Use It Up: Build-Your-Own Pudding Bar (and Spiced Chocolate Pudding)


Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all have some fun outdoor plans today (and good weather to carry them out, as well!). Over here, we’ve spent the weekend cycling (my first ride outside this spring), working in the garden and grilling. But my absolute favorite part of the weekend has been reading outside. Lately, spreading a blanket out on the deck and settling in with a book and a drink is my ultimate relaxation technique.

If you’re grilling or going to a cookout tonight, why not provide a fun no-bake dessert? I’m talking about a build-your-own pudding bar. It couldn’t be easier: just bring in 1-3 flavors of homemade pudding, and a whole mess of toppings for people to build their own desserts. I recommend a combination of:

  • Fruit or fruit preserves (I’m all about the plum preserves right now!)
  • Toasted nuts
  • Toasted shredded coconut
  • Crushed cookies (Oreos, Nilla Wafers, etc)
  • Gummi worms
  • Nut butter
  • Chocolate chips

Build-your-own pudding bar on

If you’re intimidated by the thought of making your own pudding, don’t be! It is so incredibly easy, I promise. Plus, the actual cooking is done in a snap – then you just need to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to set. Make it now, and it will be ready in plenty of time for dinner!

Pudding bar with all the toppings |

Here are some recipes to get you started on your pudding-making adventures:

Spiced Chocolate Pudding

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Spiced Chocolate Pudding

This pudding is spiced with cinnamon, chili powder and nutmeg. Feel free to play with the spice combination as well. Consider replacing the chili powder with a little cardamom for a more chai-like flavor, for instance.


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Whisk the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, cinnamon, chili powder, nutmeg and salt together in a small bowl.
  2. When it comes to pudding, you need to be able to move from step to step quickly. So measure everything out now so it is ready to go before you start cooking.
  3. Warm the milk and cream over medium-low heat. Whisk half of the warm milk, 1/4 cup at a time, into the dry ingredients.
  4. Pour all of the dry ingredients into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  5. Whisk in the egg yolks. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding begins to thicken. This should take 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is completely melted.
  7. Pour into a heat-safe bowl, a loaf pan, or multiple ramekins. Cover with wax paper pressed into the surface of the pudding (this will keep a skin from forming on the pudding), and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


  1. says

    Pudding bar? That’s awesome. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of ice cream, I heartily approve of this non-melting substitute. 🙂