Decadent Budino al Cioccolato (Italian Chocolate Pudding)

First things first, many of you out there are probably wondering: what is a budino?

Vertical image of two glass cups filled with a dark brown dessert topped with whipped cream and candy shavings, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Italian for pudding, this delicious dessert is prepared on the stove, and you can enjoy it warm or chilled. It’s sweet, creamy, and rich.

It’s made from scratch with simple ingredients – sugar, heavy cream, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and dark chocolate. Essentially all the good stuff, you know?

It’s one of those recipes that you will want to break your diet for, trust me. Especially if you are all about the dreamy chocolate, like I am. You might have to forget that we have an equally delicious vegan chocolate pudding.

I first learned about budino when I lived in Italy, as a student studying abroad. It was one of those desserts that many of the locals that I interacted with seemed very familiar with, and they enjoyed it regularly.

Vertical top-down image of two glass cups filled with a thick, dark brown dessert topped with whipped cream and candy shavings on top of a towel next to chopped candy and metal spoons.

When I let some friends from class know that I hadn’t tried it yet, I was immediately ushered to a small restaurant nearby, where we ate dinner and ended the meal with bowls of budino.

Every spoonful was pure bliss…

When you take your first bite of this delectable dessert, you will savor every second of it. It’s so smooth in your mouth and the rich, deep flavor dances across your taste buds in the best way possible.

This sweet treat is truly unforgettable, and it’s nothing like the pudding that I grew up with.

Vertical image of two glasses filled with a thick and rich chocolate pudding with whipped cream and candy shavings on top.

The most valuable piece of advice that I can offer when making this recipe is this:

Use high-quality ingredients. When you are making a wildly rich dessert, it’s kind of a must. This is not the time to skimp, and it really makes a difference.

That means you should get the really good dark chocolate. Invest in the dairy that has the richest and creamiest flavor. Buy the best vanilla.

Small portions are encouraged, and a little goes a long way with this chocolate custard. I love to accompany these bowls of rich and indulgent deliciousness with a small mug of espresso. You get this lovely mocha flavor that lingers in your mouth after every sip or spoonful.

Vertical image of metal spoon holding a spoonful of a chocolate pudding with whipped cream next to the same dessert on a towel.

Avoid overcooking it, because you will end up with pudding that sets up too quickly, and that is overly thick. Trust me, because I’m telling you this from experience. The key is to make sure the mixture coats the back of a spoon but isn’t super thick before you add the dark chocolate shavings on top, or your choice of finishing touches.

Above all else, please don’t let a single drop of this decadent treat go to waste. It’s too good to let that happen.

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Horizontal image of two glass cups filled with a thick, dark brown dessert topped with whipped cream, on a towel next to metal spoons.

Decadent Budino al Cioccolato (Italian Chocolate Pudding)

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Craving a decadent indulgence? You have to make budino al cioccolato. Also known as Italian chocolate pudding, this stovetop dessert is so easy to prepare.


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (70-85% dark)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until sugar has dissolved and mixture is pale.
  3. Slowly stir 1/3 cup of the warmed cream and milk into the egg yolks to temper them, whisking vigorously. Add more of the warm dairy to the egg mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, whisking well between additions. Add the mixture back to the large saucepan and place over medium heat. 
  4. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. 
  5. Place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Pour the custard over the chocolate and set aside for 5 minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Working quickly, whisk until smooth and well combined, and then whisk in the butter, salt, and vanilla until combined. 
  6. Pour into serving dishes and enjoy warm, or cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour to serve cold. This pudding will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Pudding
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: chocolate, pudding, budino, dessert, Italian

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Chocolate, Separate Eggs, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Coarsely chop 5 ounces of dark chocolate. Place it in a large mixing bowl and set it aside.

You can use 70 to 85% dark. I personally like to opt for the higher cocoa content because I love the deep, rich, slightly bitter flavor.

Horizontal image of prepped and measured ingredients in bowls on a gray surface.

Carefully separate the eggs. Since we’re only using egg yolks for this recipe, you can reserve the whites for another use, like making meringues.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as they are listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Make Custard

Add the milk and cream to a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

Horizontal image of a boiled milk mixture stirred by a metal whisk in a metal bowl.

Add the egg yolks and sugar to a medium-sized bowl and whisk them together well, until the yolks are pale yellow and the sugar has dissolved.

Horizontal image of whisking together an egg and sugar mixture in a metal bowl.

Next, temper the egg mixture with the warmed milk and cream. You don’t want to accidentally scramble the eggs, creating lumps in your custard. This is an important step to increase the temperature of the yolks more gradually, so they thicken rather than cooking to a hard texture.

Horizontal image of a thick milk mixture stirred by a wooden spoon in a metal bowl.

Slowly pour 1/3 cup of the warmed milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking well as you add it. Continue this process of slowly whisking in more warmed milk about 1/3 cup at a time and then mixing thoroughly after each addition until it is combined well.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened.

It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but be careful to avoid overcooking it beyond that. Nobody likes tough custard!

Step 3 – Finish and Serve or Chill

Pour the custard over the chopped chocolate that you set aside earlier, and let it sit for 5 minutes. This should be enough time for it to melt.

Horizontal image of a milk mixture poured over chopped chocolate in a metal bowl.

Whisk the mixture together until it’s smooth and well-combined. Whisk in the butter, salt, and vanilla until combined.

You can serve this dessert immediately, in parfait glasses or small dessert dishes, or cover it with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to enjoy it cold.

Horizontal image of two glass dishes filled with a thick, dark brown dessert mixture on top of a towel next to metal spoons.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container or covered with plastic in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

What About Topping Ideas?

If you want to get creative with your budino toppings, you certainly can. I mean, I’m not going to stop you.

Horizontal image of two glass cups filled with a thick, dark brown dessert topped with whipped cream, on a towel next to metal spoons.

A dollop of fresh whipped cream is a nice touch, and you can sprinkle chopped hazelnuts or walnuts on top. Add even more chocolate with a few shavings on top of that, and you’ll be in dessert heaven.

Do you want even more chocolate recipes to indulge in? Check these out next:

Do you like your budino al cioccolato served as is, or topped with whipped cream and nuts? Tell us in the comments below. And after you try the recipe, be sure to come back and rate it if you loved it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on July 7, 2016. Last updated on January 5, 2020. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

11 thoughts on “Decadent Budino al Cioccolato (Italian Chocolate Pudding)”

  1. Remember…..? VERY HOT…… chocolate pudding you made for me ? I will try this as the ingredients are so
    much better…….so yummy…….so rich…….so decadent chocolate ! Love, mom (:

  2. I’m going to make this and eat it warm (my pudding preference) and–no surprise here–Brad will want it cold because he and Tim are maybe the same person.

  3. Ohhhhhh this looks so heavenly. When Ivy was born I didn’t venture into a grocery store with three kids for at least the first year. Amazon Fresh became our lifesaver. It’s amazing how the simplest of tasks become the most difficult when there are little ones in tow. Now I’m back to the days of being able to wander the aisles alone. There is a season for everything. And it’s always chocolate pudding season.

    • I love moms who tell stories like this one, bless you. And you’re a mom who later took all three kids to Europe! It’s so hard to remember there will be other seasons when you’re in the midst of a hard one. Or, I should say, it’s so hard for ME to remember. But new seasons do come, I’m so glad!

  4. Made flourless chocolate cake this past weekend that is ending soooo I think THIS wil l need to be my next chocolate fix!

  5. I keep coming back to this recipe and making a version of this chocolate pudding! I love it…it sates chocolate cravings in a particularly satisfying way!

  6. Good but……seemed overly salty to me. 1/4 tsp. would have been plenty. I compensated with a little more sugar and it pushed it a little too sweet. Worth another go but I’d use less salt.


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