I get a little cynical when it comes to single-serve cups of “food” that I see in kids’ school lunches.
If you read the ingredients, almost none of them are things I have in my kitchen – except sugar. Which I only use sparingly.
I’m not a big meanie and averse to all fun foods, but I’d much rather make homemade versions of the nutritionally-devoid processed single-serve cups, like our homemade “jello” and the pick-up-able version that I call “gellies.” There are two things that prevent me from making homemade pudding, though: The dishes and the risk of it not thickening up properly and being like soup.
When I was enjoying the Healthy Make Ahead Breakfast Recipes eBook from Kelly Roenicke of the Pretty Bee during the last Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, I got kind of excited about the idea of homemade chia seed pudding.
Kelly offered various flavor options and fruits and they sounded SO yummy, but I couldn’t quite get over the memory of the texture from years ago when I tried a chia seed pudding. It was not my thing, to put it nicely.
She blended the fruit up but not the seeds, but when I found this simple chia pudding framework recipe from my friend Katie, she confirmed that I could also blend up the seeds. Score! I knew I had a winner for a chia pudding recipe that would become an easy make-ahead breakfast, healthy snack for my kids or even an easy no-bake dessert.
And because I use the blender after I pour out the pudding to make a smoothie, ta da! Practically no dishes, no cooking like regular homemade pudding, and pretty much no risk of it not thickening up.
This post was sponsored by Squooshi.
Homemade Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding: a Healthy Snack for KidsPrint
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 mins
- Yield: 2-4 1x
- Category: Snack
- 1 c. milk (may use almond or coconut milk)
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/4 c. chia seeds
- Put all the ingredients in a blender (high-powered is best but a normal blender will work ok too).
- Blend on high for 30 seconds. A high-powered blender will be done. For other blenders, scrape the sides and bottom and blend another 30 seconds on high. Repeat as necessary until the seeds are tiny.
- Pour into individual serving bowls or a pint-sized mason jar.
- Refrigerate 3-4 hours until set.
* I think the blended version is better than whole seed pudding because of the texture, but also because you don’t have to re-stir the pudding cups after an hour of refrigeration. Give me an easy button any day!
* Variations: Use fruit by omitting the cocoa (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) and adding 1/2 cup of blueberries or strawberries. Try a peanut butter version, which I layered with chocolate like a parfait, by omitting the cocoa and adding 2-4 Tbs. of natural peanut butter.
* My kids love the chocolate version, hands down. For some reason, only the toddler loved the blueberry version, which is quite tasty IMO.
* The pudding is best on the first or second day and quickly declines in quality after that.
- Need a little help getting healthy food on the table every day? Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type, including GAPS, Paleo, AIP, Whole30, vegetarian and more! You remain totally in control: use your own recipes, accept theirs, and teach the system what your family likes…Check out how powerful it is here!
Is Chia Pudding a Healthy Snack for a Toddler?
If you can handle a seedy diaper, Gabe thinks it’s awesome. Which is good, because I’m not much of a short-order cook.
Last fall when I posted the carrot-ginger homemade baby food recipe, I said I wanted to make it more often. And honestly, I haven’t. It’s not because it wasn’t wonderful, but I just don’t usually prioritize making special food for anyone. Everyone eats the same thing.
But last week when I had Gabe at church with me at lunchtime, I had a Squooshi full of green smoothie, and it was so lovely. We were mess-free and I felt really good about all the nutrition we were getting in him, even “on the run.” I decided I needed to make some more for him (and share some more reusable food pouch recipes with you!).
Enter Squooshi pouch:
They may take a minute to clean, but believe me, so does a toddler who has fed himself yogurt, smoothie, or homemade pudding!
(Definitely rinse a Squooshi well after chia pudding, because it is a sticky substance.)
My only caveat is: I wouldn’t offer seconds on this dish to little ones – I’m not sure our tummies are made to handle quite so many seeds in one sitting.
Wasn’t That Easy?
Now you’re ready to take your real food on the go!
Just…check your teeth before you leave the house. Those seeds are sticky little buggers!
SaveUnless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
6 thoughts on “Homemade No-Cook Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe (Dairy-Free Options)”
I really can’t wait to try out this recipe. I’m always looking for easy to prepare meals, but snacks that my kids will eat is a bonus. Plus, I’m new to using coconut milk, this will be another way to test-taste it on my family.
Thanks for sharing this! My kids beg for pudding, but I’m like you–I don’t want to buy the stuff in the store & I don’t want to clean up a pile of dishes. 😀
In regards to your comment about reading ingredients on labels & none of them being in your kitchen, yesterday at the store my 9 yr old picked up a can of “Frozen” spaghettios (or something similar). She is totally enamored with the pretty marketing labels targeted towards children. She said, “Mom, I can’t read half of the ingredients in this! What are they?” I told her that if she couldn’t read the words & recognize the ingredients, then it’s best not to buy it. She happily replied, “Ok” and put the can back on the shelf. 😀
Good teaching, mom!
I do at least appreciate companies trying to make healthier stuff now. Healthier being relative – it’s still junk/sometimes food, but at least not icky ingredients. I know there are pudding cups now with better ingredients. I appreciate it sometimes for travel or vacation since it’s easier for me to take and the kids enjoy the treat and know it is special. 😉
I totally agree with the easier options for traveling! We’re still finishing some Cascadian Farms granola bars that I bought two weeks ago for our Memorial Day trip to the beach. 😀 At least all the ingredients were things we recognized. 😉
Thanks for the tip on blending the mixture. I’ve been making variations of chia pudding, but haven’t tried blending it yet. After you blend it, do the chia seeds still get gelatinous and soft, or are they more like hard tiny seeds?
Also, I noticed if I use canned full fat coconut milk alone, then there’s not enough liquid. I ended up with a pudding that was like a solid blob and it was too rich for my taste. So now I prefer to mix canned coconut milk with regular whole milk if I want a coconut milk pudding.
The blended seeds are pretty smooth – not like regular pudding precisely, but definitely not hard or gritty. Just textured. I can imagine that on the canned coconut milk! You could also scoop 1/2 to 2/3 of the coconut cream off the top and save it for coffee or a stir fry sauce, or use the boxed coconut milk which is not as thick. 🙂 Katie