Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk and Berries

(Healthier First Watch A.M. Superfoods Bowl “Copycat” Chia Seed Pudding Recipe)

~ Cool and creamy-dreamy Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk is accented with sweet blackberry preserves, topped with fresh berries and bananas, and finished with a perfect little granola crunch. Our lightened-up version is deliciously light but satisfying – a true power breakfast that’ll keep you full for hours! ~

This Recipe Is:     Make Ahead    Vegetarian 

collage of two chia pudding photos with text overlay "First Watch copycat Chia Pudding"
overhead of chia pudding breakfast bowl with spoon, extra blueberries and side bowl of extra granola
coconut milk chia pudding in serving bowl, topped with berries, granola and blackberry jelly, with spoon laying on top
individual serving of pudding in a small glass jar, topped with a bright red strawberry

bowl of chia seed pudding with topping, a spoon laying across the bowl, and the serving bowl and extra toppings in background

I love chia pudding, my family loves chia pudding, and if you don’t love Chia Pudding {YET}, I can pretty much guarantee you will now! This is the recipe that’ll make you a BELIEVER!

First off, though, if you missed our Basic Chia Pudding Recipe (where I explain my obsession with those awesome little chia seeds and what they can do), let me catch you up.

The story of my obsession starts out the same way most stories do, with the dark and stormy night scenario. So …

It was a dark and stormy night last summer … and I was asleep. (Remember, I’m a teenager. We sleep a lot. Most all of my stories include sleep. And food.) Fast-forward to me waking up (hungry, of course) and joining my family for brunch the next morning, which is where this story gets interesting.

The setting? First Watch restaurant, one of my favorite brunch spots.

That’s where I made an order that would change the course of my life, or at least my summer. The menu featured something called an “A.M. Superfoods Bowl” (which is what the brilliant minds behind First Watch’s menu decided to name their Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk).

At the time, I had only a vague idea of what Chia Pudding even was and how it worked, but seeing as it presented me with the opportunity to eat pudding for breakfast, I knew I had to order it.

breakfast waiting - a finished bowl of fruit-topped pudding, with a spoon alongside

After my first bite, I was obsessed. I loved it, and knew I needed to find out more so I could make it at home. This was truly something special, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you, too!

What Makes This Particular Chia Pudding So Special?

Since that first delicious encounter with Chia Pudding, I’ve done a lot of research and testing, and created plenty of other Chia Pudding versions. But First Watch’s Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons:

  1. It introduced me to an entirely new food (I always like trying new foods), and I really, really loved this one (which, ahem, I may have mentioned two or three times already).
  2. First Watch uses a gorgeous combination of fresh fruit, jelly, and granola for a perfect balance of flavors and creamy-crunchy textures.
  3. It feels super light, but definitely keeps me full for a looong time. (Heads-up, though … while their version tastes light, our healthier recreation actually is much lighter … more on that later!)
  4. Most importantly, I get to have pudding for breakfast. I mean, life is short, right?!?

hands holding bowl of breakfast chia pudding, with serving bowl in background

And here’s the unexpected plot twist: Chia Pudding can actually be good for you, too! (Did you see that one coming?!?)

When I got home after that fateful morning at First Watch, I dove into some research on chia seeds and Chia Pudding. I found out that, in addition to being creamy, sweet, and delicious, Chia Seed Pudding packs a nutritious punch, too. It’s got lots of: 

  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • and Protein

Delicious pudding for breakfast that’s good for you, too? Yup!

So (spoiler alert) my little story that began with that dark and stormy (sleepy!) night, has a really happily-ever-after ending!

But wait. You might be wondering exactly how you get to happily-ever-after. Let’s dig deeper …

How Do Chia Seeds Work?

For the sake of my sanity and yours, beloved reader, I’ll give you the abridged version of everything I know about chia seeds. But, if you came here for a full rundown on all things chia, keep an eye out for our “What is Chia” Post (wink, wink, coming soon).

Long story short … chia seeds are awesome!

storage jar filled with chia seeds, with spoon in it

Put a tiny, unassuming chia seed into any liquid, and it’s like one of those magic growing toys you had as a kid. Just put ’em in water and watch ’em grow!

Chia seeds swell into tapioca-esque pearls when combined with a liquid. They gel the surrounding liquid into a silky custard.

How, you ask?

The answer starts with “M”. Surprisingly (and disappointingly) it’s not “M”agic, though. Chia’s got a lot of a thick, gluey substance which almost all plants produce. It’s called mucilage (which sounds absolutely nothing like magic, right?!?)

Chia’s soluble fiber and mucilage work together, allowing chia seeds to expand impressively (approximately 10 times their own weight) as they “gel” the surrounding liquid.

Even better? When it comes to making pudding, this means that the chia basically does all the work for you! Mix up your pudding and walk away.

mixing bowl with chia seeds and coconut milk, just starting to be stirred together

The chia seeds take care of the rest. So easy!

Now that you know how it works, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to the delicious part! Let’s actually make some!

How Do You Make Chia Seed Pudding?

Since you’ve got a basic idea of chia’s superpower, it’s probably easy to guess how you’d go about making Chia Pudding, right?

  1. Add liquid to chia.
  2. Stir.
  3. Add toppings.

Booyah. Well, almost. But here’s what you need to know to really make great, life-changing, perfect Chia Pudding …

The Right Ratio for Chia Pudding

Unfortunately, simply dumping a gallon of water with a handful of chia seeds, all willy-nilly, isn’t gonna give you exactly the results you’re looking for. There’s actually a ratio (egads … math!) used to mix up Chia Pudding, although it is somewhat adjustable depending on how you prefer the consistency.

As we explained in our “basic, starter recipe” for Easy Chia Seed Pudding, most recipes you’ll come across suggest using a ratio of chia to liquid that’s somewhere between 1:2 and 1:4 (that’s 1 part chia to 2 or 4 parts liquid – or somewhere in between).

After a lot of testing, we recommend starting with ¼ cup chia seeds to 1 cup of liquid (a 1:4 ratio). For my family, that creates the ideal texture and pudding-y thickness.

serving bowl with finished chia pudding, surrounded by toppings like fruits, granola and jelly

But, if you’d rather have a thinner pudding, you can add more liquid or decrease the amount of chia a little. On the other hand, if you want your pudding thicker, you can cut back on the liquid or increase the amount of chia.

Choosing Your Milk

As we discuss in much greater detail in our Basic, Easy Chia Seed Pudding recipe, you can make your pudding with whatever milk you prefer, but First Watch uses coconut milk in theirs, so that’s what we’re using in our “copycat” version (although we go with a much lower-fat coconut milk than they do, to help keep total fat and calories in check).

Once you’ve got the ratio right and picked your milk, you just need to figure out what flavors you want to add. Trust me – after trying completely unsweetened Chia Pudding, I can tell you that adding a bit of sweetness and maybe some small flavor boosters is critical. Totally plain Chia Pudding? Not good. Not good at all.

You can refer to our Basic Recipe for lots of suggestions on different sweeteners and flavorings to change up your Chia Pudding, but for this First Watch “copycat,” we found we could closely mimic the flavor of the original by using:

  • Vanilla extract to provide a hint of flavor without being overpowering
  • Maple syrup to add a subtle, rich background flavor and provide sweetness
  • Plain, white sugar to contribute to the sweetness without adding competing flavors (like we got when we tried other sweeteners such as honey)

Mix up your little chia seeds, coconut milk, vanilla and sweeteners, and the base of your recipe is done! You’re almost ready to walk away and let those tiny chia seeds do the rest.

closeup photo of the toppings on a bowl of chia pudding - strawberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, jelly and granola

But first, there’s an important step a lot of people skip. (Hint: for perfect Chia Pudding, don’t skip it!) Because nobody wants clumps in their perfect bowl of Chia Pudding, right?!?

How Do You Keep Chia Pudding from Clumping?

As easy as it is to whip up a batch of Chia Pudding and immediately throw it in the fridge, sometimes you’ll come back to find it’s clumped up with bits of chia stuck together in tight little balls. It’s not the end of the world if that happens, but it’s easy to avoid. Here’s how:

  • Stir up the Chia Pudding, but don’t put in the fridge yet. Leave it on the counter or somewhere you won’t forget.
  • Come back 10-15 minutes later when the chia has partially expanded. Stir or whisk it again and break up any clumps that are forming.
  • Now it’s time to cover it and pop it in the fridge so it’s ready for later, free of the fear that your chia will be clumpy (egads!). You can store the whole batch in the mixing bowl, ready to portion out later. Or, if you’re looking to score big “adorableness” points, you can go ahead and portion the pudding mixture into single-serving containers, like the pretty Weck mini tulip jars we used in our photos:

Individual servings of coconut milk chia pudding in pretty little glass jars, topped with fruit and granola

  • Yay – you’re done! Go to bed. Sleeeeeep (maybe it’s a dark and stormy night???). Then wake up and peek in the fridge to find breakfast ready and waiting for you (with no clumps)! Thanks to the magic (aka mucilage) of chia! Woot woot!

Next comes the really fun part: Toppings!

What Do You Put on Coconut Milk Chia Pudding?

Again, if you want to get creative and push your Chia Pudding boundaries, hop over to our “Basic Recipe” for LOTS of ideas. But for today, we’re keeping this Coconut Milk Chia Pudding recipe as similar to First Watch’s version as we can.

overhead of finished bowl of chia pudding, topped with jelly, fruit and granola - with a spoon and extra granola nearby

So, for toppings, we’ve got:

Spoon the jelly on top of your Chia Pudding, pile on some fruit, and toss on a little granola. Then, dig in! (Personally, I like to mix everything together as I eat, but it’s practically a work of art before you start stirring it all around … almost too pretty to devour! Well, almost.)

If you really want this to be exactly authentic to how First Watch serves it, you need to surround it with a few slices of whole grain toast, slathered with almond butter and sprinkled with a tiny hit of kosher salt. Yummmmmm …

serving bowl of chia pudding with fruit, surrounded by toast topped with almond butter

Either way, it’s a power breakfast that’ll keep you fueled up all morning long, no matter what your day might hold!

But wait. It gets even better!

Make-Ahead Tips and Chia Pudding for Meal Prep

The whole idea of Chia Pudding is based on it being a “make-ahead” recipe. It needs a few hours or overnight to set up, so you definitely can and should make this ahead of when you actually want to eat it. (BTW … we’ve got an entire recipe post specifically focusing on Overnight Chia Pudding. It’s basically the exact same concept as making overnight oats.)

Terrific, right? Make-ahead recipes are awesome for busy people!

Plus, if you make a double- or triple-batch for meal prepping, you can put it in the fridge for lots of later meals, too. We’ve found that it keeps well for at least 3-5 days. So, save yourself some time in the mornings and whip up a big batch tonight. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself later!

closeup of individual serving of chia pudding in glass "tulip" jar, topped with a strawberry and granola

Once you’ve tried our Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk, be sure to leave me a comment down below in our comments section, and let me know how you like it! And definitely – if you’ve had First Watch’s “original” chia pudding with coconut milk, let me know how you think this one compares!

Oh … and for all you die-hard chia fans, be sure to try our delicious Apple Pie Overnight Chia Pudding and our decadent “Candy Bar” Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, too – or go all-in with a peek at our full lineup of 30 Chia Pudding Recipes! Mmmmmm … so many delicious options!

Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk and Berries

Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk and Berries

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 7 minutes

This delicious Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk recipe is our {healthier} copycat version of the popular First Watch A.M. Superfoods Bowl. It's a meal prep dream, and a power breakfast that'll keep you fueled up for hours!

  Make Ahead    Vegetarian  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (the lower-fat refrigerated kind, such as Silk – not canned)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup blackberry jelly or preserves (preferably 100% pure fruit, such as Smucker's Simply Fruit)
  • 1 cup fruit (blueberries, sliced strawberries and sliced bananas – see note)
  • 1/4 cup granola (such as Cascadian Farm Oats & Honey)

Instructions

  1. Mix coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with a spoon or whisk, stirring thoroughly to combine.
  2. Set aside briefly and stir or whisk again after about 10-15 minutes to break up any clumps of chia seeds.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour or two, or overnight. At this point, you can divide it into 4 single-serve containers such as the adorable Weck jars we used in our photos, or leave your pudding in a large serving bowl to portion out later. The pudding will be soft-set after about 1 hour. But, if possible, we recommend waiting at least 2 hours before eating, until the pudding is creamier and more fully set.
  4. When ready to serve the pudding, if it's not already divided into single-serve containers, portion out 4 equal servings. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon jelly, 1/4 cup fruit (or a little more, if desired) and 1 tablespoon granola. Serve immediately.

Notes

Fruit topping: We specify a combination of blueberries, strawberries and bananas, since that's what First Watch uses in their "original" version. But feel free to swap in other berries, too, such as blackberries or raspberries. And don't obsess about using exactly 1/4 cup for each serving – that's just a starting point for you. Feel free to pile on more delicious, healthy berries if you'd like!

Thickness and consistency: As we discuss in greater detail in the post, we've extensively tested the proportion of chia to coconut milk in this recipe, to find the thickness and texture we prefer. But, you can adjust that to your own preferences by slightly varying the amount of chia and/or coconut milk. For example, a ratio with slightly less milk (or more chia) will yield a thicker pudding.

Make-ahead and meal prep: The base for this Chia Pudding keeps well, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 3-5 days. You might want to make a double batch for quick, grab-and-go breakfasts (and even snacks) all week long. We recommend waiting to add the toppings until just before serving, however, so the fruit is really fresh and the granola is crunchy.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 servings Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 26mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 19gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

We'd LOVE to hear! Please leave a star-rating above. And, tag us on Instagram @twohealthykitchens or use the sharing buttons below!

bowl of Coconut Milk Chia Pudding topped with berries and granola with spoon in background

26 thoughts on “Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk and Berries”

  1. I too fell in love with First Watch chia pudding breakfast. I thought I was the only one that thought it was a game-changer! I have used your recipe for a guideline and it works great. I’ve used almond milk, oat milk and coconut milk. Coconut milk is my favorite but I haven’t found a brand that is my favorite yet. You are right to add “not canned” For add ins I’ve used coconut pieces, berries, bananas, mango and nuts if I don’t use granola. Thanks for this recipe.

    Reply
    • I’m so happy that this version has helped you recreate that beloved First Watch Chia Pudding … a little bit lighter but still so yummy! I normally grab Silk brand coconut milk, but that’s not because I’ve done an extensive side-by-side brand comparison of different coconut milks – it’s just commonly available at my store. If you ever settle on an absolute fave brand, I’ll be interested to hear what you decide! Love all your different add-in ideas! Even though I often make this Chia Pudding just like they do at First Watch (with the jelly and berries and granola), I like to switch it up sometimes, too. Mango sounds AWESOME! 😉 ~Shelley

      Reply
    • Oh, I’m so thrilled to hear it, Christine! We make chia pudding all the time – it really is a game changer, and once you get hooked it’s so crave-able. Such a great start to the day, too! Thanks for taking a moment to let me know how much you enjoyed this recipe – that means a lot! 😀 ~Shelley

      Reply
  2. This chia pudding looks heavenly! Like you, as soon as I tasted the First Watch version, I was obsessed! I can’t wait to try this at home. Could you please link the coconut milk you’re referencing or provide the full name? The Amazon link you have for the Silk milk does not go to the product.

    Reply
    • Oh, I’m so excited for you try this! I literally have some of our Coconut Milk Chia Pudding in my fridge at this very moment, and just enjoyed some for a snack a couple of hours ago. I hope you’ll love this as much as my family does! And thank you so much for letting me know that the link for Silk isn’t working anymore – I hadn’t noticed that problem had developed and really appreciate you mentioning it! HERE is a direct link to the Silk website so you can see what the product looks like, and also where they have buttons for “Buy Online” and “Where to Buy.” (I also updated the recipe card with this new link, too.) If you have a moment – please pop back and let me know how you like this! Enjoy! 😀 ~ Shelley

      Reply

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Published on
Updated on August 1, 2021
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