I love chia seeds and use them all the time. Chia seeds are mini powerhouses packing more calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries, and more omega-3 than salmon.
Their texture can take a little getting used to, but they are very versatile and are a great protein-packed addition to many recipes because of their ability to thicken and gel.
What is Chia Pudding?
Chia seed pudding is a simple and delicious way to easily get the benefits of chia seeds. It takes minutes to make and has enough protein and nutrients to be a quick, on-the-go breakfast option.
This chia pudding could be put in reused baby food jars, small mason jars, or even squeeze pouches to be included for school lunches.
Personally, I love this with some chopped soaked nuts, fresh fruit, or even chocolate shavings for breakfast or a delicious low-sugar dessert.
Blended vs. Whole Chia Seeds
There are two texture options for chia seed pudding. I prefer to keep the chia seeds whole because I love their texture, but if you prefer a smoother texture that is similar to “regular” pudding, a blended version may be your preference.
Either way, this recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make. Here’s the difference:
- For the whole seed version, just leave the seeds whole and whisk the ingredients together. If you are adding flavors (strawberries, PB&J, spices, chocolate, etc) you will need to blend these into the liquid (milk and sweetener) first before whisking in the chia seeds to keep the flavor from being uneven.
- For blended (smooth) pudding, just dump all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. I prefer to do this with chocolate or colored options as the simple vanilla recipe will have a grayish color when blended.
Chia Seed Pudding Recipe
- 2 cups coconut milk
- ½ cup chia seeds
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup maple syrup or sweetener and amount of choice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon optional
- For blended/smooth version: Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth.
- For whole chia seed version: Blend all ingredients except chia seeds in a blender until smooth, including any added flavors, fruits, or chocolate. Whisk in chia seeds.
- Pour mixture into a jar or glass container and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to let gel.
- Shake or whisk a few times within the first hour to help it gel evenly. I prefer to make this at night to have ready for a fast breakfast the next day. It is also great to make in the morning for a delicious pre-made dessert at night.
Chia Seed Pudding Variations
The beauty of this recipe is that there are dozens of ways to customize it. You can change the flavor, the texture, the sweetener, the color, and practically any other part of the recipe and it is almost impossible to mess up. I’ve included the basic vanilla coconut chia seed pudding recipe that I make above, but you can try these variations:
Different or Less Sweetener
If you can’t have or don’t want to add the maple syrup as a sweetener, you can easily substitute stevia (no glycemic) or leave the sweetener out entirely if you like the natural sweetness of coconut and chia.
Stevia can be a very potent healthy sweetener if you find a good version that hasn’t been bleached or that contains added ingredients. My favorite brand is Sweet Drops and they have dozens of flavor options. My personal favorite is to use 5 drops of the English Toffee Stevia in place of the maple syrup in the original recipe.
You could also easily substitute dates or banana in the blended version of this recipe or honey in the whole chia seed version. Experiment and see what your family likes best!
Mix up the Flavor
I prefer basic vanilla chia seed pudding, but I’ve always been a vanilla ice cream person too. If vanilla isn’t your thing, here are some great flavor options you can try:
- Chocolate: Add ¼ cup cocoa powder to the blended version of this recipe and/or add chocolate flavored stevia.
- Strawberry: Add ½ cup fresh strawberries to the blended recipe. Or, try blending fresh strawberries into a juice and use as part of the liquid in the whole chia seed recipe.
- Chai: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of cardamon and cloves for a chai flavor.
- PB&J: Add 3 Tablespoons each of natural peanut or almond butter and jelly or jam of choice. Blend into recipe if using blended version. For whole chia seed variation, blend the peanut butter and jelly into the milk before mixing in the seeds. Here’s a peanut butter and blackberry jam chia pudding recipe we love.
- Pecan Pie: Add ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the base recipe and an optional ½ teaspoon of almond extract. Mix ½ cup of chopped toasted pecans into the finished pudding.
- Matcha: Add 1 Tablespoon matcha green tea powder to the mix for a naturally bright green chia pudding (great idea for St. Patrick’s Day!).
Up the Protein
I love to add a little more protein to this recipe, especially if it is going to be a breakfast recipe. I add 2-4 Tablespoons of collagen powder (I use the blue-lid kind from here). This adds more protein and skin/hair boosting collagen without changing the taste at all.
How Long Can You Keep Chia Seed Pudding?
This recipe uses all natural ingredients and is not a processed food. It tastes best within two days after it is made. The ideal time to eat is the day after making it for best flavor. I prefer to make at night to have it ready the next morning.
This delicious pudding vanishes so quickly in our house that I don’t know if it will last longer than 4 days. I would recommend only making the amount you plan to eat over a 2-3 day period for best flavor and freshness.
Discussion (230 Comments)
What about the phytic acid in Chia seeds? I’ve read a lot of conflicting information on the health benefits vs harmful effects of Chia seeds. I think this is a confusing issue for many of us and I would love to hear your thoughts.
There’s more info about them here: https://wellnessmama.com/4981/chia-seeds/
Thanks! Can you tell me why the phytic acid in chia seeds doesn’t bother you?
You have several articles/recipes for chia seeds but you’ve never addressed the phytic acid in them. I’ve seen several people ask questions about this and I wonder why you haven’t posted an answer for any of these questions. I hope this doesn’t come across wrong- I love your recipes, resources and cookbook. Just genuinely wondering 🙂
Working on a post on that 🙂
I think this might help you with the phytic acid question
Lots of things contain phytic acid. It’s all about moderation and comparative levels. The omega and antioxidant benefit outweighs the phytic risk.
Even drinking too much water can kill you, but we all still drink that. Moderation.
Would it be ok to substitute almond milk for the coconut milk? I usually have almond on hand but not coconut.
I am sure that would be fine.
I make this with almond milk all the time (usually with cinnamon and honey for flavoring). Works like a charm!
Does anybody use soy milk?
I just like the taste and protein content.
Katie doesn’t recommend soy milk. Here’s more on why. https://wellnessmama.com/health/is-soy-healthy/
I love the chia seed puddings. I’m doing the keto diet, and the seeds have so much fiber, it really balances out. I use my leftover coffee, swerve for sweetener, (absolutely the best no calories no carbs, tastes like the real deal) a dash of vanilla extract, and a tablespoon or two of heavy cream. Whisk it up, put in fridge, still again after an hour or so. When ready to serve I add a dash more of heavy cream, and enjoy. For breakfast or desert. Raspberries are great to add when using unsweetened almond milk instead of coffee..
I’ve tried it. It works just fine, but it didn’t taste as good to me.
Do you still use/recommend Great Lakes collagen?
Both are good brands, but I’ve been able to verify the sourcing of Vital Proteins more and have switched to it… I’d still use great lakes if you have it though.
Hi! I have both the blue and green containers of Vital Protein but cannot discern the benefit difference between the two. The blue dissolved much easier than the gooey green but is there a benefit difference you prefer between the two?
They are both the same in terms of benefits, really. They just have different uses.
Are chia seeds like flax seeds, where you have to ground them to get their nutritional benefits? Otherwise the body just passes them straight through?
No… you still get benefits from whole chia seeds.
Chia seeds are best left whole for the most nutritional value, where flaxseeds are best ground… that’s what I been told 🙂
PS…love this pudding!
Hi, I’m new to Chia seeds but I was so exited to try this pudding. I made it exactly according to the chocolate recipe but I use ground Chia seeds because that’s what I had at the time. It had SUCH a bitter aftertaste! My whole family tried it and couldn’t eat it? I had to throw it all out. What could have happened? Is it the ground Chia seeds? Because, I blended it so wouldn’t that have ground them up anyway? Please help.
I think it’s the blended chia. We had the same issue. It doesn’t taste that way with whole chia seeds
I’ve had the same thought/concern and never seen anyone address that issue.
I used ground Chia seeds and my chocolate pudding came out with a very bitter after taste. I thought it would be OK to use ground since it’s ok to blend the pudding. Is there a difference?
Looks like a great dessert! Can you use raw milk instead of coconut mik?
In this recipe do you use full fat coconut milk? Wouldn’t it make it really thick?
Yes… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It comes out really rich and creamy.
Can one use almond milk or cheap coconut milk instead?
(And how does one keep the seeds from sinking to the bottom and forming a thick lumpy goo instead of soaking evenly and forming a soft gooey pudding? Is this because I used almond milk instead? It tasted wonderful anyway, though.)
You can. With alternative milks, it helps to stir once or twice during the chilling process.
I liked the flavor, but it was too creamy for my taste, and the coconut flavor was really strong (almost overpowering the cocoa) so next time I will try it with 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water.
I use almond milk 🙂
love chia puding
I think you meant Chai on the third option down. Auto correct kills me sometimes. Looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it. I’ve been looking for a real food calcium powerhouse.
I love this and make it all the time! Some great ideas on variations!
Hi there. Your email appears on my screen as a pop-up, if that is the correct description. If Gmail gets dropped then so does your email because I have to sign on again. How can I receive your email in my Inbox?
I missed out on the one about making your own yogurt. Can you resend it to me please?
Frances from Sunny South Africa
Katie, you used to recommend another type of collagen – the one in a green round box. Do you still use it or you switched, if yes, why and do you consider the other brand still good?
Both are good brands, but I’ve been able to verify the sourcing of Vital Proteins more and have switched to it… I’d still use great lakes if you have it though.
Not to rain on your parade, but according to their website, Vital Proteins get their product from Brazilian cattle. Just watched “Cowspiracy” and it really affected me. The Brazilian cattle industry is responsible for driving widespread deforestation of the rain forests at an unprecedented rate to cater to the corrupt industrial livestock industry, which itself produces massive amounts of CO2 and contributes heavily to global warming.
I know it can be really difficult to try and be a responsible consumer when there are so many factors to consider – nobody’s perfect, but it’s at least good to be informed 🙂
I agree! I substitute or leave out any animal products in recipes from this site. You really don’t need them, it’s better for your health, the planet and the animals!
oh oh oh, I have never heard of dietary collagen supplements before reading this recipe and I think I’m gonna be sick – they could only come from the collagen of other animals surely?… so I click thru to learn more and yes from cow skin! I wouldn’t even have that on my floor let alone in my body. Can you imagine the processing that has gone through to become a neat little pill for us to take? So far off the scale of whole food wellness that it is hard to comprehend.
It’s very healthy for you, which I talk about in this post: https://wellnessmama.com/60867/collagen-benefits/
Collagen is incredibly healthy. And in order to be in optimum health, it’s necessary to consume both plant and animal products.
Remember, plants are living things too. A life must always be sacrificed in order for another to survive.
Also just because cows in Brazil contribute to that specific disaster, doesn’t mean that these cows in particular contribute. I could talk about factory farming in America but that doesn’t speak for every American farm.
I have a question. I attempted to do the chia seed pudding. Put coconut milk, chia seed cinnamon, all in a mason jar overnight and this morning it looked the same. No pudding, just milky.
Did you blend it before putting it in the Mason jar? I find that I need to blend for at least 2 mins to get the desired texture before refrigerating. When blended for less than 2 mins I find it doesn’t gel up as much even when left in the fridge over night.
The only thing I can think of is that you used less chia and too much milk. Definitely shake after you add all ingredients. I also will check after about an hour and give it another shake. I just make pudding last night, but used 1% milk…added and half tsp of honey and dash of cinnamon and was perfect!! I have make with almond milk too and turned out perfectly. Not sure if coconut milk makes a difference.
Hi Lisett 🙂 I’ve found that brands and seasons make a difference to how much the seeds gel. It’s probably just the batch you have. When I get a new bag I test it by adding a teaspoonful to 20ml of water, stir it up every few minutes until it gels. You can then see if you need more or less water. Also if the liquid you use is very acidic it won’t gel very much.
Love your site. Been a fan of yours for a couple of years now. I learned about chia seeds pudding off of the chia seeds bag. And I too experiment with the flavors. Love some of your suggestions like the Pecan Pie! Under the flavors though you wrote Chia flavored twice, instead of Chai (like the tea latte).
Loren Cordain no longer advocates eating chia seeds because the gel can prevent absorption of nutrients and eventually cause leaky gut; studies have shown higher inflammatory markers with consumption of these seeds. Not sure what to make of this but maybe further research. Probably the amount you eat as a healthy dessert won’t matter though.
Who’s Loren Cordain? I eat chia pudding most days because I read that it can thin out your blood. I have a doc who’s being over cautious with warfarin, which I think is completely unnecessary for me, but since chia does some thinning, I’ve been sure to keep a supply of chia pudding in my fridge at all times. I make it with DIY nut milk and throw in the mash.
The key with warfarin is to be consistent. if you normally eat a lot of green leafs, garlic, ginseng, chia seed, etc that is ok as long as you consistently eat that way. Coumadin must reach therapeutic levels so if you eat the same way while reaching your therapeutic levels then you can continue with the same diet. For example, one green salad each day. If you are not consistent then it’s better to avoid all blood thinning foods because Coumadin can cause gi bleeds and more. The good thing is there are regular tests with Coumadin so you can determine the therapeutic levels. Talk to your doctor about it.
Loren Cordains claim I have not heard before. However, recommended to me by my naturopath, I use a Chia & flax seed fiber daily for part of my IBD treatment, and I have had incredible results.
It’s interesting you said this because for the first time this morning I had an entire serving of this at the same time that I took my medications, and they clearly did not kick in, so intestinal absorption is possible a concern because of how much the seeds suck up. In fact I avoid fiber supplements that absorb water.
The meds are my bipolar meds that are actually anti seizure meds, along with thyroid meds, and it’s very apparent to me when my bipolar meds aren’t working because I get spacy and dizzy and disoriented. I’m hoping my lunchtime dose will work because I actually have to accomplish things today. So although plenty of whole foods and supplements are wonderful, always good to air on the side of caution.
But I’m a huge fan of this site. Katie is an inspiration for me, as a working mom who is trying to balance autoimmune challenges along with food sensitivities, and the plethora of things that most of you probably deal with.
My doctor actually introduced me to this site, which says a lot.
If you’re taking meds for seizures, but don’t suffer from epilepsy for example, then you may suffer serious brain damage in the future! Also so may be in some way addicted to them by now- missing one dose and getting the symtptoms you described? That seems a little extreme…
What is homemade or natural coconut milk. Did you mean homemade or store bought? That makes more sense.