Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding is a delicious way to get high power antioxidants and super nutrients of both chia seeds as well as anti-inflammatory spices like cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric into your diet! With only four ingredients, it's a fast and easy recipe, making Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding a perfect breakfast or snack for busy back-to-school Fall days. Shall we?
What is Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding
Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding is a "pudding" that's infused with all the familiar flavors of fall—warm cinnamon-y, ginger-y spices and actual pumpkin puree. But unlike traditional pudding that relies on eggs, regular dairy, and even starch thickeners, chia seed pudding gets its rich, custardy texture from the natural gel that forms from chia seeds. This makes Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding 100% plant-based, suitable for vegans or vegetarian, depending on the type of plant-based or regular milk you use to make the pudding.
If you already know of, make, and eat chia seed pudding, then you take your usual chia seed pudding made with your favorite alternative or regular milk, then add a dollop of pumpkin puree plus an aromatic mix of spices for both the earthy flavor and antioxidant boost that comes from cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric.
Even though it looks and sounds like dessert especially when garnished with colorful toppings, this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding has no refined sugar.
What is Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkin Spice is a blend of warm spices that we normally incorporate into pumpkin-based recipes like Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Bread. The mix usually includes:
- cinnamon, always as the largest proportion
- cloves, sometimes
- allspice, sometimes
- mace, sometimes
Does Pumpkin Spice Contain Pumpkin?
Though the name has the word "pumpkin" in it, there is no actual pumpkin in Pumpkin Spice. The "pumpkin" part refers to the fact that we normally incorporate these warm spices into pumpkin-based recipes like Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Bread.
Grocery stores and other retailers sell a pre-made spice mix called Pumpkin Spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice, but you can also just toss together your own blend starting with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Then, add allspice, cloves and mace if you'd like. I highly recommend going down the DIY spice blend route.
Personally, I almost always add a dash of turmeric and finely ground black pepper to anything involving Pumpkin Spice, and you'll see why!
The Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding recipe below includes amounts for individual spices as well the option for using a commercial pre-made Pumpkin Spice blend.
Health Benefits and Dietary Considerations of Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
One 1-ounce serving of chia seeds, which is about two tablespoons of dry chia seeds, provides:
- 10 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of protein
- 4.2 grams of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids
This recipe for Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding is:
- 100% plant-based / vegan
- refined sugar free
- keto-, paleo-, and Whole30 adaptable
What Ingredients You Need for Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding
Only four ingredients are required for Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding:
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin spice blend: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper
- Almond, coconut, or alternative milk
- Maple syrup
and to enhance the flavor, these are optional:
- Vanilla - adding a drop or two of vanilla to anything makes it seem sweeter without adding any actual sugar, so you can add less actual sweetener. Who knows what the science is there, but it's tested and true!
- Sea salt - salt balance sweetness and actually makes sweet foods taste a little sweeter! (It has to do with the sweet/salt receptors in the tastebuds, you can nerd out here.)
- Fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds as garnishes/toppings
Additional Ingredients Notes and Resources
- Chia Seeds. There are a few colors of chia seeds. Black chia seeds are the most widely available. You can find organic black chia seeds as Costco!
- Almond Milk. Almond milk comes in a wide variety of formats. Use a plain, unsweetened almond milk or other alternative plant-based milk that fits into your health and dietary needs. The almond milk we use in this recipe is sold in shelf-stable 32-ounce boxes.
- Pumpkin Puree. Use 100% pure pumpkin puree. This is the organic canned brand that I most often use. Don't use canned Pumpkin PIE filling, which includes all the other ingredients for baking a sweet pumpkin pie already mixed in.
- Maple Syrup: A little bit of maple syrup adds a boost of sweetness. I use this organic maple syrup that is amber in color and more robust in flavor than lighter colored maple syrups. You can substitute with honey, though the recipe will not be suitable for vegans.
- Vanilla. Vanilla has no sugar, but our brains are wired to connect the fragrance of vanilla with the taste of sweet, so adding a drop or two of vanilla not only enhances the flavor, but also makes us think something tastes sweeter without having to add more sugar. I use this brand of pure vanilla extract. Don't use imitation vanilla flavoring.
- Salt. Adding salt to sweet dishes isn't meant to make them taste salty. Salt not only brings out the natural sweetness of other ingredients, it balances the sweetness, too.
Instructions for How to Make Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding
Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding requires nothing more to do than mixing all the ingredients together.
The most "difficult" step of making Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding is waiting for it to gel.
Put all Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding ingredients in a mixing bowl or container with air-tight lid—there is no specific order. Vigorously whisk or stir together all of the ingredients together in a bowl that you can cover with a lid, plastic wrap, or even just a small plate over the top!
Cover the container of Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding. It will begin to "gel" within 15 minutes. For a firmer texture, set in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, up to overnight.
Once the Chia Seed Pudding is set, it's ready to eat! You can, of course, zhouzh with garnishes and healthy toppings. Keep reading!
Best Toppings for Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding
Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding is pretty delicious straight up on its own because of the spices, but if you, like me, must always "zhuzh" everything, toppings and garnishes are actually a great opportunity to add even more nutrients to your life! Here's a list of some nutrient-dense chia seed pudding toppings that are available during Pumpkin Spice season:
- Pumpkin seeds, to keep with the pumpkin theme! Also provides a good dose of magnesium
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are a great source of plant-based protein and omega3s.
- Dried fruit like dates, dried figs, and prunes
- Pomegranate seeds
- Berries—blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries—are a perennial favorite for their antioxidants and fiber
- if your Chia Seed Pudding is more of a snack or an end-of-the-day treat, shaved white chocolate is a fun indulgence!
Pro Tips and Techniques
- Portion size. One serving of chia seeds is 2 tablespoons of dry chia seeds, which expands into only about a half cup with liquid. Be mindful of the portion size of the actual chia seed pudding. It is tempting to fill a cereal-sized bowl with chia seed pudding!
- Use small mason jars or covered glass containers as individual servings to help with prep and portioning.
- Meal Prep: Because Chia Seed Pudding is so easy to make and will keep in the refrigerator for five days, it's a great breakfast or snack to meal prep. Make 5 days worth of Chia Seed Pudding and either store it in a single airtight container in the refrigerator, or portion the finished Chia Seed Pudding in smaller individual size containers (8-ounce mason jars are great for this). You can add fresh berries or different toppings just before eating.
- Blend Chia Seeds for Smoother Pudding. If you prefer a smoother texture to your Chia Seed Pudding rather than the crunchy texture of whole seeds, grind the chia seeds in a blender or food processor before adding to the liquid. You can also blend the entire mixture in a high-power blender.
Pumpkin Spice is only one variation of endless possibilities of Chia Seed Pudding. You can use a different type of alternative milk, swap out the pumpkin and spices for another type of spice or flavoring, and substitute maple syrup with any number of natural, unrefined sweeteners. Here are some favorite variations:
- Chocolate - To make Chocolate Chia Pudding, substitute in cocoa powder for the pumpkin puree and spices.
- Matcha Chia Seed Pudding - substitute out the pumpkin puree and spices for about 2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder for a chia pudding version of everyone's favorite antioxidant powerhouse drink.
- Preserved Fruit - If fresh fruit isn't readily available, try swirling a couple of tablespoons of your favorite fruit jam or preserves instead. Fig jam goes particularly well here because of the seeds, and if you're close to the winter Holidays, try cranberry sauce!
- Original Plain Vanilla - keep it simple and leave out additional flavorings, using only chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. You can even leave out the vanilla to keep your chia pudding super simple.
Tools and Equipment
- Glass mixing bowls
- Silicone storage lids for jars and bowls
- Mason jars for storage - "wide-mouth" so it's easier to fill and clean!
- Mason jar lids - so much better than the two piece rusty metal lids!
- Double-walled mugs for serving "lattes"
- Mini serving bowls in white
- Mini serving bowls in blue
Advance Prep, Leftovers, and Storage
Chia Pudding is perfect for advance prep and storage. Store Chia Pudding in air-tight containers—glass mason jars with air-tight lids are perfect for this!—in the refrigerator for up to five days. In fact, portioning out single serving-size portions into small 8-ounce glass jars or containers makes it super easy to grab n go from the fridge throughout the week!
Chia Pudding does not store well in the freezer.
Chia Seed Pudding FAQs
Use whichever chia seeds are available and affordable for you. There are two types of chia seeds you will see most often on store shelves, black and white. There is a slight nutritional difference between the two, but the difference is so small, they're virtually identical. Black chia seeds have marginally more protein content and white chia seeds have more plant-based omega3 fatty acids in the form of ALA.
To make your Chia Seed Pudding smoother, blend chia seeds into a powder before mixing with the remaining ingredients, or you can blend all of the ingredients together. I have had smoother results when I blend the chia seeds first.
Chia seeds can begin to set in as little as 15 minutes, but can take up to two hours, depending on the seeds and the type of liquid.
Couple reasons chia seeds may not be setting into a gel. 1) If there is too little liquid, the chia seeds won't be able to absorb and create the gel. 2) If there is too much liquid, the chia seeds might have gelled, but didn't absorb the extra liquid, making the entire thing seem runny. Try to stick to a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4 chia seeds:liquid.
It is also possible that the chia seeds are past their prime. Though chia seeds can last for 4-5 years even without refrigeration, make sure your chia seeds aren't too far beyond their "best by" date when making chia seed pudding.
Matcha Chia Seed Pudding will keep up to five days in an air-tight container up to five (5) days.
Chia Seeds in General FAQs
Chia seeds last for 4-5 years without refrigeration in a cool, dry area.
No, chia seeds do not have to be ground into a meal or powder for maximum benefits, unlike other seeds like flaxseeds. However, you can grind chia seeds in a high-power blender to make a smoother Chia Seed Pudding.
More Pumpkin Spice, More Chia
If you're here for the wonderfully warm flavor of pumpkin spice, try these recipes:
- Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Sea Salted Caramel
- Most Popular Pumpkin Pie on the Internet
- The Last Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Muffin Recipe You'll Ever Need
If you're here for the outstanding health benefits of chia and other "super seeds," try these recipes:
- Berry Chia Seed Jam, pictured above
- Chocolate Chia Pudding
- Matcha Chia Seed Pudding
- Chia, Flax, and Hemp "Super Seed" Bowl
Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding Recipe
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk, plus ½ cup to add for consistency (or any other unsweetened alternative milk)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons power pumpkin spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon ginger + ¼ teaspoon nutmeg + ¼ teaspoon turmeric + pinch of finely ground black pepper)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional: pinch of sea salt
- fresh figs, halved grapes, sliced persimmons, pomegranate seeds
- toasted pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, toasted almonds, roasted pistachios
- Put chia seeds, almond milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt in mixing bowl or mason jar and stir to combine, making sure to break up any clumps of the spice powder.
- Cover and let chia seed pudding "set" in refrigerator for at least two hours.
- After setting time, if Chia Pudding is too thick, stir in extra almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency of pudding.
- Spoon chia pudding into serving bowls or cups and top with optional garnishes.