Here is the best and easiest chocolate pudding recipe. No, it is not instant, but is so much better that it is totally worth making it from scratch. I found this recipe in a microwave cookbook and have been making it since I was a newlywed. I remember whipping it up for some friends that stopped by when we lived in our first little apartment in Spokane. I used to make it in the microwave but I like it better cooked on the stovetop.

It is the base for many other desserts. I use it for chocolate cream pie. I do need to experiment a little on getting a thicker consistency for pie. Adding gelatin will thicken it but that doesn’t always give the greatest texture. I have also used it in Brooklyn Blackout Cake. It is fabulous in a chocolate trifle. We made individual chocolate strawberry trifles for pioneer school last year by layering chocolate cake with this pudding and strawberries and whipped cream. That was a big hit!

The flavor of this pudding can be adjusted with different liqueurs and extracts.  If using other extracts, use half the amount you would vanilla.  Chocolate mint is delicious! Chocolate Kahlua is what I usually do. The instant coffee or espresso enhances the chocolate. Dutch processed cocoa gives a darker chocolate than regular cocoa like Hershey’s.  I discovered that black cocoa is amazing in this.  I substitute black cocoa for about one-third of the cocoa.  This can be made dairy free by substituting coconut or almond milk for the dairy milk.  If making dairy free, I would suggest using some canned coconut milk too for more creaminess.

It took about 20 minutes to make a double batch today. I use my six-quart stockpot because it has a nice thick bottom that conducts heat well. My regular saucepan takes way longer to come to a boil.


  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (pinch)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso, optional
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua or other liqueur, optional
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee, optional
  • 2 tablespoons or so Kahlua or other liqueur, optional
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients together in a saucepan. Add milk and stir together.  Stir constantly over medium heat until thickened and boiling.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and liqueur.  Transfer to a bowl and put plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent skin from developing.  Serve warm or cold.

To microwave instead of stovetop, microwave on high until boiling, stirring every two minutes or more oftentimes as needed.  Use a big enough microwave-safe bowl to allow for bubbling up without overflowing.

A single batch makes four 1/2-cup servings. Make a double batch to use for a pie.

UPDATE:  Add 2 teaspoons gelatin for pie.  Bloom the gelatin in the Kahlua before adding to the hot finished pudding.  

Deep Dark Chocolate Pudding

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