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Chocolate Lasagna

Celebrate Thanksgiving with this fun chocolate lasagna. It’s simple to prepare and impossible to resist! Made with layers of tangy cream cheese mixed with fluffy whipped topping, and of course that classic chocolate pudding, this simple treat will delight all holiday season long.

Top down view of chocolate lasagna on a dish.

Chocolate Lasagna 

Chocolate Lasagna is a wonderland of creamy whipped layers and chocolatey goodness. It’s so simple to make, it’s a great dessert to whip up with the kids. Someone has to lick the spoons, right? This recipe is also super easy to customize to fit any dietary needs.

You can swap out ingredients to make this chocolate lasagna gluten free, sugar free, etc. You can even switch up the pudding mix flavors and toppings for any occasion! Best dessert ever? We think so.

Key Ingredients

For the First Layer:

  • flour: Regular all-purpose will do the trick.
  • butter: Unsalted and softened
  • walnuts: Chopped. These are optional if you aren’t a fan of walnuts or nuts in general.
  • powdered sugar: For some added sweetness. 

For the Second Layer:

  • cream cheese: Softened at room temperature.
  • whipped topping: Make sure to dethaw first if frozen.
  • powdered sugar: To add sweetness to the tangy flavor of the cream cheese.

For the Third Layer:

  • chocolate pudding: Classic chocolate is what we use but feel free to mix up your flavors!
  • milk: Whole milk will give you the richest flavor and texture but you can always substitute for almond milk, oat, soy, etc.

For the Fourth Layer:

  • whipped topping: You will need a second container from the previous layer.
  • chopped walnuts: These are an optional garnish but do add a great crunch!
Top down of ingredients needed for chocolate lasagna.

How To Make Chocolate Lasagna 

For the First Layer:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, softened butter, walnuts, and powdered sugar. Blend the ingredients into a dough and then press the dough into the prepared 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake the crust in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes before adding the other layers.

For the Second Layer:

  1. Now, in a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, whipped topping, and powdered sugar. Mix the ingredients until they are smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour them into the baking dish over the completely cooled crust. Use a spoon or spatula to smooth out the mixture and cover the entire crust. Place the dessert in your fridge while you make the next layer.

For the Third Layer:

  1. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the instant pudding mix and milk. Make sure the pudding is completely mixed, then pour it over the cream cheese layer. Use a spoon to smooth and even out the layer.
  2. Place the dish back in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes to set.

For the Fourth Layer:

  1. Remove the pan from the fridge and use a spatula or frosting knife to spread out the whipped topping. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts as a garnish.
  2. Place the chocolate lasagna back into the fridge for a couple of hours to set.
  3. Slice and serve chilled.
Collage showing how to make chocolate lasagna.

Chocolate Lasagna Tips and Variations

  • If you aren’t a fan of chopped walnuts there’s a myriad of other toppings that work great with this dessert! Try:
    • Heath bar pieces
    • Chocolate shavings or chocolate chips
    • A caramel drizzle
    • Strawberries or raspberries
    • Peanuts
    • Pistachios 
  • To tailor this chocolate lasagna to any dietary needs you can always use a sugar-free instant pudding mix with skim milk, or fat-free cream cheese.
  • You can even try a gluten-free baking mix for the crust.
  • Don’t use soy milk in the chocolate pudding layer; otherwise, the pudding won’t set up.
Serving of chocolate lasagna on a plate.

Can chocolate lasagna be made ahead of time?

Yes, this layered chocolate pudding dessert can be made a day or two ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The places where the chocolate pudding layer touches the cream cheese and whipped topping layers will turn pink over time, but it doesn’t change the taste.

Can you make chocolate lasagna without cream cheese?

Sure! Simply omit the cream cheese layer. This will leave you with the crust, chocolate pudding, and whipped topping. It will still taste amazing without the cream cheese.

Can you make the crust without walnuts?

The walnut crust can be swapped out with a shortbread crust like the one used in Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, a graham cracker crust, or even an Oreo crust.

Storage and Reheating

Storage: Store any leftover Chocolate Lasagna in the fridge for up to four days. You can even make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it. Just be sure to thaw before serving.

Reheating: No need to reheat chocolate lasagna! Keep it nice and chilled.

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Slice of chocolate lasagna with a spoon.

Chocolate Lasagna

Yield: About 20 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 2 minutes

Celebrate Thanksgiving with this fun chocolate lasagna. It’s simple to prepare and impossible to resist! Made with layers of tangy cream cheese mixed with fluffy whipped topping, and of course that classic chocolate pudding, this simple treat will delight all holiday season long.

Ingredients

First Layer (Crust)

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ⅛ cup powdered sugar

Second Layer (Cream Cheese Layer)

  • 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces whipped topping (similar to Cool Whip)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Third Layer (Pudding Layer)

  • 2 (3.9 ounce) packages instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 cups milk (do not substitute soy milk)

Fourth Layer (Whipped Topping)

  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Instructions

For the Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the flour, softened butter, walnuts, and powdered sugar until a soft dough forms. 
  3. Press the dough into the prepared baking dish, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Remove it from the oven, and allow it cool for at least 20 minutes.

For the Cream Cheese Layer

  1. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, whipped topping, and powdered sugar. Mix the ingredients until they are smooth and creamy.
  2. Scoop the cream cheese mixture onto the cooled crust. Use a spatula to smooth out the mixture and cover the entire crust. Return the dessert to your refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.

For the Chocolate Pudding Layer

  1. In a third large bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the instant pudding mix and milk according to package instructions. Make sure the pudding is completely mixed, then pour it over the cream cheese layer.
  2. Use a spatula to smooth the pudding into an even layer. Place the dish back in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to set slightly before adding the whipped topping.

For the Whipped Topping Layer

  1. After the chocolate pudding has set, carefully add the whipped topping. Spread in an even layer. Top with chopped walnuts if desired.
  2. Transfer the chocolate lasagna back to the refrigerator for 2 hours to allow all the layers to set.
  3. Enjoy chilled. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 slice of chocolate pudding. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 72mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 4g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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Terri Goodwin

Saturday 20th of April 2019

Have you tried using the vanilla pudding also?

John

Sunday 21st of April 2019

That's a good question, Terri. We have not tried using vanilla pudding. With that being said, Kim's grandmother made it using fresh strawberries and a different flavor of pudding. So, I feel like you could make that substitution without any issues. I hope that answers your question. Have a lovely day :)

Nancy Lyter

Saturday 1st of September 2018

I love this dessert, but am wondering: Would it be just as yummy if I used sugar-free pudding, low-fat milk and low-fat cream cheese? Have you tried it that way?

John

Sunday 2nd of September 2018

Good Morning Nancy, great question! No, we have not tried it that way. Personally, I don't care for the taste of sugar-free desserts. I feel the sweeteners tend to have a chemical after-taste and the lack of fat leaves the dish flat. However, that's just how my taste buds work.

If you enjoy the flavor of sugar-free and low-fat alternatives, then I would say yes, go for it. Also, I would never deter someone from modifying any recipe to meet his or her dietary needs. That's what cooking is all about :) In fact, I modify recipes for personal use all the time. For example, when a recipe uses cream cheese to thicken a dish and give it a creamy texture, I typically make a blonde roux instead. By using butter, cream, and flour.

So, anytime you want to change a recipe to fit your dietary or taste preferences, I encourage it! I hope this response helps and we wish you a lovely weekend :)

Lynn

Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Can this be made without walnuts in the crust? One family member has a nut allergy. Thanks.

Kimberly

Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Hi Lynn! I haven't tried it without walnuts, but using a shortbread crust would be a great substitute. Our Carmelita recipe uses a shortbread crust, but it may need to increased by half to fit a 9 x 13 pan. Here's the link if you'd like to see it https://www.berlyskitchen.com/chocolate-oat-carmelita-bars/. If you decide to omit the walnuts, please let us know how it turns out. Have a great day!

Denise

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

You say to make the crust up to an inch thick, will it shrink down so it's not too thick? Almost an inch seems awfully thick. I'm making this tonight for tomorrow and it sounds yummy.

Kimberly

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

Hi, Denise! According to my grandma's written instructions it should be about an inch thick. However, depending on what brand of pan you use it may be little less. We have two different brands of pans, and supposedly they are the same size. However, the crust is a slightly different thickness from one pan to the next. It's kind of strange. Thanks for stopping by. Let us know if you have any more questions. :)

Darline che

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

I have 1.4oz boxes of pudding so how many boxes do I need to use ?

John

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

Good afternoon, Darline! Thank you for commenting and asking a great question. I understand there are different sizes of boxed pudding. I plugged the numbers into my calculator and it looks like you would need 5.57 boxes of the 1.4-ounce pudding for the entire recipe. So, I would round up to 6 boxes because having a little extra pudding shouldn't hurt the dish. Thank you again for commenting and have a lovely Wednesday.

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