Creamy, smooth, sweet, and satisfying, chocolate pudding is a treat that always invites a smile. One version of chocolate pudding has been rising in popularity for the past few years, and it's with very good reason. As the interest in plant-based food increases, the seismic shift from boxed mixes or stovetop versions found their hero in naturally creamy avocado.
This chocolate avocado pudding is as chocolatey and luscious as any other pudding, and it's even richer-tasting, more unctuous, even more chocolatey. Best of all it's vegan and gluten-free. Unlike the other versions, which can taste milky or ultra-sweet, this chocolate avocado pudding is all about the chocolate.
Why This Recipe Is the Best
Now, I don't make that claim lightly. This is the best version of chocolate avocado pudding that I have ever made or eaten because it is so well-balanced and multidimensional, thanks to a series of choices we made along the way.
- The melted chocolate balances the bitter edge of the cocoa powder, and together they offer a one-two punch that showcases the complexity of the chocolate.
- The natural liquid sweetener in the form of agave syrup, maple, or honey is balanced by the equally natural, savory edge of an avocado and a pinch of salt. The nut, oat, or soy milk simply draws a background, mildly and subtly playing a supporting role, so that both the chocolate flavor and the texture of whipped avocado really shine.
Fitting Avocado Pudding into Your Dietary Strategy
Perhaps one of the nicest things about chocolate avocado pudding is how well it adapts to all sorts of dietary needs. It starts out gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free, so it's already quite a versatile winner.
If you are a vegan, skip the honey and the rest of the recipe is ready for you.
If you follow a Paleo diet, try raw honey and maple syrup as the sweeteners, stick to plain almond milk that has no added sugar, and use an unsweetened chocolate. You may find that you need to double the amount of sweetener called for in the recipe since the chocolate and cocoa are both a bit bitter. Start with 1/3 cup and add a tablespoon at a time, mixing it in fully after each addition and tasting each time, until the pudding is the just sweetness level you prefer.
I would avoid stevia, molasses, chicory root, and inulin fiber in this recipe because they have bitter undertones that throw off the balance or overtake the key chocolate flavor. If you have a vanilla bean and a few minutes, try adding the seeds to the mixture in lieu of the extract, for a bigger flavor punch. Make sure to check with your Paleo plan about what you can use.
If you follow a Whole30 plan, opt for a nut milk with no added sugar or carrageenan, use the date syrup (or 6 to 8 pitted moist dates, and make sure to get them completely mixed in).
The challenge here is the chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate can be used, but just like with Paleo, you might have to adjust the sugar called for in the recipe, since the chocolate and cocoa are both a bit bitter. Dark chocolate, which has sugar in it, is not on the Whole30 plan, but unsweetened chocolate might or might not be acceptable.
Some adherents argue that since the underlying premise of the program is to teach yourself to be satiated without sweets, this pudding and chocolate or even cocoa are problematic. Make sure to check with your Whole30 plan about what you can use.
Create the Perfect Pudding for You
You can make this pudding as thin or thick as you like, as well. If you want to thicken the pudding, add one to three tablespoons of coconut cream, melted coconut butter, or even half of a very ripe banana. To thin it down, add more of your chosen milk.
- Nut milks & sweeteners: Nut milks with more fats, like cashews, make a more unctuous pudding, but oat milk and soy milk taste great too. The various sweeteners all have distinct flavors; I prefer agave, which is the mildest of them all so it stays in the background and the chocolate flavor can take the lead. However, the flavor of each of the sweeteners listed blends well with chocolate.
- Avocado: Hass avocados are the black, nubby-skinned small avocados that are, luckily, now widely available. They are the creamiest option. A Florida avocado is more vegetal tasting and a bit firmer and isn't the best choice.
Chocolate avocado pudding is a versatile natural treat that can satisfy so many in a single, simple dish. From toddlers to the elderly, and dieters to splurgers, it always satisfies with gracious ease.
Now that's what I call delicious.
The Best Chocolate Avocado Pudding
What You Need
3 to 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 to 3 ounces of dark or bittersweet chocolate (70% or higher)
1/4 cup agave nectar, mild-flavored honey, pure maple syrup (grade B preferred), date syrup, sorghum, or brown rice syrup
1/2 very ripe banana
Measuring cups and spoons
Sharp paring knife
Food processor or blender
Soft silicone spatula
Large bowl or 4 (1/2- to 3/4-cup) ramekins or cups
- Prep the avocados: Cut 1 avocado in half with a sharp paring knife, making sure to avoid the large pit. Separate the avocado halves, and using a spoon, remove the pit. Scrape off any avocado flesh that may be stuck on the pit, and place it in the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Scoop the avocado flesh from each half into the food processor or a blender, making sure to avoid or discard any stringy bits and very dark patches. Watch out for the small hard tip at the stem end, which often comes out easily in ripe avocados and isn't edible. Repeat with the remaining avocados.
- Add the milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt: Add the milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt to the avocados in the food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend for 30 to 45 seconds until fully combined and the avocado is smooth. Leave the mixture in the processor or blender with the cover on while you melt the chocolate.
- Melt the chocolate: Chop or break the chocolate into small (1/2-inch) pieces. Place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power at 20-second intervals until the chocolate is melted, about 1 minute in total. (Test to see if it is melted with the tip of a knife after a few blasts, as it will be actually be melted before it looks melted; it often retains its shape on the outside when fully melted on the inside and can scorch if overheated. With the knife, press the chocolate in the middle to see if it's soft and melted inside when touched or pushed lightly; if so, it's ready. Remove the chocolate from the microwave and stir well until smooth and free of any clumps, about 45 seconds.
- Sweeten the chocolate: Add your chosen sweetener to the melted chocolate and stir until completely smooth and fully combined, about 1 minute. It will begin to thicken as you stir.
- Add the chocolate to avocado mixture: Remove the cover from the processor or blender. Quickly add the melted chocolate mixture to the avocado mixture, scraping the bowl with a soft silicone spatula to get every drop (if you try to add the melted chocolate through the tube feeder or the top, you will loose a good amount of chocolate).
- Add the optional ingredients, if any: If you chose any or all of the add-ins, place them into the processor or blender.
- Process or blend until smooth: Cover the processor or blender and mix until fully combined, about 45 to 50 seconds. Remove the cover and scrape down the side of the bowl or blender. Cover and process or blend for 1 full minute. Check the mixture and taste with a spoon (which you will not reuse or taste with again, please). Add more sweetener as necessary. If you want a thicker pudding, add the coconut cream, coconut butter, or banana, 1 tablespoon at time, processing or blending for at least 30 seconds before each addition. If you want a thinner pudding, add more milk now, again, just 1 tablespoon at time, processing or blending for at least 30 seconds before each addition.
- Chill and serve: Scoop the pudding into a large bowl, or if you would like individual servings, scoop about 1/2 cup pudding into each of 4 ramekins or cups. This recipe makes about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups with no add-ins. Cover the bowl or ramekins or cups with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
- For the best taste and texture, this pudding will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about 1 day.