~ This decadent Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding has sweet coconut and crunchy almonds … just like an Almond Joy candy bar (but 1,000x healthier)! It’s a super-easy meal prep breakfast for busy mornings … or a delightful make-ahead dessert you can keep stashed in the fridge to satisfy those late-night chocolate cravings guilt-free! ~
This Recipe Is: • Make Ahead • Vegetarian • Gluten Free •
Is your breakfast just not luscious enough? (I mean, it should be – you deserve it!)
Or maybe your late-night chocolate fix is a bit toooooo luscious … as in, it’s starting to hang out permanently there at your waistline.
Either way, I’ve got the answer. And, (oh, joy!) it starts with the words “Candy Bar.”
I’m 100% not kidding. I don’t joke about chocolate.
This handy little 5-minute recipe is the answer to so many of life’s questions! Like:
√ Can I have candy bars for breakfast (my mom always told me “no”)?
Well … your mom was kinda wrong. (Note: refer to our 10-Minute Almond Joy Oatmeal for further proof. Sorry, mom. 😉 )
√ Can I stock my fridge with a grab-and-go breakfast I’ll actually wanna eat (aka: not cardboard)?
Yes! You’ll not only want to eat this, you just might find yourself waking up early because you’ve been dreaming about it allll night. Ok ok – maybe not the getting up early part. But the rest is true, for sure!
√ Can I possibly find a satisfyingly decadent dessert that won’t make me hate myself 5 minutes later?
Yep … allow me to introduce your new-favorite chocolate fix!
Why You’ll Adore This Chia Chocolate Pudding
There’s just so much to love here!
• Chocolate Chia Pudding You’ll Actually
Like Love – Honestly, I find most chia chocolate pudding recipes to be kinda meh. But not this one! It’s got dark chocolate vibes, gussied up with chewy sweet flecks of coconut, and those crunchy almonds. This is the opposite of meh. It’s fabbbb-ulous!
• Oh, the Almond Joy! – Yes, I had to do this. You know I did. Besides my Almond Joy Oatmeal, I’ve created Almond Joy Snack Bites and Almond Joy Zucchini Cake. The chocolate-coconut-almond thing is one of my favorite flavor profiles to play with. Always so, soooo good. It just works.
• That Joy Is So Darn Easy to Make! – I’m talkin’ 5 minutes of effort. Yeah, that’s pretty joyful.
• It’s Breakfast … No Wait … It’s Dessert! – Heck, it can even be a snack. There’s no wrong time of day. Filled with protein, fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, this chia pudding will power you up for busy days, and won’t weight you down. Keep a stockpile in your fridge, and you’re set to roll, any time!
But Wait … What Is Chia Pudding, Anyway?
Basically, it’s a healthy pudding made with chia seeds and a liquid (usually some sort of milk).
So, by simply adding some creamy milk and yummy flavors (mmmmmm … like candy bar flavors!) to chia seeds, you can create a delicious, so-much healthier pudding.
The chia basically does all the work for you! (Thank you, tiny chia.)
Well then, let me show you how crazy-easy this is to make, and give you a few handy little tips along the way (’cause you know I test my recipes again and again and again to figure out all the shortcuts and secrets!) ….
How to Make This Chocolate “Candy Bar” Chia Joy
This ain’t my first Chia Pudding rodeo.
This recipe builds off the tried-and-true template of our popular, basic Chia Seed Pudding recipe. I riffed on that blueprint to create this little oasis of chocolate joy – in much the same way that we created our First Watch copycat Chia Pudding recipe, and our yummy Apple Pie Overnight Chia Pudding.
It’s so easy!
Mix together your milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder, maple syrup, almond extract, and salt, stirring them really thoroughly so they’re totally combined.
I usually like to use a whisk in this step, but a spoon can work just fine, too.
Set your pudding aside briefly – say, for maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
Then, stir it again to break up any clumps of chia seeds.
Pro Tip: A lot of recipes I’ve seen skip this second stirring step, but it really does help to ensure you don’t end up with tight little balls of chia seeds stuck together in your finished pudding.
Add your yummy coconut and almonds, and mix them through.
(You may have to use restraint here. You want to eat it already don’t you?? Patience, my friend. Patience.)
Cover your pudding and pop it into the fridge to fully set up. (Check out our suggestions down below for making individual meal prep containers at this point, if you’d like.)
Annnnnddddd … you’re done!
How easy was that?!?
Walk away and try to forget how crazy-much you’re craving that glorious chocolate-y pudding. How it’s calling your name. Try hard … it’ll be set and ready soooooon …
Which Milk Is Best in This Recipe?
We’ve tested our chia puddings with lots of different milks (including dairy and cashew). But for this recipe, I wanted to go with either coconut milk or almond milk, since both coconut and almonds were highlighted in the whole “Almond Joy” flavor profile.
Between the two, I thought coconut milk had a better after-taste (prior to mixing in all the other toppings). But, once all the additional mix-ins and flavors are added in, there was virtually no difference at all.
So, use whichever milk you prefer, or whichever happens to meet your dietary goals.
Can You Use Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut?
I’d recommend using the more commonly available shredded, sweetened coconut.
Unsweetened just isn’t as good in this recipe (yep – I tested that, too).
And, when I compared nutrition labels side-by-side, I was surprised to see that (comparing 15 g portions), the sweetened coconut only has a little bit more sugar that the unsweetened … and it actually has quite a bit less saturated fat (and overall fat) and also fewer calories.
Can You Use Ground Chia Seeds in Chia Pudding?
You sure can! They can be used interchangeably in the same amounts.
In fact, you can actually purchase ground chia seeds, so you don’t have to blitz your own.
Whole chia seeds are much more commonly used in making chia pudding, of course. But, ground seeds work in exactly the same way as whole ones. Using ground seeds simply yields a somewhat smoother pudding, without tapioca-like pearls of chia throughout the finished pudding.
Honestly, though, even with ground seeds, you still won’t get a perfectly smooth texture. Despite what some recipes might lead you to believe, I don’t find that the ground chia completely disappears.
I’ve tested this particular Chia Chocolate Pudding recipe with both whole chia seeds and ground seeds.
Because it’s so loaded with wonderful textures from the coconut and almonds, I found that there was almost no textural difference between using whole or ground chia seeds – so, go with whatever you prefer or happen to have on hand.
How to Meal Prep Your Chocolate Chia Pudding
You have a couple of options here:
Option 1: Of course, you can refrigerate your entire batch of pudding in a large serving bowl. Then, you can scoop some out whenever you’re hungry, and toss on a sprinkle of extra toppings. Mmmmmm …
Option 2: But really, to have this totally made ahead, meal prepped and ready to go at a moment’s notice, you’ll want to go a little further. (You can do this either before or after you let it fully set in the fridge.)
Divide your chocolate chia pudding up into single-serve containers (trying hard not to lose most of it to “taste tests” along the way!).
Layer it with additional shredded coconut and sliced almonds, any way you like. And maybe toss an alluring sprinkle of mini chocolate chips on top. My oh my … impossible to resist!
BTW We love using the cute Weck jars you see in our photos. They’re the perfect single-serving size and so pretty!
Cover your pudding and store it in the fridge – ready when you are!
Your chia pudding should easily last for at least 3 days. If you can somehow resist gobbling it up sooner, you can probably even stretch it to 5 days.
“Candy Bars” for breakfast, all week long!
That’s a lot of luscious, chocolate-y, almond-y joy.
And yeah … you for sure deserve it. Enjoy!
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (the lower-fat refrigerated kind, such as Silk – not canned) or other milk of choice (see note)
- 1/4 cup ground or whole chia seeds
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/16 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup coconut (sweetened, shredded)
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- optional for serving: additional shredded coconut and sliced almonds, and also a few mini chocolate chips, if desired
- In a medium bowl, mix coconut milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder, maple syrup, almond extract, and salt with a spoon or whisk, stirring thoroughly to combine.
- Set aside briefly and stir or whisk again after about 10-15 minutes to break up any clumps of chia seeds. Add 1/3 cup coconut and 3 tablespoons almonds and mix again.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour or two, or overnight. Or, for meal prep, divide it into single-serve containers such as the Weck jars we used in our photos, layering the pudding with optional additional coconut and almonds as desired, then covering and refrigerating each portion. (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.)
- Serve with optional additions, if desired (sprinkled on top, or layered in if you haven't already done that).
Milk options: As we mention in the post, we've tested this Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding recipe with both coconut milk and almond milk – and we've additionally tested other chia seed pudding recipes with cashew milk, and dairy milk, as well. Although we prefer the flavor of coconut milk over almond milk in this recipe, use whichever milk you prefer, or whichever best meets your dietary needs (such as vegan or nut-free).
Make-ahead and meal prep: This Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding keeps well, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 3-5 days. Make a double batch for quick, grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks all week long. You can pre-portion the pudding into small jars (like the adorable mini tulip jars we used in our photo) or portable single-serve containers.