It is my very great pleasure to bring to you one of the best homemade pudding recipes I’ve ever made. Caramel chocolate pudding is the perfect balance of complex dark caramel, bittersweet chocolate, and milk chocolate. You could even get away with calling is chocolate caramel pudding because it’s so nicely balanced.

You can make it into “plain” chocolate pudding by skipping caramelizing the sugar, but why when the resulting pudding is just about perfect? Go that extra caramelizing mile and make the best pudding you can!

And while we’re on the subject of homemade pudding, you may also want to try my old fashioned butterscotch pudding. That one is a winner too!
For ease of browsing, here are all of my custard and pudding recipes. Thanks for stopping by.

3 glass jars of chocolate caramel pudding.

Caramel + Chocolate = The Best

There is something about caramel and chocolate that just works so well.

Chocolate dipped caramels are wonderful for that reason. The smooth creamy chocolate is a lovely companion to the bitter edge and chew of the candy inside.

And once you start chewing and those flavors meld in your mouth, well, you know what I’m talking about.

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That’s why this chocolate pudding recipe starts with caramelizing the sugar, to get that complex, bitter edge as a base for and contrast to the sweeter chocolate.

The resulting pudding is just about the most delicious chocolate pudding you’ll ever have. Honest.

How To Make It

Like most starch-thickened custards (puddings), this one is relatively straightforward to make with the addtional step of caramelizing sugar.

What You’ll Need

Collage of ingredients for making caramel chocolate pudding.

You most likely have everything you need to make this on hand:

  • granulated sugar: for sweetness and caramel flavor
  • water: just to help dissolve the sugar when making the caramel
  • heavy cream: stops the cooking process when making the caramel
  • milk: provides the bulk of the liquid in the pudding. I use whole milk. You may substitute 2%, but I wouldn’t use 1% or skim. There’s not enough milk fat in it to really help carry the flavors
  • egg yolk: provides some richness and thickening power. You can leave out the yolk and just make a pudding instead of a custard. (Eggs are what make this a chocolate caramel custard)
  • cocoa powder: provides deep chocolate flavor
  • flour or cornstarch: provides the thickener (along with the egg yolk, if using). To make this gluten-free, use the cornstarch. Check your labels to make sure all your ingredients are labeled as GF and are not made on shared equipment
  • chocolate chips (bittersweet/semisweet and milk): I like to use a mix of bittersweet and milk chocolate chips for a nice balance, but you can certainly use one or the other
  • salt: balances flavors, counteracts any bitterness from the cocoa powder, and brings out all the flavor. Add a little extra salt for a salted chocolate caramel pudding
  • vanilla: nicely balances out the flavors and provides a floral note. You could also go all-in and use chocolate extract or caramel extract

What To Do

Making this pudding has 3 basic steps.

  1. First, you’ll caramelize the sugar and add the heavy cream to stop the cooking.
  2. Next, you’ll temper the hot caramel into a mixture of some of the milk, flour or cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, and egg yolks.

    Pour everything back into the pan along with the rest of the milk and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds if using flour and 2 minutes if using cornstarch.
  3. Last, you’ll strain this cooked pudding through a fine strainer into a bowl with the chocolate chips, a touch of butter, and vanilla. Stir until smooth and then pour into small bowls or into 1 large container.

Why Is the Video So Long?

I think hands in pans videos are fine for getting an overview of how a recipe is put together. But to really understand the technique and what you should be looking for at different stages, I think it’s best to watch in real time.

The video of me making this recipe is a Facebook Live video that I have edited just lightly to get rid of most of the extraneous talk that is fun for live audiences but not so much for people watching after the fact.

Y’all don’t need to hear about the weather or me answering questions that are not relevant to making the recipe.

But I do think it’s instructive to get a sense of how long it actually takes to make this pudding so you can schedule your time wisely.

If you want to watch from the beginning, you’ll see all the mise en place: measuring out all the ingredients, getting them in their correct bowls, whisking some Items together, etc.

If you don’t want to mess with watching the mise, but you have never caramelized sugar before, please at least start at 10:05 to see the caramelization process.

To watch me stop the caramelizing with heavy cream, temper the hot caramel into the egg yolks, and actually make the pudding, start at 18:45.

Chocolate Caramel Pudding Q & A

A glass jar of chocolate caramel pudding with spoon.
Do I have to caramelize the sugar?

Strictly speaking, no. But then you won’t have made chocolate caramel pudding. You’ll have chocolate pudding, which is tasty but not the same thing.

How can I make it sweeter?

You have a few options here. You can 1)caramelize more sugar, 2)add an additional portion of granulated or light brown sugar, 3)use all milk chocolate chips or even a combination of milk and white chips.

How can I make it more chocolatey?

You can add additional cocoa powder to the custard (maybe an additional 1 Tablespoon) and/or add more chocolate chips at the end of cooking. The easiest way to make it more chocolatey without having to alter the recipe too much is to just use 1/4 cup of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips rather than a mixture of bittersweet and milk chocolate chips.

Can I freeze this pudding?

Strictly speaking, yes you can freeze it. But because it contains a lot of fat and a relatively high amount of sugar, it won’t freeze completely solidly.

Can I scale up the recipe?

Absolutely. Multiply everything by 2, 3, or even 4 to make larger batches.

Which is better as a thickener, cornstarch or flour?

Either will work, so I wouldn’t say one starch is better than another in this case. If you use flour, bring the pudding to a boil and allow it to boil for 20-30 seconds. If using cornstarch, you’ll want to boil the pudding for a solid 2 minutes. The only real way one is better than the other is if gluten is an issue for you. In that case, you’ll definitely want to use gluten-free cornstarch as opposed to wheat flour which contains gluten.

Do I have to use heavy cream?

When working with dairy in a caramel which is well over 310F when it’s finished cooking, heavy cream is your best option. Anything with less fat in it tends to break a bit at those high temperatures. So in this case, my vote is definitely use the heavy cream when making the caramel.

Is there any way to make this lower in fat?

Yes. You can substitute 1% or 2% milk for the whole milk called for. You can also leave out 1 or even both egg yolks (although if you leave out both it won’t technically be a custard. Still, there’s enough going on with this chocolate pudding that you probably won’t miss the yolks).

Turning This Pudding Into a Mousse

This is one of my favorite ways to serve pudding if I’m not serving in individual dishes.

Let the pudding chill completely in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed down onto the surface of the pudding.

Whip heavy cream (1/2 cup should be sufficient) to medium peaks with a tiny pinch of salt and maybe 1 Tablespoon of sugar.

Whisk your pudding mixture to loosen it up and then fold gently but thoroughly fold in the whipped cream.

Now your pudding will have a lighter, more airy texture. It’s not a traditional mousse, but I don’t feel bad calling it one because mousse means “foam,” and you’ll be folding a foam into the pudding.

More Old Fashioned Chocolate Desserts

If you’re a fan of chocolate, might I suggest my chocolate chess pie recipe? It’s like a fudgy brownie in a crust–so good!

This chocolate mayonnaise cake is also wonderful. Easy to make and super moist. And if you like sheetcakes, check out my mint chocolate sheet cake, a close relation to the mayonnaise cake.

And for my very favorite chocolate pound cake, you can’t go wrong with my mom’s rich dark chocolate pound cake. It’s the cake I grew up eating as a kid, and it gets fudgier and fudgier each day it sits out. Yum!

And here are a few more ideas for you for good measure:

Any Questions?

If after reading the post and recipe and watching the video, you have any questions at all about this recipe–or about any baking/pastry/cooking questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

You can leave a comment and I will respond ususally within the day.

Or email me. I promise I will answer!

A Note About Measurements

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03/07/2024 05:03 pm GMT
A jar of caramel chocolate pudding with silver spoon and blue napkin.
5 golden stars for rating recipes
glass jar of pudding with spoon

Caramel Chocolate Pudding

Jennifer Field
Everyone's favorite chocolate pudding is made even more delicious by starting with a caramel base. Chocolate caramel pudding is a wonderful stove top dessert treat, especially in summer when cold desserts are a must!
5 from 1 vote
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Course Custard and Pudding Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 484 kcal

Ingredients

  • cup sugar
  • 4 oz water 1/2 cup
  • 6 oz 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 10 oz 1 1/4 cup whole milk (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons each dark chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla paste
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Instructions
 

  • Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cocoa powder, flour, about half the milk, and the salt until completely combined. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, place the chocolate chips, vanilla, and butter. Place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl.
  • Heat the sugar mixture over medium-high to high heat until it comes to a boil.
  • Put a lid on the pot for 2 minutes so the steam will clear any sugar crystals off the sides of the pot.
  • Remove the lid and let the sugar cook until it’s a deep caramel color. The mixture will visibly thin out and you may catch a couple of wisps of smoke coming off of it.
  • Turn off the heat and immediately add the heavy cream all at once.
  • Stir until smooth.
  • Slowly temper in the caramel mixture into the cocoa powder/milk mixture, whisking all the while.
  • Pour all the mixture back into the pot along with the rest of the milk.
  • Cook and stir until it comes to a boi. Allow the mixture to boil for 30 seconds or so, and then pour it through the strainer into the bowl of butter, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Using your heatproof spatula, press all the pudding through the strainer into the bowl.
  • Let sit for 30 seconds or so to melt the chips and then stir until smooth and beautiful.
  • Pour into 4 half-cup containers. Let cool until barely warm and the refrigerate until cold, about 2-3 hours.
  • Serve as is or with some whipped cream on top.
  • Enjoy!

Did You Make Any Changes?

Notes

A Note About the Video

I think hands in pans videos are fine for getting an overview of how a recipe is put together. But to really understand the technique and what you should be looking for at different stages, I think it’s best to watch in real time.
The video of me making this recipe is a Facebook Live video that I have edited just lightly to get rid of most of the extraneous talk that is fun for live audiences but not so much for people watching after the fact.
Y’all don’t need to hear about the weather or me answering questions that are not relevant to making the recipe.
But I do think it’s instructive to get a sense of how long it actually takes to make this pudding so you can schedule your time wisely.
If you want to watch from the beginning, you’ll see all the mise en place: measuring out all the ingredients, getting them in their correct bowls, whisking some Items together, etc.
If you don’t want to mess with watching the mise, but you have never caramelized sugar before, please at least start at 10:05 to see the caramelization process.
To watch me stop the caramelizing with heavy creamtemper the hot caramel into the egg yolks, and actually make the puddingstart at 18:45.

To Substitute Cornstarch for the Flour

The sub is 1:1. The only difference is that if you use cornstarch, you’ll need to boil your pudding for a full 2 minutes.

To Scale the Recipe Up

All the ingredients can be mulitplied by 2 to get 4 cups worth of pudding. Multiply by 3 for 6 cups and by 4 to get 8 cups.
For Example, here are the measurements you’ll need for 6 cups of pudding, multiplying all ingredients by 3:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 18 oz heavy cream (2 1/4 cups)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • 30 oz whole milk (3 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons each milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons (1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) vanilla
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz or 3/4 stick) unsalted butter
Serving Size
I have set the serving size at 4 oz or 1/2 cup. That is not a lot of pudding for one serving, but since it is so rich, I don’t think you need more than that.
But you are grown and can do what you want. You are more than welcome to set your serving size at 1 cup. In that case, this recipe will yield two 1 cup servings of pudding.
If you set your serving size at 2/3 cup, the recipe will yield 3 servings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cupCalories: 484kcalCarbohydrates: 49.2gProtein: 6.5gFat: 30.5gSaturated Fat: 18.6gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 249mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 43.1g
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

And there you have it, friends! Enjoy the all the pudding!

Thanks for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.

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