This peppermint mocha pudding adds a festive touch to an easy homemade chocolate pudding recipe. This chocolate mint pudding thickens with cornstarch (no need for eggs) and features just the right amount of mint without being overpowering. It’s a delicious holiday treat!
It’s hard to resist seasonal treats this time of year, because despite being delicious (well, duh), they’ve got an air of exclusivity to them. Those flavors tend to go away pretty quickly once the holidays are over as we go hurdling into all things kale, green smoothies, and quinoa.
But let’s not rush things!
The chocolate peppermint combo is a classic, but I’m partial to an espresso or coffee twist to make it peppermint mocha. Remember this peppermint mocha cookie cake? YUM.
If you’ve never made homemade pudding before, it’s not that difficult, and dare I say this peppermint mocha pudding recipe is even easier because of an ingredient swap.
At its base we have milk, sugar, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Instead of using egg yolks as is typical in homemade pudding for thickness, this recipe uses all cornstarch. There’s no denying it’s easier and accomplishes the same result beautifully! Three tablespoons are all you need for a thick and jiggly pudding without it becoming too gelatinous.
The espresso flavor, which in the case of this mint chocolate pudding is espresso powder, both amplifies the chocolate flavor and tempers the sweetness just a bit. Plus it adds a roast-y flavor that I just love in peppermint mocha.
Espresso powder, also known as instant espresso granules, comes in a little jar in the coffee aisle (or online). It’s finer than standard ground espresso and quickly dissolves and works its way into the rest of the dry ingredients without becoming gritty. It’s simpler to add to a recipe than regular espresso because you don’t need to adjust anything for the extra liquid, and there’s the bonus of not having to think ahead and brew it. It just goes right in with the dry ingredients.
Then we have extracts: both vanilla and peppermint. For you recipe freestylers, I wouldn’t use more than the 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract written in the recipe card below. Peppermint extract has a very bold flavor, and even the tiniest smidge too much can be overpowering. This amount was just right.
Lastly chocolate and butter is melted in at the end for even more rich chocolate flavor and a silky smooth luxe texture.
Simplified recipe steps
Start by whisking together the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, espresso powder, and salt in a medium saucepan. It’s important to whisk the dry ingredients very well before adding the milk, as this helps prevent lumps in the pudding as it heats. I kind of ‘chop’ at the clumps of dry ingredients with the whisk to make sure they’re broken up.
Then whisk in the milk and set the pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Let this heat and thicken for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the pudding mixture to reach the consistency where it can thickly coat the back of a wooden spoon. Take care to stir and scrape up the pudding on the bottom and sides of the pan as it cooks to ensure parts don’t burn.
Once thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the extracts, chocolate chips, and butter. We want to add the extracts at the end, off the heat, so that the alcohol (and thus, the flavoring) doesn’t begin to burn off while it cooks.
I highly recommend laying a layer of plastic wrap flush with the surface of the pudding as it sits at room temperature to cool. This prevents a skin from forming on the top of the pudding, which, let’s be honest, would be wildly off-putting.
Once at room temperature, stick the pudding in the fridge to chill completely before serving.
And there you go. I’m partial to serving this peppermint mocha pudding in espresso cups as a nod to its latte inspiration, with easy chocolate shavings and crushed candy cane pieces for decoration.
(To make chocolate shavings, just run a vegetable peeler along the long edge of a chocolate bar.)
This mint chocolate pudding isn’t too sweet, bitter, or minty…in fact in my opinion it’s perfectly balanced between all three. What a fun and festive Christmas dessert!
- You can omit the espresso powder, though then you’d be making chocolate peppermint pudding. Still delicious!
Peppermint Mocha Pudding
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Add sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, espresso powder, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk until the ingredients are combined well and no lumps remain.
- Pour milk into the saucepan and set saucepan over medium heat. Whisk well to combine.
- Let mixture cook and thicken, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes, or until the pudding mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon well. Pay special attention to scraping up the bottom and sides of the saucepan while you're stirring.
- Once thickened, remove saucepan from the heat and stir in extracts, chocolate chips, and butter. Stir until all combined and the chocolate chips and butter are melted.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding, making sure the whole surface area is covered (this prevents a film from forming). Let pudding cool slightly for 30-45 minutes at room temperature, and then transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely before serving.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.
Base chocolate pudding recipe adapted from allrecipes.