Baking Substitute for Instant Chocolate Pudding

Instant chocolate pudding mix is added to cake mixes to make a very moist cake. It makes a quick pie filling or a parfait dessert when layered with whipped cream and berries. However, commercial pudding mixes contain chemical ingredients that don't contribute to the nutritional value of the pudding, but are used to improve appearance and texture, and to extend shelf life. Make your own chocolate pudding the next time a recipe calls for it.

instant chocolate pudding dessert Credit: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

Commercial Pudding Ingredients

Commercial instant chocolate pudding contains sugar, modified food starch, cocoa processed with alkali, disodium phosphate, natural and artificial flavor, salt, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, mono- and diglycerides, red dye no. 40, yellow dye no. 5, blue dye no. 1, artificial color and BHA, a food preservative.


Tetrasodium pyrophosphate is a food additive used to emulsify or thicken foods such as marshmallows, pudding and canned tuna. Disodium phosphate is also used to thicken processed foods. Mono- and diglycerides are derived from animal and plant fat molecules. They are used to prevent foaming in processed foods and detergents. BHA -- butylated hydroxyanisole -- is an antioxidant used to prevent rancidity of fats and oils in processed food, preserving shelf life.

How to Make Quick Chocolate Pudding From Scratch

Quick chocolate pudding, made from scratch with cocoa, milk and cornstarch, can be a substitute for instant chocolate pudding in baking recipes. In the commercial instant pudding, the first ingredients are sugar and cocoa. To make your own chocolate pudding without all the chemicals, combine 1/2 cup of white sugar, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa in a 1- or 2-quart saucepan. Stir them with a spoon until they are well mixed. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of milk gradually, stirring to combine the milk with the dry ingredients. Cook the pudding over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the pudding begins to thicken. Remove it from the heat, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and let the pudding cool. Use it for dessert as is, or make a pie or a pudding parfait.

Chocolate Pudding Mix for Baking

Some baking recipes call for dry pudding mix. Make your own pudding mix easily by combining 3/4 cup of dry milk powder, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of corn starch and 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa in a mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients until they are completely combined. To make pudding, add 3 cups of water to the mix in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the pudding thickens. Flavor with vanilla or coffee. To use the dry mix in baking, use your kitchen scale to measure 4 ounces of the mixture to replace a 3.9 ounce package of commercial instant pudding mix.

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