Chocolate sponge pudding square with chocolate sauce topping

Top 20 school dinner puddings

Take a trip down memory lane with these classic school dinner pudding recipes. From steamed sponges and jam roly poly to Bakewell tarts and chocolate traybakes, our retro desserts are simply irresistible.

There’s nothing quite as comforting as sitting down to a warm pudding slathered in sticky sauce and creamy custard. School puddings are known for their simplicity as well as the comfort and nostalgia they deliver with every spoonful. Whether you fancy a steamed sponge, crispy cornflake tart, retro Arctic roll or chocolate concrete traybake, our top 20 classic desserts are sure to tempt your tastebuds.

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For more dreamy dessert inspiration, see our collections of traditional pudding recipes and old school traybake recipes.

1. School days citrus pudding

Zingy and fresh, this refreshing pudding is light enough to enjoy after a filling main course. You can use lemon, lime or grapefruit for the citrus sauce.

School days citrus pudding recipe

Check out more of our sponge pudding recipes.

2. Chocolate sponge with hot chocolate custard

Want to indulge in a rich and sticky chocolate traybake with less calories? We’ve given this school favourite a low-fat ‘bakeover’ by using puréed dates in place of butter. Serve in a light chocolate custard for the perfect weekend pud.

Chocolate sponge with hot chocolate custard recipe

Indulge in more of our chocolate pudding recipes.

3. Schooldays treacle sponge

When it comes to school puddings, treacle sponge is an absolute classic. The gently steamed sponge is soaked in a sweet syrupy sauce, making it extra squidgey. Give it a grown-up twist with a splash of brandy if you like.

Schooldays treacle sponge recipe

Treat yourself to more traditional steamed pudding recipes.

4. Jam roly-poly

Looking for a comforting, stodgy pudding which demands to be covered in custard? Jam roly-poly is a childhood favourite made from a suet sponge and fruity jam filling. Our easy-to-follow instructions show you how to roll up the dough into the classic swirl shape before popping in the oven.

Jam roly-poly recipe

5. Gypsy tart

If you haven’t come across gypsy tart before, you’re missing out. Hailing from Kent, this moreish dessert has a dark treacle filling, buttery shortcrust pastry and a light citrus cream to serve. A winning combination.

Gypsy tart recipe

We’ve got plenty more sweet tart recipes.

6. Spotted dick

Spotted dick is a quintessential British pud and one of our all-time favourites. The citrusy steamed suet sponge is punctuated with juicy bursts of currants – an absolute dream smothered in thick, creamy custard.

Spotted dick recipe

7. Burnt butterscotch rice pudding

We’ve taken the classic rice pudding to a new level with a butterscotch sauce and a delightfully crunchy brûlée topping. It’s sure to become a favourite with kids and adults alike.

Burnt butterscotch pudding recipe

For a quick and easy version, try our plain rice pudding recipe and adapt it with a swirl of compote or homemade jam.

Check out more rice pudding recipes.

8. Raspberry & coconut steamed sponge

Coconut and jam sponge is an age-old school dinner favourite. Our individual steamed basin puddings make a no-fuss dessert which you can make-ahead and freeze. They are made extra indulgent with a dollop of coconut cream in the sponge and custard.

Raspberry and coconut steamed sponge recipe

9. Easy cornflake tart

Why not turn breakfast cereal into a dessert? Crispy syrup-coated cornflakes are layered over fruity jam and a sweet pastry base. It’s an easy family dessert, served slightly warm with custard.

Easy cornflake tart

10. Bread and butter pudding

Make the most of leftover bread or brioche in this British classic. Layer the slices with rich vanilla custard, dried fruit and lemon zest for a super-comforting Sunday pud. To make it boozy, soak the dried fruit in 2 tbsp of brandy, whisky or rum.

Bread and butter pudding recipe

For more variations, see our selection of bread and butter pudding recipes.

11. Self-saucing Jaffa pudding

The chocolate and orange flavours of this gooey pudding are irresistible. To make the sauce, dissolve sugar and cocoa powder in boiling water, then pour over the batter before baking. This will pool to the bottom of the sponge and create a wonderfully glossy, rich sauce when it comes out of the oven.

Self-saucing Jaffa pudding recipe

12. Apple crumble

Nothing beats tucking into a good, old fashioned apple crumble on a chilly winter’s night. Make our easy recipe with tangy Bramley apple filling and a crispy golden oat topping – it only takes 15 minutes to prepare.

The best apple crumble recipe

Find more comforting crumble recipes.

13. Arctic roll

It doesn’t get more retro than this frozen dessert favourite, consisting of a light sponge wrapped around a centre of vanilla ice cream and homemade strawberry jam. Serve it with strawberries and cream for the perfect summer pud.

Classic Arctic roll recipe

Discover more delicious retro dessert recipes.

14. Sticky toffee pudding

Another classic, sticky toffee pudding is decadently rich and gooey, with a light medjool date sponge. It’s important not to scrimp on the toffee sauce as this really elevates it to greatness.

Ultimate sticky toffee pudding recipe

15. Blancmange

Love or hate it, this milky jelly dessert used to be a school dinner staple. Our recipe uses just a handful of ingredients – great if you are running low on staples. Its zingy lemon flavour and fresh berries make it a delicious summer dessert.

Blancmange recipe

16. Bakewell tart

With a mouthwatering combination of raspberry jam, almond frangipane and shortcrust pastry, it’s no wonder this is a national favourite. Enjoy a slice with a cuppa or for dessert with a dollop of cream.

Bakewell tart recipe

Browse more of our brilliant Bakewell tart recipes.

17. Chocolate concrete

This simple school dinner dessert is typically served with pink custard, but we’ve updated it to caramel sauce instead. Similar to a shortbread in consistency, this crunchy chocolate traybake is a real crowd-pleaser.

Chocolate concrete recipe

18. As-you-like-it steamed pudding

Get back to basics with a no-frills steamed sponge pudding. This recipe allows you to customise the topping – we’ve gone for strawberry jam but you could equally use up marmalade, golden syrup or stem ginger. Best served hot with cream or custard.

19. Pink jam slice

This pretty pink traybake may not be a custard-laden pudding, but it is reminiscent of the jam slices served for school dinners. Vanilla sponge is topped with a layer of raspberry jam and retro marbled pink icing for a party piece which can be enjoyed any time of day.

Pink jam slice recipe

Discover more old school cake recipes.

20. Eve’s pudding

If you love fruit sponge puddings, this is a great one to try. Transform an autumnal glut of apples into a delicious dessert by combining them with raisins and topping with a basic sponge. It only takes half an hour to prepare – an ideal midweek treat.

Eve’s pudding recipe

Try more apple dessert recipes.

Get more classic pudding inspiration

Top 10 retro British desserts
Top 10 ice cream desserts
The best slow cooker desserts
Top 10 most comforting pudding recipes
Best ever family pudding recipes

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What are your favourite school puddings? Leave a comment below…