Chocolate Coconut Milk Pudding (Low Carb and Gluten-Free)


I’ve never really been much of a pudding person, it’s simply a dessert that’s never really been on my radar.  I love mousses and cheesecakes and other creamy, rich desserts, but pudding just has never been my thing.  I suppose it’s because I tend to associate it with the instant variety, the mostly tasteless goo that comes out of box and is the ubiquitous dessert of summer camps and school cafeterias everywhere.  So I generally consider pudding beneath my notice as a dessert, too plebian, too mass-market, to be any good.  You’ll have to forgive my snobbery, I simply didn’t grow up around good, homemade pudding.  My prejudice is thus rooted in plain, old ignorance, as such prejudices usually are.

But my eyes have now been opened to the goodness that is homemade pudding.  A few years ago, my husband expressed a craving for chocolate pudding.  I made some for him and the kids and had a taste, and I had to admit it was far superior to the boxed variety, but I didn’t find myself itching to go out of my way to make it again.  And then I wondered if I could make a low carb version with xanthan gum as the thickener, and went about experimenting on that.  It was quite good, and ended up as the filling to a tart recipe included in Low Carbing Among Friends, Volume 1.  But I still didn’t go out of my way to make it again.  Finally, a few weeks ago as I was working away on other things, it popped into my head to make a version with coconut milk, for a slightly tropical-flavoured treat.  I do love chocolate and coconut together.

Now, I am quite certain that I am not the first person to make pudding with coconut milk.  In fact, I am quite certain that I’ve come across many other recipes in my travels over the internet.  But I decided not to look at any of these and to see if I could adapt my own recipe to suit the consistency of coconut milk.  I found I did have to change a couple of things to get it to thicken properly.  I went with a little more xanthan gum, and I decided to use more cocoa powder and less chopped, unsweetened chocolate, as I’ve found that cocoa powder tends to act as a thickening agent in its own right.  But I was still a little worried, when I poured it into the cups, as it seemed a little on the thin side and I wasn’t sure it would set very well.

The Results: My fears were baseless, happily enough.  This turned out to be rich and creamy and the flavour was phenomenal.  I loved the slight coconut-y taste, and I decided to enhance it a bit with some flaked coconut.  But even if you’re not a fan of coconut, it’s not a strong presence and you would really taste mostly chocolate in the pudding itself.  This is a recipe I will definitely make again.  It was a hit with kids and adults alike.

One important note:  do not go with light coconut milk.  You need the fat in the coconut milk to help set the pudding.  Besides, coconut oil/fat is good for you!  Indulge and enjoy it!

Chocolate Coconut Milk Pudding

1 13.5-oz can coconut milk (NOT light)
1/4 cup granulated erythritol (I used Swerve)
3 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp butter, in 3 pieces OR 2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
15 drops stevia extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk and granulated erythritol.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot coconut milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking continuously.  Slowly whisk tempered egg yolks back into the saucepan of hot coconut milk.  Reduce heat to medium low and sprinkle with xanthan gum, whisking continuously.  Stir in cocoa powder and cook until mixture thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes.   

Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and butter until smooth.  Stir in vanilla extract and stevia extract.  Divide between 4 custard cups or ramekins and chill in refrigerator until set, 2 to 3 hours.

Garnish with lightly sweetened whipped cream, toasted coconut and a macadamia nut.

Serves 4.  Each serving has 11.5 g of carbs and 5 g of fiber.  Total NET CARBS = 6.5 g.

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  1. says

    Whenever I eat pudding I think of baby food so it doesn't strike me as being very 'wowish' either. I do like the idea of mixing things up by using coconut milk though. Imagine all the places it could take you. :)

  2. says

    mmmm… I love anything creamy including pudding:)) and yours look amazing! I used few times coconut milk, and I love the flavor in desserts especially with chocolate. Great recipe! I hope you had wonderful Mother's day!!!

  3. cookingrookie says

    What an amazing dessert Carolyn! I would never think about combining coconut milk and chocolate. Brilliant idea :-) Stumbled!

  4. Emily @ Life on Food says

    I am the same way with pudding. I always think of the box type and it does nothing for me. The coconut milk in this one makes me want to dip my finger in instantly.

  5. @TheDecorGirl says

    In the interst of trying to be healthy, I tried making chocolate pudding once with coconut milk, the carton variety, and it did not set up correctly. You have the answer – "you need the fat…". I did use the no fat variety. Thank you I am reinspired and will try your recipie! – Lisa

  6. says

    I've seen so many recipes I've wanted to try around the internet. But I seem to be missing one key ingredient – xanthan gum. This looks so good that I just may need to finally get a hold of some very soon.

  7. says

    How delicious. I love chocolate pudding, especially with a blend of freshly made whipped cream. Who can so no to that? Thank you so much for giving me an idea for tomorrow's dessert!

  8. Piper says

    How do I substitute powdered erythritol for granular? Also how much Stevia granulated for drops? Please forgive me; I'm new to all of this. I live in Belize where coconut milk, water, powder is used in tons of recipes & I love it! It was all new to me having come from the states. I already bought coconut powder in bulk to try in many lc recipes …… and using it in pudding is one I thought about for the yummy cream cheese & chocolate dessert that I love! The almond flour works perfect in the crust but wanted to find something to replace milk in pudding……imported cream is hard to find here & the fresh taste different & turns out different in recipes. Sigh…… But I will figure it all out eventually with fabulous blogs like yours around! Thank you for all your work!

    • NAS says

      Do you really need erythritol? It’s toxic. Why isn’t the Stevia enough on it’s own? The erythritol won’t help with sweetening or setting up the pudding in any way.

      • Carolyn says

        I heartily disagree. It’s not toxic…if it were, you would have problems eating fruit, since it’s in fruit. And yes, actually, it does help with sweetening.
        I think you should check your info on erythritol.

  9. food_dreamer says

    Hi Piper,

    For powdered erythritol, use the same amount as granulated.  What kind of Stevia do you have?  If it's the powdered kind, the really strong kind, just use 1/8 tsp.  I don't always know how to sub other sweeteners because they all differ so much in sweetness!

    • Beverly says

      It is best to go by weights rather than cup measurements as 1 cup of powdered SWERVE will weigh less than 1 cup of granular, which would mean less sweetening power, cup for cup. To substitute: just weigh the desired cup amount of granulated Swerve and use that weight of powdered.

  10. Patti says

    I made this today and it is really good! Not too sweet with a nice, dark chocolate flavor. Thanks for the recipe…I’ll be making this again!

  11. Alison says

    I really loved this recipe! I skipped the stevia and added 2 more Tbsp of Erythritol to compensate. It was thicker than my regular milk/sugar/cornstarch pudding but I preferred the change. I will make this often, thank you!

  12. Darlene says

    I just made this and it is excellent! It has just the perfect amount of sweetness. I don’t use erythritol so I substituted xylitol. This is a keeper recipe. I can’t wait for my family to try it after dinner.

  13. Lisa says

    Carolyn, you are brilliant! This pudding is absolutely delicious, I’ve been looking for a low carb pudding recipe for years! And it’s so easy! I made just a vanilla version the other night. This is perfect for a chocolate pie with an almond crust. Thanks so Much~Lisa

      • Beverly says

        As would I! From there I could make Caramel/Butterscotch, just by subbing Brown Sugar Swerve for the regular Swerve and adding a splash of butterscotch or maple extract . However I am not sure how much xanthan gum to use to make up the difference that the chocolate provides for the thickening.

  14. robbrooks says

    Hello, I was wondering if I could sub out the stevia extract for something else? Is it for sweetness or for taste? Sorry… Thanks by the way. I am excited to try this!

  15. CynthiaR says

    What a lovely recipe! I discovered it only yesterday when hubby said “Is there pudding?” and I made this because I wanted chocolate something myself! He’s a Brit and loves his “puddings”, though he declared this “a lovely chocolate mousse”. Whatever it is, it was great. I used the coconut oil and fresh coconut, since we live in Malaysia and it’s easy to get. I added a little more sweetener than called for (to his taste), and use Frey 85% chocolate in place of what was called for since it’s what I had. Nice recipe!

  16. Pam says

    I just tried this today. I found it a little bitter and not quite sweet enough. It was also rather thick – maybe I cooked it too long. Next time I’ll make it with less xanthan and a little more sweetener. I may also try reducing the cocoa powder a smidge. So thankful that you posted this recipe because I love chocolate pudding!

  17. Jen says

    I’d love to try this recipe, but I’d rather use regular sugar instead of the sugar substitutes. Can you give me any advice on how much sugar to use? Thanks.

  18. Patti says

    Carolyn, this pudding looks so good! It’s got me thinking of Chocolate Cream Pie!! My hubby’s birthday is coming up and it’s a favorite of his. Have you ever used this recipe for chocolate pudding with the crust from your Coconut Cream Pie? If so, would I need to double the recipe for the chocolate pudding.

    • Carolyn says

      I haven’t ever done it but hey, why not double the filling and if you have leftover pudding just put it into some cups to set?

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