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18 Nov 2021

Alternative Christmas puddings: which one should you buy?

We tucked into nine festive sponges and flavoured Christmas puddings from supermarkets including Aldi, M&S and Sainsbury's to help you choose
Festive Christmas sponge pudding with sparklers

If you fancy a change from the traditional Christmas pudding, you're in luck - supermarkets are serving up a range of flamboyant alternative desserts that still give a nod to the original fruity dome.

Our team of in-house food researchers tasted and reviewed nine desserts nominated by supermarkets as their standout alternative to a traditional pud.

These included boozy, grown-up desserts, as well as indulgent sweet sponges to suit kids and adults alike.

See our picks for those looking for a stylish twist on the classic, and crowd-pleasing alternatives to a fruity pud in the video below, and keep reading to get our verdict on all the puddings we tasted.

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Alternative Christmas puddings: what we thought of the supermarket specials

Whether you want a warming sponge pudding or an indulgent caramel hit, there are plenty of interesting options to pop in your trolley.

Here's what our tasters thought of each of the supermarket puddings they tried (listed in alphabetical order by supermarket).

Aldi Specially Selected Millionaire's Sponge Pudding, £5.99

Serves 4

Aldi Specially Selected Millionaires Pudding

This millionaire's chocolate sponge is certainly a striking pud to pull out on the day - its gold-swirled exterior is studded with chunks of chocolate and mini fudge pieces, and it comes with a pour-over caramel sauce and extra chocolate chip, biscuit and caramel pieces to sprinkle over.

Our tasters thought it made a fun, festive party piece, thanks to the swirl, gold sparkle and oozing caramel sauce. If you like strong caramel flavours, it could be one to consider - it's definitely one for those with a sweet tooth.

Most of the desserts we tried serve eight, but Aldi's pudding only serves four people - worth bearing in mind if you're feeding a crowd.

Available from Aldi.

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Asda Extra Special Melting Middle Jamaican Ginger Sponge Pudding, £6

Serves 8

Asda Extra Special Melt in the Middle Jamaican Gin

For those who want to round off Christmas celebrations with a comforting winter warmer, this ginger sponge pudding, coated in dark chocolate ganache, could be just the ticket.

It has an elegant milk and dark chocolate drip design, and the centre contains a stem ginger melting sauce for extra indulgence. Our tasters felt the ginger was noticeable without being overpowering, and was well balanced against the sweet flavour.

It's one of the cheapest puds we tested, working out at just 75p per serving, making it a good-value option.

Date available TBC, from Asda.

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Iceland Luxury Hazelnut Dome, £6

Serves 8

Iceland Luxury Hazelnut Dome

Iceland's chilled dome dessert consists of a chocolate-flavoured sponge base with hazelnut mousse on top, coated with milk chocolate and roasted hazelnuts.

Our tasters thought it had a good, strong hazelnut flavour, packing in plenty of sweetness, and they enjoyed the contrast of the crunchy nuts with the soft mousse.

Unlike others we tasted, this dessert is served chilled, so there's minimal preparation - although it needs to be taken out of the freezer a few hours before serving to allow time for it to defrost.

Available from Iceland.

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Lidl Deluxe Sticky Toffee Christmas Pudding, £8

Serves 8

Lidl Sticky Toffee Christmas Pudding

Lidl has combined two British classics with its sticky toffee spin on the traditional Christmas pud.

It comes with a generous serving of sticky golden toffee sauce (not pictured above), which our tasters thought had a lovely sweet, buttery flavour.

Available in store at Lidl.

Lidl also has a variety of chocolate and caramel-flavoured dome puddings, although we didn't try these - you can find out more at Lidl's Christmas site.

Take a look at our collection of Christmas cooking guides, including how to cook a turkey crown, how to cook sprouts and how to make roast potatoes.

M&S Collection Golden Blond Chocolate Star Christmas Pudding, £12

Serves 8

M&S Collection Golden Blond Chocolate Star Christm

This M&S pudding is another festive stunner, with its stylish swirl design studded with blond chocolate and fudge pieces. It comes with a creamy blond chocolate-and-rum sauce.

Our tasters thought it was sweet and boozy, and the strong rum sauce packed a punch. The star-shaped design formed by the pour-over sauce looked impressive, although you have to be careful when getting it out of the pack to avoid damage.

If you're after a grown-up, glamorous showstopper this Christmas, this M&S pudding should be on your radar.

Available from M&S.

Morrisons The Best Chocolate Orange Melt in the Middle Pudding, £6

Serves 8

Morrisons The Best Chocolate & Orange Melt in the

Rich, chocolatey and bursting with orange flavour, this chocolate orange pudding tasted every bit as indulgent as it sounds.

It looked fantastic too, thanks to the gold shimmer dust, dark chocolate curls and oozing orange sauce centre, which made for an impressive piece of theatrics when cut into.

Costing just £6, we reckon it's a great-value crowd-pleasing pud that will satisfy kids and adults alike.

Available from Morrisons.

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Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Winter Berry & Gin Christmas Pudding, £10

Serves 7

Sainsburys Taste the Difference Winter Berry & Gin

One for gin-lovers (and not for the kids' table), this alternative Christmas pudding is topped with a sticky winter berry and gin sauce for a boozy twist on the classic version.

Our tasters thought the sweet, fruity flavour of the sauce balanced well with the gin in this grown-up pud, which was strong without being overpowering.

Available from Sainsbury's.

Check out our ultimate guide to supermarket Christmas food 2021to see the standout specials on offer at supermarkets this year.

Tesco Finest Black Forest Christmas Pudding, £10

Serves 8

Tesco Finest Black Forest Christmas Pudding

Tesco has taken inspiration from a traditional German dessert - the black forest gateau - with this unusual spin on the classic Christmas pudding. It's packed with Belgian chocolate chunks and topped with glace cherries, kirsch and whole almonds.

Our tasters thought it was moist and chocolatey, with juicy cherries and a nice hint of kirsch. The black forest elements were distinctive and balanced well with the traditional Christmas pudding flavours.

Its appearance impressed too, with an attractive gold finish and a glossy golden-syrup glaze. If you're feeling really dramatic, Tesco's serving suggestion photo seems to suggest you can also set it on fire, so you still get the fun of a traditional flaming pud.

Available from Tesco.

Waitrose No.1 Fig, Honey & Port Christmas Pudding, £14

Serves 8

Waitrose No.1 Fig, Honey & Port Christmas Pudding

If you're after traditional Christmas pudding flavours with a sophisticated twist, this fig, honey and walnut pudding from Waitrose is a good bet.

Packed with generous chunks of sticky, candied fig, whole glace cherries and crunchy nuts, our tasters thought this pudding had subtle spicing with a sweet honey flavour that wasn't too cloying.

The curvy edges and piled-up fruity top add style and drama too.

It doesn't come cheap though - at £14, it's the priciest option we tasted, costing £1.75 per portion.

Available from Waitrose.

How to make your Christmas dessert look spectacular

Domed Christmas sponge decorated with icing and be

Sometimes, with shop-bought specials, the reality doesn't quite live up to the glossy marketing.

If your pud is looking a bit plain, some simple additions can help to transform it into a show-stopping centrepiece:

  • Serve it with style Presenting it on a festive tablecloth or a fancy plate is an easy way to elevate your dessert. Check how it's been presented on the box for inspiration.
  • Garnish with greenery Top with a wreath of rosemary or pop a few holly leaves on the side for a festive finish.
  • Decorate with frosted fruit Create a wintry frosted effect by brushing berries with egg white, then sprinkling over some sugar.
  • Sprinkle some spice Dust over icing sugar mixed with festive spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, to add some elegance.
  • Light it up Add some drama to your dessert with a sparkler or a few candles. Candles on the dinner table will also help to keep the ambience for longer.
  • Christmas sparkle Edible gold and silver glitter spray is available for a few pounds in the baking section of larger supermarkets, and adds a lovely festive shimmer to help your pudding stand out.

Prices correct as of November 2021