Easy Homemade Chocolate Pudding

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After giving this quick and easy recipe a try, you’ll never go back to the boxed version of chocolate pudding again.

Fresh, whole ingredients make for the very best pudding. And there is a definite difference between this and the chemistry set experience you’re likely to get with a boxed mix.

Vertical image of a glass bowl with a light brown custard topped with whipped cream on a towel next to candy, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Plus, there aren’t any ingredients that you can’t pronounce in this homemade version!

To make a rich and decadent pudding, as we learned from our Budino al Ciocciolato recipe, you’ll need only a few simple ingredients. They come together easily  to create a splendidly sweet treat. Two types of chocolate are used to prepare this velvety dessert, and it’s undoubtedly a chocolate lover’s dream!

It’s really a perfect pudding, creamy and silky smooth without being too sweet or cloying. We quickly lost a serving due to all the “taste-testing” when we tried it for the first time!

The quality of chocolate you use is incredibly important here. If you’re going to take the time to make this dessert from scratch, don’t skimp on quality. You can’t make a fantastic dessert with mediocre chocolate. It’s the central ingredient, after all.

Vertical image of two glass dishes filled with a light brown custard on a white towel with scattered candies.

Save the Hershey’s for the trick-or-treaters, or make a batch of homemade s’mores. Instead, for the bar chocolate called for in this recipe, try Ghiradelli, Callebaut, or pick up a Belgian variety from your local gourmet grocer.

I also used high-quality cocoa, and I recommend that you try one such as Valrhona Pure or Ghirardelli Majestic. Combining both the solid and powder varieties lends to a nuanced, layered, and balanced flavor – like something a pastry chef would serve.

Yep, that’s right. Serve this tonight, and you’ll be sure to impress whoever has a taste.

The recipe also calls for egg yolks, which lend the finished dessert a smooth, custard-like texture that is utterly amazing. No exaggeration!

Vertical image of small glass bowls on a white textured towel filled with a light brown custard garnished with whipped cream.

There’s no need to temper the eggs, either. A whisk will save you the extra steps and extra time required to prepare a more complicated recipe. All you need to do is whisk the yolks together with the dry ingredients and cream.

Do not use high heat when you cook the mixture, and there will be no risk of winding up with scrambled eggs, or grainy bits in your dessert bowl. However, I still run the cooked pudding mixture through a fine-mesh strainer before chilling, just in case a stray clump of cocoa powder or cornstarch wasn’t incorporated fully.

Lastly, don’t rush the cooking process. The mixture must thicken in the pot before it boils. If you don’t follow this step carefully, you’ll end up with a bowl of delicious cocoa soup – but that’s not exactly what we’re going for here. Remember, thickening is more important than the boil that comes next.

Vertical top-down image of a light brown custard in a small glass dish on a white towel and on a blue patterned towel next to pieces of candy.

So, because this doesn’t include any preservatives (yay!), it won’t stay firm like the store-bought stuff. It should keep for up to three days in the refrigerator, which still makes for an easy make-ahead dessert.

You can also make a creamy frozen treat with the leftovers. Just add whatever you have left to popsicle molds and place in the freezer for at least three to five hours before unmolding and serving.

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Horizontal image of a light brown custard in a small glass bowl on a textured towel next to chunks of chocolate.

Easy Homemade Chocolate Pudding

  • Author: Katherine and Eddie D'Costa
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Easy homemade chocolate pudding made with luxe bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder is a cinch to make. It’s smooth and silky.


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons high-quality Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 ounces finely chopped high-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, and espresso powder if using. Add egg yolks and cream. Whisk until fully incorporated.
  2. Whisk in milk until completely incorporated.
  3. Place saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture is thick, about 6 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Continue stirring while the mixture boils for about 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Reduce heat to low and add butter, chocolate, and vanilla. Whisk until melted and fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
  5. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into desired serving cups or bowls. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add a layer of cling wrap directly to the surface of the pudding.
  6. Chill for at least 4 hours. Remove plastic and serve.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pudding
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: chocolate, pudding

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep Ingredients

Measure out all of the ingredients, keeping the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separate from each other.

Horizontal image of measured dry and wet ingredients on a wooden board.

Step 2 – Whisk Together Dry and Wet Ingredients

In a large saucepan, whisk together the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Make sure to break up any clumps. If you like, you can pass these ingredients through a fine mesh strainer.

Horizontal image of a thick dark brown liquid in a pot on a wooden table.

Coffee elevates the taste of chocolate. You can add a teaspoon of espresso powder if you like, for a richer flavor.

Add the egg yolks and cream. Whisk together until fully incorporated.

Whisk in the milk until it’s thoroughly incorporated.

Step 3 – Heat Mixture

Place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is thick, for about 6 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Continue stirring while the mixture boils for about 1-2 minutes.

Horizontal image of a frothy dark brown liquid in a pot on a wooden table.

Make sure the mixture thickens considerably before removing from the heat. It should be thick like a smoothie.

Cornstarch needs to be heated to 203°F to activate thickening. A thermometer can help you to check for this.

Step 4 – Add Butter, Chocolate and Vanilla

Add the unsalted butter, chocolate, and vanilla. Whisk until melted and fully incorporated.

Horizontal image of a dark brown liquid in a metal pot on a wooden surface.

Step 5 – Strain and Refrigerate

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into desired cups or bowls. Let cool to room temperature. Add a layer of cling wrap to the surface of the pudding.

Horizontal image of a thin plastic covering over a glass cup filled with a dark chocolate thick liquid on a wooden table.

Don’t place the pudding in the fridge without a cover, as a film will form that you’ll have to scoop off before serving. You’ll need to cover any leftovers also.

Chill for at least 4 hours.

Horizontal image of a light brown custard in a small glass bowl on a textured towel next to chunks of chocolate.

Remove plastic and serve.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days, or they can be frozen to make popsicles.

Decadent Toppings for a Decadent Dessert

Let’s get fancy! A dessert this luxurious calls for an elegant topping.

Horizontal image of two glass bowls with a cocoa pudding topped with whipped cream on a textured white towel next to candies.

First up, you can go with the classic curled chocolate shavings. Don’t skimp here. Use the same high-quality block that you used to make the recipe. A simple vegetable peeler can make gorgeous curls.

For another take that’s akin to a cold “hot” chocolate, roast 1 cup of miniature marshmallows in the toaster oven, and drop a few on each serving. Add a few crushed graham crackers for texture, to create a s’mores-like treat.

A few fresh raspberries sprinkled on top will enhance the flavor of the rich chocolate beautifully.

Did your dessert turn out as creamy and smooth as you expected? What did you top it with? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to rate the recipe, too!

Craving even more homemade pudding creations? Try these next:

Photos by Katherine and Eddie D’Costa, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on December 10, 2009. Last updated August 17, 2020.

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 Eddie & Katherine D'Costa

Eddie and Katherine D’Costa are a married professional chef and journalist duo from Atlanta, where they cook up a variety of international dishes, tested for the home cook. Katherine holds an MA in journalism from Northeastern University and Eddie’s professional experience spans 20 years working with Wolfgang Puck, Jean George Vongerichten, and Todd English.

12 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Chocolate Pudding”

  1. I made chocolate pudding last night too! Mine was of the instant Jell-O variety (did you know they make single-serving sizes now? Mmm), which was perfect since we decided we wanted pudding at 10pm. 10 minutes later, pudding! I did make homemade whipped cream though 🙂

  2. That pudding, oh my…so tempting and decadent. I can’t do dairy- well, I can but I might regret the intrusion- and pudding is one of those dairy options that evokes crocodile tears when I think of it. I may just have to try a non-dairy version and suck it up. The chocolate is really all that matters anyway.

  3. This is the best chocolate pudding ever. It is my go to recipe. This is the only food I have ever woken up in the middle of the night craving.


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