Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

pudding recipe

(Photo by Jillian O'Connor)

The BEST chocolate pudding from scratch!

A recipe your and your kids will love to make and eat together

Back before kids, I worked nights at a newspaper. I needed a wind-down ritual once I got off work at 11 p.m., and I loved to indulge in homemade chocolate pudding at midnight and reruns of “Sex and the City.”

Following COVID we weaned our kids off their video games with a nightly viewing of “Doctor Who” and the promise of that same super-rich chocolate pudding, the one they’ve been eating since they were toddlers. Depending on the night, they could have it warm, refrigerated with a skin, or, on a few occasions, as ice pops.  

I skimped on making homemade whipped cream to go with the almost nightly pudding, so our ready-made whipped cream purchases were nothing short of astonishing. (Note: Whipped cream is not required.)

I found the incredibly easy, egg-free pudding recipe in a great little cookbook I grabbed from a dollar-bookstore bin around the time I graduated from college, “365 Great 20-Minute Recipes” by Beverly Cox.

She’s a former food editor at Cook’s magazine whose fantastic cookbook did not deserve to be in the dollar bin. Basically, this book taught me to cook after college.

And now, that simple but delicious stovetop pudding recipe is teaching my sons to cook. They’ve helped me measure out ingredients for years and now when they want pudding more than I want to head into the kitchen, they take over.

I can’t share the exact recipe here due to copyright. But here is a version of the recipe almost identical to the one I learned from Cox’s book: just a basic mix of sugar, cocoa powder (any brand you favor), corn starch, milk, salt, butter and vanilla. 

Nana’s Homemade Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Recipe developed by Chelsea Wagner and available at


  •  cup white sugar
  •  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Sift and whisk sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt together in a saucepan.

  2. Heat saucepan over medium heat. Pour milk in slowly, whisking constantly until incorporated. Cook, stirring often with a metal spoon, until pudding is noticeably thicker and clings to the spoon, about 10 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Divide between 4 small bowls and serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

P.S. I recommend stirring in up to a tablespoon of butter once it’s done cooking. You can also double the sugar. 

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Make a decadent hot cocoa bar

About the Author

Jillian O'Connor

Jillian O’Connor lives in Seattle with her husband, two sons and a dog named after the Loch Ness Monster.