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How to Steam A Christmas Pudding

As someone from Ireland, I know a thing or two about perfectly Steaming A Christmas Pudding. Let me teach you all my tips!

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Hi Bold Bakers!

It’s that time of year again! The time where we are busy in the kitchen getting Christmas Cake, Christmas Puddings and Mincemeat made so it has ample time to rest and settle before Christmas! In Ireland, my mum like many others would always get these jobs done in October so the cakes and puddings would have time to sit and allow for the flavors to develop. Part of that is the baking of cakes and steaming of puddings.

Steaming a pudding (pudding is cake in Europe) is a very popular method of cooking in Ireland and Britain. Unlike an oven, steaming adds moisture to the cake during the cooking process making it incredibly moist. Unlike in the oven, which uses dry heat. I am a sucker for a steamed pudding because they are just so incredibly moist and flavorful. Also the longer you leave them before eating the better the flavor.

Steaming a pudding is incredibly easy and actually hard to mess up. You don’t need any fancy equipment except for a large pot and a steamer. Failing a steamer tray you can always use an upturned plate in the bottom of your saucepan.

What Equipment Do I Need to Steam a Christmas Pudding

Covering the Christmas pudding and sealing the bowl with aluminum foil.

How to Steam A Christmas Pudding

Once you learn these steps, you’ll never forget them. It’s so easy to make the pudding of your dreams, and you don’t even need to get fancy with it. Here are the steps (and check out the photos for a visual):

  1. Take a large sheet of foil and a piece of buttered greaseproof paper about the same size.
  2. Place a buttered piece of parchment paper over the top of your pudding bowl. Onto that place a piece of foil of a similar size. Press the foil around the bowl. Tie the foil tightly around the bowl using a long piece of string or bakers twine.
  3. Trim away the excess foil and greaseproof paper. Leave about two inches of excess foil around the sides of the bowl. Make sure you totally encase the pudding give it a water-tight seal.
  4. Make a handle for the bowl by threading string around the pudding basin. Pull and tie another piece of string through to create a handle to lift your pudding from.  The pudding is now ready to go into the pan.
  5. Place the pudding into the steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water, or use a large saucepan with a saucer in the bottom.
  6. Steam for several hours, or as the recipe indicates. Top up water roughly every 45 minutes or when necessary.
  7. When the pudding is steamed, cut the string around the bowl. Gently ease away the paper and foil.
  8. Before storing the pudding ready for re-steaming, recover with a fresh sheet of foil and paper as before. Tie a handle around it for ease of removing.

Tips and Tricks on How to Steam A Christmas Pudding

  • If you don’t have a steamer, do not worry, you can use an upturned plate as your trivet to keep the pudding basins from the bottom of the saucepan.
  • If your plate is rattling during the cooking process place a small face cloth underneath the steamer.
  • If you don’t have a traditional pudding bowl don’t worry! Look around your kitchen and see what you could use instead. You will be surprised to see what you already have that can be used, like glass mixing bowls or pyrex dishes.
  • Any strong string or twine will work to tie the pudding.
  • Make sure to continually refill the water with more boiling water so it doesn’t boil off.
  • Make sure that your saucepan is large enough to fit your pudding basin with its lid on.

A side-by-side of covering the Christmas pudding and lowering it into the pot.

Make More Holiday Recipes!

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Sherry
Sherry
1 year ago

When I make mine I use an old apple juice can and out it in it I cover it with tin foil I use about 4 layers of tin foil then I put one if those big elastics on it. I out it in a deep pot and fill the water just about a quarter over where I count the rims I. The apale juice tin My husband got me a brick yes a brick new of course and I wrapped it in tinfoil a few times I put that on top of the apple to. So it keeps it… Read more »

Amy Wong
Amy Wong
10 months ago

Do I have to re-steam the pudding before I eat? I’m gifting it to friends and worried it will be a hassle to re-steam it

Last edited 10 months ago by Amy Wong
Lorraine.T
Lorraine.T
1 year ago

First time to make my own Christmas pudding ever and I loved the way it turned out. Smells just like my moms kitchen during the holidays. I make irish Christmas cakes every year but so excited to have my pudding this year too. Nothing like a taste from home 🥰

Renee Hursh
Renee Hursh
1 year ago

I’m so confused. Christmas Pudding is cake? You store it for months? It doesn’t mold? Resteam it?

anne greer
anne greer
7 months ago

Hi: you don’t say how far up the basin you have the water. I checked Mason Cash and they say to put it half way up the basin-any suggestions? Also do you cover the water pot with a lid? thank you for your help.

Pat
Pat
9 months ago

Enjoyed this write-up. We make steam puddings in Newfoundland. We make it exactly the same with a traditional caramel sauce. I just made one a few days ago for Christmas dinner. We cook a traditional boiled dinner with root vegetables. We are of British and Irish heritage. I’m so glad to show my adult son these traditions brought from over Europe.

Annamarie Kiely
Annamarie Kiely
10 months ago

Hi Jen, just wondering can you put your pudding in a slow cooker to steam? Love your recipes and thank you for sharing them with us all they are fabulous and I love the simplicity of them.Best of luck in your new home , absolutely love your kitchen. Love to baby George from all in waterford 🔵⚪xxxxx

Sonia
Sonia
11 months ago

I look forward to making this pudding!!

Nilanjana Mukherjee
Nilanjana Mukherjee
1 year ago

Merry Christmas from Mumbai, India.
I served this steamed Christmas pudding at lunch and it was appreciated by the family. But when I had a slice of it, it felt very sticky? Any inputs as to where I went wrong Chef ?

Penny
Penny
1 year ago

Puddings and cakes are definitely different things in Europe.

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Lorraine.T

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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