Almost-Instant Chocolate Pudding

Almost-Instant Chocolate Pudding from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan

I grew up eating my mom’s chocolate pudding from a boxed mix. It was a bit lumpy and thick, with rubbery chocolate pudding skin (My mom gave me permission to tell this story), but it was warm and chocolate and homemade, and I liked it. On the East Coast, there was only one brand worth knowing: My-T-Fine, the premium pudding. It wasn’t exactly instant since the mix had to be cooked with dairy milk. Somewhere along the way Mom decided cooking pudding and washing the pot was not worth the effort. We moved over to Jell-O brand—really instant pudding: put the mix in a bowl, add milk, and mix with a rotary egg beater. Still, if the bowl wasn’t deep enough (especially if I was doing the mixing) it spattered, and then there were still beaters to wash. And the finished pudding was cold! That’s why I love this recipe so much: in the same time it took my mom to make sad chocolate pudding or less, you can make Almost-Instant Chocolate Pudding that is real chocolate pudding the way we always wanted it to be: warm, thick, and chocolaty. Plus this one additive, dairy, and cholesterol-free.

Notes: The cornstarch is crucial to get the right texture for this pudding. Using another starch thickener, such as my usual first choice arrowroot, would result in a pudding with a stringy, unpleasant texture.

Almost-Instant Chocolate Pudding

Makes about 4 1/2 cups


  • 1 cup /222grams organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup /56 grams organic cornstarch (do not use arrowroot, see Note)
  • 1/2 cup / 50 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 3/4 cups / 900ml vanilla soymilk, vanilla almond milk, or vanilla coconut milk beverage
  • 3 ounces / 46 grams dark chocolate (59 to 70%), chopped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon/ 5ml pure vanilla extract


  1. Sift the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt through a wire mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the milk. Keep stirring until no trace of any of the dry ingredients is visible. The idea is to make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved before you turn on the heat.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until the mixture begins to thicken and is close to a boil. This can take as long as 12 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to get a full boil, but don’t let it be so high that the bottom scorches. As soon as the pudding starts to boil, it will thicken to pudding consistency. Immediately lower the
    heat and boil gently for another minute, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Gently stir in the chocolate with the silicone spatula until the chocolate is melted and incorporated.
    Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Spoon the pudding into a bowl. It will be set and ready to use in about 30 minutes at room temperature, but it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If you refrigerate it, cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap adheres to the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

From Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts© 2013 by Fran Costigan, Running Press. Photo credit: Kate Lewis

  • I loved the almost instant chocolate pudding. Growing up in New Orleans my favorite cake was a doberge cake. It’s about 8 thin layers of cake with chocolate pudding between the layers and covered with a chocolate ganache. I requested this cake for my birthday since I was a small child. I am now 68 and still would love this cake. I have been wanting to make one for me but the puddings did not hold their shape very well. Eureka, this one will work fine. I can’t wait to make this old New Orleans favorite again.

    • Good morning Susan,
      It’s suddenly brisk here in Philly and I’m eating fully loaded steel-cut oats. I hear you on the Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding recipe in Vegan Chocolate cookbook, and beyond thrilled to read that you have it in regular rotation. Do you have a favorite type of plant milk to use? I find almost all of the varieties work.
      Stay warm, eat plants and have a great day. Chocolate is a bean!

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