Christmas pudding is an integral part of festive celebrations, but as loved as it is, some people find it too much, especially children. To solve this Christmas conundrum, we’ve brought you 12 top puds, from classic versions to lighter options and chocolate- and toffee-flavoured desserts.
For more advice on Christmas desserts and what to make on Stir-up Sunday, visit our Christmas Kitchen. We’ve answered every festive question and rounded-up all the Christmas recipes you’ll ever need. Read on to find our all-time greatest Christmas puddings to suit all tastes – and don’t forget to watch our handy video guide on how to light a Christmas pudding.
Classic Christmas pudding
You don’t get much more traditional than this dark, sticky basin pud. Packed with raisins, candied peel, apples and almonds, it’s drenched in brandy and given extra body with breadcrumbs. Make it in November to serve on the big day, with extra brandy for lighting, of course.
Mandarin-in-the-middle Christmas pudding
Some people like to hide a coin in the middle of their pudding, but we prefer a juicy citrus fruit. Cooked until tender and drenched in orange liqueur syrup, the mandarin tucked in the centre of this pud is a true jewel in the crown of your Christmas table.
Last-minute Christmas pudding
If you’re reading this on Christmas Eve and panicking about pudding, our quick and easy recipe is the rescue remedy you need. It has all the hallmarks of a traditional Christmas pudding, but it’s made with a jar of mincemeat. Just combine the ingredients in your basin and microwave it on the day – easy as (mince) pie!
Vegan Christmas pudding
With a just few simple swaps, you can transform a standard Christmas pudding into a vegan one. In this recipe, suet is left out completely, while butter is replaced with dairy-free margarine. The rest of the ingredients are much the same as a classic pud, making this a great crowd-pleaser that caters for everyone.
Free-from Christmas pudding
Our cranberry, maple and pecan pudding is dairy-, wheat- and gluten-free. The finished result is traditionally spicy and fruity, but less rich than standard Christmas puddings. It’s given real vibrancy and zing with a fresh cranberry topping sweetened with maple syrup.
Guinness, treacle & ginger pudding
It’s conventional to add a nip of spirit to your pudding, be that brandy, liqueur or whisky. This deep, dark recipe uses Guinness instead – it imparts a slightly tangy, malty flavour to the mix. Stem ginger adds pockets of sweet spiciness, while black treacle contributes body and intensity. This one can be left to mature for up to a year.
Mix & match mini Christmas puddings
If you’re the sort of host that caters to your guests’ every whim, these individual Christmas puddings will appeal. They can be customised with a choice of fruit, spice and booze (or orange juice for non-drinkers) and they’re made in miniature pudding basins so everyone has their very own bespoke pud.
People who find traditional Christmas pudding too heavy may prefer a slightly lighter version that has a less intense texture and flavour. This brandy pudding recipe includes pecans, candied peel, stem ginger and glacé cherries, and is served with a beautiful butterscotch sauce.
Cherry & pecan Christmas pudding
Morello cherries take centre stage in this extra-fruity version of Christmas pudding. A splash of amaretto brings out the flavour of the blanched almonds, while halved pecan nuts add chunkiness to the texture.
Blitz-and-bake sticky toffee Christmas pud
Part sticky toffee pudding, part carrot cake and part Christmas pud, this dessert is not only a universally appealing alternative to classic puddings, it’s also really easy to put together. Just use a food processor to blitz up the carrot and apple, then add the rest of the ingredients. It’s baked rather than boiled, then served with a walnut toffee sauce and praline shards.
Chocolate & cherry Christmas pudding
Tempt Christmas pudding dodgers to put aside their preconceptions and give this cocoa-flavoured pud a bash. It’s made with sweet cherries and dark chocolate as well are more traditional spices and raisins. Serve with a rich chocolate-brandy sauce – who would say no?
Sticky orange & marsala pudding
The impressive finished effect of this Christmas pudding belies the fact it takes just 12 minutes to cook in the microwave. It’s made with breadcrumbs, dried fruit, spice and booze like a classic Christmas pudding, but self-raising flour and eggs make it lighter, like a traditional sponge basin pud.
What to serve with Christmas pudding
For some, a liberal glug of cold cream is all that’s needed, but others prefer brandy butter. Try our classic version spiked with vanilla, or mix things up with brandy butter ice cream. If a boozy accompaniment isn’t for you, go back to basics and smother it in homemade custard.
How to use up leftover Christmas pudding
Give surplus pudding a new lease of life in one of our genius leftover Christmas pudding recipes. Whether you fancy serving up Christmas pudding strudel, an iced mousse, impressive soufflés or epic cheesecake, we have the recipe for you.
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What’s your preferred Christmas pudding recipe? Leave a comment below…