Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits are delicious for dessert or healthy enough for breakfast! This overnight chia seed pudding recipe is made with coconut milk and maple syrup for a vegan and refined sugar free treat. Layer the chocolate pudding with coconut milk yogurt, fresh pomegranate seeds, and whipped coconut cream.
RECIPE AND POST UPDATED January 2022
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits
Chia seed pudding seems to be all the rage – especially on healthier menus (or blogs). Likely because it is extremely versatile and can be combined with a myriad of flavors. Which is why I love to layer chia pudding with fruit, yogurt, and the occasional Whipped Coconut Cream. Not only are all of the ingredients in this pudding healthier, but the chia seeds themselves carry some great health benefits.
- Heart Beneficial Omega-3’s
- Everyday Essential Nutrients
- Free Radical Fighting Antioxidants
- Fiber To Keep You Full
Take all of those benefits and combine them with a dessert that is refined sugar free AND vegan, and I would certainly put these Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits in the healthier dessert – or breakfast – category!
What Does Chia Seed Pudding Taste Like
First, I think it important to understand how the tiny chia seed can plump up into pudding. Chia seeds are made up of a high amount of soluble fiber and that fiber loves to soak up liquid – in this case coconut milk. Which results in the seeds plumping up and thickening into the gel-like pudding.
The end result is a chia seed pudding that tastes like a thick and creamy pudding – with a subtle and enjoyable bite from the chia seeds. The chia seed pudding does require require some time to plump up into the thick and creamy pudding. My recommendation is to let the chia seed pudding soak overnight. However, you can check the consistency of the pudding after about 4 hours in the refrigerator – just keep in mind it may not be as thick and creamy.
What You Need To Make Chocolate Chia Pudding Parfaits
Chia Seed Pudding Ingredients
- Chia seeds – Any brand of chia seeds will work. I always use organic black chia seeds because they are more prominent and the grocery.
- Cocoa Powder – Natural or Dutch process cocoa will work. I prefer Dutch process because I don’t find it to be as acidic as natural cocoa powder.
- Carton Coconut Milk – Any milk or dairy-free milk will work!
- Pure Maple Syrup – This is my sweetener of choice for chia pudding – especially to keep the pudding vegan. Although you can substitute any sweetener of choice.
- Vanilla Extract – A little adds great flavor.
Pudding Parfait Options
- Coconut Milk Yogurt – The coconut milk yogurt is an easy and healthy way to add a little creaminess to the parfaits.
- Pomegranate Seeds (Arils) – Pomegranate seeds – also called pomegranate arils – either fresh from the fruit. Otherwise, I find many groceries to carry packages of fresh pomegranate seeds.
- Pomegranate Juice – Reserve some of the juice from the seeds to add into coconut milk yogurt!
- Canned Coconut Milk – This canned coconut milk is for the Whipped Coconut Cream on top. The recipe post for the whipped coconut cream goes into detail on the brands of canned coconut milk I prefer. You can also see below for my recommendations for canned coconut milk.
- Small mixing bowl
- Serving glasses or bowls – This is a small batch recipe, so you will only need 2 serving glasses or bowls. The glasses in the photos hold about 10 ounces.
Coconut Milk Brands I Recommend To Make Whipped Coconut Cream
Good and Gather
- Where to buy: Target
- It whips up nicely, is thick and creamy, and I successfully use it to make Butter Free Frosting and Whipped Coconut Cream.
- Does not have a strong coconut flavor, includes guar gum which acts as a stabilizer, and the coconut solids are smooth and creamy.
- It can be hit or miss on how much coconut solid you are able to get from can to can.
- Where to buy: Walmart or Amazon
- 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.
- Does not have a strong coconut flavor and includes guar gum which acts as a stabilizer.
- 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
- 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.
- Comes in smaller 5.4ounce cans.
- Includes guar gum which acts as a stabilizer.
- 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.
Tips For Making Chia Pudding Parfaits
- 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.
- Keep it refined sugar free AND vegan with maple syrup – I like pure maple syrup because it adds a buttery caramel flavor – which is perfect for pumpkin pie.
- 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.
- Use different textures in your parfait layers – The different ingredient textures are a nice complement to the creamy pudding. Not to mention – it is filling!
- Flavor your yogurt – If you are using a yogurt layer, add a couple teaspoons of juice from the fruit you are using to it. For this recipe, I added 2 teaspoons of pomegranate juice to the coconut yogurt.
- Non-vegan options – This recipe is vegan. Though any milk, sweetener or parfait layer options work.
- Make more – This recipe is easily doubled.
Common Questions For Making Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds don’t have much flavor and the pudding will take on the flavors that you add. The end result is a thick and creamy sweet chocolate pudding that will have a little ‘bite’ from the seeds. Add in layers like yogurt or fruit for a parfait like dessert.
Any chia seed will work, and I recommend whatever is readily available in your grocery. In my experience, black organic chia seeds seem to be more prevalent in regular grocery stores. However, specialty stores will likely carry black and white chia seeds.
Yes it will! I use and prefer Dutch process because I think it is less acidic than natural cocoa powder.
It sure will! I have made chia seed pudding with almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk.
You certainly can! Taste the pudding as you are making it and adjust the sweetness to your preference.
I recommend that you do to achieve a thick and creamy consistency. You can check the pudding at about 4 hours, just know it may not be as creamy at that time.
I’m going to say no because the thickness of the pudding is a personal preference. I like a thick and creamy pudding, and I find that 5 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of liquid achieves a creamy pudding. That said, you can certainly make a thinner pudding by using less chia seeds to liquid. I would say 3 to 4 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of liquid will yield a thinner pudding.
More Healthy Dessert and Breakfast Recipes
- Winter Citrus and Cream Oatmeal Tarts
- Healthier Chocolate Power Bites
- Honey Orange Snack Cake
- Strawberry Oatmeal Streusel Muffins
- Smooth Red Berry Chia Pudding
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits
- 2 – Serving Glasses
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; more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
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.
Assembling the Parfaits
- Spoon equal amounts of the chia seed pudding into your serving glasses (or bowls). Top with your optional parfait layers and Enjoy!
- 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 10 ounces.
- Parfait Layer Options – Use any parfait layer options you like. Used in the photos are: coconut milk yogurt, pomegranate seeds, Whipped Coconut Cream, and granola.
- Pomegranate Seeds – I recommend fresh (from the fruit), or fresh pomegranate seeds found in the produce section. I find frozen pomegranate seeds lose some of their juice and flavor.
- Extra Pomegranate Flavor – For extra pomegranate flavor, I added 2 teaspoons of pomegranate juice to the yogurt layer.