Chocolate Pudding Pie (a.k.a. My First Pie)

Yes, it is throw-down time again. Here we will separate the wheat from the chaff and find out if you are really a “foodie”. If you consider yourself to be a high brow food connoisseur of any sort, some of my throw-down recipes will horrify you and you will run away. The rest of us will be sitting here having a slice of Pudding Pie, made with a pile of very uncouth ingredients and loving every minute of it. This is why I don’t call myself a foodie, because I love this easy stuff and it disqualifies me from the hallowed and exclusive halls of dyed-in-the-wool food snobbery. If it is good, I eat it. I try to avoid processed foods for the most part, but when it is time for a throw-down…it is time for a throw-down.

But, if it is a from scratch, labor intensive, chocolate pie that you seek, fear not. Please see my post on Chocolate Pie with a Leaf Lard Crust. It is the pinnacle thus far of my chocolate pie efforts. This, on the other hand is a throw down chocolate pie and it is also one of my favorite things on Earth.

In fact, this is probably the very first pie that I ever made. One must start somewhere. My grandmothers taught me many things, but pie making was not one of them. My life resonated with Americana summer spirit (albeit of an entirely non-Rockwellian nature) that conjures mental pictures of  pies cooling on window sills, but we were usually in the lake swimming and fishing, not perfecting pastry. My beloved cousin, Joey, and I made extravagant mud pies out of clay and moss, but no real ones.

And pastry crusts seem intimidating. They shouldn’t but they do. There are a few simple tricks that make them much more nicely behaved, but there is a definite learning curve. For those who have jumped into the deep end and made a perfect lattice crust cherry pie on their first time out…awesome! The rest of us start here.

Once you are a pie fanatic and make all pies from absolute scratch, there will still come a day when you need to feed dessert to a lake cabin full of twelve-year-olds. You will be standing about, sunburned, sweaty, stinky, and bedraggled and they will all be looking at you like, “if you really are the super-mom (dad…uncle…aunt, etc.) you seem to be…you will have taught us how to water-ski, washed all the beach towels, and you will have made dinner and a pie.” My friends, this is that pie.

This is a brutal shopping list (she says as she rolls her eyes at herself): graham cracker crust (yes, pre-made…baking aisle), two big boxes of chocolate pudding, Cool-Whip, and 2% milk.

Now, you can take many of these component parts and create them from scratch. You can whip whipping cream, you can crush graham crackers to make the crust with sugar and butter. You can. I know you can. You know you can. But if you do, you are cheating. Because this is a throw-down, and it needs to be in the fridge chilling in 15 minutes so that you and the hellions can have it for dessert, after the Taco Soup or the Mac ‘n Cheese. There are no prizes for going homemade on any of this. Embrace the throw-down. Give yourself a break from the unrelenting, competitive, over-wrought, pain-in-the-butt exercise that cooking for guests can sometimes be. Because, I’m telling you…this is good stuff. Save the three hour pie for a day when you can bathe in the beauty of the process and enjoy each step. Pie is supposed to feel good to make and to serve. And in a crazy world, sometimes that is going to be Pudding Pie.

Chocolate Pudding Pie (a.k.a. My First Pie)
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
This pie takes no time at all to prepare, but it does require ample refrigeration time. So, factor in a few hours in the fridge.
  • 1 (9 oz.) 10 inch Pre-Made Graham Cracker Crust
  • 2 boxes (5.9 oz) of Jell-O instant chocolate Pudding
  • 1 (8 oz.) container of Cool-Whip
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  1. Prepare the crust according to package directions by baking it for a short period of time. Allow the crust to cool completely.
  2. Combine the pudding mix and the milk and whisk it vigorously for two minutes, taking care to eliminate any lumps. Allow the pudding to sit for an additional two minutes.
  3. Scrape the pudding into the prepared pie shell and smooth it with a rubber spatula. Cover the pie and place the pie in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Note that the plastic pie crust liner can be flipped over to make a nifty cover for the pie.
  4. Approximately 30 minutes before serving the pie, stir the Cool Whip until it is nice and creamy. Place all of the Cool Whip on top of the chocolate pie and spread it around evenly. Place the pie back in the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes. Enjoy.

Note: If you cannot find the bigger pie (10”) crust, you can still easily make this pie. Just adjust the amount of pudding and Cool Whip accordingly and save the rest for a snack for the next day. Also, if you like a creamier filling, you can whisk some of the Cool Whip into the pudding for a lighter (in color and flavor…not in calories obviously) filling. Feel free to throw some chocolate sprinkles on the top if you are feeling ambitious…but this is perilously close to cheating, too.

And finally, sometimes these crusts crumble a bit. Sometimes the pudding has little lumps. And sometimes your daughter will try to remove this five pound pie from the fridge on her own and fold it like a taco. Don’t sweat it. Don’t worry. It is a throw-down. Just enjoy it.


  1. Phylis Carlisle says

    Kelly, you are so right about there being times when convenience is the answer. I too have made this pie, a long time ago. The best image for me was of mud pies. My siblings and I had great times making mud pies. Ours included Chinaberrys from trees in our south Texas yard. What a wonderful memory to start my morning.

  2. Kelly says

    Thanks, Phylis. Last week I went outside and found my daughter, head to toe, covered in mud with a vat of mud “food” and it made me so happy. I never take for granted growing up beside a lake where mud concoctions were always at hand, and I never had to wait for a rainy day. Chinaberries must have been a gorgeous ingredient for those mud pies!! When we were really going for special, we would go up into the yard and pick off pink mimosa blooms too. It is a good memory to start the day, isn’t it?

  3. Bebe says

    It’s summer. It’s hot. Who in their right mind would want to bake a pie?

    I have made this pie. Long ago. Had forgotten it. Thank you for the reminder, Kelly….it’s back in the repertoire.

  4. Sherry says

    I’ve made this pie many times before, too! If the grownups are going to have some yumminess (and by grownups, I mean the moms of the crowd) I make it with the reduced fat crust, sugarfree pudding and lowfat coolwhip. Throw in some chocolate chips or nuts onto the bottom of the crust before you put the pudding in, then sprinkle a few on top.
    My sister in law makes her own (yes, she’s one of THOSE moms…) and uses egg whites to make a meringue for on top instead of Coolwhip and then blazes it. Sort of like a “Smore Pie” The top tastes all marshmallow-y. Don’t tell her I love it…. but I”m sure she already knows. She’s seen the smears of chocolate and meringue on my face and fingers.

  5. Kelly says

    I love these ideas…thanks for sharing them with us. I love the smore idea but fear that acutally making a meringue takes too much effort to qualify as a throw-down. But, a great idea, nonetheless. It almost raises it to the level of a fancy pie.The nuts would be terrific…I love pecans.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *