Homemade Healthy Chocolate Pudding

What is it about pudding that is so delicious? The smooth, creamy, velvety texture? The way it jiggles a little? The fact that it is yet another way of enjoying chocolate?

Whatever the reason is, chocolate pudding tends to be a family favorite across all families. Most of us are used to the chocolate pudding found in the small square box or in those handy plastic containers found in the refrigerated section at the store. Sadly, those family favorites are loaded with yicky ingredients which we’ll take a look at in just a second.

Before that, I wanted to point out the sneaky marketing they are using on their packaging to make you think the ingredients are good: “No high fructose corn syrup. No artificial preservatives or sweeteners.” While both of these are good things, there are still many ingredients in the product itself that make you go “Humm…” and it’s really important to be aware of those.

OK, let’s check out the ingredients for Jell-O Chocolate Pudding Snacks (the kind found in the refrigerated section):


…. Where do I start? Can you point out the questionable ingredients?

  • Skim milk: Most likely from cows living in crowded conditions, pumped with antibiotics and hormones, and fed genetically modified feed which makes them sick.
  • Sugar: Unless stated as “cane sugar,” when you see the word “sugar” it most likely comes from genetically modified sugar beet — read more about that here.
  • Modified cornstarch: Corn has a high chance of being genetically modified.
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil: The actual process of hydrogenation takes a potentially healthy oil and turns the chemical makeup similar to that of plastic. Oils are not meant to forego extremely high heat processing and when they are subjected to such high heat, it makes the oil unhealthy for your body by turning them into trans fat.
  • Cornstarch: See modified cornstarch above.
  • Sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium alginate, calcium phospate: I’m not going to lie, I don’t know what these are. My gut tells me it’s not something I want in my food because I can’t pronounce it and can’t find it in my pantry.
  • Natural and artificial flavor: Artificial anything is no good.
  • Artificial color: Artificial color has been linked to all kinds of behavior disorders in children. It’s best to skip this ingredient whenever possible.

Take a deep breath. 🙂

The good news is, it’s incredibly easy to make your own homemade chocolate pudding with real ingredients. Instead of using hydrogenated oils to make the pudding thick, this homemade healthy chocolate pudding recipe uses pasture-raised beef gelatin from Vital Proteins. And no, I promise there is no beef taste in the pudding. Vital Proteins gelatin doesn’t give off a beefy flavor like some of the other ones I’ve tried.

Another reason I love Vital Proteins gelatin is because of how their beef are raised; this being a key component to making a healthy homemade chocolate pudding —

Our cattle graze on lush grasslands in Brazil and are not given hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. They eat their natural diet – grass, and receive plenty of open space and sunshine. We believe in providing our animals with an environment that nature intended, and the result is a high quality protein that is natural and pure. (source)

Gelatin has numerous health benefits but some of the most popular ones are: 

  • Promotes youthful skin, healthier hair, stronger nails
  • Keeps bones healthy and strong (adding more gelatin in the diet when you’re recovering from a bone injury can help aid a quicker healing time)
  • Supports joint health and helps loosen stiff joints (my FIL took gelatin for 2 weeks in his coffee and could open and close his hands, whereas he wasn’t able to do that before)
  • Promotes relaxation and good sleep

Aside from gelatin being used in this recipe, wholesome ingredients like maple syrup, coconut milk, whole milk, and unrefined salt make this homemade chocolate pudding a guilt-free treat.

Well, guilt-free in my eyes… says the 7 month pregnant lady.

So move over Jell-O pudding snacks, hello homemade healthy chocolate pudding made with superfood gelatin!


Want to Try Vital Proteins for Yourself? Save 20% AND Free Shipping!

Vital Proteins has given Naturally Loriel readers a 20% discount code plus you get free shipping. To take advantage of this great deal, enter coupon code NATURALLYLORIEL20 at checkout. Coupon code ends September 24, so don’t wait to redeem your coupon over at Vital Proteins for pasture-raised gelatin and collagen.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Healthy Chocolate Pudding
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2½ tsp Vital Proteins beef gelatin
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 3½ Tbl cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1⅔ cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, add in the gelatin and coconut milk. Whisk with a fork until there are no clumps; mixture will solidify a bit -- it's okay.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine maple syrup, cocoa powder, salt, and whole milk with a whisk. Turn the stove to medium low heat and whisk continuously until mixture heats up by bubbling around the edges (5-10 minutes).
  3. Using a sieve over the bowl of gelatin, pour the hot dairy mixture through the sieve into the bowl; whisk to combine ingredients.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Place the bowl uncovered in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Once the time is up, remove from the refrigerator, place a sheet of plastic wrap on the top of the pudding, and place back in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours so the pudding can set.
  6. When you're ready to eat it, whip the pudding with a hand mixer or stand mixer to get to a creamy, velvety texture. Using a manual whisk or wooden spoon may not be enough to get the pudding to the desired texture.


This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins. Thank you for allowing me to support my favorite brands and share them with you! 

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      1. Nice!

        We were just talking about Snack Packs this morning and how I would never send that to school with my kiddo… Perfect timing and I have all the ingredients! 🙂

          1. I made a double recipe tonight using Great Lakes gelatin (what I had on hand) and it’s been in the fridge for three hours and it’s still pretty thin… Did I mess up or does it maybe just take a long time to set?

  1. Personally I would much rather mix nothing but avocado, cocoa powder and agave with a pinch of sea salt for my chocolate pudding – no animals harmed and far tastier and healthier for us and the environment. I don’t actually believe cow’s milk can ever be good for humans and it definitely isn’t good for cows and their calves…

    1. Modern dairy cows have been bred over thousands of years to give far, FAR more milk than their calves need.

      Since a cow will only give milk for a period of time after she gives birth, dairy cows are bred every year – and allowed to raise their calves until they are old enough to be weaned. Weaning “early” is NOT done because the calves are far more likely to be weakened, fail to thrive, or sicken – rendering them unprofitable.

      Virtually all male calves end up in the meat chain. Most females have long milking careers ahead of them. You can argue about whether or not that is “good”, but at least they got to live AT ALL. Basically domestication occurred mostly just so that we didn’t have to directly compete with wolves. All “improvements” afterwards just increased the efficiency of the food chain.

      If a dairy cow is not regularly milked, she will die. First she will suffer for quite a long time. Milking a dairy cow isn’t just “good” for the cow, its necessary to her survival.

      Avocado, cocoa, and agave – sounds disgusting. Enjoy. In the meantime, you can have my milk – NEVER.

  2. The thing I don’t like about this or any other recipe of this type is that only the upper class of people can afford to buy these ingredients. So what you are inadvertently saying is that only the rich can eat healthy.

    1. I don’t think you have to be wealthy to eat well. It may cheaper and easier to feed yourself junk but in the long run you pay in your health. Living on a budget has helped me be more mindful of what and how much food I buy and eat (or throw away). Planning my meals is a pain but it helps me to use everything rather than waste leftover ingredients.
      Loriel, I recently quit sugar. Do you have any suggestions for replacing the maple syrup? I’m going to try rice malt syrup, but even something less sweet would be chocolate to my taste buds 🙂

      1. Sweety, sugar is sugar. There are 17g of carbs in 1T of rice malt syrup. ALL 17g are sugars.

        In maple syrup, there are 13.4g of carbs – and 11.9g of those carbs are sugars. The maple syrup actually has less sugar in it than the rice malt syrup.

        Agave, honey, any kind of syrup – they are all sugar. The only way to eliminate sugar is to eliminate it. Substituting one sugar-bearing substance for another isn’t all that useful if that is your goal.

        I surmise you also object to “artificial” sweeteners as well, which, if that is so, means you are basically out of luck. Leaving any sweetener at all out is your only real recourse.

    2. Or not-so-indadvertently. Seriously. Who would buy most of this stuff if it weren’t for marketing scare tactics? Why use the expensive cow jello when Knox is so much more easily available, as well as more affordable (though not nearly as affordable as it ought to be – candy-flavored jello is actually cheaper than the plain stuff).

      Yeah, and don’t give me that “cruelty free” nonsense or object to Knox gelatin on any kind of holistic grounds or whatever. Because NOBODY, including the guys this blog is getting kickbacks from, can guarantee that the hides, hooves, and bones they make their gelatin from came from “cruelty free” cows, or “grass-fed”, or “organic” – just dead ones. That is the ONLY thing they know about the cow parts they use. They don’t get live cows, they get just the parts and there is no way to trace those parts or to know for sure what those cows were doing or eating while they were alive. They don’t track cow parts. Since the VAST majority of those hides, hooves, other connective tissue, and bones come from dairy cows that have been chopped up into dog food and beef cattle that were chopped up into hamburger and filet mignon, I GUARANTEE YOU that 100% of those cows went through regular slaughterhouses where they were cruelly killed. Regardless of how they were raised/kept up to that point. So ALL gelatin is cruelty-riddled.

      So she gripes about cruelty to dairy cattle in the boxed mix, but then still uses milk in the recipe. I’ve been around dairy cattle all of my life and I can guarantee you that no dairy farm I have ever been around is cruel to their cattle – if for no other reason than that they’d go off their milk if they were! It simply isn’t ECONOMICAL to be cruel to your dairy herd. Chickens are another matter, and commercially raised hogs are not what hog raising was when I was a kid – but dairy cattle? You reduce your yield if they’re not happy. Is every farm perfect? OF COURSE not. Agitate for better conditions. Whatever. But don’t throw something out with the left hand whilst sweeping it in with the right. It’s not magically better when you use it.

      As for “modified” cornstarch, that is simply cornstarch that has been treated via heat and/or enzymes to be more stable and to dissolve more quickly (so you don’t get lumps). It has NOTHING to do with GMO.

      I also love how she proclaims her ignorance and waves it like a flag when she states she cannot pronounce the names of common food additives such as sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium alginate, and calcium phosphate (which she misspelled, by the way, as well as cannot pronounce). You can’t pronounce sodium? Calcium? Phosphate? Did you FLUNK chemistry? Or more likely, never took it to start with? There are no difficult words in those names – and if you didn’t learn to read phonetically (as most people didn’t), did you never learn how to use a dictionary either?

      They are respectively an emulsifier – which keeps everything in solution and keeps the pudding from “breaking” or separating into solids and liquids, commonly found in MANY foods; 2nd is a substance extracted from brown algae and therefore TOTALLY NATURAL that helps powdered mixes to efficiently absorb water upon rehydration; and calcium phosphate is what your BONES are made of. It will be in the gelatin she uses too, because it is made from BONES. So basically there is nothing in any of those three substances that isn’t commonly used in any food item and/or comes from totally “natural” sources. You should know what you’re talking about before you start making sweeping statements about how evil something is. If you don’t like calcium phosphate you’d better go have yourself DEBONED and you certainly shouldn’t be touting any sort of gelatin.

      Fer Pete’s sake. Use your search-fu. Where else but on the internet would someone say “I don’t know what that is and I can’t pronounce it so it is obviously bad” and then expect to get complimented for her blatant display of ignorance.

      Jabulela Ukhisimusi.

      Can’t pronounce that! Don’t know what it is! It MUST BE BAD!

      That’s Merry Christmas in Zulu. Lotsa luck with the whole don’t-know-what-it-means-can’t-pronounce-it-equals-bad philosophy.

      Artificial coloring has NO credible links to the behavior of children. There are undoubtedly a tiny minority of PEOPLE (not just kids) who are allergic to particular food colorings whether they are “artificial” or so-called “natural” – but unless you also intend to go on the warpath to eliminate peanuts, strawberries, and every other food that someone somewhere in the world might be allergic to, why pick on food coloring in particular? Plus – good luck finding something edible once you’ve done that.

      I HATE coconut. I’m not QUITE allergic to it but I have sensitivities to it. Clearly because *I* have a sensitivity to it, by her logic, that makes it Bad For Everyone. I wish I didn’t. My hair loves coconut oil, but it HATES my scalp, LOL! Oh and I love mangoes! But I can only eat one and I can’t let it touch my lips because it is related to poison ivy and I’m allergic. So obviously, NO MORE MANGOES FOR ANYONE!

      As for “anything artificial is bad” – tell that to the guy over there with the artificial limb. Or my dad, and his artificial teeth. Or me, and my artificial medication. Or all our artificial clothing, artificial soaps, artificial houses – everything human beings make is artificial : “Made by humans; produced rather than natural.” That includes the milk – because it is altered via pasteurization and other processes to make sure it is disease free, stable, and safe for humans to drink, and the gelatin, because humans had to raise, kill, dismember, and boil the bones, hooves, connective tissue, and hide, and then put it through machinery to turn it into a powder; and really EVERYTHING. We modified animals to provide us food. At this point its ALL “artificial”. Good luck getting enough to eat from wild bird eggs, chasing down wild bovine ancestors/cousins to get milk, or hunting and gathering while living in your “natural” cave formation, without the benefit of fire for cooking, warmth, light, and safety, because if God had meant us to have fire we’d have been born in flames!

      Thanks. I’ll stick with the artificial stuff we’ve learned to make over the past 100,000+ years. I am particularly fond of artificial climate control, aka central heat and air. I’m old enough to remember a time when that was not common – and not even available. We didn’t even have window air conditioner units until I was like 10. And boy were they expensive!

      If she cares so much about cow-ies and the enviwonment, she ought to be eschewing cocoa as well. The World Cocoa Foundation says that “pesticide use in cocoa production is a major productivity enhancing resource, although farmers used it below the recommended rate.” So they’re not worried about pesticide USE so much as UNDERUSE. But we don’t hear any griping about that, do we?

      My gosh, the nonsense I have to wade through trying to find stuff that won’t skyrocket my blood sugar. It would be nice to come up with a pudding recipe that uses gelatin instead of cornstarch without having to discard 99% of them because they’re full of vegan crap. This one at least uses SOME actual milk – but the only reason for adding the coconut milk and the maple syrup instead of normal sugar and regular milk is to cover up the “off” flavor of the specific brand of gelatin she wants you to buy. You don’t like beet sugar because you’re scared of the ebil GMOS? Fine. Specify cane sugar. Whatever.

      Sadly this is the least bowlderized-for-loony-dietary-reasons version of gelatin-based chocolate pudding I’ve yet come across. I will have to modify it to get rid of the coconut milk and convert the maple syrup to liquid sucralose, and also eschew her fancy expensive not-really-any-different-than-Knox-from-the-point-of-view-of-where-the-cowie-parts-come-from gelatin-that-tastes-of-cow in favor of Knox and see what may follow. Or, more likely, I’ll just keep looking for something that hasn’t been artificially rendered weird to start with.

  3. I was so excited to make this recipe and it was such a disappointment. Yes it tastes like beef with a dash of cocoa. And now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the gelatin packets that i bought.

    1. Got dog? (Flashes up picture of dog with a milk mustache)

      Sorry. Couldn’t resist. This is probably better with Knox, which is about the only unflavored gelatin that doesn’t taste of cow. AAAAND that would be because it isn’t only made of cow, not because they’ve done something evil to it. Knox is made of bones/hides/hooves/connective tissue of cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and any other farm animal one might eat the meat of.

      But in the meantime (while you run out to get some more neutral flavored gelatin such as Knox for your chocolate pudding) you can make yummy-to-a-dog treats from the remaining cow jello. Your dog will love you for it. Just make them double strength – twice as much gelatin to water ratio. You can pour it into a jelly roll pan (the kind of cookie sheet with sides) and cut them into squares after they have set. If you’re really into twee, you can buy tiny little cutters and cut them into shapes. Your dog won’t care one way or the other, but whatever.

        1. On the off chance that you find you have a goat who enjoys cow-flavored gelatin treats as much as your cat and/or dog – RUN! Chupacabra is living in your goat shed!

  4. I never put salt in puddings, and I hate salt with chocolate. Otherwise your recipe sounds nice. I need to make some pudding using Protein shakes that I have been prescribed to eat as part of my diet. I made one that had the wrong proportion of gelatin to liquid, and so that was not good.

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