Chia seed pudding is gratifyingly simple to make and incredibly versatile when it comes to flavouring. You’ll want to keep this basic recipe for Fruit Chia Seed Pudding in your back pocket (or in your recipe box or bookmarked on your phone … covering all the contingencies here).
The Goodness of Chia
Chia seeds may be tiny, but they’re nutritional powerhouses. Chia seeds are high in dietary protein, omega-3 fat, fibre and calcium, among other good things.
In addition, chia seeds have gelatinous or mucilaginous properties, so they, ahem, help keep things moving along and aid in digestive health. If you’re not a fan of the texture of the whole seeds once they’ve swelled, you can grind them instead.
A Blank Canvas for Flavour
Chia seeds themselves are quite neutral in flavour, so they provide the perfect canvas for whatever flavour profile you’d like to paint. Chocolate always makes for a delectable treat, as this pudding proves. If you like, you could leave out any additional flavourings for a simple vanilla pudding (if you don’t mind its greyish colour … hmmm).
But fruit chia seed pudding is my favourite, and I generally make it with raspberries or strawberries. I love the contrast of the sweet tartness of the fruit with the creamy vanilla base of the pudding. You could use fresh fruit in season, but I usually use frozen. The possibilities are many, including combinations of the suggestions below:
- Peach or nectarine
- … insert your imagination here …
My basic recipe uses vanilla extract, but some fruits, such as cherries, are complemented by a touch of almond extract. If you’re a fan of chocolate and fruit combinations, why not try one of those? Chocolate raspberry pudding would get my attention.
Using a variety of sweeteners is another way to change up the flavour of your pudding. Maple syrup is my go-to, but you could use cane sugar, coconut sugar, regular white sugar or even sugar substitutes.
Finally, think about the milk you’ll be using … dairy (skim or full fat? up to you!) or nut milks like my homemade almond milk come first to mind for me, but I’ve seen many recipes that use coconut milk.
Preparing the Fruit
If using frozen berries or other fruit, I let them thaw for a time while the pudding is starting to thicken up in the fridge. Finely chop the fruit or mash it with a fork. You could even purée it. Personally, I prefer the fruit to have some texture, but you, of course, will be making the pudding to suit your preferences, not mine.
Letting the Chia Work Its Magic
Once you’ve stirred together the base mixture of chia seeds, milk, sweetener and flavouring extract, cover and refrigerate it. It may take several hours for the seeds to absorb the liquid and the setting process to take effect. Stir the pudding after the first hour or so. Often the seeds clump together at the bottom and need to be distributed more evenly. This is when I usually add the prepared fruit, but you could do so at the beginning as well. You may need to stir it once or twice more … I find it’s a bit of a playing it by ear situation.
Dessert or Breakfast: Your Call
One of the things I like so much about a chia seed pudding is that it makes for a fine dessert that can be presented with flair. But it’s equally adept at providing a good-for-you breakfast. You decide! (And who says you can’t have it both ways?)
Let’s Make Fruit Chia Seed Pudding!
Nutrtious chia seed pudding is elevated with the addition of a variety of fruits.
- 1/4 cup whole chia seeds
- 1 cup milk (dairy, nut or other)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup halved strawberries or whole raspberries (or other fruit, cubed)
If using frozen fruit, set it on a plate on the counter to thaw.
Add the chia seeds, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup to a small bowl and stir together. Chop or mash the fruit you're using and add now if it's fresh. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
After an hour or so, stir the mixture well to break up and evenly distribute any clumps of seeds at the bottom. If using frozen fruit, mash and add it now.
Stir once or twice more until the pudding is nicely set. This can take up to four hours or so.
Other Puddings to Enjoy
I’ve always loved creamy, puddingy (yup, new word) treats, so here are a few for you to enjoy: Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, Lemon Posset and Strawberry Panna Cotta. And for something a little different, here’s a recipe-less story about a chia seed pudding experiment and being the neighbourhood oddball.
Interesting! no cooking or baking with chia to make a pudding. I did some research on this seed, will try baking a gluten-free bread with this ground-up seed someday. Seems like it could be a “must have” ingredient in the pantry.
I hadn’t thought of using chia in breads, Terri … always so many new ideas! I keep chia seeds on hand in the fridge. These puddings are popular with the little people in my life (and me, lol).
Trying this one now but will ground the seed hope it still work.
I hope that works well for you, Suzanne!