My British Christmas pudding is a perfect holiday dessert that's been lightened up so you can make it in half the time! It’s a moist, cake-like base filled with sweet spices and dried fruit that is steamed right in the oven. Your family is sure to love this classic recipe this holiday season!
Steamed Christmas Pudding Recipe
If you’re a fan of moist, delicious Christmas cakes, you’ll love this tasty British Christmas Pudding! It’s a UK classic, filled with dried fruit and warm spices, and other amazing ingredients steamed to perfection! It really creates a moist dessert like no other!
My British Christmas pudding recipe is surprisingly easy too! It takes just 15 minutes to prepare, and the rest of the time is spent steaming the pudding – so it’s super hands-off! That’s perfect for the busy holiday season!
Whether you're a pro at hosting Christmas dinner and holiday parties or giving it a try for the first time this year, you're sure to find my ultimate guide to planning Christmas a help! Don't forget to safely thaw your holiday prime rib early, too!
My British Christmas pudding is not a standard “pudding” like you might think, but it’s a moist, super tender, cake-like dessert. Steamed puddings like my Christmas pudding have a treasured history in the UK as a part of holiday celebrations!
You may have also heard it referred to as 'figgy pudding' or 'plum pudding'. Even though it's old-school, Christmas puddings are still a must-have on many holiday tables.
Christmas pudding is often served on fire (en flambe - using brandy, rum, or whiskey), with a sauce (toffee, butterscotch, or creme Anglaise), topped with royal icing, or simply dusted with confectioners' sugar as shown here.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
It's Super Fast And Easy! Make this traditional Christmas dessert in less than half the usual time (8 hours of steaming, then chilled overnight)!
Full of Classic Christmas Flavor! Warm spices, dried fruit, brown sugar, butter—who can resist that delightful aroma?
It’s Unique! Steaming a dessert may not be something you’ve tried before, but I highly recommend it! It’s a great way to ensure you never have a dry cake!
It’s Delicious! Whether you eat it on its own or paired with a sauce, this easy Christmas pudding is truly a delight to the tastebuds!
🥘 Ingredients For British Christmas Pudding
My British Christmas pudding uses a lot of pantry staples! You may have to look for mixed spice, or you can make my super easy mixed spice recipe any time you need it!
- Raisins – 1 cup of raisins. Hear me out: raisins are fantastic in this recipe! They’re like little bites of intense sweetness, and they go so well with the spices.
- Golden Raisins – 1 cup of golden raisins, also known as sultanas. These add more of that dried fruit sweetness to the pudding!
- Self-Rising Flour – 1 cup of self-rising flour. It already has leavening agents and salt added, so it makes the recipe even easier. *To make your own self-rising (self-raising) flour, measure out 1½ teaspoons of baking powder then finish filling 1 cup with your all-purpose flour. Whisk the flour and baking powder together thoroughly before using. I suggest sifting twice for the best results.
- Breadcrumbs – 1 cup of breadcrumbs to add extra body and structure to the pudding! You can also chop up 4 to 5 slices of white bread, making sure they’re chopped well enough that they can incorporate into the pudding (*see note).
- Light Brown Sugar – 1 cup of light brown sugar will add caramel sweetness to the pudding. I highly recommend using brown sugar over white sugar for this recipe.
- Butter – 1 cup of grated butter. For this recipe, we want the butter to frozen, then grated before incorporating it into the batter. You’ll also want some softened butter for coating the bowl.
- Mixed Spice – 2 teaspoons of mixed spice. This is a delicious blend of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger, and coriander. It gives an amazing, sweet warmth to the pudding that’ll make your mouth water!
- Milk – 1 cup of whole milk is preferred for this recipe. It’ll moisten all of our ingredients.
- Egg – 1 large egg. You want the egg to be brought to room temperature to allow it to incorporate seamlessly.
- Confectioner’s Sugar (optional) – This is an optional garnish, but I strongly recommend it because it makes the pudding look so lovely!
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
If you truly aren’t a fan of raisins, but still want to make the pudding—try any of these tasty alternatives!
- Chopped Dates
- Mixed Peel
- Any other dried fruit that you prefer!
🍴 Equipment Needed To Make Christmas Pudding
This recipe is fairly easy but you will need a few simple tools to pull it off. First, you will need a grater to grate the 1 cup of frozen butter (and don't forget to have a little extra softened butter on the side for buttering the bowl).
To make your pudding, you will need a mixing bowl and silicone spatula to mix the ingredients and level out the top. You will then need a pudding bowl (aka 'pudding basin') or another roughly 15-quart oven-safe bowl to bake it in the oven.
Next, you will cover the bowl in foil and secure it with butcher's twine, then place it in a pan with water so it can steam in the oven. Get your tools in arm's reach and let's get started!
🔪 How To Make British Christmas Pudding
This is a traditional steamed British pudding, which sounds a bit unconventional – but it’s delicious! Steaming the pudding keeps it wonderfully moist!
1 Christmas pudding will make about 10 servings. It's a good thing the leftovers are just as delicious!
- Mix ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, add all the pudding ingredients – 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of golden raisins (sultanas), 1 cup of self-rising flour, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 1 cup of light brown sugar, 1 cup of frozen and grated butter, 2 teaspoons of mixed spice, 1 cup of whole milk, and 1 large, room temperature egg.
- Transfer. Mix until very well combined, then transfer into a generously buttered pudding bowl or heat-safe bowl (the bowl should be roughly 1.5-quart capacity). Use a spatula to level the top of the pudding and gently pack it into the bowl.
- Prep for steaming. After the pudding is in the bowl, butter the bottom side of two sheets of aluminum foil then secure them over the bowl – leave the center pleated, creased, or tented over the pudding to allow for rising. Then, tie the aluminum foil in place with butcher twine then place the bowl into a large pan.
- Steam pudding. To steam the pudding, fill the steaming pan with water, enough so that it reaches just a bit over halfway up the sides of your bowl of pudding. Cover and bring the water to a low simmer, then steam for 2½ hours (*Check the water level occasionally and add more hot water to keep the level at the same point on your bowl).
- Finish and serve. When the pudding is done, peel off the aluminum foil and invert it onto a heat-safe serving plate or dish. If you’re serving later, let the Christmas pudding cool slightly, then wrap it tightly with plastic cling film and a layer of fresh aluminum foil. When ready to serve lightly dust with confectioner’s sugar.
My decadent, impressive British Christmas Pudding is such a perfect dessert! You can serve it as is, with a scoop of ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream, or if you want to get really fancy - try serving it with a warm toffee sauce, butterscotch, or crème anglaise. Enjoy!
💭 Tips & Notes
- If you want to stir in some extras, try nuts or grated apples! Try adding ½ cup of grated apple—I like a firm, semi-sweet variety like Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Cameo, or Pink Lady.
- You can include up to 1 cup of crushed walnuts, pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts.
- You’ll want to grate the butter, so it incorporates properly into the pudding! The best way to do this is to freeze the butter, then use a box grater with large holes to grate the frozen butter. This way, there will be as little mess as possible!
- You can then put the butter in the fridge to prevent it from melting too much if you’re doing this beforehand.
- I actually prefer fresh bread over using dried stuffing-style breadcrumbs. However, if you want to dry the bread pieces out a bit you can leave them out overnight on a baking sheet.
If you have leftovers of this gorgeous, rich pudding, you can transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and then refrigerate them for up to two weeks. For the best quality and flavor, enjoy your British Christmas pudding within the first 1-5 days.
Freezing Christmas Pudding
You can definitely freeze British Christmas pudding too! Scoop or slice individual portions and wrap tightly with plastic cling film.
Then, put them into a large freezer storage bag and it’ll keep for up to 6 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
This old-school, classic British dessert was traditionally steamed because it was an easy way to cook a large cake-like dessert and keep it moist and delicious! It may seem odd to us Americans, but it’s really so tasty!
Mixed spice is a combination of baking spices that is popular in the UK, especially for holiday desserts. It is also sometimes known as “cake spice,” “baking spice,” or “pudding spice.” It adds a warm, delicious spiced flavor that elevates any dessert recipe! In my recipe, I like to mix a blend of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger, coriander, and sometimes dried orange peel!
Yes, figgy pudding may also be called plum pudding or Christmas pudding. Traditionally, it does not contain figs or plums, oddly enough. Though that's not to say that dried plums or figs wouldn't make a tasty addition.
🎄 More Great Christmas Desserts
- Christmas Cake - A traditional English Christmas cake with soaked fruits, warm baking spices, currants, and a coating of marzipan and royal icing.
- Jamaican Rum Cake - Rum and wine-soaked dried fruits mixed into a moist spiced cake.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding - A moist cake topped off with the most delicious sticky toffee sauce.
- Christmas Cookies - Beautifully frosted Christmas sugar cookies with festive sprinkles, what's not to love?
- Cherry Clafoutis - An easy and elegant dessert that utilizes fresh cherries baked into a warm, sweet batter.
- Empire Biscuits - These delightfully crumbly shortbread cookies feature an irresistible layer of jam filling!
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📖 Recipe Card
Easy Christmas Pudding
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup golden raisins (sultanas)
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (chopped fresh white bread, about 4-5 slices)
- 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1 cup butter (frozen, then grated + softened butter for coating your bowl)
- 2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 cup milk (whole milk is best)
- 1 large egg (at room temperature)
- confectioners' sugar (optional, for garnish)
- In a large mixing bowl add all of the ingredients (raisins, golden raisins, self-rising flour, breadcrumbs, light brown sugar, grated butter, mixed spice, milk, and egg). Mix until well combined, then transfer into a generously buttered pudding bowl or heat-safe bowl (the bowl should be roughly 1.5 quart capacity). Use a spatula to level the top of the pudding and gently pack into the bowl.1 cup raisins, 1 cup golden raisins (sultanas), 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 cup butter, 2 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 cup milk, 1 large egg
- Butter the bottom side of two sheets of aluminum foil then secure them over the bowl - leave the center pleated, creased, or tented over the pudding to allow for rising. Tie the aluminum foil in place with butcher twine then place the bowl into a large pan.
- Fill the pan with water, enough so that it reaches up just a bit over halfway up the sides of your bowl of pudding. Cover and bring the water to a low simmer, then steam for 2 ½ hours. *Check the water level occasionally and add more hot water to keep the level at the same point on your bowl.
- Remove from the pan when done, peel off the aluminum foil and invert onto a heat-safe serving plate or dish. To serve later let the Christmas pudding cool slightly, then wrap tightly with plastic cling film and a layer of fresh aluminum foil.
- When ready to serve lightly dust with confectioners' sugar and enjoy.confectioners' sugar
- Optional stir-ins include up to 1 cup of crushed nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts) or ½ cup of grated apple (use a firm semi-sweet variety like Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Cameo, Pink Lady).
- Swap out raisins for dried fruit like dates, apricots, cherries, cranberries, or mixed peel if desired.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!