DIY Chia Seed Pudding — Plus 8 Flavor Options!

shutterstock_91839320Photo: ShutterStock.
Of all the health-food trends out there, chia seeds are the one we'll never get over. Once a staple of the Aztec and Mayan diets, this mighty wonder-seed is renowned for its, well, everything. Chia contains omega-3s, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and calcium. Evidence suggests myriad health benefits, with chia helping maintain stable blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and healthy weight. Doesn't exactly sound like dessert, huh? How wrong you are, friend.
Chia Seed Pudding is one of the simplest recipes you'll ever make. It's a one-bowl, one-spoon, lazy-girl recipe like no other. When chia contacts water, it releases a gel (flavorless, but filled with all that good-for-you stuff listed above). If left sitting, this will come together in a thick, gooey, custard-esque texture, just begging for a fresh-fruit topping. Use milk and you've got a richer, creamier pudding than any Jell-O you've ever had. Chia will take on the flavor of whatever it's mixed with, so feel free to experiment. All you need is a bag of seeds and a bowl, and you've got yourself an afternoon.
Below you'll find the basic recipe for Chia Seed Pudding. Once you've mastered that in the next five minutes, check out our eight favorite flavor variations below. Grab a spoon, and get ready for your new favorite health food.
Basic Recipe:
1 1/2 cups milk (coconut, almond, or plain 2%)
3 tbsp maple or agave syrup or brown sugar
1/3 cup chia seeds
In a bowl or jar, mix sweetener into milk. Add more or less to taste, but remember, the flavor will be more sweet before you add the chia seeds (and you can always add more before serving).
Add chia seeds and stir together well, making sure to work out any clumps. If using a jar, simply put the lid on and shake vigorously until well-combined.
Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
Chocolate: Add two tablespoons rich cocoa powder to milk.
Vanilla: Add one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to milk.
Raspberry: Muddle 2/3 cup raspberries in the bottom of the bowl/jar before adding milk.
Coconut: Whisk in 1/4 cup shredded coconut before chilling.
Peanut-Butter: Whisk two heaping tablespoons peanut butter into milk (it might help to heat in the microwave for a few seconds).
Pumpkin: Stir 1/2 cup canned, pure pumpkin puree into milk.
Chai: Mix together 1/4 teaspoon each of cardamom, all spice, and cloves with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add to milk. (Cheaters: Just toss in a tablespoon of Chia Tea mix.)
Banana: Slice a banana into bite-sized chunks. Mush half the banana into the bottom of the bowl/jar, continue recipe as instructed, and finish by mixing in remaining chunks before chilling.

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