Chocolate Pudding {vegan option}

This silky, creamy, dark chocolate pudding gets its luscious flavor and texture from an unlikely ingredient: sweetened condensed coconut milk. Optionally vegan and dairy-free. From Extra Helping by Janet Elsbach. 

Homemade Chocolate Pudding in glass

According to the dictionary, the definition of the Yiddish word “mensch” is “a person of integrity and honor.” That uptight definition doesn’t even begin to do justice to my friend Janet, author of the blog A Raisin and a Porpoise, the book Extra Helping, and this glorious chocolate pudding recipe.

Closer is this definition from ThoughtCo:

A mensch is someone who is responsible, has a sense of right and wrong, and is the sort of person other people admire. A mensch shows up for her friends. In English, the word has come to mean “a good-hearted, dependable, solid person.” Menschlichkeit is a related Yiddish word used to describe the collective qualities that make someone a mensch.

But my definition of “mensch” is simply: Janet.

Easy Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Among the menschlichkeit things Janet does, she’s a caretaker for friends, family, and a series of foster dogs that prance through her home. She’ll host a charity event (a pop-up shop of local makers) to fund another charity event (community dinners that she cooks for a couple hundred people in need). By day she teaches writing to adults with disabilities. Even her dog Sylvester is 4 pounds of therapy who sits with kids at the library once a week.

Janet is someone who will spend her own time and dollars testing a dozen (admittedly somewhat fussy) recipes for your cookbook. Then she’ll throw a party for said cookbook with 30 of her dearest friends despite the fact that she hates parties. She’ll welcome you into her home with a fridge stocked full of local delicacies she knows you’ll love. She’ll pack a lunch for your train ride, complete with little jars of homemade silky dark chocolate pudding dolloped with unsweetened whipped cream to satiate you on your journey. She’ll write an entire cookbook all about giving food to loved ones in need.

In the short time that I’ve known Janet, she’s sent me care packages of:

  • homemade preserves
  • a crate of heirloom apples and quince from her family’s orchard
  • flavored sugars
  • fermented garlic
  • and the most insanely delicious cocoa buckwheat cookies (the recipe can be found here and should be made IMMEDIATELY)

Janet shows up for her friends and family, and she usually shows up with pudding. And not just any pudding…

Chocolate bark with pretzels, candied ginger, and toasted buckwheat from Extra Helping | The Bojon Gourmet

The Best Chocolate Pudding

I’m usually one to shy from superlatives but Janet’s chocolate pudding is simply THE BEST chocolate pudding imaginable. It’s silky smooth, dense and fluffy at the same time, not overly sweet, and extra dark from both chocolate and cocoa powder. A hit of vanilla and salt give it deep flavor, and the clever step of beating the pudding in a stand mixer as it cools ensures a delicate, luscious set.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

The Secret Ingredient

Aside from the usual suspects – milk, chocolate, cocoa, cornstarch, and flavorings – an unusual ingredient sets this pudding apart from the rest: sweetened condensed coconut milk, which is worth seeking out if you’ve never tried it. Where regular sweetened condensed milk has an unpleasant musty flavor and saccharine sweetness, sweetened condensed coconut milk boasts a sweet, slightly nutty, clean flavor. It doesn’t, in fact, taste at all like coconut. In the pudding, it adds sweetness and caramel notes without dampening the other flavors, and it adds body and holds the pudding in emulsion. Trust me when I say you’ll never look back after trying this recipe.

Chocolate Pudding and cookbook on table

Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting, & Building Community One Dish at a Time

This chocolate pudding recipe comes from Janet’s beautiful debut cookbook Extra Helping. If you’ve ever wondered how you could aid a friend who was grieving, ill, just had a baby, moved, or was otherwise going through a tough time, this is the book you need. It’s the book our world needs. During life’s transitions, cooking for oneself can turn from a joy to impossible, and food is a relatively simple way to show up for loved ones. Everyone needs to eat, and a homemade pot of soup or batch of cookies can make one feel cared for and connected in a profoundly healing way.

Chocolate Pudding and cookbook

Chapters are divided by life events: Food for Expanding Families, for the Rearranged and Relocated, for Illness and Recovery, for Solace, for Cheer, and for Feeding a Crowd. Each chapter contains relevant recipes – soups and broths for illness, thrifty large-batch recipes for crowds, recipes that don’t require utensils to eat for those who have just moved and have yet to unpack their kitchens. Janet also includes tips on the best methods for packing and transporting said dishes.

Chocolate Pudding and hands holding book

Chocolate Pudding and open book

Chocolate Pudding and book

Janet made sure that all diets were included when she crafted her recipes. There are meaty dishes with vegetarian options, and every baked recipe has glutenous and gluten-free variations, all tested thoroughly. I’ve bookmarked just about every recipe in the book, and the ones I’ve made so far are:

  • Tofu Chorizo – crumbled tofu fried until crisp with chorizo-ish spices, perfect for veggie tacos and burrito bowls
  • Life is Upside Down Cake – made with any fruit and topped with a ginger miren caramel, with pureed chestnuts in the batter
  • Shapeshifter Baked Pancake – “it’s dessert and it’s breakfast and it’s I want something yummy right now
  • Great Big Enchilada-ish Bakea massive pan of layered tortillas, beans, veggies, cheese, enchilada sauce, and buttermilk custard that makes the tortillas taste like tangy cornbread
  • This Chocolate Pudding on repeat
  • Bark with Bite (shown here) nourishing chocolate confection stuffed with toasted buckwheat, chopped pretzels, candied ginger, dried cherries, and flax seeds

On my list to try next are:

  • Buckwheat Slab Crackers
  • Roasted Carrot Romesco
  • Now and Later Buckwheat Cheese Puffs
  • Red Rice with Squash and Smokey Cheese
  • Pumpkin Muffins stuffed with sweet goat cheese filling
  • Aguadito, Congee, and Chawanmushi for the next time I or someone I know needs soupy comfort
  • Unmeatballs – vegetarian bites made of greens, squash, and feta bound together with breadcrumbs and egg

Equally delicious is Janet’s evocative writing, which you’ll want to devour from cover to cover. The book is seasoned with personal tales of joy and loss, vivid recipe descriptions, and punny recipe titles that will make you chuckle such as Life is Upside-Down Cake in the moving chapter, A Herd of Mousse (coffee, lemon, and chocolate rose), How Cordial, and Ice Cream Shell Game, among others.

This holiday season, give the gift that keeps on giving: a copy of Extra Helping. While you’re at it, whip up a batch of these creamy chocolate puddings – there’s more than enough to share.

 Chocolate Pudding in glass on plate

Pudding Vs. Custard

Wonder what’s the difference between pudding and custard? It’s the eggs, or lack thereof. Pudding is egg-free and thickened by starch, whereas custard contains eggs by themselves or in addition to starch to help it set. While I love a nice custardy crème brûlée or pot de crème, puddings can have a cleaner, more straightforward taste without the egg dampening the flavors. This recipe is egg-free and therefore pudding!

Is Chocolate Pudding Gluten-Free?

This one is! And it can also be made dairy-free and vegan by swapping carton-style coconut milk in for the dairy milk. Just be sure to source cornstarch and other ingredients that are certified gluten-free.

More Custards & Puddings

Looking for more easy peasy sweet and creamy desserts like this one? Try these:

spoon in glass of Chocolate Pudding from Scratch

*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram,  Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, orsubscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this chocolate pudding, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet  and  #bojongourmet.*

Chocolate Pudding in glass
5 from 5 votes

Chocolate Pudding

Print Recipe  /  Pin Recipe
The most creamy, silky, dark chocolatey pudding you've ever had. To make it vegan, use coconut milk and top the pudding with whipped coconut cream.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 -10 servings


  • 1/2 cup (45 g) cocoa powder (I use dutch-process but natural works well too)
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 cups (950 ml) whole milk (or carton-style coconut milk)
  • 15 ounce (445 ml) can sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 6 ounces (170 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • unsweetened or lightly sweetened whipped cream or coconut cream, for serving


  • Have 8-10 small cups, jars, or ramekins ready.
  • In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the milk, then the sweetened condensed coconut milk.
  • Place the pot over medium heat and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring to a low boil. Be sure to scrape the corners of the pan with the spoon so that no pudding is left behind. You'll know it's boiling by the large bubbles popping lazily when you stop stirring for several seconds. Continue to cook the pudding for 7 minutes or until quite thick and beginning to hold a shape.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate and vanilla to combine. Transfer the pudding to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low until cooled to room temperature; this will give the pudding a silky texture and soft set. Alternatively, stir the pudding by hand until cool. Or just pour the hot pudding into cups, let cool to room temperature, then cover and chill; it will be firmer and less silky this way but still delicious.
  • Cover the puddings and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if you like.


This recipe comes from Extra Helping by Janet Elsbach, reprinted with permission. Find the recipe for the chocolate bark shown here in the book!
Nutritional values are based on one of eight servings.


Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 480mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 3.9mg
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

Optionally Vegan Chocolate Pudding with spoon

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21 thoughts on “Chocolate Pudding {vegan option}”

  1. Three beautiful things:

    1. Chocolate deliciousness.
    2. Reminder of your Haupia recipe.
    3. A cookbook to help me be a Mensch instead of a Klutz

  2. Thank you for the wonderful recipe, Alanna! You described the cooking process in such a detailed and fascinating manner, which encouraged me to make it myself. I’m sure my wife and kids will be happy!

    Happy New Year and Merry Christmas, Alanna! I wish you the best!

  3. This pudding looks dreamy! Do you think subbing arrowroot for the cornstarch would work okay? My husband can’t eat corn, unfortunately. I’ve subbed it in recipes that only call for 1-2 tbsp but 1/3 seems like a more significant amount.

    1. That’s a good question. I’ve never had much success with arrowroot as a thickener, but you could certainly give it a try. Maybe start with a half or quarter batch to test it out? You might also like this really old chocolate tapioca pudding recipe from TBG archives. :)

  4. What a thoughtful and beautiful book, Alanna. Thank you for sharing it with us. What I appreciate about coconut milk with chocolate is that the chocolate flavor shines, when you want it to, instead of coconut. I’ve made ganache with coconut milk time and time again, and it just works. This pudding looks sublime. Beautiful and SO deliciously creamy!

  5. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made the vegan version and it’s definitely a very rich chocolate pudding. Easy to make, delicious, and good to keep in your back pocket for people with dairy and egg sensitivities. I also made the chocolate buckwheat cookies (yum!) and put myself on the waiting list for the Extra Helping cookbook from my library. :)

    1. It’s amazing to be able to include dietary restrictions while enjoying the cooking process, and having a delicious outcome! Yummy :D

  6. This was fabulous! I made the vegan version with soy milk (but used the sweetened condensed coconut milk) and it was so great. I fed it to several people who don’t eat vegan and they loved it. I usually think most vegan sweets have too much of a soy or coconut flavor but this was just like the decadent gourmet desserts with eggs and dairy. Also your friend Janet sounds amazing. I will definitely check out her cookbooks! Thanks tons.

  7. It was a perfect dessert. Many couldn’t believe that it was vegan! Didn’t have vegan chocolate so added 3/4 cup of cocoa instead. Also added a pinch of pepper flakes to give a little punch. Thanks for sharing.