Vanilla Chia Pudding is a healthy make-ahead breakfast that doubles as dessert! A mixture of chia seeds, milk, natural sweetener, and vanilla creates a pudding-like treat, perfect for topping with granola, coconut yogurt, and your favorite fresh fruit.
A nutritious, dairy-free breakfast as sweet as dessert?
Yes, please. This easy vanilla chia pudding recipe is made with 4 ingredients and only takes a second to throw together. It then goes into the fridge, and the mixture magically thickens into a rich and creamy serving of vanilla chia pudding.
You can use this simple vanilla chia pudding as a canvas for your favorite flavors, mix-ins, and toppings. Crunchy granola clusters and tart raspberries are my personal favorites, but the sky is the limit!
Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients are simple, but when combined, they become an indulgent yet guilt-free dessert. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Chia seeds: It’s important to use white chia seeds or black chia seeds. Brown seeds are harvested before maturity and have a bitter taste.
- Milk: Any type of milk works here. Use your favorite plant-based milk like rice milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, or oat milk. Cow’s milk works, too, if you’re okay with dairy. To amp up the vanilla flavor, try using unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
- Sweetener: Maple syrup is a great vegan/natural option, but feel free to use any natural liquid sweetener here (honey, date syrup, agave, etc.).
- Vanilla: Quality vanilla powder, scraped vanilla bean, or vanilla extract.
- Fresh fruit: I love raspberries, but you can use any fruit or berry you like.
- Coconut yogurt: For extra creaminess! You can use any yogurt you like. Just make sure it’s unsweetened to keep this healthy!
- Granola: For the crunch!
Are Chia Seeds Healthy?
If you’re wondering if chia pudding is good for you, the answer is YES! They may be tiny, but chia seeds are mighty sources of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re an excellent source of antioxidants and essential minerals. Not to mention, chia seeds are an unprocessed, naturally gluten-free food.
How To Make Vanilla Chia Pudding
- Combine the chia pudding ingredients: In a large bowl, glass, or mason jar, add two tablespoons of chia seeds, plant-based milk (here, I used almond milk), one tablespoon of maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Let the mixture sit undisturbed: Let the chia seed mixture sit for 5 minutes, then give it another good stir to avoid clumps (this is super important!).
- Chill to thicken: Cover the container and place it in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours. It’s best overnight.
- Add toppings and serve: When it’s time to eat, remove your homemade chia pudding from the fridge and layer on the toppings like coconut yogurt, fresh berries, and granola.
How to Meal Prep and Store
Vanilla chia seed pudding is great to prep ahead and store in the fridge. Pour the chia pudding into single-serving glass containers, and store covered in the refrigerator for 5-6 days. Top with the fruit at the last minute, and serve either cold or at room temperature.
Tips and Topping Ideas
The order you build the pudding matters. It’s easier to stir everything together if you add the liquids first, followed by the chia.
For creamier chia pudding, chill overnight. For the best results, refrigerate vanilla chia pudding overnight, so the seeds have plenty of time to gel and expand (chia seeds can expand almost 10x their regular size!).
If the pudding is too thin, stir in another one-half teaspoon of chia seeds and leave it in the fridge for more time.
Let’s talk toppings. With so many choices, you can have a different chia pudding flavor breakfast every morning!
- Fresh or dried fruit: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, tangerines, banana, pineapple, kiwi, coconut flakes, mango, peaches, & dates.
- Nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, & pistachios.
- Nut butter: almond butter, peanut butter, or Nutella!
- Fruit jams, jellies, and preserves
- Cacao nibs
- Chocolate chips
The perfect ratio depends on how thick you prefer it. Four parts liquid to one part chia (for example, 1/2 cup milk: 2 tablespoons seeds) is a good ratio to start with. If it is too thick, stir in more milk a splash at a time until it’s thinned to your liking.
A basic chia pudding recipe made from chia seeds and milk doesn’t have much flavor, but when sweetened with maple syrup and flavored with vanilla, the taste and texture are similar to rice or tapioca pudding. When chia absorbs moisture, the seeds inflate, tenderize, and develop a gelatinous mouth feel.
The seeds will begin absorbing moisture immediately and thicken within a couple of hours. For the richest and creamiest chia pudding, let it chill overnight.
Yes! Spoon the pudding into a freezer-safe container, leaving about an inch of room at the top for expansion, secure the lid and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and stir again before adding toppings and serving.
Why I Love This Recipe
- Healthy breakfast or snack recipe to prep in advance.
- Easy recipe with simple ingredients.
- Excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber.
- Perfect topped with a variety of healthy toppings.
- Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
- Great for on-the-go.
More Healthy Snack Ideas You’ll Love
And for more healthy recipe ideas, check these 25 Healthy Snack Ideas.
If you try this vanilla chia pudding recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Vanilla Chia Pudding
- Coconut yogurt - or any other yogurt of your choice
- Berries or other fresh fruit
- In a glass or mason jar bowl, stir together the chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir well.
- Let the chia seeds mixture sit for 5 minutes. Give it another good stir to avoid clumps (this is super important!).
- Cover and let it set in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Remove from the fridge and add your favorite toppings: coconut yogurt, fresh berries, and/or granola.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!