Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding

Some times, we just gotta-have-chocolate-now, hello skimpy suppers and late-night chocolate attacks. Homemade pudding to the rescue! This recipe makes a small batch, just two cups, that's perfect for one or two. It calls for just five pantry ingredients (like cocoa powder for rich chocolate flavor and cornstarch for thickening). Best of all, it's sweet and ever-so-satisfying but still won't ruin your diet. No wonder, people really do love this pudding!

Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding ♥, just five ingredients so perfect for weeknights or late-night chocolate attacks.

Healthy Dessert Made from Scratch in Just Ten Minutes. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Easy DIY. No Eggs, No Cream. Low Fat. Vegetarian. (Looking for a vegan plant-based chocolate pudding? Try Easy-Easy Chocolate Coconut Pudding!) Naturally Gluten Free. Rave Reviews!

  • "... we loved it! Very chocolate-y and delicious ..." ~ Nupur
  • "This pudding is excellent ..." ~ Anonymous
  • "... so good—creamy and chocolate-y. ... My son loved it!" ~ Donna
  • ".. use almond milk and splenda ... still soooo yummy!!!!!!!" ~ Meaghan
  • "... great pudding!" ~ Libby
  • "HOLY SMOKES! This is FANTASTIC!" ~ Jessica
  • "I can't make pudding to save my life, but I made this just fine thanks to your 'new cook' tips." ~ Kahana


Having Our Cake and Eating It Too

Like every modern weight-conscious woman, I want it all. It’s our 21st century version of both having and eating our cake.

Yes, I want to feel and look slim. Yes, I want to feel and be healthy. And I want ALL this – and still enjoy wine with supper and dessert after!

To achieve satisfying weight and health objectives, however, most nights we must, at best, choose between wine and dessert or, at worst, sacrifice both.

A simple chocolate pudding, oh how it helps. More than once, when supper’s seemed a little skimpy, I whip up a batch and within a few minutes, feel indulged and satisfied but know we're eating virtuously.

The trick is the fat-free but flavorful cocoa powder. Like low-fat buttermilk and egg whites, cocoa powder is an ingredient to seek out in recipes if you, a thoroughly modern woman (or man!) watch your weight.

With a winner like this for every day, it’s an easy decision, then, to occasionally splurge on some cream- and egg-rich chocolate mousse.

Or yes, please pass the cake.

About "Alanna-Sizing"

Since starting to write Kitchen Parade in 2002, I've made a concerted effort to make over recipes to make them more healthful.

My friends call it "Alanna-sizing". This is how I do it, you can do it at home, too.

  • First I create reasonable portion sizes (yes, they're smaller than has become "normal")
  • Then remove unnecessary fat and sugar
  • Increase low- or no-calorie ingredients that add bulk and flavor.

It's that simple. And there's no sacrifice because it just tastes so good.

This chocolate pudding is a perfect example. It's not a rich chocolate mousse to serve at a fancy dinner party. (Ha! That said, people lap up every single bite when I do fancy up the pudding a bit to serve for friends and family, often with a little diced banana and a little half & half, sometimes a drizzle of Homemade Chocolate Sauce In-a-Flash. Sooo good!)

But it is one to make every week, fast, simple and satisfying.

I hope you love it!

What's In Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Sugar, for sweetness but also structure.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, for non-fat natural chocolate flavor. Note that unsweetened cocoa powder is different from the packets of cocoa mix you might have for making hot cocoa; those packets include both sugar and milk powder. For unsweetened cocoa powder, I'm partial to a Hershey's brand called "Special Dark" which is super chocolate-y. It's easier to find than it once was, Hershey's now even sells "Special Dark" chocolate chips, too.
  • Cornstarch, for thickening the pudding.
  • Skim milk for virtually non-fat low-cal pudding. If you keep 1% or 2% or even whole milk on hand, these work too. The pudding will taste slightly richer and add up to more calories but really, this is about as low-cal as dessert gets, even with whole milk. Can you substitute a non-dairy milk? Probably, I know people do. That said, I'm forever marked by a bad batch of pudding that used almond milk, just not good.
  • Vanilla, just a small splash, for flavoring. Can you use bourbon or a liqueur that's buried somewhere in a cupboard? Sure!

Here's What's NOT In This Pudding

Sometimes, what's left out of a recipe is just as important as what's put in. That's definitely the case here.

  • No Cool Whip or other processed ingredients.
  • No butter, no cream or other rich high-calorie additions.
  • No eggs, that makes this recipe especially useful for people with egg allergies. It also means the recipe doesn't need that pesky procedure to "temper" the eggs to avoid lumpy pudding.
  • No whole chocolate, no chocolate chips. Here, the chocolate flavor comes from the unsweetened cocoa powder.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If chocolate pudding makes your heart beat a little faster, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding ♥, just five ingredients so perfect for weeknights or late-night chocolate attacks.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Makes about 1 cup (easily doubled or tripled)

Stir together the sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch in a medium saucepan until thoroughly mixed, really seek out and squash pesky little clumps of sugar, cocoa powder or cornstarch. Slowly whisk in the milk, a splash at a time at first, whisking-whisking to reveal and then squelch any remaining bits.

Cook until thick over medium heat, stirring continuously (that means all the time, no interruptions!) with a whisk or wooden spoon, especially as the mixture gets hot. Once the mixture thickens, remove the pot from the heat and stir for another minute or two, then stir in the vanilla. Pour into two small dishes and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to continue the thickening process.

ALANNA's TIPS This makes a soft pudding that could also substitute for chocolate sauce. For a richer version, substitute whole milk, at 152 calories, still a healthful dessert. The longer I make pudding, the more I rely on a metal balloon whisk in a stainless steel pan. If you've ever had trouble with lumpy pudding, make the switch, it makes all the difference.
TIPS for NEW COOKS If you add the milk all at once, the pudding will turn out lumpy. Instead, “slowly whisk in the milk” is kitchen code for the technique used to mix dry and liquid ingredients without lumps. It’s simple to master. First, make sure the dry ingredients are completely mixed. Here, that means that no lumps, even tiny ones, of sugar, cocoa or cornstarch remain. Work out any last remaining pesky ones with the back of a spoon pressed against the saucepan. Next, pour the milk into a liquid measuring cup, that is, one with a spout for easy pouring. Pour a tablespoon or two of milk into the cocoa mixture and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. Repeat tablespoon by tablespoon until the combined mixture is more liquid than dry, then add the remaining milk.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 121 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 2mg Cholesterol; 128mg Sodium; 25g Carb; 2g Fiber; 19g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 6 & myWW green 6 & blue 6 & purple 6 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 3/4 a serving (4g protein). This recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in sugar, fat and portion size.

Craving Chocolate?

~ chocolate recipes ~
Gourmet Chocolate Mocha Cookies ♥, decadently chocolate-y, laced with espresso, almost like a brownie cookie or a fudge cookie. Wonderful with a glass of cold milk.

Easy-Easy Chocolate Coconut Pudding ♥ Just five ingredients and ten minutes.

Easy-Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake ♥, dark, moist, chocolate-y. No mixer required.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cocoa powder ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2005, 2007 (online), 2010, 2015, 2019 & 2021

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/21/2007

    Thanks! I'm always happy to find a new pudding recipe, esp. chocolate. Delicious and light--my kind of dessert.


  2. Anonymous7/21/2007

    I love pudding and this way I can eat it and not feel guilty. Thanks for that!


  3. Susan & Sher ~ Tis lovely yes and even better, no guilt!


  4. Anonymous7/21/2007

    I can't believe it: what a simple recipe for a rich-looking comforting dessert. I think I will make it sometime this week as an unexpected treat for V.


  5. Anonymous7/21/2007

    Alanna, I did make this pudding last night, and we loved it! Very chocolate-y and delicious, and it took all of 5 minutes to make in the morning. Perfect weeknight dessert.


  6. Anonymous3/23/2009

    This pudding is excellent I recommend covering the actual surface of the pudding with plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge to prevent a skin from forming...

  7. Anonymous3/27/2009

    This really was so good—creamy and chocolate-y. What I really liked is that the pudding tasted so fresh! My son loved it!

    I assume evaporated skim milk would also work and maybe even create a creamier consistency without added fat?

  8. This is nearly identical to the chocolate pudding I make -- I just use a little more cornstarch (1 1/2 T) and 2% milk. I cook it on the stovetop or in the microwave. 2 minutes on high, stir, then about another 30 seconds. I cook it in a 4 cup measuring cup then pour into serving dishes. Yum!

  9. Meaghan2/22/2010

    If you use Almond milk and splenda you can cut the calories in this recipe in half and its still soooo yummy!!!!!!!

  10. Alanna, this is a great pudding! I like to add a little instant coffee (or Kahlua)--not enough to make it taste like a mocha, but just enough to enhance the chocolate flavor.

    Earlier this week, I made a large batch (with 5 cups of milk) and poured it into 10 little ramekins to keep in the fridge for the week. The recipe scaled up just fine and the pudding keeps well in the fridge. My husband loves to take one to work with his lunch, and it's a nice sweet something to enjoy after dinner. Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Jessica10/14/2010

    HOLY SMOKES! This is FANTASTIC! I poured it into 2 bowls. 1 made it to the fridge. I ate the other straightaway. It was like eating the 'guts' from a lava cake! I can see curling up with this and watching the snow fly! (in a few months! It's only October!)

  12. This pudding turned out perfectly, but I did not like it. I'd rather have a 2 pt piece of good chocolate candy.

  13. I can't make pudding to save my life, but I made this just fine thanks to your "new cook" tips. The pudding was delicious and was just the way I wanted it; nice and thick and an excellent substitute for icing on a chocolate cupcake! I split it into 4 servings (2oz apiece) for each mini cake. Worked like a charm. I suspect I will be applying another batch to brownies (made with chia seed "eggs" and applesauce) as icing.

  14. PS. I wonder what it would taste like if you added a tablespoon or so of peanut butter at the end while it was still hot (so as to melt the peanut butter evenly throughout the pudding). Definitely would not be low calorie then!

  15. Kahana ~ Great news! And such a creative way to use it too! And I adore the peanut butter idea, I’m gonna try that with my 90-year old dad who has a sweet tooth that doesn’t end and loves peanut butter. Thanks for writing!

  16. Mireille Lacomere-Schild on Pinterest7/31/2020

    Made with whole milk. Fantastic!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna