No More Instant Chocolate Pudding

Written By: Owennie Lee, RD

Title: Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Healthy Instant Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate pudding has got to be an all-time favorite dessert for adults and kids alike. Many of us might purchase the instant pudding mix to whip up “something quick” for dessert. What price are we really paying in exchange for the convenience?

Jell-O Instant Pudding (Chocolate) Dry Mix

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Here’s what we found when we compared instant chocolate pudding mix to our homemade version:

Jell-O Instant Pudding
(Chocolate) Dry Mix


Chocolate Pudding


Serving Size:

1/4 package
(1/2 cup prepared)

1/2 cup
173 kcal 307 kcal
4.3 g 6 g
4 g 17.3 g
Trans Fat:
0 g 0 g
32.5 g 33 g
25.4 g 25.9 g
1 g 1.9 g
369 mg 66 mg
138 mg 170 mg
Preparation time:
Preparation: 1 minute
Setting: 3 minutes
Total: 4 minutes
Preparation: 15 minutes
Setting: 2 hrs in fridge
Total: 2 hrs 15 minutes
Price per serving:
$0.66 $0.85
Sugar, modified cornstarch, cocoa, sodium phosphates, artificial and natural flavor, cornstarch, salt, color (contains tartrazine), hydrogenated soybean oil, mono- and diglycerides whole milk, milk chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa powder, pure vanilla extract

How Did the Two Stack Up?

When it comes to flavor and mouth feel, our homemade version beats the instant version hands-down. The pudding from the instant mix was lumpy and bubbly, and had a bitter, baking-soda-like aftertaste. Our homemade version, although lighter in color, was rich, smooth, chocolaty, and decadent.

As far as nutrition goes, because we used real milk and cream in the recipe, the homemade pudding contains more protein and fat (and hence calories). Although you get fewer calories and less fat with the instant mix, you are getting more sodium, artificial flavor, artificial color (including tartrazine, aka Yellow No. 5), and a bit of trans fat (from the hydrogenated soybean oil) instead. We have to admit that it is way faster to whip up a pudding from the instant mix (4 minutes vs. 2 hours 15 minutes), but your body deserves the extra wait that results in a less artificial and richer-tasting dessert.

The Bottom Line

If you must indulge in chocolate pudding, take the time and make yourself one from real ingredients. If you are concerned about fat content, you may use half-and-half cream and reduced-fat milk in the recipe. Not only will your taste buds scream for joy, your body will also thank you for escaping from the extra sodium, artificial flavor, artificial color, and trans-fat trap.

Our Milk Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious


  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces fine-quality milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. (Mixture will be thick.) Remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl and chill pudding, its surface covered with wax paper (to prevent a skin from forming), until cold, at least 2 hours.

Cooks’ note: Pudding can be chilled, covered with plastic wrap after 2 hours, up to 3 days.


home cooking, no more packaged foods, pudding, recipes


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