How To Make Chia Seed Pudding

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An easy and filling breakfast recipe makes mornings smooth and enjoyable. This simple Chia Pudding recipe can be adapted in many ways to keep each breakfast fresh and fun!

A mason jar with chia seed pudding with a spoon in it and another jar of chia seed pudding in the back on a wooden counter with blueberries and a strawberry and an additional spoon on the counter.
Simple chia seed pudding

I’m not sure how mornings go in your home but sometimes I find it’s a miracle to get everyone up and ready for the day AND prepare a healthy filling meal. This has led me to look for quicker, simpler recipes I can make in advance or make in under 10 minutes in the morning. 

After coming around to oatmeal, I thought it might be time to give chia pudding a try. I had heard about the amazing health benefits of chia seeds and knew a nutrient-dense breakfast makes all the difference in a day. I figured I might be able to make them in a way that enabled me to change and adapt the recipe daily by simply swapping out toppings and mix-ins. 

Psst.. if you haven’t tried making oatmeal in the Instant Pot, I highly recommend you give this oatmeal recipe a chance – it makes the creamiest oatmeal and that too…hands-free. 

What are chia seeds?

The key ingredient in a chia seed pudding is no surprise…the chia seed. This seed translated as “strength” in the Mayan language is considered a superfood (more details are covered in the FAQ below). It is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet, so much that the Aztec warriors relied on these seeds to sustain them during battle.

These tiny seeds are gluten-free, whole grain, and typically grown organically because they resist insects, pests, and disease. Also, hydrophilic, these little seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid.

Different types of chia seeds

These small tiny, nutrient-dense seeds come in two different types white and black.

While both seeds offer many nutritional benefits, such as fiber and protein, they differ in the amounts they contain. Black chia seeds contain higher fiber and lower protein compared to white chia seeds which contain less fiber and more protein. 

What is chia pudding and why you’ll love it? 

Chia pudding makes an excellent, nutrient-dense breakfast or snack recipe made from the mighty chia seed. You’ll love this easy-to-make recipe for many reasons such as:

  • Gluten-free, naturally, making these an excellent gluten-free option anyone can enjoy! 
  • Can be made Vegan with the use of plant-based milk and vegan toppings.
  • Comes together quickly in 5-10 minutes so you can have a healthy filling snack in no time.
  • Healthy because it’s packed with fiber, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Make-ahead breakfast for breakfast making this a perfect meal prep recipe!

How to make chia pudding? 

Before we get to the recipe, let’s address this question – should we soak chia seeds in water or milk?

To answer this question, I ran a test – soaked chia seeds in water for 15 minutes as well as milk. Here are the results. 

Two bowls - one with chia seeds soaked in water and the other one soaked in milk
A comparison of chia seeds soaked in water vs milk for 15 minutes

It is clear that chia seeds plump up so much better when soaked in water. But what if we give it some more time – i.e leave it in the refrigerator overnight, how will it impact the chia seeds soaked in milk? Let’s find out. 

I added about 2 tablespoons of milk to the chia seeds with water and gave it a good mix and refrigerated both the bowls (one with milk and the other one – water + milk) overnight. 

Two glass bowls of chia seeds refrigerated overnight- one soaked in milk and the other one soaked first in water with few tablespoons of milk
Chia seed pudding soaked overnight

Conclusion – You’ll notice that the chia pudding in which the seeds were soaked in water first is slightly denser than the one with milk. It is a small difference but not worth the effort of soaking it first in water and then in milk. 

Alright now that we are convinced that soaking in milk vs water doesn’t make a huge difference since we are soaking them overnight, let’s move on to the recipe. 

A bottle of milk, maple syrup, chia seeds, vanilla, measuring cups and spoons, and two glass bowls on a wooden table.
The ingredients to make chia pudding

Shopping list to make chia seed pudding

Here’s where to get the ingredients and tools used in this recipe.

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links which means I get a commission at no cost to you when you use these links to make a purchase.

List of ingredients

Jars for chia pudding

Any glass bowl which can hold between 8oz – 16oz works. Ideally, choose the one over 10 oz to give enough room to load up on fruits and other toppings.

  • This mason jar is the one I have.
  • Other options include these Weck jars which are wide-mouthed and gorgeous but a little more expensive.

Chia pudding ratio: For every 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, use 1/2 cup of milk and 1-2 teaspoons of sweetener of your choice. The process looks like this – 

  1. In a bowl, mix together chia seeds, milk, vanilla extract, and a sweetener.
  2. Let the mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell and absorb the liquid.
  3. Stir the mixture again and refrigerate for another 3-4 hours or overnight. 
  4. Serve it with fresh fruits and/or a list of toppings mentioned below such as nut butter, seeds, granola, etc. 

What does chia pudding taste like

On its own chia pudding is pretty tasteless .. the good thing is it absorbs the flavor of other mix-ins happily.

Popular chia seed toppings include:

  1. Cocoa powder makes an irresistible chocolate chia pudding!
  2. Add sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, and agave nectar as a drizzle over your chia pudding.
  3. Fruits such as strawberries, mango, blueberries, banana, or raspberries add flavor as well as sweetness to each bite.
  4. Garnish your finished chia pudding with toppings like shredded coconut, shredded chocolate, or crunchy nuts.
  5. Nut butter gives a boost of protein as well as an additional flavor to your pudding. Give peanut, hazelnut, or almond butter a try!
  6. Granola or oatmeal add some carbs to the chia pudding as well as a possible crunch if using granola. 

How to make it vegan

  • Use almond milk instead of dairy milk. 
  • Maple syrup or Agave nectar instead of honey. 

Notes / Tips 

  1. If your chia seeds are old, they’ll not swell up. Don’t discard them use them in smoothies instead. 
  2. This recipe can be easily scaled – you can make 3-4 servings at a time. I prefer to add fruits just before serving but if your mornings are busy you can save time by adding fruits when you make it.
  3. Liquids such as milk, almond milk or coconut milk, yogurt are usually used but you could also add your leftover smoothie. 
  4. The shelf-life of your chia pudding depends on your milk. So make sure to use fresh milk when possible. 
  5. Add seeds and nuts last so that they do not become soggy. 
  6. It is important that you wait for the chia seeds to swell up and then stir again. If you don’t do that and refrigerate straight away, you’ll end up with some chia seeds floating on top and some sunk to the bottom much like this picture below. 
An image of chia pudding set without properly mixing


Variations
Once you have made the base chia pudding recipe and allowed it to sit for 15 minutes, add the following mix-ins to create some exciting variations.

  1. Banana and walnut – Mash a banana using a fork and add it to the pudding. Mix well. Refrigerate it overnight and serve it with chopped bananas and walnuts. 
  2. Peanut butter and jelly – Mix 1/4 cup raspberries with chia pudding before you refrigerate it. Serve with a dollop of peanut butter and chopped nuts. 
  3. Apple cinnamon – Add about 1/2 cup chopped apples to the chia pudding. Mix well and refrigerate it. Add a pinch (or more) of cinnamon right before serving. 
  4. Chocolate chia pudding – If your kids love the store-bought chocolate pudding replace it with this. Blend it if they don’t like the texture. Add 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon maple syrup to the chia pudding. Mix well, refrigerate and serve it topped with raspberries. 
  5. Strawberry banana – Serve the refrigerated chia pudding with chopped banana, strawberries, or any berries of your choice just like in the picture below. 
Two glass bowls of vanilla chia pudding topped with banana, strawberry, and blueberry on a wooden table with a spoon in between them and strawberries behind them.
Vanilla chia pudding with banana, strawberry, and blueberry

Want to learn more about chia pudding? Here are my answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

Why is chia pudding considered healthy?

Chia pudding has a reputation for being a healthy snack for many different reasons. For starters, 1 oz of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and only 9 grams of fat (5 of those grams being Omega-3).

If that isn’t enough reason to grab a spoon and make a bowl of chia pudding, the chia seeds also contain high levels of antioxidants which fight the production of free radicals in the body. They also contain high percentages of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein which all contribute to bone health.

Read more: Chia seed benefits

How are chia seeds different from basil seeds (sabja)?

Like the chia seed, basil seeds also pack in high levels of nutritional benefits. They also are bland and easy to use like chia seeds. 

Basil seeds contain half the amount of Omega-3 as chia seeds but about 2 grams more fiber than chia seeds. Unlike chia seeds which can be consumed raw, it’s difficult to eat raw basil seeds and they are often soaked before being used in smoothies, milkshakes, summer drinks, or faloodas.

Can chia pudding be Keto?

Absolutely! Chia seeds make an excellent keto option. They are high in fiber and low in sugar just be sure to check the mix-ins you use to make sure they also follow the ketogenic diet.

Is chia pudding good for weight loss?

Many people claim chia pudding is good for weight loss. While studies have been inconclusive about the effects of chia pudding on weight loss they do contribute to helping you feel satiated. This means when you eat them you will feel full longer making you less likely to snack on additional things between meals. 

Is it safe to eat chia pudding every day?

These tiny seeds pack massive amounts of fiber resulting in increased digestion. While this might be good for some, too much might result in intestinal discomfort, bloating, or even excessive bowel movements. As long as you stick to the daily recommended amount you should be just fine.

How long does chia pudding take to set?

If soaked in water (as shown above) chia pudding will thicken for about 15 minutes but if you are using milk, leave it in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to set.

How long does chia pudding last?

Stores well in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days. 

Can you freeze chia pudding? 

Yes, you can freeze for up to a month. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If it is not fully thawed, leave it on the countertop for a few hours. 

Are chia seeds the same as chia pets?

If the first thing you think of when you hear chia seeds is “ch-ch-ch-chia” you might have grown up in the ’80s or 90’s when the chia seed was used to create the fun, fast-growing chia pets. And yes, these terracotta planters used the same chia seeds to make and grow the different chia plants.

A glass blow with chia pudding topped with banana, strawberry, and blueberry in two hands.
Chia Pudding

Other delicious breakfast ideas

Life is hectic enough, making breakfast shouldn’t be. Here are a few quick breakfast recipes to get your morning started on the right foot-

  1. Oatmeal– Make a quick and delicious breakfast with this easy and healthy Instant Pot Oatmeal Recipe.
  2. Easy Chocolate Overnight Oats – Eating chocolate overnight oats will feel like you are having dessert for breakfast. All you need is about 5-minutes of prep time the night before and in the morning you will have this decadent chocolate treat waiting for you.
  3. Mango Overnight Oats – Loaded with oats, chia seeds, and sweet, juicy mango bits, this creamy overnight oats recipe is perfect for busy mornings. 
  4. Egg Paratha– Put your leftover rotis or tortillas to good use and make delicious and filling egg parathas in less than 10 minutes.
  5. Strawberry Banana Smoothie– This delicious 4-ingredient gluten-free strawberry banana smoothie is perfect for busy families. Toss a serving of chia seeds for some extra fiber and protein.


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
Two glass bowls of vanilla chia pudding topped with banana, strawberry, and blueberry on a wooden table with a spoon in between them and strawberries behind them.

Basic Vanilla Chia Pudding Recipe

5 from 1 vote
This quick and easy chia pudding comes together in as little as 20 minutes making breakfast quick and easy.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Resting time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Diet : Dairy-free, Keto, Vegan
Course : Breakfast, Snack
Method: No cook
Cuisine : American

Ingredients
  

Basic Chia Pudding

Instructions
 

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. The chia seeds will swell up and absorb most of the liquid.
  • Stir the mixture again and refrigerate for another 3-4 hours or overnight. 
  • Serve it with fresh fruits or your favorite toppings [see notes for variations].
  • Alternatively, store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days for a quick grab and go breakfast.

Notes

Jars for chia pudding
Any glass bowl which can hold between 8oz – 16oz works. Ideally, choose the one over 10 oz to give enough room to load up on fruits and other toppings.
  • This mason jar is the one I have.
  • Other options include these Weck jars which are wide-mouthed and gorgeous but a little more expensive.

How to make it vegan
  • Use almond milk instead of dairy milk.
  • Maple syrup or Agave nectar instead of honey.

Notes / Tips 
  1. If your chia seeds are old, they’ll not swell up. Don’t discard them use them in smoothies instead.
  2. This recipe can be easily scaled – you can make 3-4 servings at a time. I prefer to add fruits just before serving but if your mornings are busy you can save time by adding fruits when you make it.
  3. Liquids such as milk, almond milk or coconut milk, yogurt are usually used but you could also add your leftover smoothie.
  4. The shelf-life of your chia pudding depends on your milk. So make sure to use fresh milk when possible.
  5. Add seeds and nuts last so that they do not become soggy.
  6. It is important that you wait for the chia seeds to swell up and then stir again. If you don’t do that and refrigerate straight away, you’ll end up with some chia seeds floating on top and some sunk to the bottom much like the picture shown in the blog post.

Variations
Once you have made the base chia pudding recipe and allowed it to sit for 15 minutes, add the following mix-ins to create some exciting variations.
  1. Banana and walnut – Mash a banana using a fork and add it to the pudding. Mix well. Refrigerate it overnight and serve it with chopped bananas and walnuts.
  2. Peanut butter and jelly – Mix 1/4 cup raspberries with chia pudding before you refrigerate it. Serve with a dollop of peanut butter and chopped nuts.
  3. Apple cinnamon – Add about 1/2 cup chopped apples to the chia pudding. Mix well and refrigerate it. Add a pinch (or more) of cinnamon right before serving.
  4. Chocolate chia pudding – If your kids love the store-bought chocolate pudding replace it with this. Blend it if they don’t like the texture. Add 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon maple syrup to the chia pudding. Mix well, refrigerate and serve it topped with raspberries.
  5. Strawberry banana – Serve the refrigerated chia pudding with chopped banana, strawberries, or any berries of your choice.


Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 225kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 8gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 57mgPotassium: 259mgFiber: 8gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 198IUCalcium: 301mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : basic, easy, healthy, vanilla

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