Why do you steam Christmas pudding?

In this article, we will answer the question “Why do you steam Christmas pudding?”, and how to steam a pudding?

Read on if you want to know how to make the classic Christmas pudding. 

Why do you steam Christmas pudding?

Steaming helps cook the pudding low and slow. The pudding basin is not directly in contact with the flame which prevents the fragile pudding from scorching when steamed for prolonged periods. 

Traditionally, the Christmas pudding is steamed in a steamer. But you can also steam a pudding in an oven, slow cooker, or electric steamer, in an equally hassle-free way.

The slow steaming process allows the flavors in the pudding to develop and you do not have to worry about oversteaming your pudding. This hands-off pudding-making process is very convenient and reliable.

How to steam a pudding?

Step 1 

Thrihgly butter the insides of a pudding basin. Cut a round disc of baking paper that can cover the bottom of the pudding basin.

Step 2 

Tightly pack the fruit-based pudding mixture in the pudding basin and ensure there are no gaps in the mixture. If it is a spongy pudding mixture, pour the mixture into the pudding basin and level the surface using a spatula or the back of a spoon.

Step 3 

Cut a large square of aluminum foil and baking paper. The foil piece should be slightly smaller than the baking paper square. Set the baking paper pice on top of the foil square and make a pleat in the center of the foil and the baking paper. This will allow the pudding to expand as it cooks.

Step 4 

Cover the pudding basin with foil and baking paper. Snip the excess baking paper and secure the foil in place using a kitchen tie. Press the foil to the sides and underneath the basin. This will make the basin watertight.

Step 5 

To make a pudding handle, thread the double length of a kitchen tie through the string already tied around the pudding. Pull it through the other side and secure it.

Step 6 

Lower the pudding into a saucepan and fill the pan with water halfway up the sides of the basin. 

Steam the pudding for the recommended time. Pour more water into the pan during steaming to maintain the water level.

Step 7 

When the pudding is cooked, lift it out of the saucepan. Let it sit for some time. Then cut the ties and remove the foil and baking paper.

Classic steamed Christmas pudding 


  • 1 1/2 cup (250 grams) raisins, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup (250 grams) sultanas
  • 1 1/4 cup (185 grams) currants
  • 1 cup (170 grams) mixed peel
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon brandy (see note)
  • 250-gram butter, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cup (500 grams) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup (185 grams) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 4 cup (280 grams) stale breadcrumbs


  1. Soak the dried fruit in brandy and juice overnight or up to a week.
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Pour the butter mixture into the soaked fruit mixture. Mix well to combine. Then stir in combined sifted flour, spices, and breadcrumbs.
  1. Grease and line the base of a pudding basin (2 litre/8-cup capacity). Pour the pudding mixture into the pudding basin. 
  1. Grease a  30cm x 40cm sheet of foil and top it with a sheet of baking paper. Make a 5cm vertical pleat in the center of the baking paper and the foil.
  1. Place the sheet, such that the baking paper is facing the pudding mixture, over the steamer. Secure the sheets in place with a string or a lid.
  1. Make a handle using two strings, as described above in the article. Then cut excess baking paper and foil. Press the foil to the sides and under the rim of the pudding basin to make a good seal.
  1. Lower the pudding into a boiler. Pour water into the boiler such that it comes halfway up the sides of the pudding basin. 
  1. Close the pudding basin with a tight lid and steam for about 6 hours. Maintain the water level in the boiler by topping up more water during steaming.
  1. When steamed, remove the pudding from the boiler and let it stand for about 20 minutes before flipping it onto a serving plate.


If Queen brandy essence is unavailable, swap 2 teaspoons Queen brandy essence with 1 1/2 tablespoons apple or orange juice.


In this article, we answered the question “Why do you steam Christmas pudding?”, and how to steam a pudding?



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.