Stir-up Sunday recipe ideas
Get ahead for Christmas in the traditional way by making your Christmas pudding, cake or mincemeat on the last Sunday before Advent, leaving plenty of time for flavours to mature.
This year, Stir-up Sunday falls on Sunday, 26 November 2023. Put on your best Christmas playlist, simmer some mulled wine and get mixing with our beautiful make-ahead recipes, including classic Christmas pudding, mince pies and our popular make & mature Christmas fruitcake.
What is Stir-up Sunday?
Stir-up Sunday is a centuries-old annual tradition where home cooks spend the last Sunday before Advent 'stirring up' their Christmas pudding. That means it's not on the same date each year, and falls somewhere at the end of November before Advent begins.
Which recipes are made on Stir-up Sunday?
Traditionally, the Christmas pudding is made on Stir-up Sunday – in its modern form as a dried fruit-based dessert, it would have been wrapped in a cloth and boiled, but in earlier times, it would have contained meat and been eaten at the start of the meal or alongside the meat. The cloth eventually gave way to basins and moulds, and now we tend to use a basin, which is considerably easier than a cloth.
In the years since the tradition began, keen cooks have not only used the occasion to make Christmas pudding, but other festive favourites using dried fruit too, notably Christmas cake and the mincemeat for mince pies.
For more inspiration, see our collection of Stir-up Sunday recipes.
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Stir-up Sunday recipe ideas
For Christmas pudding traditionalists, this lightly spiced, fruity sponge will provide the perfect finish to your festive meal. Combine the zesty fruit and nut mixture with brandy and orange juice before grating in your butter and stirring. Get the whole family involved in the Christmas spirit by taking it in turns to stir the mixture. Steam your pudding in the oven for several hours before topping it with our rich brandy butter.
Don't have much time to prepare but still want a classic pud? Our quick and easy spiced version forgoes the need for any kitchen scales – all you need is a cup to measure out the ingredients. It also takes about half the time of our traditional pudding above, but can still be made several weeks in advance. With a salty butterscotch sauce and nutty topping, it's a fun twist that doesn't stray too far from the traditional Christmas pudding.
This is a twist on the classic Christmas pud, served with its own silky chocolate sauce. The recipe has been created using cup measurements, so it's great for beginners or young chefs. Planning on making extra as a gift? Wrap the pudding in a festive tea towel tied with string or ribbon, then write the instructions for the sauce on a pretty tag. You can make the pudding up to two months before eating.
This vegan Christmas pudding is a great plant-based dessert for the festive season. It's filled with the natural sweetness of dried figs, raisins, sultanas and a hint of rum. When it's time to enjoy, serve it warm with vegan ice cream or plant-based cream.
Impress your guests with this twist on a classic Christmas pudding. An unexpected surprise emerges as you slice through its luscious exterior: a tender mandarin fruit centre, with an irresistible cascade of citrus syrup.
Embrace the holiday spirit and create a no-waste Christmas pudding by using up those often-neglected carrots languishing in the back of your veg drawer. Carrots are sweeter in winter, making them the star of this heartwarming dessert. It's a treat for your tastebuds and a beautiful testament to the art of resourcefulness and sustainability.
Check out more Christmas pudding recipes.
Looking to keep things traditional this Stir-up Sunday? Prepare this fruit cake in advance and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build up the flavour and keep the cake moist. The preparation only takes 25 minutes, so you should have plenty of time for a few more Christmassy recipes, too.
A good mix of trend and tradition, this is one of the easiest Christmas cakes we’ve created thanks to a virtually all-in-one method. Again, the whole thing is measured in cups, so it's a great one for the kids to get involved in making. The results will leave your Christmas dinner guests feeling giddy!
Transform a classic Christmas cake into a vegan marvel by replacing eggs with chia seeds. In this innovative recipe, the coconut oil takes the stage, infusing the cake with a subtle undertone while also ensuring it remains moist.
Give your holiday tradition a contemporary twist with our salted caramel Christmas cake. It's a special treat to savour, packed with delightful chunks of toffee and sweet dates, and crowned with a satisfyingly crunchy, nutty topping.
This allergy-friendly Christmas cake is free from dairy, gluten, nuts and eggs, making it suitable for everyone. The best bit is that this cake is so delicious, no one will realise it's free-from.
Find more fruity Christmas cake recipes.
Mincemeat for mince pies
Mince pies are great to have in the house throughout the holiday season, and they're easily whipped up if you make the mincemeat ahead of time. We have easy mincemeat, boozy mincemeat, a traditional mincemeat recipe and even tropical mincemeat. When it comes time to bake, how about a custard and crumble topping?
Make this fabulous mincemeat cake to enjoy at home over the holidays, or make it for someone else as a lovely homemade gift. Using up your leftover mincemeat, it presents a lighter, more modern twist on the traditional fruit cake.
For more twists on how to use mincemeat, check out our guide on 10 new ways with mincemeat.
Browse our collection of mince pie recipes for classic ideas and fun twists.
More than just puddings…
If you want to feel super-smug come the holiday season, don’t just stop at the Christmas puddings. You can make everything ahead of time, from roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings, to sauces and stuffing – just pop them in the freezer until the big day. It’s quite literally Christmas on ice.
See our Stir-up Sunday recipe collection for more ideas.
Like this? Check out more festive tips:
Christmas baking recipes
Our easiest ever Christmas cake recipes
The 12 best Christmas pudding recipes
Top 10 best ever mince pie recipes
How to steam a pudding
Christmas projects for kids
Christmas planning tips
Do you have any tips for getting ahead of the Christmas rush? Leave a comment below.