The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

April 28, 2010

Homemade Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding (Plastic-Free too!)

Dairy-free Chocolate pudding

It’s a dreary day here in Oakland. So I thought I’d sweeten it up with the recipe for dairy-free chocolate pudding I made a few weeks ago. Why dairy free? Well, the choice is plastic-free or dairy-free. There’s no such thing as both because for me, and 99% of the U.S. population, there’s no such thing as plastic-free milk. (There are a few folks out there who buy milk directly from the farmer and can bring their own containers. I’m not one of them.)


Dairy-free Chocolate pudding

  • 3 T. cornstarch or arrowroot powder (I used cornstarch because we already had it in the house. Arrowroot powder can be purchased from the bulk bin at Whole Foods.)
  • 1/3 c. honey (My local honey comes in glass jars from the farmers market. I’ll bet maple syrup would be good too.)
  • 1/3 c. cocoa (Bulk bin at Whole Foods.)
  • Pinch of salt (Cardboard box or bulk bin at Whole Foods.)
  • 2 c. plain, unsweetened almond milk (Almonds + Water. My almonds come loose from the farmers market. I made the almond milk in my soy milk maker, but you can make it in the blender and strain it.)
  • 1/2 t. vanilla (Glass bottle. Unfortunately, plastic cap.)


1. In a small cup or bowl, combine the cornstarch with 2 T. cold water, mixing to dissolve. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, combine cocoa powder and salt. Over medium-low heat, add 1/4 cup of almond milk and the honey, stirring until smooth. Continue adding the almond milk, about ¼ cup at a time, stirring constantly until smooth. Cook until a thin film develops on top of the liquid and steam rises from the surface, but do not let the mixture boil. Remove from stove and allow to cool down somewhat.

3. Mix in the cornstarch mixture and vanilla until well incorporated, and return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, cook until the mixture is thick but just slightly thinner than desired (the pudding will thicken as it cools). Transfer the pudding into individual heatproof dishes and set on a wire cooling rack to cool for about 20 minutes. The pudding might develop a skin on the top. Do not be tempted to use plastic wrap to prevent this! Isn’t that skin the best part?

4. Once puddings have cooled slightly, place them in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours before enjoying.

Added Benefit:

There are no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, flavors, or anything else added to this pudding, which is a good thing because the theme of this week’s Spring Cleaning Get The Junk Out carnival is “food additives.” Read about what they are here and how to avoid them here. A side benefit to giving up plastic packaging means buying a lot fewer processed foods. That can only be a good thing, right?

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Tressa @ Hecka-Good Recipes
12 years ago

I don’t know if I did something completely wrong but this was not nearly chocolately or sweet enough for me. I doubled the chocolate and the sweetener. I also used arrowroot and had to double that as well. I used about 1 TB vanilla. The end result was delicious though. I guess I like my chocolate pudding dark and sweet. :)

Thank you for the recipe though. I had to idea where to start a dairy free pudding.

12 years ago

@Josefine, interesting that you don’t use corn starch in Sweden… I used to live in Russia and looked and looked and looked and couldn’t find it there either! I was advised to use potato starch instead. So maybe it’s just a North American staple, I wonder?

12 years ago

Day 2: this is the most amazing pudding ever! The honey is perfect today….not to strong at all. Excellent recipe ~ big fan!

12 years ago

Yummers!!! & fun! I’m used to agava – so the honey is a bit much for me – think I’ll use the agava next time. It thought I was gonna be stirring forever….then it just turned into pudding!
Thank you so much and best to you and your cause – every person makes a difference.

Two things I thought you might be interested in:
You can make your own vanilla extract (no plastic top :):
1 vanilla bean – cut the length and “rolled” inside out, in a glass jar + 3/4 C. vodka.
Keep out of heat and light, shake weekly – start using in 2-3 mo’s.

People had mentioned “avocados” – thought I’d share my all time FAV recipe with you, it’s from “The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook; p. 349)

Avocado Fig Fudgesicles – we just call it chocolate ice cream @ our house (no dairy allowed :) – can also be used as pudding when avocados are in season.

1 ripe avocado – pitted and skin removed
4 fresh black mission figs
4 medjool dates – pits removed
2-4 TBSP organic cocoa powder
water for blending

1. Place all ingredients (except water) into a food processor (or Vita Mix if your super lucky :)
2. Add water as needed (I usually use about 1 cup)
3. Blend 1-2 mins or until very smooth & creamy.
4. Place into dish (popsicle molds didn’t work for us). Freeze 6-8 hrs or overnight.
Recipe lends well to doubling.
& is super fantastic with almond butter added just before eating.

We’ve served this to guests who don’t care for whole foods and they loved it so much – they didn’t want to hear what was REALLY in it. Even the kids loved it.

Peace be the journey <3

13 years ago

Just a curious question, is potato starch very uncommon in the US? I’ve actually never seen corn starch here in Sweden.

I remembered this recipe when thinking about what I should bake for a Fairtrade Focus baking challenge. I don’t think it’ll be my admission (thinking about a chocolately cake with a slight aroma of coffee actually) but this definitely seems tasty. I’m soaking hazelnuts right now, thought I’d use hazelnut milk. :)

13 years ago

Beth, don’t be scared of raw milk! It’s yummy! Have u tried it? What scares u?

Eleanor Sommer
13 years ago

Great recipe! This post brought a couple of questions to mind triggered by the soy milk maker concept, and I note that community discussion board is not currently running.

Yogurt: Has anyone found a 1 or 2 quart yogurt maker with a non-plastic inner container? I know the unit itself will be plastic, but the makers that produce little 8 oz portions have glass jars. I can’t tell, but I think the large yogurt makers have plastic containers. I wonder if I could use it and just replace the plastic container with a glass mason jar?

Coffee: I’m looking for recommendations for an electric coffeemaker that does not have a plastic where it counts (heating the water and dripping the coffee).


13 years ago

Is there any particular reason you don’t use powdered milk? It comes in a cardboard box with a metal spout covered by paper (similar to a box of salt). We always keep some in the house for cooking and emergencies. It tastes okay, so long as it’s refrigerated overnight in a glass container before drinking.

13 years ago

I love that you used your knudsen bottle for your almond milk, those bottles are gorgeous, and totally fitting for milk. for those questioning where to buy milk in glass, I found a site that lists dairies by (US) state that use glass bottles:

13 years ago

Thanks for the recipe, I’ll give it a try.

A couple of points:

Straus Dairy is sold in returnable/washed/reused bottles. Although I’m cutting back on dairy, I’m not giving it up completely.

On the subject of corn products, it seems that many products labeled “natural” or “organic” are made with genetically modified corn. This includes several Garden of Eaten products. Here’s a nice link to a report (just scan down to the end of the report, unless you really care about the test itself). The chart shows negative for products without genetically modified ingrediants.

13 years ago

I’ve heard of dairy-free pudding made with an avocado and cocoa powder, but this looks much better (I like my avocados in guacamole, thank you very much). I’m one of those lucky few who gets milk straight from the farm, so I could make pudding pretty much plastic-free (I suppose the chocolate would come packaged in plastic) if I were so inclined…maybe I will this weekend!

13 years ago

Thanks for the recipe! My kids are HUGE pudding fans, but I haven’t attempted to make it from scratch. Now, thanks to you, I will. :)

aurora fox
13 years ago

oohhh! yum–thanks Beth–next time I crave chocolate–I’m gonna try this!!

13 years ago


1. Boil water.
2. Pour water over raw nuts – almonds, cashews, whatever
3. Blend.
4. Letting the solids sink to the bottom, pour off the milk.

You can control how thick or thin the milk is by using more or less water, by blending for longer, and by soaking for longer.

Use the solids in burgers or soups the same day.


13 years ago

Beth! Love your post – will have to try this recipe. I made pudding from scratch (standard recipe) last night for my girls. I like making it from scratch becasue it’s so easy and then it doesn’t have that wierd chemical taste that the instant pudding has.

Have you tried any other nuts that make a good milk?

13 years ago

Kanmuri, some local farms do indeed do the glass bottle bit stateside. Mapleline Farm in Hadley, MA sells their milk in glass containers sized all the way up to half gallon and it’s actually carried in a decent amount of stores in Western MA. Same deal: pay a $2 refundable deposit on the bottle. I don’t know if it’s psychological or not, but the milk seems to taste better!

13 years ago

Looks yummy! I don’t know if this is done in the US but here I Montreal I buy milk in glass bins. Unfortunately, the lid is made of plastic but it’s a very small part. Plus the bottles are refundable and reused by the farm. The product is called ‘”harmony.” I hope this can help.

13 years ago

thats too good! being a vegetarian (not even eggs)…i find it difficult to get myself to buy chocolates or candy…scared of any animal products in it….another thing…any of ur readers have an idea to buy milk in my container in Atlanta/alpharetta GA?…any info would be of great help

Condo Blues
13 years ago

You can make your own almond milk?! I recently picked up a carton and am hooked on it. I’m not thrilled with the tetrapak carton even though I can put it in my city recycling. I have doubts about whether it’s really sent off to another facility or not.

After soaking the almonds do you blend it into a paste or should expect a soupy liquid?

13 years ago

I am curious, if you wanted to avoid the ‘skin’ on the pudding and avoid the plastic wrap, could you possibly use some muslin the same as the plastic wrap. At least you could wash the muslin. Just a thought.

Have a wonderful day!