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Best Christmas pudding 2018

By Martin Pratt

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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 12 premium puddings for the December 2018 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.

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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 Handcrafted Vintage Christmas Pudding
 Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite Handcrafted Vintage Pudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£9.99, 907g £1.10 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Matured for a minimum of six months, Aldi's own-brand Christmas pudding comes in an elegant, festive box.

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 LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£4, 454g 88p 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 Rich & Fruity Christmas Pudding
 Co-op Irresistable Christmas Pudding LO 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 the supermarket describes as 'rich and fruity', is matured for 12 months. On the list of ingredients are brandy, cherries, almonds and walnuts.

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

Fortnum & Mason St James Christmas Pudding
 F&M St James Christmas Pudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£10.95, 454g £2.41 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Serving up to two people, this Christmas pudding is one of the smallest on our list. Fortnum & Mason describes it as 'light and elegant', complimented by 'the finest dried fruits'.

Should you track down this Christmas pudding this festive season? To find out more, join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Harrods Classic Christmas Pudding
 Harrods Classic Christmas Pudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£13, 454g £2.86 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This is the most expensive Christmas pudding that we tested. Sultanas, raisins and currants 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
 IcelandLuxuryChristmasPudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£6, 750g 80p Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Iceland's attempt at the perfect Christmas pudding uses cider, brandy, sherry, cognac, 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 24 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
 Lidl Deluxe 24 month matured Christmas Pudding LO 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 billed as packed with fruits and generously laced with sherry.

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

Marks & Spencer The Collection Twelve Month Matured Intensely Fruity Christmas Pudding
 M&S The Collection 12 Intensely Fruited Christmas Pudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£12, 907g £1.32 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Made from an 'exclusive' recipe containing fruits, nuts and brandy-soaked cherries, this Christmas pudding from Marks & Spencer serves four.

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 LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£5, 454g 80p Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This mini Christmas pudding from Morrisons serves one, so you'll need to buy a few if you're hosting dinner. It's mature for nine months, laced with brandy and cognac, and packed with fruit and nuts.

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
 Sainsbury's Taste The Difference 18 Month Matured Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£6, 454g £1.32 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Here's another 'fabulously fruity' Christmas pudding to consider. On sale at Sainsbury's, this Taste the Difference pudding contains crunchy almonds, pecans, walnuts, cider, sherry and brandy.

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

Tesco Finest 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
 Tesco Finest 12 month Mature Christmas Pudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£8, 907g 88p Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Pick up this Christmas pudding from Tesco and you'll have enough dessert to serve eight.

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

Waitrose 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
 Waitrose 12 month matured Christmas pudding LO table Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Overall score
£8, 454g £1.76 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Matured for 12 months in order to develop a 'rich, rounded flavour', this Waitrose pudding is made with vine fruit, pecan nuts and 'a generous splash of fine champagne cognac'.

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

Table notes: Prices are correct as of November 2018. 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 of the tub, then follow these easy steps to serve.

  1. Almost all of the cooking instructions recommend leaving the pudding to stand for one or more minutes before serving. 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.
  2. Use a knife to cut around the top of the cake, so it separates from the plastic tub.
  3. Turn the tub upside down on to a plate and wait a minute or so, or until you feel the pudding come free.
  4. 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.

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.

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? Brandy stirred into whipped cream runs elegantly down the pudding. Or contrast hot and cold by serving steaming hot pudding with cold custard or ice cream.

In 2017, we asked whether you set light to your Christmas pudding before serving it and, according to our survey, 39% of you do, but 45% don't. 

Alternatives to Christmas pudding 

Christmas puddings aren't for everyone, which is why we asked our experts what they would offer for anyone who isn't a fan.

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.

How we tested 

Our four experts rated the 12 Christmas puddings for taste, texture, aroma and appearance. 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. Taste is key, which is why it makes up half of the overall test score.

  • 50% taste
  • 20% aroma
  • 20% texture
  • 10% appearance

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.

Suzy Pelta bakery author and broadcaster, and ITV1’s Lorraine Cake Club Winner

Ryan Simpson chef proprietor of acclaimed restaurant Orwells in Henley-on-Thames and Great British Menu regional finalist.

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