Best Christmas pudding
We’ve tested 10 supermarket premium Christmas puddings for the December 2020 edition of Which? magazine to bring you our recommendations for a crowd-pleasing pud.
Our panel of consumers blind-tasted traditional recipe Christmas puddings from supermarkets including Aldi, M&S and Tesco, rating the taste, appearance, aroma and texture of each one.
The best Christmas puddings were moist and full of festive flavour. But not all were as impressive – some were dry and bland, offering little in the way of spice or booze.
All prices correct as of November 2020.
Best Christmas puddings
Aldi Specially Selected 30 Month Matured Pudding
£9.99/907g (£1.10 per 100g)
Aldi’s Christmas pudding is matured for 30 months, which is longer than others we tested. Does it make for a flavoursome pudding?
Asda Extra Special 9 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
£7/907g (77p per 100g)
Asda’s Christmas pudding is the cheapest we tested. But how does it compare on taste?
Co-op Irresistible 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
£4/400g (£1 per 100g)
Described as ‘richly fruited’, could Co-op’s Christmas pudding be the ultimate way to conclude your Christmas dinner?
Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Co-op (contains alcohol).
Iceland Luxury 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
£4/400g (£1 per 100g)
There are four types of alcohol in Iceland’s Christmas pudding. Is it a good choice for those who like a boozy pud?
Lidl 24 Month Matured Christmas pudding
£12.49/907g (£1.38 per 100g)
Lidl’s Christmas pudding is pricier than most others we tested. How did our tasters rate its appearance, aroma, taste and texture?
M&S Collection 18 Month Matured Vintage Pudding
£15/800g (£1.88 per 100g)
M&S say it's Christmas pudding is ‘based on an exclusive recipe from 30 years ago’. Does it make for a delicious pudding?
Morrisons The Best 9 Month Matured Christmas Pudding
£8/800g (£1 per 100g)
Morrison’s pudding contains a variety of alcohol including cider, cognac, sherry, rum and port. Does it make for a perfectly moist texture?
Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 18 Months Matured Christmas Pudding
£9/800g (£1.13 per 100g)
With the lowest sugar content per 100g compared to others we tested, could Sainsbury’s be the ideal choice for those who prefer a pudding that isn’t too sweet?
Tesco Finest 12 month matured Christmas Pudding
£8/800g (£1 per 100g)
Does Tesco’s Christmas pudding deserve a place on your Christmas dinner table?
Waitrose No.1 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding with Courvoisier
£12/800g (£1.50 per 100g)
As one of the most expensive we tested, is Waitrose’s pudding worth paying more for?
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.
- 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.
- Almost all of the cooking instructions recommend leaving the pudding to stand for one or two 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.
- Run a knife around the edge of the pudding to separate it from the basin.
- Put a plate over the top of the basin and turn the plate and basin over. Wait a minute or so, or until you feel the pudding come free.
- If your pudding comes in a plastic tub and 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
We asked wine expert Charles Metcalfe for his recommendations on wines to serve with Christmas pudding. Here's what he had to say.
‘The wine has to be sweet, and asti or another moscato spumante are brilliant, refreshing, perfect in flavour. For a heavyweight, look out for an Australian liqueur muscat’.
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 fresh grated 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 with spices. Also add brandy and (surprisingly) butter when you heat it as it will give your drink more depth.
How to make Christmas pudding vodka
Homemade Christmas pudding infused vodka is a great way of using leftovers to give drinks a festive twist. If you're not a vodka fan, you can also try liqueurs such as Southern Comfort. Liam Trotman and Ryan Simpson, chef proprietors of Orwells, told us how they make it.
- Crumble leftovers into a bottle of vodka
- Leave in storage for a couple of months to let the flavours infuse
- Strain through a muslin cloth and it's ready to drink - either on the rocks, or added to cocktails.
How we tested
The products were assessed by a large panel of consumers who like Christmas pudding.
The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK.
Each Christmas pudding was assessed by 61 people.
The panellists rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product, and told us what they liked and disliked about each one.
The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying. The order they sampled the Christmas puddings was fully rotated to avoid any bias.
Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others.
The overall score is based on:
- 50% flavour
- 20% appearance
- 20% aroma
- 10% texture
Free From Christmas puddings
We didn't test free from Christmas puddings this year but if you're shopping for one, here's a roundup of what's on offer from the major supermarkets:
- Aldi Free From Christmas Pudding, £2.59/400g - gluten free. Available from .
- Asda Extra Special Free From 6 Month Matured Christmas Pudding, £1.55/100g - gluten free. Available from .
- Asda Free From Christmas Pudding, £3/454g - gluten and milk free. Vegan. Available from .
- Co-op Free From Christmas Pudding, £1.50/100g - gluten and milk free. Available from Co-op.
- Harvey Nichols Christmas Pudding Alcohol Free, £6.95/230g - alcohol free. Available from .
- Lidl Favorina Christmas Pudding, £1.99/400g. Vegan. Available from .
- LilyPuds Premium Alcohol Free Christmas Pudding, £12.50/454g - alcohol free. Available from .
- LilyPuds Premium Vegan & Gluten Free Christmas Pudding, £8.75/240g - gluten free. Vegan. Available from .
- M&S Alcohol Free Christmas Pudding 6 Month Matured, £4/454g - alcohol free. Available from .
- M&S Made Without Wheat & Dairy Christmas Pudding 6 Month Matured, £4/454g - gluten, dairy, wheat and egg Free. Vegan. Available from .
- M&S Plant Kitchen Christmas Pudding, £2/100g - gluten and dairy free. Vegan. Available from .
- Matthew Walker Alcohol & Nut Free Christmas Pudding, £1.50/100g - alcohol and nut free. Available from .
- Matthew Walker Gluten Free Christmas Pudding, £1/100g - gluten free. Available from .
- Morrisons Free From Vegan Christmas Pudding, £3.50/400g - gluten and milk free. Vegan. Available from .
- Morrisons The Best Free From Christmas Pudding, £1.70/100g - gluten free. Available from .
- Sainsbury's Free From Christmas Pudding, £4/400g - gluten, milk and nut free. Available from .
- Sainsbury's Free From Taste the Difference Christmas Pudding, £1.50/100g - gluten and milk free. Available from .
- Tesco Finest Free From Christmas Pudding, £1.50/100g - gluten and wheat free. Available from .
- Tesco Free From Christmas Pudding, £3.75/400g - gluten, wheat, milk and egg free. Vegan. Available from .
- Waitrose Gluten Free Christmas Pudding, £5/400g - gluten free. Available from .