Chocolate Espresso Irish Moss Pudding

Moss Pudding 3Irish moss is a type of seaweed that grows along the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. Like most sea vegetables, Irish moss is high in iodine, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, bromine, and other minerals. It’ s also a source of carrageenan, the jelly-like thickening agent used to thicken a variety of food products.

Irish moss isn’t something to eat every day, but transforming seaweed into gel is a fun little experiment. Plus, there’s a burning question about Irish moss that needs to be answered. Can pudding made from seaweed actually taste good? Not just tolerably good, but really good?

When a package of Irish moss is opened and a strong aroma of ocean wafts out, it’s hard to believe that throwing seaweed in a blender with chocolate is a good idea. But once it turns into gel, Irish moss has only a slightly detectable flavor that’s completely masked by chocolate, espresso and coconut. The espresso powder in this version of Irish moss pudding is an especially nice addition, giving the pudding a more complex dark chocolate flavor.

The allure of Irish moss for many is that it gives desserts a creamy texture without adding any dairy. This pudding is creamy, no doubt, though not quite as rich and velvety as pudding made from whole milk. But the Irish moss gel also means that cornstarch and loads of sugar can be skipped too, which makes this pudding even more appealing.

Servings: 2

Time in the Kitchen: 15 minutes, plus 4 to 12 hours to soak the Irish moss

Irish Moss Gel

Before making the pudding, the Irish moss must first be turned into gel.

The thickening power of Irish moss varies from batch to batch, so exact measurements aren’t always going to yield the exact same results. Think of the measurements below as estimates. As a general rule, a handful of the moss plus just enough water to cover it in the blender is about right. The texture of the gel can be fairly loose; don’t necessarily expect a texture as firm as Jello. For this reason, pudding is the easiest dessert to make with Irish moss because it’s very forgiving and doesn’t require a firm, sliceable texture.


Irish Moss

  • A small handful (about 1/2 cup/2 ounces/56 g) whole leaf Irish Moss
  • ¾ cup cold water (180 ml)


Rinse the Irish moss thoroughly in several rinses of water. There will be a good amount of sand and debris to wash away.

Cover the rinsed Irish moss with cold water and soak 4 to 12 hours. Most packages of Irish moss will have a recommended soaking time.

Drain the water from the moss. The moss will have at least doubled in volume. Chop the moss up with a knife or kitchen shears. Measure out about 1 cup/4 ounces/113 g of the soaked, chopped moss and put it in a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix).

Add the 3/4 cup cold water and blend on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until the moss and water have turned into a very smooth gel.

Keep the gel in the refrigerator if not using immediately. It will stay fresh about a week.

Irish Moss Chocolate Espresso Pudding



  • 1/2 cup Irish moss gel (120 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (15 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (2.5 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (10 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (15 g)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (240 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons warmed coconut oil (30 ml)

*The amounts of maple syrup and cocoa powder can be increased if you like, for a sweeter and more chocolatey pudding.


In a blender, combine the Irish moss gel, maple syrup, vanilla extract, espresso powder, cocoa powder, coconut milk and coconut oil. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes, until very smooth. Chill before serving.


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13 thoughts on “Chocolate Espresso Irish Moss Pudding”

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  1. That sounds delicious. I generally don’t buy products with carrageenan, because of the 2015 Chassaing paper about dietary emulsifiers affecting the microbiome(to be clear they denounced polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose, but I emailed the corresponding author and he said that it was possible it could apply to carrageenan as well).

    What are your thoughts on this? I know of the naturalist fallacy and all that, but I’d rather stick to natural carrageenan from occasional seaweed, and keep away from the processed carrageenan used in e.g. creamer.

  2. Sounds delicious…but I react in the worst way way to gums–carrageenan and xanthan.

  3. Interesting recipe. Probably not something I would make since we rarely eat desserts of any kind. Nevertheless, thanks to Mark for researching this healthy alternative for those who do.

    1. I am allergic to seafood so anything that remotely smells fishy is a no go to me. Can’t stand the taste of nori either. I have been contemplating a pudding made from chia seeds, cocoa powder, and honey though. I generally try to stay away from trying to imitate wheat based foods with paleo.

      1. If you’re not into the Irish Moss gel, consider this recipe:

        I’ve made many varieties of this particular dessert. She features a chile-cinnamon chocolate (Mexican), which was delicious; I’ve also done cinnamon-almond (using almond extract) and mint (using peppermint oil) around the holidays. It’s definitely a winner if you’re dairy-free and don’t care for the seaweed flavor.

  4. You could get the same result (without the same whole food benefits) using powdered agar. I use agar to make douhua using coconut milk.

  5. You can also use avocado to make a nice chocolate mousse.
    No gums, no artificial ingredients.
    Basically avocado, maple syrup and cocoa and vanilla. Lots of recipes for this on the Web. Some use a little coconutmilk as well.

  6. This is great idea! I tried the mousse with avocado and while the texture was amazing, I didn’t like that subtle hint of avocado flavour.

  7. Ingredient comments aside, the photo shown does not match the directions for how to make it…no mention of how it is clearly layered with something…and then topped with something else!

  8. I made a version of this last night and actually had it for breakfast this morning–wanted to avoid the extra sugar so instead of maple syrup I just threw a banana in there. I’m not going to say you definitely can’t taste the seaweed since there’s an earthy undertone, but I really enjoyed it! I’ll definitely keep playing around with the ingredients. Thanks for the recipe!