This simple vanilla chia pudding is a basic recipe to get you started with chia pudding. It’s so easy to prep (seriously, all you need is 2 minutes and 2 main ingredients) and packed with fiber and nutrients! Let this simple recipe become a staple in your home.
If you’re not familiar with chia pudding it can definitely seem strange and can take some warming up to. Honestly, it took me a while to get on board with it. After a lot of experimenting, I finally found the perfect ratio of chia seeds to liquid that creates a chia pudding that I love and hope you do too!
What is Chia Pudding?
So what exactly is chia pudding? Essentially, it’s chia seeds soaked in a liquid, most of the time a plant-based milk. When chia seeds are immersed in a liquid they absorb the liquid and expand creating a gel that is similar to tapioca-pudding. Hence the name “chia pudding”.
When I say chia seeds absorb liquid I mean it! They can hold about 9-12x their volume liquid. This means a 1/4 cup of chia seeds can make about 2 cups of chia pudding! Crazy right?! The reason I was so determined to find a chia pudding recipe I loved is because chia seeds seriously pack a punch when it comes to nutrition! I like to group them into the category of “superfoods”. Meaning that they’re a functional food that has been used for health and healing for centuries because it’s so nutrient dense and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
SPOTLIGHT ON CHIA SEEDS
So why are chia seed so amazing?! Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, jam-packed with omega-3s, a complete protein and an amazing hydration aid. Plus, unlike flax seeds, you don’t have to grind chia seeds in order to be able to absorb their nutritional value.
Fiber: Chia seeds are an incredible source of fiber. Meaning they’re your digestive systems best friend. There are 11g of fiber in just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. That’s almost 1/2 of what it recommends for the day (although, I encourage you to get more!) Most of the fiber in chia seeds is soluble fiber. This type of fiber absorbs liquid and moves things through your system. It acts like a brush and moves stuff out!
Complete protein: Chia seeds are a complete protein with about 5g per 2 tablespoons. This is great for vegan, vegetarians or anyone who is just trying to incorporate more plant-based options. To up the protein content of this chia pudding even more, you can add your favorite protein powder but you’ll have to experiment with the amount of liquid since all protein powders are different. My favorite addition is collagen peptides because they just dissolve into the liquid. But just know that this is not a vegan option. Make sure to check out this post on why I love collagen peptides!
Omega-3s: These little seeds are one of the highest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. This fat is essential, meaning our bodies cannot make it and we need to get it through food. There are only a few plant-based foods that are sources of omega-3s so getting them in (and supplementing when necessary!) is so important. Omega-3s help reduces inflammation, which helps reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer. They help to promote a healthy brain and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and also help keep our skin hydrated, smooth and works to reduce signs of aging, and that’s just naming few!
Hydration: Chia seeds are an excellent way to help prolong hydration since they absorb so much liquid. Just remember that if you aren’t soaking the chia seeds like in this chia pudding, to drink plenty of liquid. If you don’t the chia seeds will swell in the liquid in your stomach and intestinal tract leaving it rather dry. No one wants to be constipated, so my advice is to just stay well hydrated!
The perfect chia pudding ratio
The perfect ratio of chia pudding is 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of plant-based milk. This creates a thick chia pudding but not so much that it just feels like solid gel. That beings said, there are so many ratios out there for chia pudding. The most common ration is a 1:4 ratio of chia seeds to plant-based milk. This means 1/4 cup chia seeds to 1 cup plant-based milk. I think it comes down to personal preference. Start with 3 tablespoons to 1 cup of plant-based milk. You can always add in more chia seeds to thicken it up or if you prefer your chia pudding even thinner, you can add more plant-based milk.
Toppings and Flavors:
This chia pudding recipe is very basic. Consider it a blank canvas for you to get creative with toppings to add flavor and even more nutrient goodness. Here are some ideas to get you going.
- Mixed nuts and seeds
- Granola and fruit of choice
- Strawberries and almond butter (pictured above)
- Blueberries and lemon zest
- Cashew butter and cacao nibs
- mango and coconut flakes
- Chocolate – add in 2 teaspoons of cacao powder and 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup or 1 soaked date
Add in a vegan protein powder of choice or collagen peptides. you’ll have to experiment with the amount of liquid since all protein powders are different. My favorite addition is collagen peptides because they just dissolve into the liquid. But just know that this is not a vegan option. Make sure to check out this post all about collagen peptides.
Any plant-milks will work here. The more fat in the milk (full fat coconut milk vs. carton coconut milk or homemade cashew milk vs. store-bought) will make a difference in how rich and creamy the pudding is.
Feel free to play around with the liquid ratio. If you want a thicker pudding add a tablespoon more chia seeds. If you want a thinner pudding add more liquid.
There is no sweetener in this recipe because it doesn’t need any when you’re adding sweet toppings like fruit or granola. However, you can definitely add a sweetener of your choice, especially if you’re making this for a wholesome dessert. For this recipe, I recommend starting with 2 teaspoons or maple syrup or honey or 1 soaked date which you can mash or blend with the plant milk before mixing with the chia seeds.
IF YOU LOVE this chia pudding, YOU’LL ALSO ENJOY THESE RECIPES:
Simple Vanilla Chia Pudding
This simple vanilla chia pudding is a basic recipe that is so easy to prep. All you need is 2 minutes and 2 main ingredients! Perfect for meal-prep.
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 2 1/2 cups plant milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine the plant milk, chia seeds, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir with a whisk until well combined (make sure all the chia seeds are coated in milk and there are no dry chia seeds floating on top. This helps ensure they’ll absorb the milk). Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but ideally 2 hours or overnight.
Portion out a serving and stir before adding the toppings of your choice. Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
This recipe makes quite a bit of chia pudding. If you’re not making a batch to have on hand for the week or feeding multiple people, I recommend halving the recipe or making a single serving.
For a single serving: 3 tablespoons chia seeds, 1 cup plant milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a heavy pinch of cinnamon. I also shared this recipe on Instagram, so make sure you save it there so you can refer back to it!