Black Forest Chia Pudding

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Black Forest Chia Pudding is a thick and creamy vegan pudding made with wholesome chia seeds, cocoa, fresh cherry compote, and topped with whipped coconut cream.  An easy treat that can be enjoyed for breakfast, dessert, or any time in between!

Black Forest Chia Pudding

This Black Forest Chia Seed Pudding is a result of an abundance of left-over cherries!  If you’re like me, you get super excited to see the small summer fruit in the grocery, and buy 3 bags because you think you need them … ugh.  Needless to say there has been a fair share of chia pudding, homemade jam, cherry smoothies, and cherry ice cream this summer!

So, I had to harken back to my most favorite cherry dessert – the Small Batch Black Forest Cupcakes – and recreate those lovelies into this healthi’ish treat!  But, to be totally honest, this chia seed pudding seemed like next in line after I made the Black Forest Overnight Oats … Now you know what goes on inside the mind of a food blogger … 🙂

But, these little chia seed pudding parfaits do not disappoint when it comes to the flavor of chocolate and cherry.

  • Homemade Fresh Cherry Compote – The cherry compote is vibrant, sweet, and the fresh cherries are the star of the show.
  • Thick and Creamy Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding – Think of creamy chocolate pudding, but a tad healthier.
  • Fluffy Whipped Coconut Cream – Black Forest Desserts always need a light and fluffy whipped cream topping!

What’s The Big Deal With Chia Seed Pudding, Anyway?

Bottom line – it’s a healthier option than your traditional chocolate pudding.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate pudding, but everything in moderation, right?!  And, if I can eat chocolate pudding for breakfast – like I can with this Black Forest Chia Seed Pudding – count me in.

Chia seeds do come with a few health benefits, and if I can get some extra health benefits from my chocolate pudding, double count me in!

  • Heart Beneficial Omega-3’s 
  • Everyday Essential Nutrients
  • Free Radical Fighting Antioxidants 
  • Fiber To Keep You Full

In addition to the lovely little seeds watching out for our health, they also plump up into little morsels when you soak them in liquid (in this case, coconut milk).  And the end result is a thick and creamy pudding-like texture.  So when you take the chia pudding, add some fresh cherry compote, and whipped coconut cream, you get one hearty and delightful treat!

Black forest chia seed pudding in small glasses arranged on a table

What You Need To Make Black Forest Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients

  • Fresh Cherries – I always recommend fresh when in season.  But, frozen cherries can also work.  
  • Lemon Juice – To brighten the cherry compote.
  • Chia Seeds – Any brand of chia seeds will work.  I always use organic black chia seeds because they are more prominent and the grocery.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – I like to use Dutch process cocoa because it isn’t as acidic as natural cocoa powder.  But either will work fine.
  • Carton Coconut Milk – Any milk or dairy-free milk will work!  I always use So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk.  It is super creamy and doesn’t have a pronounced flavor.
  • Maple Syrup – This is my sweetener of choice for chia pudding – especially to keep the pudding vegan.  Although you can substitute any sweetener you prefer.
  • Vanilla Extract – A little adds great flavor.
  • Canned Coconut Milk – This canned coconut milk is for the Whipped Coconut Cream on top.  Similar to the recipe for Whipped Coconut Cream, except we are adding a little cinnamon for this recipe!  See below for my recommendations for canned coconut milk.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Small Saucepan – For making the cherry compote.
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Serving Glasses/Bowls

Coconut Milk Brands I Recommend To Make Whipped Coconut Cream

Good and Gather

  • Where to buy: Target
  • Description:  
    • It whips up nicely, is thick and creamy, and I successfully use it to make Butter Free Frosting and Whipped Coconut Cream.
  • Pros:
    • Does not have a strong coconut flavor, includes guar gum which acts as a stabilizer, and the coconut solids are smooth and creamy.
  • Cons:
    • It can be hit or miss on how much coconut solid you are able to get from can to can.

Thai Kitchen

  • Where to buy:  Walmart or Amazon
  • Description:  
    • This used to be my go-to, but it has become harder to find. It whips light and fluffy and I had success making Butter Free Frosting and Whipped Coconut Cream.
  • Pros:
    • Does not have a strong coconut flavor and includes guar gum which acts as a stabilizer.  
  • Cons:
    • Some may find the texture chalky. But I find this unnoticeable when whipped into frosting or whipped cream.

Native Forest Organic Coconut Cream

  • Where to buy: Whole Foods
  • Description:
    • It whips nicely and works to make Butter Free Frosting and Whipped Coconut Cream – if you don’t mind a pronounced coconut flavor.
    • I use it in a pinch to make whipped coconut cream.
  • Pros:
    • Comes in smaller 5.4ounce cans.
    • Includes guar gum which acts as a stabilizer.
  • Cons:
    • Has a pronounced coconut flavor.

Disclaimer: This information is purely subjective and my own opinion based on testing the product. Others may have different experiences. Additionally, I find canned coconut milk is not consistent from can to can. Ratio of coconut solids and liquid can vary.

Single serving of chocolate chia pudding in a small glass on a black plate

Tips For Making Black Forest Chia Seed Pudding

  • Fresh cherries are always best – Especially when in season!  However, frozen cherries will work to make the cherry compote.
  • Use any chia seed you prefer – I have only tried making chia seed pudding with organic black chia seeds.  Only because this is what is always in my grocery.  So, use whatever chia seeds that are easily accessible to you!
  • Any dairy-free milk will work – And dairy-free if you want to keep the pudding vegan.  I use unsweetened coconut milk, but almond, soy, and oat milk will also work great.
  • Dutch process cocoa has a bold flavor – I personally find Dutch cocoa to have a stronger chocolate flavor than natural cocoa.  Additionally, it isn’t as acidic.  But, use whichever you prefer!
  • Keep it refined sugar free AND vegan with maple syrup – I like pure maple syrup because it adds a buttery caramel flavor which pairs nicely with the chocolate.
  • Allow for time to set in the refrigerator – Making chia seeds turn into pudding is not something that happens in an instant.  The pudding mix needs time to chill in the refrigerator to allow the chia seeds to plump up and thicken.  I recommend at least 4 hours, and overnight is ideal.
  • Adjust pudding thickness to your preference – You can make a thicker chia pudding by adding more chia seeds.  Conversely, a thinner pudding can be made by adding more milk.  I recommend checking the pudding after it has chilled for at least 1 hour to see how the consistency is progressing.  
  • Garnish with chocolate shavings/chips – Just to make these cute pudding parfaits even cuter …
Row of three black forest chia pudding parfaits set on a table

Common questions For Making Black Forest Chia seed Pudding

Can this recipe be doubled?

It certainly can!

Can I substitute a different milk?

You can! I like the carton coconut milk because it is thick and creamy and doesn’t have a pronounced flavor. But any milk will work.

Will a different sweetener work instead of the maple syrup?

You bet! Use any sweetener you prefer. You may want to taste test to get your desired sweetness level.

I prefer a looser/thicker chia pudding. How can I achieve this?

You can either add more/less chia seeds (start with 1/2 tablespoon), or adjust the milk (start with 1 tablespoon).

Do I really have to let the chia pudding refrigerate overnight?

That is my recommendation to ensure the chia seeds get fully hydrated and plump. However, you can check the pudding after about 4 hours to see if it has reached your desired consistency.

My chia pudding didn’t set up like pudding. What did I do wrong?

My thought is there was too much milk added, or you need to let the pudding sit in the refrigerator longer.

Do you have other flavors of chia seed pudding?

I sure do! Check out the Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding, Vanilla Chia Pudding, or Smooth Red Berry Chia Pudding.

Single serving of healthier chocolate pudding with fresh cherry on top

More Chia Seed Pudding Recipes

Black Forest Chia Pudding

Yield: 2 Servings
Black Forest Chia Pudding is a thick and creamy vegan pudding made with wholesome chia seeds, cocoa, fresh cherry compote, and topped with whipped coconut cream.  An easy treat that can be enjoyed for breakfast, dessert, or any time in between!
Prep20 mins
Chill8 hrs
Total8 hrs 20 mins

Equipment

  • 2 – Serving Glasses

Ingredients

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

  • 5 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened carton coconut milk - or any milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup - or any sweetener of choice; sweeten to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cherry Compote

  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup - or any sweetener of choice

Instructions

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

  • In a small mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Stir in the chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate the chia pudding at least 4 hours, overnight is ideal. Tip – You can control the consistency of the chia pudding by adding more or less milk. More milk for thinner pudding, less milk for thicker pudding.

Cherry Compote

  • In a small saucepan, add the cherries, lemon juice, and maple syrup.  Heat over medium-low heat until the cherries start to break up and their juices release.  About 5 to 10 minutes.  
  • Transfer the cherry compote to bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the oats. Note – You can add extra fresh cherry halves to the compote to give it more texture.

Assemble the Pudding

  • Portion equal amounts of the Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding into your serving glasses.  Top with equal amounts of Cherry Compote, and finish with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate shavings (optional), and a fresh cherry on top. Enjoy!  

Notes

  • Chia Seeds – Black or white chia seeds will work for the pudding.  I use black chia seeds because they are easier to find.
  • Maple Syrup – You can use any sweetener of choice.
  • Serving Size – The parfait glasses used in the photos are about 4 ounces.  This recipe can easily be doubled.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
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