9 Protein-Packed Chia Seed Pudding Recipes

Chia seeds—the same magical things that turn sculpture pets into overgrown, sprouted topiaries (ch-ch-ch-chia!)—have found themselves in the health limelight in recent years. Packed with fiber, omegas, potassium, and magnesium, the superfood seeds are great for boosting energy, improving endurance, and even helping regulate digestion. And while it’s simple to toss them in a glass of water and chug away, we prefer adding them to all sorts of recipes—especially ones that taste like dessert (but are secretly super healthy).

These chia seed pudding recipes bring the “ch” to “ch-amazing” and are super nutritious to boot. And don’t worry, they won’t make you sprout plants from unexpected places.

Photo: I Heart Eating

1. Sticky Bun Chia Seed Pudding

Think 50 Shades of Grey is seductive? Try smelling a freshly baked cinnamon bun. Made with loads of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter, the sexy (smelling) buns are hard to resist—but unfortunately they’re not the healthiest treat. When that sweet tooth comes a callin’, opt for this pudding recipe instead, which uses maple syrup and agave as natural sweeteners and cashew milk as a creamy base. It even has a sticky pecan topping—NOM.

2. Fresh Mango Coconut Chia Seed Parfait

You say parfait, we say par-tay (in your mouth). Add diced fresh mangoes to a base made with coconut milk, chia seed, shredded coconut, and maple syrup—making this pudding everything we want in a healthy breakfast or snack. With a boost of antioxidants, enough fiber to keep you full for hours, and a taste that rivals fro-yo, you may just ditch store-bought yogurt parfaits for good—a blessing for both your health and wallet.

3. Chocolate and Raspberry Chia Pudding

Why save dark chocolate and raspberries for Valentine’s Day when you can eat them everyday? (Bonus: This recipe is way healthier than the average holiday indulgence.) Simply mix melted dark chocolate with coconut milk (or any non-dairy milk), blend raspberries and another cup of milk with the chia seeds, layer the two mixtures, and top with grated chocolate and fresh berries. Now that’s what we call romance. 

Photo: Natural Chow

4. Coconut Pomegranate Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

We love when simple recipes result in big flavor. What we love even more: Recipes you can make ahead of time and eat on the go. This pudding recipe marinates in coconut milk over night and is topped with fresh pomegranate seeds, semi-sweet chocolate (we prefer dark varieties), and shredded coconut in the morning. Talk about a meal worth waking up for!

5. Super Green Chia Pudding

Greens are finally getting the attention they deserve. From green smoothies to zucchini-infused baked goods to good ol’ pudding, it’s safe to say veggies taste good in almost anything—and this recipe is no exception. With a base made with banana, Greek yogurt, almond milk, spinach, and chia seeds, plus a fresh berry topping (granola tastes great too), you’ll have a perfectly balanced breakfast of carbs, antioxidants, protein, and fiber.

6. Cake Batter Chia Pudding

Most cake batter isn’t gluten-free and vegan, but this one is certainly worth a try (and just may nix your boxed-batter habits for good). Sweetened with dates, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and bulked up with almond butter, oats, and chia seeds, this pudding makes you feel like every day is your birthday. #Treatyoself.

Photo: Simple Roots Wellness

7. Orange Creamsicle Chia Seed Pudding

Creamsicle? More like dreamsicle. Sticking to five simple ingredients (and optional toppings), this is a recipe you can pull together in a snap—plus, you likely have all the materials on hand. Simply mix ‘em together, pop in the fridge, and top with as many crunchy additions as desired. (We love toasted coconut flakes, pecans, and dried cherries.)

8. Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding

Try saying chai chia 10 times fast. And while you’re at it, give this simple recipe a go. Inspired by one of our favorite Starbucks drinks, it’ll satisfy those sweet cravings without resulting in sugar overload. Bonus: It’s made with the real stuff (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper) andtopped with whipped cream.

9. Apple Cinnamon Chia Seed Pudding

This pudding kicks things up a notch by being served warm. Even better: It’s ready to eat in under 10 minutes. Simply warm up the milk (let it simmer, not boil), stir in the chia seeds, let sit, and top with apple slices, coconut flakes, and cinnamon. Tip: Sauté diced apple with cinnamon and a teaspoon of maple syrup for an even more pie-like meal.