Traditional recipes

Mum's Christmas pudding recipe

Mum's Christmas pudding recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Dessert
  • Puddings
  • Steamed pudding

I got this classic Christmas pudding recipe from my beloved mum. She made this pudding every Christmas, and now I'm happy to share it with you.

Bedfordshire, England, UK

17 people made this

IngredientsServes: 10

  • 225g chopped suet
  • 60g plain flour
  • 425g sultanas
  • 120g mixed peel
  • 1/2 a nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 225g dried breadcrumbs
  • 100g currants
  • 60g desiccated coconut
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 140ml milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 120ml rum or brandy

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:5hr ›Ready in:5hr30min

  1. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the milk and then the eggs one at a time, stirring, then the rum and lemon juice. Stir to combine well.
  2. Place the mixture in a well greased pudding mould or a greased and floured pudding cloth.
  3. Boil for about 4 hours, or steam for 5 hours. Serve with brandy butter for a delicious Christmas pudding.

How to steam Christmas pudding

See our How to steam Christmas pudding guide to get step-by-step instructions for steaming your pudding to perfection.

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Mum's Christmas Plum Pudding

8 ounces soft, brown sugar
8 ounces chopped suet or modern day equivalent
8 ounces sultanas (rinsed)
8 ounces raisins (halved)
4 ounces currants washed and dried
4 ouncesfinely chopped or whizzed mixed candied peel (Cut your own or use ready diced)
4 ounces plain flour
4 ounces breadcrumbs
2 ounces Ceres almonds blanched and shredded
Grated rind of 1 lemon
3 free-range eggs
Teaspoonful of nutmeg grated
Half a tsp of salt
Quarter pint (or 300ml) blue top milk
1 wine glass of brandy


Yum, Yum, Pudd of Plum. This is a brilliant, fruity, traditional Christmas cake everyone will enjoy.

Note the ounces (oz) usage rather than kilograms. This is a traditional recipe handed down through generations!
FYI - 35 ounces="1" kg. So 8oz is approximately 300g. 4oz is 150g.
Oh, and with this recipe there is but one rule: 1 glass for the pudd, 1 for the cook.

For more recipes by Trudi Nelson, go to


Mix all the dry ingredients together, stir in the well beaten eggs, milk and brandy (if used).

Turn the mixture into 2 well greased pudding basins, and steam over water from 5 to 6 hours.


now to save this recipe to 'My Recipes'

Mum's Christmas Eve Plum Pudding

By the way, I think the reason dad always tied the pudding was that the lid did not fit properly- been knocked out of shape over many years of use, but mum did not want to make her pudding in any other bowl than the Christmas pudding bowl. A new Christmas pudding bowl was out of the question.

This Christmas pudding, should there be any left over keeps very well. Another tradition that we had once my siblings left home and there was only mum, dad and myself was to keep part of the Christmas pudding and to eat the remaining portion of the Feast of the Epiphany (arrival of the Kings). It is beautiful to eat hot of course, but also just as lovely on a hot day served cold, either by itself or with ice cream and/or custard sauce.


2 ounces of butter instead of one ounce.

Prepared the Christmas Pudding on Sunday 22nd and cooking it right now ( Monday 23).
I thought I had some mixed peel in the pantry, but when I went to prepare the pudding yesterday I did not. I have therefore left out the mixed peel.

A friend of mine came over to prepare her pudding at the same time using this recipe. This was a blessing for me as between the two of us was able to get the lids on without having to tie it with string. I am sure Dad would not mind, as tying it with string was his contribution to the pudding preparation. I feel sure he was looking out for me from above and helped us get the lids on securely.
The timer has just gone so need to check water levels .

Post eating the pudding: I think it needs the mixed peel- tasted fine without it but mixture seemed smoother this year. Also, I cut the cherries too fine this year.
For 2014, I will make sure I have mixed peel in the pantry and get less excited using my tupperware turbo chelf for cutting the cherries.

2014:Definitely it is better if the cherries are not cut too fine and I like it better with Mixed Peel in it.

2015: Seeing that it was 5 years since Mum showed me how she made it, I made it exactly to her recipe in memory of her.

2016: Having some guests for dinner just before Christmas, so I will be making the plum pudding.

2017: I am making the pudding for a friend this year. I will make the first part of the pudding tonight and cook it tomorrow. I have to make it ahead of time this year.

Directions for Christmas Pudding:

Here you’ll find step-by-step photographic instructions to help you recreate this recipe successfully. There are plenty of tips included along the way.

Traditional pudding recipes call for mixed peel, which is a mixture of candied orange, lemon and lime peels. The mixed peel available at our local grocery, uses many artificial food colorings and flavors, which I am not very fond of. Instead I create my own substitute using dried pineapple and marmalade.

First I dice two dried pineapple rings into small pieces.

Next I add a ½ cup of orange marmalade. Be sure to pick a marmalade with large chunks of peel.

Next I mix the pineapple and marmalade together and set it aside for about 1 hour before I make my puddings. This allows the pineapple time to soak up some of the sugary, orange marmalade flavors. If you wish you can use 1 cup of mixed peel instead of this marmalade and dried pineapple mix.

Next comes the fun part – mixing all the different dried fruits together. Shades of gold, red, tan, brown, and black bespeckle the mixing bowl, in a fitting fall color fiesta. Add the raisins, golden raisins and dried wild blueberries to a large mixing bowl.

Next come the chopped dates and cranberries.

Chopped walnuts and slivered almonds are the nuts I choose, but if you wish to further Americanize this pudding, you could substitute chopped pecans for one of these nut varieties. Glace cherries can be used, but I chose maraschino cherries, without any red dyes added. Remove the stems and halve the cherries.

Toss the fruit and nuts to the mixing bowl. I love to admire this colorful mound of goodness piling high in my bowl.

Next add the brown sugar and mix through the fruit. If you like a darker pudding, use dark brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of treacle or molasses (added to the beaten eggs a little later). I use regular light brown sugar and skip the treacle. I don’t like my pudding to be too rich and dark. I like to be able to see and appreciate the different types and colors of dried fruit used, when the pudding is sliced for serving.

Mix the crumbs through the fruit and nut mixture.

Next comes time to prepare the flour and spices. Look at the lovely autumn spice shades in the picture above.

I use pumpkin pie spice as a substitute for Irish mixed spice, together with cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. Sieve the flour, salt and spices together. If you would prefer an authentic Irish festive flavor then I do recommend making your own homemade mixed spice.

Add the flour and spice mixture to the fruit, nuts and breadcrumbs.

Mix the flour through the mixture to fully coat the fruit.

Grate the orange and lemon peel, green apple and carrot.

Mix them through the pudding mixture.

Melt two sticks of butter. The microwave melts two sticks in 45 seconds to 1 minute depending on your microwave’s power. Add the melted butter and mix into all the ingredients. Traditional pudding recipes call for suet or lard to be used. I just cannot bring myself to add such artery clogging, saturated fat to this delicacy. Instead I just increased how much butter I used (still not low-fat, but at least a little better than lard, in my mind).

Juice the lemon and orange and add to four eggs in a separate mixing bowl.

Add the brandy to the eggs and juice and whisk them all together. If you like a darker pudding add 2 tablespoons of molasses or treacle to the eggs at this point.

Add the pineapple/marmalade mixture to the eggs. I find this makes the marmalade a little less sticky and easier to mix throughout the pudding.

Pour the flavored egg mixture into the fruit mix and use a big spoon to combine all the ingredients together.

Now comes time for the most important ingredient of all, making this recipe truly Irish. Good, Irish stout adds an extra depth of flavor and richness to an Irish Christmas pudding.

Mix everything together, ensuring no pockets of dry ingredients remain. The mixture is quite wet at this point, but don’t worry. The puddings are not ready for steaming just yet. To ensure the flavors meld and develop, and to allow the fruit time to expand in its cognac and Guinness bath, it is best to allow the mixture rest for at least 12 hours prior to cooking.

The final step for today, is to cover up the mixing bowl and set it aside overnight. If you are worried about raw eggs, you can keep the mixture in the refrigerator. However, I find that the dried fruit absorbs the liquids better at room temperature, so I put mine high up on a kitchen cabinet. Cooking involves steaming for many hours, leaving little chance for any bugs to survive.

Preparing your pudding for steaming takes some time, and requires some age-old tips, I will share in a separate post. So put your pudding mixture aside to mature, and come back the next day to steam it.

Part-two of this Christmas Pudding tutorial is dedicated to step-by-step instructions for steaming the pudding in a crockpot.

For anyone interested in setting their Christmas pudding alight, here’s my simple tutorial for setting a pudding ablaze.


Add dry ingredients & fruit, Reverse, speed 2, 1 min.

Pour mixture into oven bag, being careful not to overfill the rice basket.

you may have some mixture left over. Do not overfill.

Tie oven bag extremely tight, in a pudding shape, with string.

Add 1000g water. Insert rice basket, containing the pudding, steam 60mins, 100deg, speed 2.

Check water level after 60 mins & top up to 1000g. Steam for a further 60mins, 100 deg, speed 2.

Remove pudding from rice basket & hang from a hook, in a dry place for a few hours. Then wrap a calico pudding cloth around the pudding to decorate. Leave hanging on a hook till Christmas Day.

To Re-heat on Christmas Day, insert pudding & rice basket into TM. Add 1000g of boiling water & steam for 30mins, 100 deg, speed 2. Or, unwrap pudding and reheat in microwave for 5 mins


Serves 8-12 Difficulty: Easy

2.8 Litre (6 pints, or 4 cups) Pudding Steamer


1kg Dried Mixed Fruit (sold by the box/bag in supermarkets)
250g Dried Dates, pitted
250g Raisins
500ml Water
220g Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
250g Unsalted Butter
2 teaspoons Bicarbonate Soda
3 large Eggs
130g Plain Flour
130g Self Raising Flour
2 teaspoons Mixed Spice
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
60ml Scotch Whisky
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Brandy custard to serve

In a large saucepan add all the dried mixed fruit, dates, raisins, brown sugar, salt, butter and water. Stir on low heat until the butter melts, then simmer on low heat for around 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the bicarbonate soda. Let the mixture stand until it’s at room temperature.

To the room temperature mixture add the eggs and whisky. Stir in the fresh breadcrumbs, plain flour, self-raising flour, mixed spice and cinnamon.

Pour the mixture into a well-greased pudding tin. Place the pudding tin in a large saucepan of boiling water, and boil the tin for 6 hours. Top up the water in the saucepan every 20-30 minutes.

Family Foods

Grandma wrote “good” in brackets beside this recipe. Her Christmas Pudding was greatly appreciated by everyone who tasted it. Traditionally served warm (or hot) with custard sauce, I prefer it cold, without any sauce. I love its “skin”. The original recipe used 12 oz plain flour. Grandma added another two.

1/2 lb butter. 1/2 lb sugar. 4 eggs. 3 tablespoons brandy or sherry. 1/2 lb currants. 1/2 lb raisins. 1/2 lb sultanas. 2 oz peel. 14 oz plain flour. 1/2 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda.

Cream butter and sugar. Add well-beaten eggs gradually, then sherry (or brandy), sifted flour, bi-carbonate of soda and prepared fruit.

Boil 6 hours the first day and 3 hours the day it is to be used.

Grandma does not mention that the mixture has to be put into a clean cotton or linen cloth before being boiled. The cloth must be tied with string.

Traditionally, silver coins, usually threepences and sixpences, were added to the mixture. Some people still do this. As these silver coins are no longer in circulation, they have to be collected again after Christmas from the people who found them in their pudding. Of course, they are sometimes swallowed, which is why modern families often avoid using them. If you do use them, they must be boiled for at least five minutes before putting them into the mixture, to kill any germs.

Christmas Pudding Balls Recipe

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I am certainly seeing all the retail tell-tale signs too. The Christmas season brings with it more than just one day of festive eating, sometimes it feels like it lasts a month! Here is a recipe to engage your children in (okay it’s reasonably quick so don’t plan a whole day around it) but it is at least a task that provides motor planning opportunities and gives them a sense of pride at the finished results.

The good news is these Christmas Pudding Balls are relatively healthy and ticks some boxes for those seeking allergen friendly Christmas recipes. The recipe is dairy, egg and gluten free but NOT nut free.

A helpful hint for involving the children is to have them at a level they can comfortably see and perform tasks like measuring ingredients into cups, rolling ball shapes and coating the balls in coconut. Also, if you have more than one child helping, consider setting up a rolling and coating stations a production line is a great way to include everyone. We put the mixture between 2 children and then they each had their own coconut bowl and plate to place their finished products on.


1 cup dates (pitted)

1/3 cup of coconut oil (melted – a quick 15-20 sec zap in the microwave will do)

½ cup pecans

½ cup mixed dried fruit

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ cup desiccated coconut (plus extra to roll the balls in at the end)

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp all spice


(Where you see an A – it is an adult step and K – is a kids step)

Step One

A – Soak the 1 cup of dates in hot water for 15 minutes and melt the coconut oil.

K – Measure out the pecans, mixed dried fruit, cocoa powder and desiccated coconut into the food processor bowl.

Step Two

A – Add the soaked dates and coconut oil to the food processor bowl with the vanilla extract and all spice. Whizz until all really well blended.

Step Three

A – Set up the rolling and coating station. If leaving the mixture in the food processor, remove the blades before letting the kids at it OR use a new bowl. Show an example of rolling the mixture into a ball and coating it with coconut.

K – Your turn to be santa’s little helpers! When you have rolled out your balls put them into the fridge to set for 2 hours.

This mix should make between 30 and 40 balls (depending how much of the mix the kids eat!) The set pudding balls can then be moved to an airtight container for storage for up to 5 days.

Remember – the motor planning for rolling the balls and coating them will improve with practice and dexterity. Even if the balls aren’t consistent shapes, they are made with love!

About the Writer

Simone is a regular columnist at Mum’s Lounge – a leading website for Australian mums

My Great Aunty Dots’ Christmas Pudding

This recipe is my Great Aunty Dots’, my mum’s mums older sister… not confusing. I actually never liked pudding, only my Grans, my Dad’s mum. She knew how make a pudding with plenty of Brandy and a decent serving of custard. She’d even hide threepence coins in there too. Which are traditionally mixed through the batter and cooked into the pudding - it was a game of luck to see who ended up with a threepence in their pudding bowl. Although, around our Christmas table, we all won, the game was rigged. So while this isn’t my Gran’s recipe, it’s been hailed by my Dad as ‘very very close’ and he loves it. So, let’s just say it’s the best Christmas pudding recipe going around, shall we? Deal.

This recipe is anything but ‘healthy’ or wholefood - usually the kind of quick veggie recipes I like to share. BUT, I’ll tell you, it’s wholesome, full of love, steeped in tradition, evokes the memories and so worth the effort.

If you grew up with an elder making the pudding and they’ve hung up their pudding hat. I invite you to give it a crack.

If you’ve grown up with a packet pudding and never experienced the rich, soothing, depth of flavour from a homemade pudding. I invite you to give it a crack.

If you just love pudding and want to experiment making interesting gifts for your people. I invite you to give it a crack.

Just so we can get a few things straight - my current pudding count is at 3. I have another 2 on the stove right now. It’s a process.

UPDATE: Pudding count at 8 or 9.

It’s not difficult, it’s different.

At least it was for me. I had 25 thousand questions for my mum that I asked over and over again. I thought I’d remember for the next year and guess what, I didn’t. I’ve tried to make the recipe as detailed as I can, but have a good read first, know what you’re in for, then put on those carols and have fun cooking one day.

This recipe is enough for 2 puddings, that will serve 6-10 people each. Depending on your generous slices, or how full you are after your Chrissy feast. I don’t recommend halving the recipe!

Make 2, you’ll find something to do with the second one - gift it to a friend, a neighbour, someone who really needs a pick-me-up. You can also freeze for later, maybe for actual winter in the Southern Hemisphere when this is designed to be eaten and warm your cockles by a big fire and a slurpy glass of rich red.

Another reason to make 2…. Just in case you stuff it up. This recipe takes a long time, your time in the kitchen isn’t required, but, you don’t want to realise after 6 hours of cooking that water got into your pudding basin (not good).

I’ve answered the most common questions I get below under the recipe. If you have more, pop them in the comments and I’l answer them as soon as I can.

Read the recipe once, then twice and if you need some visual help. Watch me cook this Christmas pudding recipe over on my Instagram story highlights.

My Great Aunty Dots’ Christmas Pudding

Makes: 2 x large Christmas puddings


1kg mixed dried fruit, chopped - I like mangoes, peaches apricot, figs, berries and ginger - the more fruity and exciting the better

1 cup brown sugar - lightly packed

OPTIONAL: Small packet almonds
I’ve never used the almonds, I always forget! My friends tell me the same thing when they make it… so almonds are very optional

2 cups plain flour, sifted

2 cups self raising flour, sifted

2 tsp mixed spice
Mixed spice is also called Pudding Spice. It’s a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg. I think you could experiment with tiny amounts of ginger and vanilla bean too.

For steaming - a big stock pot that fits your pudding basin

For steaming - a handful of coins, to put in the bottom of your stockpot

For steaming - foil, to wrap up your pudding basin and ensure water doesn’t get into your pud

For steaming - string to tie up your basin (wrapped in foil) and create a nice little tie to help you get your pudding out of the water once you’ve cooked it

Place in saucepan, dried fruit, raisins, roughly chopped dates, water, sugars, salt and butter. Stir over low heat until butter has melted. Simmer mixture 8 minutes and stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in bicarb soda.

Put mixture aside to cool completely cold.
I transfer into 2 long ceramic dishes and spread the mixture out as thin as I can. The more surface area you have, the faster your mix will cool down.

Once mixture has cooled, pour boiling water over almonds, stand for a few minutes, remove skins and chop up.

Fold almonds into mixture.

Lightly beat together 3 eggs and rum/brandy, stir into cold mixture. Add sifted flours, mixed spice and cinnamon, mix well.

To steam your Christmas pudding

Fill mixture into a well greased pudding basin.

Place the pudding basin lid on tight. If your basin doesn’t have a lid, wrap up with foil - leaving some room at the top for your pudding to rise.
Use elastic bands to secure foil in place and to stop water getting into your pudding. You can make a handle for your pudding out of string too so it’s easier to remove from the pot at the end of the cook.

Grab a bigger pot with a lid. The pot needs to fit your pudding basin completely inside. Ideally a lid without a steam hole, like a dutch oven pot, this is to keep all the steam in.
If you don’t have this you’ll just need to watch the pot a bit more and make sure steam is building up in the pot. The steam is what cooks the pudding.

Place some coins in the bottom of the pot. As the water boils the coins will rattle and this is your sign the water is at the correct temperature.

Fill water ½ way up the side of your pudding basin.

Bring water to a boil. Place lid on pot. Reduce to a simmer. You’ll hear the coins rattle around, which means the water is at a good temperature. If you don’t hear the coins, the temperature isn’t high enough.

Place lid on pot and steam for 6 hours. Replenish water levels when necessary with boiling water.

Steam a further 2 hours on the day of serving. Or if you want to eat it cold, steam for 2 hours a few days before you plan to serve.

Christmas Pudding tips:

I have one big pudding basin, this one from Myer. If you had 2 of these, you’d use all the mixture.
I then use 2 smaller ones I borrow from my mum each year. One is about 50 years old from my Gran, the other is a ceramic style one. Neither have lids, so I wrap really well with foil before steaming to make sure no water gets in the pudding.

Put your fruit mixture on to cook early. It will take a long time to cool down. You need it to cool so you can add the eggs safely without scrambling them.

Your coins don’t go IN your pudding - back in the day, threepence and sixpence were cooked INTO the pudding and it was a sign of good luck if you were served a slice of pudding with a coin in it - you know, prosperous year etc… Our coins these days are not safe to do this. BUT we use coins in the bottom of our stock pot (which doesn’t come in contact with our pudding at all) - so we can hear that the water is gently boiling. The coins will rattle around and this is the sign your pudding is at at good temperature. No rattling - no cooking.

The longer you steam your pudding, the more flavour it produces. 6 hours is a good amount, if you need to, you could do this over 2 days.

Traditionally puddings are cooked 1 month before Christmas, the longer your pudding sits the more flavour it develops over the month. Last year I made mine 2 days before Christmas, this year I’ve extended to 10 days. I’ll let you know the verdict. It also means you can spread out your workload so you’re not standing over a hot stove on Christmas eve.
UPDATE: yep, the earlier you cook your pudding the better. For taste, but also for stress levels, busyness and just feeling a little bit more organised.

Store cooled pudding at room temp/ a cool temp and out of the sun. Wrapped up well or in an airtight container. Pudding will last for a long time like this, I think I read 2 years - I don’t know where, it was on the internet, not sure I’d try that but there is a real lot of sugar in there.
Just so you know, because I live in Australia and Christmas is hot and sweaty - I store mine in the fridge to keep it cool.

Dried fruit can be pricey, especially if you want the good stuff. My plan over the next year is to dehydrate the fruit when it’s in season, so I’m in control of the ingredients (lots of dried fruit has oil or preservatives) and I can preserve with the seasons when fruit is at its bounty. First up will be peaches, apricots, plums and mangoes - then I might skip to winter/spring with berries
UPDATE: I didn’t do this, I remembered in June right before I had a baby. I’ll do this next year for Christmas 2021.

Mum’s Christmas Pudding

It’s that time of year! The Christmas party season. This is a brilliant, fruity, traditional Christmas cake everyone will enjoy. So if you’re getting ready for the big day, this is the ideal pudd, just like mum would make.

Serves 8 – 10
This is a traditional recipe handed down through generations (old school!) so ounces (oz) are used here, not grams.
FYI – 35 ounces equals one kilogram. So 4 ounces is about 115g and 8 ounces is approximately 230g.
Oh, and with this recipe there is but one rule: 1 glass for the pudd, 1 for the cook….

You’ll need:
8 ounces soft brown sugar
8 ounces chopped suet or modern day equivalent
8 ounces sultanas (rinsed)
8 ounces raisins (halved)
4 ounces currants (washed and dried)
4 ounces finely chopped mixed candied peel (whizz or cut your own or use ready diced)
4 ounces plain flour
4 ounces breadcrumbs
2 ounces almonds blanched and shredded
Grated rind of 1 lemon
3 eggs
Teaspoonful of nutmeg grated
Half a tsp of salt
Quarter pint (or 150ml) blue top milk
1 wine glass of brandy

How to make traditional Christmas pudding:

Mix all the dry ingredients together, stir in the well beaten eggs, milk and brandy.

Turn the mixture into two well greased pudding basins, and steam over water from 5 to 6 hours.