This Chia Seed Pudding recipe features fresh (or frozen) strawberries but you can use any kind of fruit you want for this healthy, refined sugar free and make-ahead breakfast, snack, or even dessert! Chia seeds gel up to make a pudding-like consistency that’s similar to tapioca. And since chia seeds are so healthy, this is a guilt-free dessert recipe that’s vegan, dairy free, whole30, and paleo optional!
When combined with liquid, chia seeds gel up and turn to the texture of pudding, similar to tapioca. This recipe is sweetened only by strawberries and a little bit of maple syrup and vanilla extract, and tastes like a delicious mixture of strawberry ice cream and tapioca pudding. While it takes at least 4 hours to set, the hands-on time is only 5 minutes, and it’s so easy to make this in advance since it lasts for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Health benefits of chia seeds
Chia seeds are one of those amazing superfoods with multiple health benefits.
They are high in Omega-3s, fiber (mostly heart-healthy soluble fiber, which results in the gel-like consistency), calcium, plant-based protein, magnesium, and other nutrients and minerals. They are a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (especially when combined with anti-inflammatory strawberries!), and may even help balance blood sugar.
And when chia seeds are added to a delicious naturally sweetened strawberry pudding, you’re going to have a hard time NOT eating this nutritional powerhouse ingredient!
Where to buy chia seeds
Ingredients and Substitutions for Chia Pudding
- Chia Seeds – make sure to use whole chia seeds, not ground.
- Strawberries – you can use fresh (stems removed and roughly chopped) or frozen (and thawed) for this chia pudding. You can also use literally any fresh or frozen fruit you want – other berries, mango, banana… or a combination. Chia seed pudding is super versatile!
- Milk – I prefer oat milk, but you can use dairy milk or another plant based milk like almond or soy.
- Yogurt – I prefer whole milk yogurt here, but you can use any yogurt – Greek or regular – or a plant-based yogurt alternative (I like So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Yogurt the best but there are tons of options out there). If you use a flavored and sweetened yogurt, like vanilla, reduce or omit the maple syrup.
- Maple Syrup – you can use another sweetener if you like, such as honey, agave, or even regular sugar (if you use regular sugar, I’d let it sit with the strawberries for a few minutes to allow it to dissolve and enhance the strawberry flavor). Also this recipe calls for 1/4 cup, but you can easily reduce it or even omit it in favor of the natural sweetness from the strawberries.
- Vanilla Extract – this can be omitted if you like.
- Whipped Cream and/or fresh chopped strawberries or other fruit for serving (optional, but really fun especially if you are serving this as dessert!).
How to make Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding
- First, add the strawberries, milk, yogurt, vanilla extract, and maple syrup to a medium or large bowl (or blender).
- Purèe the ingredients using an immersion blender directly in the bowl (or in a standing blender).
- Stir the chia seeds in to the mixture in the bowl (transfer from the standing blender to a bowl at this point if that’s what you used). Make sure they are fully submerged, as they will have a tendency to float on the top.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or longer. Or until the chia seeds gel up to create a thick, pudding-like consistency.
- Serve topped with whipped cream and chopped fruit if desired. Yum!
Why aren’t my chia seeds gelling?
Depending on the age of the chia seeds, it might take a little longer than 4 hours for the chia seeds to completely gel up and thicken the pudding. If yours takes longer, that might be the case. Leave it overnight and it should be fine!
And if you like a really thick chia pudding, you can also reduce the milk and yogurt by 1/4 cup each.
How long does this last in the fridge?
Chia seed pudding will last for about 5 days in the fridge. Some separation might occur; if it does, just stir it up before serving. And if you use bananas, the pudding may turn brown (I recommend covering the surface with plastic wrap if you use bananas to prevent browning).
How can I meal prep chia pudding?
I made my strawberry chia pudding in a bowl and divvied into smaller containers after the pudding had set.
You can also divide the recipe into 8 portions (use the servings slider in the recipe card below), and make these in individual small mason jars, shake them up to combine, and allow to set right in the jar.
Other recipes with chia seeds
- Banana Pudding Smoothie Bowl
- Banana Chia Seed Pancakes
- Vegan Maple Banana Oat Muffins
- Cherry Almond Overnight Oats
Other refined sugar free dessert recipes
- No-Bake Pineapple Cheesecake Whip
- Maple Cinnamon Pudding
- Cardamom Spiced Orange Olive Oil Cake
- Gingerbread Cake with Orange Mascarpone Cream
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Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding
- 12-16 oz. strawberries fresh + roughly chopped or frozen + thawed, or other fruit (see notes)
- 1 cup milk any kind, dairy or plant-based (I prefer oat milk)
- 1 cup yogurt any kind, dairy or plant-based (I prefer whole milk plain yogurt)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey, if you prefer.
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- fresh chopped strawberries or other fruit and/or whipped cream for serving, optional
- Add strawberries, milk (1 cup), yogurt (1 cup), vanilla extract (1 teaspoon), and maple syrup (1/4 cup) to a medium bowl. Use an immersion blender to purée until smooth (alternatively, use a standing blender and transfer to a medium bowl).
- Add chia seeds (1/2 cup). Stir to mix well.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight), or until chia seeds have gelled and the mixture reaches a thick pudding-like consistency (see notes).
- Serve, garnished with fresh strawberries or other fruit and/or whipped cream, if desired.
- Any fruit, frozen or fresh, can be used for this. I’ve used mango with great results, or other berries. You can use a combination if you like. Go ahead and experiment – you really can’t go wrong here!
- For a vegan and dairy free chia pudding recipe, be sure to use plant-based milk and yogurt (and maple syrup instead of honey for vegan).
- For a paleo/whole30 chia pudding recipe, be sure to use a compliant yogurt alternative and milk (such as almond milk).
- A note on gelling time: I’ve received feedback that after four hours, theirs did not thicken and gel enough. Depending on the age of your chia seeds, they might need more time. After four hours, if yours doesn’t seem thick enough, just leave it for a few more hours or overnight. If you like really thick chia pudding, you can also decrease the milk and yogurt by 1/4 cup each.
Nutrition Information Disclaimer
The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools:
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious on March 29, 2014. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information.