This creamy vegan chocolate chia pudding makes a delicious healthier dessert or a decadent twist on breakfast. Serve it plain or try one of the yummy topping ideas in the post! (Vegan & Paleo)
So, sometimes I eat chocolate for breakfast.
I don’t feel even a little sad or bad about it. Usually, it’s a tiny bit of cacao nibs or chocolate paired with some berries on a bowl of gluten-free steel-cut oats, or it’s some cocoa powder blended into a chocolate cherry smoothie.
But every once in a while, I like to mix things up (literally) by having some chocolate chia pudding. It makes a fun, decadent-feeling breakfast or a fantastic healthier dessert.
Made from whole food ingredients and naturally sweetened, this dairy-free chocolate chia pudding recipe is delicious whether you eat it for dessert or enjoy it for breakfast.
Come see how easy it is to make (+allllll the yummy ways to top it!)…
Here’s What Goes Into Our Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe:
- CHIA SEEDS. Chia seeds are the base of this pudding. They gel and puff when exposed to liquid, so they thicken the pudding without any need for cooking. Plus, they’ve got health benefits like fiber, healthy fats, and a little protein to boot! (I can find them at all the grocery stores near me + Target + Walmart.)
- UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER. You can use raw cacao powder, unsweetened cocoa (like this) or dark/alkalized cocoa powder for your chocolate chia pudding. I’ve made it with each option and liked each one, though I’d say unsweetened cocoa powder is my favorite.
- A PINCH OF SALT. Don’t skip it! The little bit of salt will bring out the other flavors without taking over (it won’t taste salty!)
- PURE MAPLE SYRUP. For natural sweetness, I add pure maple syrup. You can let your tastebuds be your guide here. If I’m doing this for breakfast or topping it with fresh fruit, I’ll add a little less syrup. If it’s dessert, I’ll do a bit more. Feel free to add less to taste!
- VANILLA EXTRACT. Vanilla adds more sweet flavor and rally wakes up the chocolate. I LOVE it here!
- (DAIRY FREE) MILK. Any variety of dairy-free milk work for this. I like almond or a blend of almond and coconut best. Use whichever non-dairy milk you drink & enjoy most! (PS – Not dairy free? You can use dairy milk!)
How To Make This Healthy Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe, Step By Step:
- In a medium bowl, combine chia seeds, cocoa powder, and salt.
- Add 2 Tbsp. syrup, the vanilla, and whisk to combine (don’t add the milk yet!). The mixture will be quite thick.
- Pour in the milk and whisk to combine. Taste and add additional syrup, as desired.
- Let mixture rest for at least 5 minutes (10-15 minutes is better!) to partially thicken.
- After 5 minutes, stir again (this helps distribute the chia seeds evenly), cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight) to allow the pudding to chill and gel. (For easiest serving, I like to put the chia pudding in the cups or jars I plan to serve it in before chilling, but you can just keep it in the mixing bowl, if you like.)
- Top with your favorite goodies & serve!
Speaking of chia pudding toppings, here are some of our favorites…
Yummy Toppings To Try On Chocolate Chia Pudding:
Though chocolate chia pudding can totally stand on its own, I love playing around with the flavor by topping it with something yummy. If you like mixing it up too, you might like it….
- WITH FRESH BERRIES. I love chocolate and berries together! Add some fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, whatever!). It makes a delicious sweet snack!
- WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE. Another favorite is with raspberry sauce. Just purée frozen raspberries with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of honey if needed. Then strain to get the seeds out! Easy!
- WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS OR CACAO NIBS. Because few things go with chocolate like more chocolate! I love a few mini chocolate chips or some unsweetened cacao nibs for a chocolatey crunch.
- WITH TOASTED COCONUT. Channel Almond Joy vibes by adding a little toasted coconut (and a few almonds!) to the top. Delicious!
- WITH A PINCH OF CINNAMON. Go for a Mexican chocolate vibe by adding a little pinch of cinnamon along with the cocoa powder. It’s yummy!
- WITH TOASTED NUTS. You don’t *have* to toast the nuts, but I love how it deepens the flavor. Almonds and hazelnuts are especially nice!
- WITH SLICED BANANAS. Bananas and chocolate are fabulous together. A few sliced bananas on top is perfect!
- WITH HAZELNUTS. You can get some Nutella-inspired flavor by adding some hazelnuts on top.
- WITH PEANUT BUTTER. Chocolate + peanut butter = love! You can drizzle some on top, swirl it into the pudding or make a little layer in the middle.
- WITH VEGAN CARAMEL SAUCE. Eating this for dessert? Try a little swirl of vegan caramel sauce!
- WITH WHIPPED CREAM! Try dolloping whipped coconut cream on top to make it feel like dessert!
FAQ + Tips & Tricks For The Best Chocolate Chia Pudding:
DO YOU EAT CHOCOLATE CHIA SEED PUDDING FOR BREAKFAST OR DESSERT? Honestly, it’s up to you! If I’m making it for breakfast, I typically don’t sweeten it quite as much, but sweetened this way, it makes a great dessert!
WHAT IS THE TEXTURE OF CHIA SEED PUDDING? Some people compare it to tapioca pudding. The little chia seeds “puff” and gel when they’re exposed to milk, so the pudding won’t be perfectly smooth. (This is a great classic vegan chocolate pudding recipe if that’s what you’re looking for!)
CAN YOU PUREE CHIA PUDDING? If the texture or consistency bothers you, you *can* puree your chocolate chia seed pudding in a blender. I find the pudding doesn’t taste quite as sweet this way, but it’ll be smooth! (And you can always add a drizzle more syrup.)
HOW LONG WILL CHOCOLATE CHIA SEED PUDDING STAY FRESH? Chia seed pudding keeps 4-5 days in the fridge. 😊
A TRICK FOR EASIER MIXING. The cocoa can be a bit tricky to mix into the liquid, so it helps to stir everything but the milk together first. Then add a little milk and stir again to loosen things up. Add the rest of the milk, and you’ll have perfect chia pudding without any cocoa powder lumps!
DOES THIS WORK WITH OTHER SWEETENERS? I always make mine with pure maple syrup, but feel free to experiment with other sweeteners, like agave (vegan) or keto sweetener alternatives.
HELPFUL INGREDIENTS + TOOLS FOR THIS CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING: