How to Make Chia Pudding, Plus 5 Recipes With Chia Seeds

*Adds chia seeds to grocery list.*

Vegan Blue Spirulina Chia Pudding with Coconut Cream and Frozen Berries
Photo: viennetta/Getty Images

Chia seed pudding is one of those meals or snacks that not only tastes good, but is very good for you. Whether you're looking to change up your breakfast game, or are searching for a healthier alternative to that nightly bowl of ice cream, chia seed pudding will get the job done, all while helping to keep your body in tip-top shape.

That's because chia seeds—the titular ingredient in chia seed pudding—are tiny nutritional powerhouses. These edible seeds, which were a staple in ancient diets, are excellent sources of satiating fiber and calcium, which helps keep bones healthy and strong. Chia seeds also pack a solid amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids in a small package, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Per a 2014 study, there is a link between chia seeds and reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension. Additionally, antioxidant-rich chia seeds have been scientifically proven to promote heart and liver health, and boast anti-cancer properties. If that's not reason enough to add chia seeds to your diet, then we don't know what is!

That's where chia seed pudding comes in. The popular dish is one of the easiest ways to enjoy chia seeds in a meaningful quantity, which means you can really reap all of the nutritional benefits. And while it might seem difficult to make this trendy food yourself, whipping up a batch of chia seed pudding isn't nearly as tricky as you might think.

How to Make Chia Seed Pudding

There are three main ingredients in chia seed pudding—chia seeds, milk of your choice, and a sweetener of your choice. However, you can also add some of your favorite spices and/or fresh fruit to kick things up a notch.

  1. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup chia seeds with 1 cup of your favorite milk and stir. Make sure all of the chia seeds are completely coated in milk in order to ensure proper absorption.
  2. Then, add about two teaspoons of your desired sweetener (such as agave, honey, or maple syrup) and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. (Note: If you like vanilla, feel free to add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture. You can also toss in a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or other go-to spices before stirring.)
  3. Cover the mixture and place it in the refrigerator until it thickens. This should take about two hours, but you can also leave the mixture in the fridge overnight.
  4. To serve, garnish the pudding with fresh fruit.

Chia Seed Recipes

While chia seed pudding may be one of the most popular ways to use chia seeds, it is far from the only way. Keep reading for more tasty ways to add nutritious chia seeds to your diet!

01 of 05

Vanilla-Cinnamon Chia Pudding

Vanilla-Cinnamon Chia Pudding
If you love rice pudding or tapioca, vanilla chia pudding will be right up your alley. Get the recipe for Vanilla-Cinnamon Chia Pudding. Heather Meldrom

This pudding recipe, which is similar to the standard recipe above, gets an extra boost of flavor courtesy of ground cinnamon and vanilla extract. We recommend using a base of almond milk, coconut milk, or whole milk for this pudding so you can achieve maximum creaminess. If you want a little something extra, top it with fresh fruit, toasted coconut, and granola.

02 of 05

Chia Pilaf With Pesto

Chia Pilaf With Pesto Recipe
Alison Miksch

Chia seeds work well in savory recipes too, as evidenced by this pilaf dish. Here, the seeds add protein and an irresistible crunch to an otherwise standard side. Simply tossing a tablespoon of seeds into the pot goes a long way, since chia seeds expand in volume as they absorb liquid.

RELATED: 4 Healthy Dinner Sides So Easy Anyone Can Make Them

03 of 05

Smoky-Sweet Potato Burgers

Smoky-Sweet Potato Burgers Recipe
Alison Miksch

If you've ever made your own veggie burgers, you know that finding something to help bind all of the plant-based ingredients together can be tricky. In this recipe that job belongs, in part, to chia seeds, beans, and oats. The sweet potato burgers also have a wonderfully smoky flavor courtesy of chipotle chile.

04 of 05

Whole Wheat Chia Seed Waffles

Whole Wheat Chia Seed Waffles
Whole wheat pastry flour is a health-minded cook’s secret weapon because it adds whole grain goodness to recipes (like these waffles) while yielding nearly the same texture as all-purpose white flour. But if you are unable to find it at your grocery store, try substituting 1 cup of all-purpose flour and ½ cup of whole wheat flour instead.Get the recipe here. Heather Meldrom

Add some chia seeds to your morning courtesy of these whole wheat chia seed waffles. These healthier waffles are also made with poppy seeds and flaxseeds, which means you'll be getting an impressive amount of protein from this one meal. Additionally, vanilla extract and a dash of orange zest give the waffles a bright flavor.

RELATED: 25 Fast, Healthy (and Delicious!) Breakfast Ideas

05 of 05

Spicy Peanut and Banana Chia Bars

Spicy Peanut and Banana Chia Bars
A smidge of cayenne adds a nice kick to these granola bars. But if the heat is too much for you, try replacing it with an equal amount of cinnamon or ground allspice. If you plan to keep the bars for several days, wrap them individually in small sheets of parchment or waxed paper: this makes them easier to store and transport.Get the recipe here. Heather Meldrom

Sure, you can buy bars like this at the grocery store, but why not make them yourself? In addition to saving money, the DIY-route allows you to customize the bars based on your preferences. This recipe calls for oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, honey, and more, but feel free to experiment with whatever nut butters, seeds, and sweeteners you like most.

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