRESH BERRIES. I LOVE adding fresh strawberries or fresh raspberries for a pretty pop of color on top of the pudding. Chocolate and berries are so lovely together!
- TOASTED NUTS. Or, add some toasted almonds, toasted hazelnuts, or toasted pecans for a nutty crunch.
- TOFFEE BITS. Or, add a sprinkle of toffee bits on top! I love the way this looks with whipped cream.
- DIRT PUDDING! Have you ever tried this? It totally screams “90s dessert!” to me, but it’s SO fun for kids parties or Halloween!
- ESPRESSO. You can add a grown-up twist by adding 1/2-1 teaspoon of espresso powder with the cocoa power in the pudding. Then top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a chocolate covered espresso bean!
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Gluten-Free Chocolate Pudding
Is Pudding Gluten-Free? The good news is that it almost always is! Most pudding is thickened with cornstarch, arrowroot, tapioca starch, or eggs rather than flour. That said, always double-check your product labels or recipe to make sure the recipe doesn’t use wheat starch or flour to thicken the pudding.
Chocolate VS. Chocolate Chips. For the absolute best results, I recommend using chopped chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Chopped chocolate will give you the smoothest texture. Chocolate chips are often made with stabilizers that make them harder to melt. That said, we’ve made this PLENTY of times with chocolate chips. Use what you have and what works best for your budget!
Can I Use Dairy-Free Milk? This pudding will turn out MUCH thinner if you use a dairy-free alternative, like cashew milk, oat milk, soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk. If you need to go dairy-free, I recommend using at least half full-fat coconut milk and half of your favorite dairy-free milk (like almond milk). Keep in mind the flavor will be slightly different. (P.S. If you use vegan milk options, vegan chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life!) & vegan sugar, this pudding can easily be made as a gluten-free vegan chocolate pudding recipe!)
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