Cinnamon-Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

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Cinnamon-Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Have you tried chia seeds? I first had them sprinkled on a salad a couple years ago…they are delicious with a subtle nutty flavor, and they pair well with so many things. (They’re a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal, and muffins!)

For the past year or so, I’ve been seeing chia seed pudding all over the place and I decided it was finally time to try it for myself.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding 2

I’m glad I finally gave it a try! If you’re not familiar with chia seed pudding, it’s delicious (try not to be put off by the texture – to give you an idea, it’s pretty similar to tapioca pudding) and incredibly easy to make (even easier than chocolate avocado pudding!). What you need to know is that when chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they form a pudding-like gel, so your two basic ingredients are chia seeds and liquid (usually milk – you can use any kind of milk you like). For every 1 cup of milk, I add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds; this makes two servings and can easily be adjusted up to any number of servings you like (or down, if you just want to make 1 serving). I know, 1/2 cup of pudding might not seem like a very big serving…but it is incredibly filling!

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

Once you have the basic chia seed/liquid formula, you can add anything you like, such as sweetener, flavoring, and other mix-ins. I like to use stevia as my sweetener for this (to keep it sugar-free), but I also love it with maple syrup. As far as flavorings go, the sky really is the limit; here are a few ideas: vanilla extract (or have fun playing with any extract you like), cocoa powder, peanut butter, cake batter (maybe add a dash of butter extract, vanilla extract, and sprinkles on top), or cinnamon. For mix-ins, try things like fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, or even a sprinkling of chocolate chips.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding 3

I like to take treats like this and come up with flavors based on classic desserts. The other day I made a chocolate peanut butter cup chia seed pudding that was to die for (didn’t get the chance to snap any pictures though!), and this version is just as good. It’s based on the flavors in a classic diner-style rice pudding: cinnamon and vanilla. It would also be great with a small handful of raisins mixed in, topped with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. Really, you won’t know you’re eating something healthy.

And healthy it is! Did you know that chia seeds were used in Mayan and Aztec cultures to boost energy? Far be it for me to question ancient ways. (You can read more about chia seeds on Cooking Light.)

Cinnamon-Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding 4

Cinnamon-Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 servings
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, any kind you like (I like plain, unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1-2 packets stevia (more or less to taste; see Note below)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 small pinch sea salt
  1. Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Refrigerate until it reaches your desired thickness, stirring occasionally. (I usually chill mine about 2 hours, but overnight is fine.)
  3. Serve chilled.
Stevia: Instead of stevia, you can use any sweetener you like in this recipe, such as maple syrup, honey, etc. Here is a guideline on how sweet 1 packet of stevia is: the amount of stevia in 1 packet measures ½ teaspoon, which is about as sweet as 2 to 3 teaspoons of regular sugar.

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    • April says

      I have been buying chia seeds for years at my local heath food store but I thought I would pass along my joy to find them recently at my local Trader Joes. The price is good, $4.99 for a 5.3 oz bag.

      FYI, my little ones love this pudding with agave.

  1. says

    I actually have a pack of chia seeds in my cabinet that I’ve barely broken into. This is just the snack idea I need to get me out of my chia rut!

  2. says

    Chia seeds are so wonderful, they’ve become an irreplaceable part of my daily diet and kitchen pantry! Chia pudding is definitely the tastiest way to eat them straight, but once ground, they’re also an excellent binder in baked goods. I must say, I’m impressed that you managed to make such an inherently ugly dish look so delicious in this photo!

  3. says

    Chia seed pudding is so fun isn’t it! I made some last summer with coconut milk for my son and he loved it. It does remind me of tapioca pudding. Love all your flavor suggestions.

  4. says

    I’ve been wanting to try this for a while too! Thanks for giving me the basics–I’ll probably do it this way with cinnamon first-sounds so good! You know what’s cool? I got a bottle of kombucha that was raspberry-chia seed with white chia seeds so they looked more ike they could be raspberry seeds and not as suspicious as black ones would be. Since they get jelly-like in liquid, like you mentioned, they were suspended in the kombucha and when you drank, you kinda had to chew too. It was weird and cool and tasty all at the same time. And I know you can make your own kombucha…so maybe a project for Faith? It toally seems like something you’d do! Oh, here’s the one I’m talking about:

  5. says

    Chia seeds are a little less common over here in old Blighty, and pretty expensive BUT this simple recipe has convinced me to splash the cash. They sound similar in their rehydrated texture to soaked flaxseeds, but I imagine they are much tastier. You certainly don’t see people raving about flaxseed puddings! I am looking forward to trying some of your flavour combos – this cinnamon vanilla one and the peanut butter cup sound scrummy :D

  6. says

    I just made this. I couldn’t wait for it to thicken so I blended half the recipe in the blender along with a frozen banana. Yum. I love the warmth the cinnamon adds.

  7. says

    i haven’t tried chia seeds yet, but dang! that bowl of pudding looks amazing, almost like the coat of an exotic animal if you look at it right. cool post, faith. :)

  8. Kelly says

    Found this via Pinterest – mine is thickening in the fridge right now! The chocolate peanut butter pudding sounds amazing too – how much of each ingredient did you add for that?

    • says

      Kelly, I’m so glad you’re trying the pudding, I hope you enjoy it! For the chocolate peanut butter cup, I didn’t really measure anything so I don’t have exact measurements, but I used about 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter and 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (omit the cinnamon from the recipe above, but keep everything else the same). You can adjust the amount of peanut butter, cocoa powder, and sweetener to suit your preferences though. If you try it, let me know how you like it! :)

  9. says

    Hi Faith,
    I have yet to give Chia a try. Every time I think of it I remember the Chia Pets:) Your pudding looks delicious and if it is similar to tapioca then I know I’ll love it. Love the color tone in your photos. Thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    This is so lovely! I tried it without cinnamon and it’s like eating a subtle vanilla custard, but with texture of course.

    It’s such a funny phenomena how most of our male partners just aren’t in to chia seeds, especially in this format. My boyfriend was so grossed out by the idea, which is odd because he loves tapioca pearls and all that. Meh, more for me then!

  11. says

    I like your new feature that shows thumbnails of the bottom of each posts, suggesting other posts we might like. That’s what caused me to stumble across this again and wonder why in the world I still hadn’t made it. So I got off my butt and stirred it together to sit overnight so I can enjoy it tomorrow. I tasted it already and love the flavor so I know it’s gonna be good once thickened. Thanks for your fabulous recipes!

  12. Diane says

    Tried this but it did not thicken to pudding consistency; it’s a liquid with a bunch of tapiocal-like seeds throughout. (still delicious though). What could be the reason for this? Is it possible I measured out too few chia seeds?

  13. Amber says

    I made this today and it was so satisfying! I ended up scaling the recipe back a little because I only had 2 Tablespoons of seeds. After 3 hours it hadn’t sent up enough, but I REALLY wanted to eat it, so I mixed in one scoop of vanilla whey protein and a little bit of melted coconut oil. Hard to believe that something could taste so SINFUL and be so healthy! Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Rhonda says

    Before I saw this recipe I used one that was published in my newspaper, very similar to this, but only used 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chia seed for 2 cups of milk. Definitely not enough! So the next time I tried 2 Tbsp. per cup. Very good, but still a little bit thin. Glad to see that it wasn’t just me, but the proportions really were wrong!

    I loved this “pudding”! Very yummy and satisfying!

  15. Jessica says

    Made this twice this week- first attempt with cow’s milk (although delicious) did not congeal even after letting it sit overnight and adding an extra tablespoon of chia. Did some research and read one blog that suggested chia seeds absorb liquid differentially. This made me think that maybe the chia I have just doesn’t absorb that much liquid and that I’ll simply need to use much more- so I doubled up the next time. On my second attempt, however, I used freshly homemade (room temperature) almond milk and allowed all ingredients to set for about 45 min at room temperature. It began congealing immediately and I ended up adding much more almond milk, which the chia took on without an issue. So in ase anyones having issues with liquid absorption, it may be a matter of liquid type (cows milk vs a nut milk) or temperature (cold vs room temp). I think it says a lot though that the flavors made it worth a second shot- really – lovely recipe, reminds me of a much healthier version of arroz con leche.

  16. says

    I put the chia seeds and flax milk in a cup and went back to work. Several hours later, when I took a break, I went to the kitchen and it had thickened just fine. I added some vanilla, a packet of stevia, and sprinkled some cinnamon on it. Stirred it all up, tasted it, and wow! I love it! This would be a great breakfast or dessert for me. Comes at a great time since I’m trying to kick a sugar addiction! Thank you for sharing.

  17. Heidi says

    I just made this as the recipe states and used vanilla coconut milk as the liquid. I put it in the fridge for 2 hours, and it thickened just fine but was a little clumpy. So, I whisked it with a fork a little and it was perfect. Oh my goodness, this is SO GOOD. I was afraid I’d hate the texture, but it doesn’t bother me at all! Thanks! :D

  18. Ginny says

    I’ve made the Chia Pudding and have enjoyed eating it…reminds me of eating tapioca. Have added a little oatmeal and ate it for breakfast.

  19. Anne says

    I made this and let it sit covered in the fridge. After 12 hours I was eager to enjoy a creamy thick pudding like your picture. Instead I was disappointed to find a milky soupy “beverage”. I followed the recipe as instructed…stirring it occasionally for the 1st hour (then I went to bed to allow it to thicken overnight). The only change I made was adding 4 drops of liquid stevia instead of powdered stevia. You get a pudding after only chilling for 2 hours? I can’t figure out what I did wrong.

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