Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Did you know that’s it’s really quite simple to make homemade pudding from scratch? Yes, you can make your own pudding with just a few ingredients and only a few minutes of your time! The strategy I’ll be sharing here is a homemade chocolate pudding recipe, because chocolate is probably the most popular of all the pudding flavors, and it’s my most favorite too.

Homemade chocolate pudding

In the past, I often relied on my homemade pudding mix, but this time around I wanted to also have an easy way to make pudding even if I didn’t have any of my DIY mix. After a half-hearted search through the internet looking at pudding recipes, I instead decided to go old school, and retrieved an old cookbook off my shelf, the More-With-Less Cookbook. This cookbook is an oldie but goodie, first published in 1976 by the Mennonites. It has lots of frugal and basic recipes that not only help you make good use of your own food resources but can also make you a good steward of the world’s food resources in general.

an old cookbook pudding recipe and measuring spoons

And yes I found just what I was looking for – a very basic scratch pudding recipe that I used as my starting point and only had to make a couple of changes (a little less milk and less sugar). I was also amused to see that the only illustrations in the recipe section of this book are of the very familiar little measuring spoons we all had 40 years ago. And guess what? I still have mine and use them almost every day!

And in the old days we got by without many details for our recipes either. The brief details for this pudding recipe were to “combine in heavy saucepan” and then “cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly”. No videos, no photos, no helpful hints, just stir it up people, haha.

So here are just a few more details (and a video) from me on what ingredient measurements and methods seemed to work the best for making this homemade chocolate pudding.

Ingredients and Steps To Make Pudding

Step 1: Mix the cornstarch into some of the milk. First measure out a 1/2 cup of the milk and then stir in 2 level tablespoons of cornstarch and set it aside. (Making sure the cornstarch was thoroughly dissolved eliminated some of the weird rubbery globs I had in my first trial batches where I just dumped everything together.)

Mixing cornstarch for homemade pudding

Step 2: Mix remaining milk, sugar, and cocoa in pan. Next pour 1 cup of milk into a saucepan and mix in 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 generous tablespoons of cocoa. The cocoa powder will just kind of float around on the top.

Mixing homemade pudding in a saucepan

Step 3: Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the saucepan. Now all your ingredients are together in the pan and ready to be heated.

Mixing homemade pudding in a saucepan

Step 4: Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As the ingredients heat up, the cocoa powder will finally mix in and the mixture will start to look like a thin hot chocolate drink. But after just a few more minutes the mixture becomes more glossy and begins to thicken. Once it is thick and bubbling around the edges, it can be removed from the heat. The entire heating process takes about 5 minutes.

Making homemade pudding on the stove

Step 5: Flavor Add-Ins: Finally, stir a splash of vanilla and a 1/2 tablespoon of butter into your pudding to add extra flavor and richness.

Mixing homemade pudding

Step 6: Transfer to a bowl or other storage container. I always lay a piece of plastic wrap on the top surface of the pudding to help prevent a rubbery skin from forming. Keep the pudding refrigerated as you use it up.

Covering homemade pudding

Enjoy Your Homemade Pudding!

Once again, one of the best things about making your own recipes from scratch is that you can control the ingredients. When I first made this recipe exactly as originally written, it turned out rather thin and too sweet. I could feel I really had a sugar buzz going! So I used a bit less milk to make it thicker, and then with each batch I used less and less sugar too. Finally when I was down to only 2 tablespoons of sugar it tasted best to me. But of course, you are free to add another tablespoon or two of sugar back in if that suits your taste better.

Bowls of homemade chocolate pudding

I’ve also used white sugar, brown sugar, and coconut sugar and any of them worked in this recipe. I’ve also used a combo of cow’s milk and almond milk, and that worked OK too. Whole milk will also make a richer pudding.

Feel free to experiment so you can find the combo that suits you best too. It’s all good when you make your own!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

It's easy to make your own homemade pudding using just a few simple ingredients.
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate, pudding
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Beverly


  • cups Milk (Divided)
  • 2 Tbl Cornstarch (level tablespoons)
  • 2 Tbl Sugar
  • 2 Tbl Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Tbl Butter
  • Splash of Vanilla Extract


  • Measure out a 1/2 cup of the milk. Add to it, 2 level tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir to mix in the cornstarch, mixing until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
  • Measure out the remaining 1 cup of milk into a saucepan. Add in the sugar and cocoa powder. (I do generous tablespoons of the cocoa powder). The cocoa powder will just want to float on the top at this point, and that's OK.
  • Next, add the cornstarch mixture to the ingredients in the pan too.
  • Heat the mixture on the stove over medium heat, stirring continuously. After a couple minutes the cocoa powder will all be mixed in. Then at about 4 minutes the mixture will start getting glossy, and will start bubbling around the edges and will thicken. The entire heating process will take about 5 minutes. Once the mixture is thickened, remove it from the heat.
  • Finally, mix in the butter and the vanilla.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl or other storage container. I usually cover mine with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
  • I prefer to eat my pudding after it's cooled, and keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.


I have used white sugar, brown sugar, and coconut sugar in this recipe and any of them worked fine.

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  1. Best ever! Wife used to make in a double boiler, never again. Experimented with different coca powders, all great but liked Special Dark the best.

  2. Your pudding recipe works well with non-dairy milk as well. My favorite is coconut milk as it takes flavors well with no bitterness.
    I first found this recipe in “Mothers in the Kitchen”, the La Leche League cookbook from the 1980s.

    1. Yes, I often make my pudding with 1 cup of Fairlife milk, and then a 1/2 cup of almond milk and it works good! And it does seem that cookbooks from the 70’s and 80’s often had this type of frugal homestyle recipe.