This Chocolate Pudding with Cocoa Powder recipe is made with unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate bars to get a rich flavor and smooth consistency. 

Another deliciously chocolate dessert is my Hot Fudge Cake. Serve it with some Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream or Dark Chocolate Ice Cream!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding in a glass cup topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Rich chocolate flavor. This homemade chocolate pudding recipe includes two forms of chocolate: cocoa powder and dark chocolate bars. Using both forms makes this a dark chocolate pudding due to the rich and prominent chocolate flavor. You wouldn’t get that with milk chocolate nor with just cocoa powder or just melted chocolate.  
  • Easy prep. This recipe doesn’t make a mess and only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish. 
  • Basic kitchen ingredients. No fancy ingredients necessary here, just things you can find in your pantry. 
  • Thick chocolate pudding. The cornstarch creates a thick and smooth consistency without any weird added flavors.  

Ingredient Notes

Homemade Chocolate Pudding ingredients on a white textured background.
  • Cornstarch: This is the thickening agent for the pudding. 
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: I always use Hershey’s brand of cocoa powder. If you use the dark cocoa powder it will result in an even richer and dark chocolate pudding flavor.
  • Granulated Sugar: I used 3/4 cups of sugar in this recipe and it was perfect. However, if you want it a tad sweeter, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of sugar when making the pudding.
  • Milk: Whole milk or 2% is preferred.
  • Dark Chocolate: Baking chocolate will work better than chocolate chips. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers in them to help them hold their shape. This makes it harder for them to melt and to melt smoothly. I would use somewhere around 60-70%.
  • Butter: If using salted butter instead of unsalted, reduce the amount of salt 1/4 of a teaspoon per 1/2 cup of butter in the recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Add to a medium saucepan.
  2. Whisk in the milk. Turn the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the milk. Constantly whisk the mixture.
  3. Bring to a boil. Bring the chocolate mixture to a boil, always on medium heat. Let boil for 2 minutes while still whisking. The mixture should thicken at this point.
  4. Remove and add chocolate. Remove the pan from the stove and add in 3 oz of the chopped chocolate, the vanilla and the butter and whisk until melted and combined. 
  5. Cover and chill. Transfer the pudding to a bowl and cover the pudding with plastic wrap (you want the plastic wrap to be touching the pudding so a skin doesn’t develop). 
  6. Serve. Serve the chocolate pudding with cocoa powder in bowls or cups and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
A four photo collage of how to make Homemade Chocolate Pudding.

Recipe Tips

Whisk the dry ingredients together until no cornstarch or cocoa powder clumps remain. This will make the mixture much smoother. 

While on the stove, don’t turn the heat up too high! It will take a while for the mixture to boil and that’s OK. We don’t want to burn the mixture. 

You can chill the mixture in the saucepan, but I would let it sit at room temperature while you continue whisking it as the pan cools down a bit. 

Serve with homemade whipped cream and the remaining 1 oz of chopped chocolate shavings.

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

You can make this chocolate pudding ahead of time and let it chill overnight. Just be sure to cover the bowl with plastic wrap, having the plastic touching the pudding to prevent a film forming. 

Homemade chocolate pudding should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Do not freeze. The mixture will separate upon freezing and thawing. 

Homemade Chocolate Pudding in a glass cup on a white plate with a spoon on the plate.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a almond milk in chocolate pudding?

I haven’t tried making it with almond milk, so I’m not sure how it would turn out. This recipe doesn’t use almond milk.

Can I use chocolate chips?

Yes you can. I prefer baking chocolate, and I’ll tell you why. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers which help the chips maintain their shapes. This is why chocolate chips don’t melt and combine into cookies when you make Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you use chocolate chips, you’ll have a harder time getting them to melt and they won’t melt as smoothly. 

Why is my pudding grainy? 

This could be due to not letting the mixture boil for a sufficient amount of time. You need the sugar granules to melt and incorporate into the mixture to get a smooth consistency. I would also make sure to whisk the dry ingredients really well so you don’t have any cocoa or cornstarch clumps.

Chocolate pudding in a glass cup topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on a white background.

More Chocolate Desserts

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Homemade Chocolate Pudding topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on a circle plate.
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5 from 2 votes

Dark Chocolate Pudding

Once you sample this homemade dark chocolate pudding, you'll never want store bought versions ever again! This pudding is chocolaty, sweet (but not too sweet), and smooth as silk!
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar - can add 1-2 more tablespoons if you'd like the pudding to be a lot sweeter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk - whole milk or 2%
  • 4 oz dark chocolate bar - DIVIDED and finely chopped (use 60-70%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter - at room temperature


  • In a medium saucepan whisk the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until evenly combined. 
  • Turn the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the milk, stirring constantly. (don’t turn the heat up too high. It will take a while for the mixture to boil).
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to whisk as it boils for 2 minutes. The mixture should be thickening by now. 
  • Remove from the heat and stir in 3 oz of the chopped chocolate, vanilla and butter until melted and combined. 
  • Transfer the pudding to a different bowl or individual sized serving dishes (or keep in the saucepan if you’d like). Cover the pudding with plastic wrap- making sure it touches the pudding to avoid developing a pudding skin). Refrigerate until chilled and thicker. 
  • Serve with freshly whipped cream and remaining 1 oz of chopped chocolate shavings.


Store pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Calories: 492kcal (25%)Carbohydrates: 66g (22%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 23g (35%)Saturated Fat: 14g (70%)Cholesterol: 31mg (10%)Sodium: 268mg (11%)Potassium: 461mg (13%)Fiber: 4g (16%)Sugar: 52g (58%)Vitamin A: 422IU (8%)Calcium: 198mg (20%)Iron: 4mg (22%)
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
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