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Cuban dessert- Chocolate Natilla

Chocolate Natilla

This Chocolate Natilla is an easy to follow recipe that will help you make this classic Cuban dessert with a chocolate twist.

Chocolate Natilla is a Cuban dessert recipe that was born out of necessity. If you are familiar with Cuban dessert, you may have noticed that there isn’t a lot of chocolate. It’s a travesty. It really breaks our hearts. We love Cuban dessert and we love chocolate. How could we make them co-exist.

My grandmother Oliva used chocolate to coax me and my cousin Luis into drinking milk or she served barquillos de chocolate (rolled wafers filled with chocolate) with ice cream. But that’s it, chocolate was never the star in traditional Cuban desserts.  


Allow us to introduce you to the Chocolate Natilla! It’s all the chocolaty goodness you expect in a dessert, on top of all the yumminess you expect in a Natilla. The flavor and texture resemble a chocolate pudding or custard, but it’s not as airy as a traditional mousse. The taste is out of this world.

Our classic Abuela’s Natilla recipe is transformed by omitting the cinnamon and adding vanilla extract. Then we use different types of chocolate to give it a lot of complex flavor. If you only want to buy one chocolate, stick to semi sweet chocolate. It’s perfect for almost any dessert.

This Chocolate Natilla is delicious warm straight out of the pot or chilled and served with whipped cream. Serve it with a barquillo for some sweet nostalgia. 

Chocolate Natilla

Recipe by Abuela's CounterCourse: DessertCuisine: CubanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 can (12 oz) of evaporated milk 

  • 1 can (14 oz) of condensed milk

  • 3.5 cups of whole milk, room temperature, divided

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

  • ½ cup of 60% bittersweet chocolate chips

  • 3 tablespoons of dutch processed cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla 

  • ¼ cup of cold water

  • ¼ cup of corn starch

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

  • Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for decorating


  • In a large bowl, add the chocolate chips and the cocoa powder. Set aside. 
  • In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and the water with a whisk. Set aside.  
  • In a blender add only 3 cups of milk and all the other ingredients and blend on high for 1-2 minutes to incorporate. Add the cornstarch and water as well.
  • Using a fine mesh sieve, add the blender mixture into a heavy bottom pot. I like Le Creuset.
  • Heat the pot to medium. Mix with a rubber spatula or whisk constantly. Once you start this recipe you are committed for the next 10-12 minutes! It will start to thicken after 6 minutes. 
  • Once you start seeing bubbles, drop heat to low and continue to stir constantly. Once the bubbles form it’s a sign the natilla is cooking but you don’t want it to burn or over cook. Again- you can’t step away. 
  • If you feel the bottom of the pan sticking, don’t scrape it. Just let it be and slowly mix only the top until it is very thick and bubbling vigorously.
  • Grab the bowl where you have the chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Set a fine mesh sieve on top of the bowl. Don’t skip this step!
  • Strain the natilla mixture over the sieve and into the large bowl of chocolate. This will delicately melt the chocolate. You don’t want to add the chocolate to the pot because it could burn. 
  • Remove the sieve and whisk until it is completely incorporated. Then whisk in the remaining half cup of milk. This will stop the mixture from continuing to cook and thicken. 
  • Whisk in the vanilla extract. 
  • Serve in small individual portions or in a large ramekin. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 
  • It tastes delicious hot and straight from the pot, but natilla is traditionally served cold. Allow it to set in the fridge for a few hours.