How To Steam A Christmas or Plum Pudding In A Crockpot.

 Today’s post is dedicated to the process of steaming a Christmas pudding using a crockpot.  When my mother cooked her puddings each year, they simmered for hours on the stove top, but I have found a fantastic, American solution for a pudding’s long cooking process.

Plum pudding with holly

I fell in love with my crockpot many years ago, when I first came to America.  It truly is a wonderful cooking appliance, perfect for steaming a traditional Irish Christmas pudding.

My recipe for Irish American Mom’s Christmas Pudding is available on yesterday’s post and by clicking here.  I decided to write a separate tutorial on how to steam the pudding, since otherwise, yesterday’s post would have gone on forever and a day.

We pick up the recipe at the point where the mixture has rested for a minimum of 12 hours to maximize the blending of all the fabulous flavors

brushing melted butter in pudding bowls

Grease two glass bowls by brushing them with melted butter inside.  This recipe makes two puddings, a 1 and 1/2 quart size, and a second, larger, 2 and 1/2 quart size.   I did this since glass bowls are usually sold in nesting sets, and most people do not own two bowls the exact same size.  Make sure your glass bowls are heat resistant and can withstand immersion in boiling water.

Plum pudding mixture in bowls

Fill each of the bowls with pudding mixture to within one inch of the bowl rim.  About two-thirds of the mix will fill the larger bowl.  The mixture is significantly less moist than when it was first mixed.  Overnight, the dried fruit absorbs the eggs and Guinness, making them plump and delicious.

Christmas pudding mix in bowl

Here is a side view of the mixture in the glass bowl.

Parchment paper for plum pudding

Next we have to prepare the bowl for steaming.  Cut a square of parchment paper around the bowl, allowing an extra 6 inches outside the rim of the bowl.

Plum pudding - folded parchment covering

Create a fold in the center of the parchment paper.  This will be placed over the center of the bowl’s diameter, and will allow steam to accumulate within the enclosed bowl, without bursting its paper bonnet.

Twine string and parchment paper cover

Cover the bowl with the parchment paper, with the fold over the center.  Using cotton thread or twine securely tie the parchment paper, just below the rim of the bowl.  Make sure your thread is not made of nylon or a synthetic plastic fiber, since this could melt during the cooking process.  Cut off any excess paper with a scissors.

Plum pudding in bowl with aluminum foil

Now cover the entire bowl with aluminum foil, with the closure over the top of the bowl.

Twine handle for plum pudding bowl

Next, it is important to create a handle with cotton twine or thread, to facilitate lifting the bowl in and out of the crockpot.  Place the bowl over the thread approximately 3 feet from the end.  Bring the two ends of the thread towards the center of the bowl, then cross them around each other, just as would be done in tying a parcel.  Working perpendicular to the first thread, work the two ends of the thread around the bottom of the bowl, returning to the center top to tie a secure knot.

Twine handle on bowl

Now tie another knot 5 or six inches above the knot at the center of the bowl.  This creates a looped handle for lifting the bowl.

Steaming plum pudding in crockpot

Place the bowl into the crockpot, making sure the edge of the bowl is at least a 1/2 inch from the walls of the crockpot basin.  I use a 7-quart crockpot to cook the larger pudding, and a 4-quart one for the smaller pudding.  If you only have one crockpot, the second pudding can wait until after the first one has cooked.  This mixture does not spoil quickly since it contains so much alcohol.  Add water to the crockpot until it reaches three-quarter ways up the pudding bowl.

Plum pudding in crockpot

Place the lid on the crockpot and turn to high for 1 hour.  Reduce the heat to the low setting and continue to cook on low for 6 more hours for the larger pudding, and for an additional 5 hours for the smaller pudding.  Check the crockpot about half way through cooking, to make sure all of the water has not evaporated.  If the water level is very low, add some boiling water.  Do not add cold water as this will slow down the cooking process.

using twine handles to lift plum pudding bowl from crockpot

At the end of cooking, lift the bowl out of the crockpot using the handle created earlier.  Use an oven mitt to protect your hands from steam.  Do not open the pudding until after it has cooled for 2 hours in its wrapping.

Cooked plum pudding in bowl

Remove the aluminum foil and parchment cover on the bowl.  Take a deep breath and inhale the wonderful aroma of Christmas pudding wafting through the air.  Stand back and admire the lovely fruited surface of your pudding.

Christmas pudding with holly

Next place a plate over the bowl with the serving side towards the pudding.  Turn the plate and pudding over and let them stand for a few minutes.  Gravity will take over, releasing the pudding onto the plate.

Christmas pudding is best if made four to six weeks in advance of Christmas.  It’s flavors enhance over time.  Allow the pudding to cool completely prior to storing it.  Cover it in aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container. These puddings can be stored for upto 3 months without spoiling.  No need to freeze them.

Christmas tradition involves setting the pudding alight before serving.  If planning to do so, the pudding needs to be reheated.  This can be done in a crockpot once again.  First the pudding needs to be replaced into the steaming bowl, and prepared for steaming as outlined above.  Reheat on the high setting for 1 to 2 hours in the crockpot.

Christmas pudding is served with egg custard, whipped cream or, with my favorite, brandy butter.

In the meantime, have fun steaming your puddings.

A flaming Christmas pudding or plum puddingIf you plan on setting your pudding alight, why not check out my simple tutorial for setting your pudding ablaze.

Here is the printable version of the complete recipe.

Irish American Mom’s Christmas Pudding

Prep time 24 hours
Cook time 7 hours
Total time 31 hours
Meal type Dessert
Occasion Christmas
Region British
Christmas or plum pudding is a traditional dessert, served on Christmas Day in most Irish and English households, and made four to six weeks before Christmas.


  • 1 and 1/2 cup Raisins
  • 1 and 1/2 cup Golden Raisins
  • 1 cup Dried Wild Blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Marishcino Cherries (halved with stems removed)
  • 1/2 cup Orange marmalade (with large chunks of peel)
  • 1/2 cup Dried Pineapple (chopped in small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Dates (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (slivered)
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 cups Breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 Green Apple (peeled and grated)
  • 1 Carrot (peeled and grated)
  • 8oz Melted Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 Lemon (juice and grated rind)
  • 1 Orange (juice and grated peel)
  • 4 Eggs (whisked)
  • 2fl oz Brandy
  • 1 cup Guinness Stout (8 fluid ounces)


Step 1 Chop the dried pineapple into small pieces and mix into the marmalade. Cover and let stand for 1 hour before mixing the pudding.
Step 2 Add the raisins, golden raisins, dried wild blueberries, dried cranberries, and chopped dates to a large mixing bowl. Remove the stems from the maraschino cherries, cut into halves, and add to the fruit in the bowl.
Step 3 Add the chopped walnuts and slivered almonds to the mixing bowl.
Step 4 Add the brown sugar and bread crumbs and mix well.
Step 5 Sieve the flour, salt and spices, then stir into the prepared fruit and nuts.
Step 6 Add the grated apple and carrot, the grated lemon and orange peel.
Step 7 Pour the melted butter over the fruit mixture and combine well together.
Step 8 Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. Add the fruit juices and brandy and whisk again. Add the marmalade and pineapple mixture to the eggs. Mix together well before adding the egg mixture to the prepared fruit and nuts in the large bowl. Mix well together.
Step 9 Pour the Guinness stout over the fruit mixture and combine together gently, but thoroughly, mixing the stout throughout the pudding mixture.
Step 10 Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Leave the mixture for at least 12 hours before cooking, to allow the flavors time to blend.
Step 11 Brush the inside of two glass pudding bowls, that can withstand boiling temperatures, with melted butter. This recipe makes one 1 and 1/2 quart size pudding, and one larger 2 and 1/2 quart size.
Step 12 Place approximately two-thirds of the pudding mixture in the larger bowl, and the remainder in the smaller glass steaming bowl.
Step 13 Cover the bowls with a large piece of parchment paper, with a fold creased into the center. Secure around the rim of the bowl with cotton thread. Cover the entire bowl and parchment paper cover in aluminum foil.
Step 14 Using cotton twine or thread create a handle around the prepared bowl for ease of lifting in and out of a crockpot. Place the bowl in a crockpot large enough for the pudding bowl to stand a minimum of a 1/2-inch away from the walls of the crockpot basin.
Step 15 Add water to the crockpot to cover three-quarters of the height of the pudding bowl. Cook on high power for 1 hour, then reduce to low heat for an additional 5 hours for the smaller pudding and 6 hours for the larger pudding.
Step 16 Remove the bowl from the crockpot and allow to cool for two hours before unwrapping the pudding.
Step 17 Place a plate under the cooking bowl, turn it over, and allow gravity loosen the pudding onto the plate. Wrap the pudding in aluminum foil when fully cooled. Store in an air-tight container for 4 to 6 weeks prior to eating. To reheat the pudding, place back into a steaming bowl. Prepare the bowl as outlined above and resteam on high for 1 hour in a crockpot.
Step 18 Serve in slices with egg custard or whipped cream, or brandy butter.

Click here for Irish American Mom’s Christmas Pudding Recipe and Instructions


Purchasing Ready-Made Christmas Puddings In America:


A quick disclosure note: The link below is an affiliate link and I will receive a commission if you choose to make purchases using this link. Thanks in advance if you do utilize this link for your Irish shopping.

Over the past few months I have received many e-mails from readers requesting information on where to purchase Irish food items in the United States. And so for anyone in America interested in purchasing pre-made plum puddings or Christmas puddings and other Irish food treats check out the Food Ireland website.  They have a wonderful selection of Irish goodies which can be shipped throughout the United States.


Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom