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Best Christmas pudding 2019

By Hollie Hennessy

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We tasted premium Christmas puddings from leading supermarkets so you can find the tastiest dessert for your Christmas dinner

We’ve tasted 13 premium puddings for the December 2019 edition of Which? magazine. 

Christmas puddings on test came from leading supermarkets, including Asda, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and more, along with puds from Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, so you can be sure of the tastiest pudding for your Christmas dinner.

Discover:

Best Christmas puddings 

Our experts, who between them have decades of experience in baking, food-writing, patisserie and production, liked the appearance, aroma and taste of three puddings enough to make them Best Buys. 

The table below has the scores and prices for all the puddings we tested, so you can see how the pudding from your local store fared.

Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results and tasting notes in the table below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the Christmas puddings on test. To get instant access join Which? now.

Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite Vintage Pudding
  Aldi Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£12.99 800g £1.62 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Aldi's own-brand Christmas pudding has a traditional blend of currants, sultanas, raisins and alcohol.

But how did Aldi's Christmas pudding fare in front of our expert tasting panel? For more details, join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

Asda Extra Special 9 Month Matured Luxury Christmas Pudding
  Asda Extra Special Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£7
907g
77p Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Asda's Christmas pudding is big enough to serve eight people, but will your guests be satisfied with the taste?

Find out how this Christmas pudding compares with the alternatives in our table. Uncover more and join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

Co-op Irresistible 18 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
  Co-op Irresistible Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£3
400g
75p Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This Christmas pudding from Co-op, which is the cheapest on test, is matured for 18 months, but does this mean the flavour is any better?

To see if we recommend this Christmas pudding, join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

Fortnum & Mason St James Christmas Pudding
  Fortnum & Mason St James Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£13
454g
£2.85 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas pudding is ‘handmade at every stage’, filled with fruits and Pusser’s Full-Strength Navy Rum and Fortnum’s Cognac. But is it the perfect boozy pud?

Find out if you should track down this Christmas pudding this festive season, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Harrods Decadent Christmas Pudding
  Harrods Decadent Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£14
454g
£3.08 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This is the most expensive Christmas pudding that we tested. Cognac, brandy-soaked cherries and pecans contribute to the flavour, but did this pudding make a good impression?

To see how we scored this pudding, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Iceland Luxury 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
  Iceland Luxury 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£4
400g
£1.00 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Iceland's attempt at the perfect Christmas pudding uses cider, brandy, sherry, almonds and pecan nuts.

Is this Christmas pudding a winner? See for yourself and join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

Lidl Deluxe Luxury 24 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
  Lidl Deluxe 24 Month Matured Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£12
907g
£1.32 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Lidl's 24 Month Matured Christmas Pudding is beautifully boxed, but is it just as good on the inside?

To see what our tasting panel made of this pudding, join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

M&S The Collection 18 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
  M&S 18 Month Matured Vintage Christmas Pudding02 table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£14
800g
£1.75 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Big enough to serve a large group of eight, M&S Christmas pudding is matured over 18 months.

Is this one of the tastiest Christmas puddings around? For more details, join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

Morrisons The Best Christmas Pudding
  Morrisons The Best Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£8
800g
£1.00 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This Christmas pudding from Morrisons serves eight, so you'll probably only need to buy one if you’re hosting. It's matured for nine months by Chrisrmas day, laced with Ruby Port and cognac.

Catch our expert verdict and join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 18 Month Matured Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding
  Sainsburys Taste the Difference Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£7
450g
£1.56 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

On sale at Sainsbury's, this Taste the Difference pudding contains crunchy almonds, pecans, walnuts, cider, brandy and rum.

Is this pudding the key to a delicious festive feast? For more details, join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

Selfridges Traditional Christmas Pudding
  Selfridges Traditional Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£16
905g
£1.77 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Matured for 6 months by Christmas day, Selfridges’ pudding is filled with fruit and nuts, soaked in a ‘glug’ of brandy.

Is this the ideal pudding for Christmas? See our expert verdict and join Which? to unlock the full table of test results.

Tesco Finest 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
  Tesco Finest Christmas Pudding table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£5
400g
£1.25 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Tesco’s Christmas pudding offering is made with cider, Courvoisier Vs Cognac, Amontillado sherry and oak aged French brandy and ruby port. But is the flavour as ‘deep’ as promised?

To see where this pudding ranks in our table, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Waitrose & Partners Cherry and Almond-Topped Christmas Pudding with Amaretto
  Waitrose & Partners Cherry and Almond-Topped Christmas Pudding with Amaretto table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£14
800g
£1.75 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Waitrose describe their pudding as ‘richly fruited’ and finished with a ‘splash’ of Amaretto. It’s topped with black, red and blonde cherries – as well as whole almonds.

To see where this pudding ranks in our table, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Table notes: Prices are correct as of November 2019. All puddings are suitable for vegetarians and contain alcohol.

How to get a perfect dome 

Christmas puddings always look delectable on the packaging, but getting a neat dome of cake from the plastic tub on to your plate isn't always an easy exercise. If you've ever been left scraping half your pudding from the side, then follow these easy steps to serve.

  1. First up, steaming your pudding is preferable to microwaving - it'll give a much better taste. It might seem like more hassle, but it's surprisingly easy and you won't have to worry about it once it's on the hob (save for checking the water doesn't dry up). It's practically impossible to overcook it this way, whereas the microwave can separate the fat too quickly and you can definitely leave it in for too long.
  2. Almost all of the cooking instructions recommend leaving the pudding to stand for one or more minutes before serving, if you do decide to use the microwave. It's tempting to start serving as soon as possible, particularly when you catch a whiff of the lovely, fruity aroma, but waiting gives the dessert a chance to settle and keep its shape better.
  3. Use a knife to cut around the top of the cake, so it separates from the plastic tub.
  4. Turn the tub upside down on to a plate and wait a minute or so, or until you feel the pudding come free.
  5. If the pudding shows no sign of shifting, take a corkscrew and make a hole in the base of the tub. This will allow some of the pressure to escape and you should feel the pudding drop on to the plate in no time.

Best wine pairing for pudding 

What you have to drink with your pudding is almost as important as the pudding itself. Pairing it with the right wine or spirit will heighten the flavours in the pudding making it as tasty as possible and an excellent end to your meal.

We asked wine expert Charles Metcalfe what drink was best to serve with a Christmas pudding and you can log in to see what he recommends.

You can also find out which wines scored highest in our taste tests this year in our best prosecco and sparkling wines and best red wine advice guides.

Serve it with a cocktail or mocktail 

Cocktails add (even more) fun and theatre to your Christmas lunch. You can get all the family involved with shaking, stirring and garnishing drinks to serve with your Christmas pudding. Here are our favourite cocktails and mocktails that pair perfectly with Christmas puddings.

  • Espresso Martini Our experts recommend coffee as a pairing for Christmas pudding. For a boozy twist, a traditional Irish coffee works well or an espresso martini.
  • Spicy cocktails Anything with ginger is ideal, as the firey taste will blend well with the spices in your pudding. Go for some ginger wine, or ginger beer. You can make this into more of a mocktail by rubbing fresh ginger around the inside of your glass (filled with ice), before pouring in the ginger beer. Then garnish with fresh slices or grated ginger. 
  • Brandy Alexander Try a brandy alexander cocktail by  mixing one part fresh cream, one part brandy and one part creme de cacao. Sprinkling some freshly ground nutmeg on top is delicious. 
  • Negroni Don't limit negroni to the summer; its orangey tang makes it perfect with Christmas pudding. Make your own by stirring together one part gin, one part vermouth rosso and one part campari over ice. Garnish with a slice or some orange peel. 
  • Mulled Cider A mulled cider will go better with a Christmas pudding than mulled wine. Our experts suggested heating cider, brandy and (surprisingly) butter - it'll give your drink more depth.

How to make Christmas pudding vodka 

This year, we cooked more than eight kilos of premium puds for our taste tests - and you might wonder what happens to the leftovers. Two of our expert tasters, who are the chef proprietors at Orwells restaurant, use them to make Christmas pudding vodka. Once the big day is over, put all the crumbly bits into vodka (stick to one third of pudding crumbs to two thirds of vodka), and leave it in storage for a couple of months for the flavours to infuse. Once it's done, strain through a muslin cloth and it's ready to drink on the rocks, or added to cocktails. If you're not a vodka fan, you can also try liqueurs such as Southern Comfort. 

Christmas pudding serving suggestions 

Brandy butter or rum sauce? Custard or cream? What do you like to eat with your Christmas pudding?

Your favourites are the simplest - cream or custard - according to our survey of 723 Which? members who like Christmas pudding.

But if you want to wow your guests this Christmas, why not try our experts’ different take on these traditional serving suggestions? 

  1. Brandy stirred into whipped cream runs elegantly down the pudding. 
  2. Contrast hot and cold by serving steaming hot pudding with cold custard or ice cream. 
  3. Make your own alcoholic cream - Drambuie or Kirsch work perfectly, just add a couple of dessert spoons per every 100ml of cream. If you'd prefer a non-alcoholic option, try a few drops of orange or vanilla extract in your double cream. 

When it comes to actually serving dessert, either jazz up your pudding by adding some gold sugar pearls on top (you can find them in the baking aisle), or stick in some Christmas-shaped biscuits, like a Santa or a Star - kids will love it. For individual portions, use a lipped plate or a bowl. It'll look better and it'll make pouring the sauce easier. 

In 2017, we asked whether you set light to your Christmas pudding before serving it and, according to our survey, 39% of you do. If you're planning on it this Christmas, make sure to warm the brandy up in a saucepan first and use an ignitor or a long match. 

Alternatives to Christmas pudding 

Black Forest gateau – 1970s dishes are making a comeback, and while we don't recommend a prawn cocktail before your turkey, ending with a Black Forest gateau isn't such a bad idea. The dark fruit is reminiscent of a Christmas pudding, but the sweet cream and chocolate sponge give it a crowd-pleasing flavour.

Sticky toffee pudding – this year-round favourite is perfect for Christmas. It's a proper hot pudding that's popular for a reason. The rich toffee flavour goes well with custard and be sure to pop it under the grill before serving to get a scrumptious caramelised glaze.

Mincemeat cheesecake – you might struggle to find this in shops, but if you don't mind donning an apron and channeling the Great British Bake Off, you could try your hand at making your own. 

Log in to see the recipe from acclaimed baker and one of our expert tasters, Dan Lepard. 

See which mince pies came top in our tasting this year in our best mince pies guide.

How to bling up your pudding 

If you fancy adding a bit of sparkle to your Christmas pudding this year, watch our video below to see how easy it is to add that touch of Christmas bling.

How we tested 

Our four experts tasted 13 supermarket and department store own-label premium puddings. 

  • We removed all packaging from each pudding. 
  • We heated each pudding in the microwave as per the instructions on the packet (because 64% of you who heat your Christmas pudding prefer to microwave it) before our panel blind-tasted them. 
  • Each expert tried the puddings in a different order. They then discussed their tasting notes, agreed on scores for each pud and decided which of the highest scorers really deserved to be Best Buys. 
  • Taste is key, but experts also judged on appearance, aroma and texture.

Our experts:

Dan Lepard award-winning baker, and food writer for The Guardian, BBC Good Food and Australian titles. He was also a judge on the Great Australian Bake Off.

Patrick Moore award-winning artisan bread maker and founder of More? Artisan Bakery in Cumbria.

Liam Trotman joint chef proprietor of acclaimed restaurant Orwells in Henley-on-Thames.

Ryan Simpson joint chef proprietor of acclaimed restaurant Orwells in Henley-on-Thames.

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