This vegan-friendly 3-ingredient chia seed pudding recipe is completely customizable and a great option for meal prep. It’s one of the easiest recipes you can make. I like to make a big batch for perfect healthy breakfast ideas and easy grab-and-go snacks for the entire family to enjoy throughout the week.
My basic chia pudding recipe is made with creamy plant-based milk (I like to use a combination of soy milk and coconut milk) and sweetened with maple syrup. It’s thickened naturally with chia seeds which have an incredible ability to absorb more than 10 times their weight in liquid. Chia seeds have little to no taste yet are incredibly nutritious. They are high in fiber, healthy fats, are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, and are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body.
Table of contents
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are the seeds of the plant Salvia hispanica L. and were historically a staple food for Mayan, Aztec and Incan cultures. The word “chia” means strength in Mayan and these ancient civilizations reportedly used chia seeds as an energy food to sustain runners through long distance runs and warriors through battles.
Chia seeds come in white and black varieties with no difference in their nutritional value. They have little to no flavor so won’t compete with other flavors in a recipe or dish making them perfect to add to foods to boost nutrition. They can be eaten whole or ground. The exterior of chia seeds breaks down in the presence of liquid so they are easily digested whole, unlike flax seeds.
Chia Health Benefits
Chia seeds are a nutrient dense food. They are often touted as a superfood because of their incredible health benefits. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 7 grams of unsaturated fat, 18% RDA for calcium, and trace minerals including zinc and copper.
A single serving of chia seeds is reported to have as much calcium as a glass of milk, more Omega-3’s than a serving size of walnuts and as many antioxidants as a serving of blueberries. Some health claims of chia seeds include their ability to reduce appetite to support weight loss goals, lower triglycerides, and improve blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds have an ability to gel when mixed with liquids. This allows them to thicken the pudding base of any type of milk mixed with a sweetener of choice into a custard-like texture similar to greek yogurt. They are a necessary ingredient for this easy chia pudding.
Milk – Use any type of milk (dairy or non-dairy milk) or combination of milks to make creamy chia pudding. I like to use a 50/50 mix of a creamy non-dairy milk like coconut milk or cashew milk and a lighter milk like unsweetened almond milk, soy milk or oat milk. Use unsweetened milk to control how much sugar is added.
Sweetener – Use any type of sweetener you prefer. I like to add an unrefined sweetener like maple syrup to taste. Other unrefined sweeteners to try include agave nectar, whole cane sugar, panela, jaggery, coconut palm sugar, and maple sugar, maple cream, or date syrup. You can use regular granulated sugar or brown sugar too. If you are looking to reduce sugar try stevia or monk fruit.
Mix-Ins – While you can keep this a super simple 3 ingredient recipe, I like to add more flavor to it. I always add vanilla extract, vanilla bean or vanilla paste to make vanilla chia pudding and like to eat it with fresh fruit, especially fresh berries. Try adding a pinch of other sweet spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. You can add cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips to make a chocolate chia pudding for a delicious treat. For an extra crunch serve the basic recipe with toasted nuts, seeds or coconut flakes. Stir in mashed or pureed fruit like berries, peaches or mango to make a fruity version.
How To Make 3-Ingredient Chia Pudding
Step 1: Make the creamy pudding base
This easy recipe take literally less than five minutes to prepare. Simply combine chia seeds with milk and a sweetener in whichever airtight container you will store it.
For best results give the pudding base a good stir to make sure there are no clumps of seeds. To make single serve portions divide the pudding base into small mason jars with lids or small tupperware containers.
Step 2: Refrigerate the pudding
Seal the container or jars with lids and refrigerate them for at least several hours to let the chia seeds fully absorb the liquid and transform it into a gel-like consistency. This is a great recipe to make overnight just like overnight oats. Serve it with your favorite toppings for a filling snack or high fiber breakfast.
Chia Seed to Liquid Ratio
For soft custard-like pudding use 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of milk.
For a thicker pudding use 4 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of milk.
Store chia pudding in an airtight container or single serve jars with lids in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Dry chia seeds will keep for years in dry storage in your pantry or cupboard.
- High Protein Chia Pudding – Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder per serving to the pudding base.
- Chocolate Chia Pudding – Whisk 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder into the milk before adding the chia seeds. Add vanilla extract to bring out the chocolate flavor. Optionally top the chia pudding with shaved chocolate or chocolate chips.
- Mango Chia Pudding – Stir in pureed, mashed or chunks of fresh for frozen mango to the pudding base. Add a touch of vanilla for even more flavor.
- Creamsicle Chia Pudding – Stir in freshly grated orange zest from 1 orange and replace 1/4 cup of the milk with fresh orange juice. Add a touch of vanilla for even more flavor.
- Eggnog Chia Pudding – Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, seeds scraped from a whole vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the basic recipe.
- Black Forest Chia Pudding – Omit the sweetener and stir in 1/2 cup of dark cherries in syrup and 1/4 cup of chopped high-quality dark chocolate instead. Add a touch of vanilla for even more flavor.
- Peach Pie Chia Pudding – Stir in pureed, mashed or chunks of fresh for frozen peaches to the pudding base. Or omit the sweetener and add 1/2 cup of canned or jarred peaches in syrup. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, seeds scraped from a whole vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Top with granola or crushed shortbread cookies.
- Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding – Replace 1/2 cup of milk with pumpkin puree. Add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, seeds scraped from a whole vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds for added crunch.
- Lemon Bar Chia Pudding – Stir in freshly grated lemon zest from 1 lemon and replace 1/4 cup of the milk with fresh lemon juice. Add a touch of vanilla for even more flavor. Top with crushed shortbread cookies.
Fresh Fruit – Serve chia pudding with fresh berries like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries or your favorite fruit for a delicious healthy snack.
Crunchy Toppings – Top basic chia pudding with crunchy granola, toasted almonds or other nuts or seeds such as sunflower seeds or hemp seeds.
I recommend storing chia pudding for up to 3-4 days which is the FDA recommended time for prepared foods.
While you can, I don’t recommend freezing chia pudding because it is so easy to make and keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can make a new batch every 3 days to keep it stocked in your fridge.
It takes quit a bit of chia seeds to make a thick chia pudding. This recipe is for a soft creamy chia pudding similar with a consistency to a custard pudding. If you like a thicker pudding then add more chia seeds to it. See the recipe notes for suggested amounts.
Full fat canned coconut. milk on its own can be too heavy and thick so I like to thin it out with 50% of a lighter milk like soy milk or almond milk. If you use the beverage style coconut milk then you don’t need to thin it out.
A 1 oz. serving of chia seeds contains 12g of carbohydrates, but 11 of those are in the form of fiber, which in not digested by the body and doesn’t act like other forms of carbs which raise blood sugar or affect insulin levels.
More Delicious Vegan Snacks
- Fried Sweet Plantains
- Vegan Peanut Butter S’mores Bars
- Vegan Rice Krispy Treats with Tahini and Dark Chocolate
- Pecan Streusel Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins – Vegan
- Easy Gluten Free Seeded Quinoa Cracker Recipe (Vegan)
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- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk such as coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk or a combination of milks
- 2-4 tablespoons maple syrup depending how sweet you like it
- 6 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh berries
- Stir all ingredients together in a jar or bowl.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours until mixture reaches a soft pudding-like consistency.
- Top with fresh berries or other fruits and serve cold. Pudding will keep covered and refrigerated for 3-4 days.
- This recipe makes a soft style pudding, if you prefer a thicker pudding add 2 additional tablespoons of chia seeds to the recipe.
- This is a great base recipe to add flavorings to, such as cacao powder or puréed fresh or frozen fruits such as mango, berries, peaches, cherries etc.
- The nutrition facts are calculated using unsweetened soy milk and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to sweeten.