Instant Pot Alternative Christmas Pudding

Now, as much as I love a traditional Christmas Pudding full of rich boozy dried fruits, aromatic with the scent of the season, mixed spice, and I’ve even converted the haters in my family with my slow cooker version, I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. Whilst I really do think they are missing out on the dessert highlight of the year by depriving themselves of the trad version, I can’t see the fruit haters miss out!

It’s Christmas after all and if you aren’t having the traditional pudding then I’m tapping into the second most wonderful treat our tables are laden with at this time of year – chocolate! Yes, my Instant Pot Alternative Christmas Pudding may look like the romantic ideal from a Dicken’s novel but it is totally chocolate, through and through.


Steamed puddings are a childhood favourite for so many Brits. I can’t think of them and not think of school dinners, Enid Blighton storybooks and sweet, sweet comfort in a deep bowl with lashings of custard. Although the basic recipe starts off life as nothing more than a Victoria sponge mix which is scraped into a buttered [easyazon_link identifier=”B01M1NQLJZ” locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]pudding basin[/easyazon_link] on top of a puddle of syrup, then placed in a saucepan with boiling water halfway up, where it putters and splutters for 3 hours or so until cooked through. The long process of steaming changes the texture of what, if baked in [easyazon_link identifier=”B0001IX3MS” locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]sandwich tins[/easyazon_link], would be a sponge cake to a very even crumbed, fluffy pudding.

The magic is definitely in the method. I have made some changes to the basic sponge pudding recipe, using muscovado sugar for extra caramel fudginess and adding melted chocolate for extra decadence but the method remains the same apart from I now cook it in my [easyazon_link identifier=”B00OP26T4K” locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]Instant Pot[/easyazon_link] in a fraction of the time. At Christmas when every second counts when it comes to getting the feast on the table, let me reassure you, you can leave the cooked pudding in the Instant Pot for up to 2 hours after it is finished cooking giving you plenty of time to finish Christmas Dinner, digest then serve dessert.


Hungry Hubby doesn’t carry the chocolate cake gene (say whaaaat?) but he absolutely loves this pud. I think it walks the line between cake and brownie very convincingly. It tastes like how chocolate fudge cake should taste. If eaten warm. With a large scoop of soft serve vanilla ice cream. And a wanton look of greed in your eyes!

It is so fudgy, it really is a little bit magic and when you top it with swathes of softly set white chocolate ganache that has been laced with a little [easyazon_link identifier=”B00BEWISDE” locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]Advocaat[/easyazon_link], that Dutch liqueur so popular at Christmastime in the UK at least, you are in for a chocolate celebration and a half! Of course, it goes without saying, if you leave off the holly decoration, this could be served at any time of year for your next big family do. Leftovers keep really well covered in clingfilm for up to 3 days and microwaved for 30-60 seconds to serve; there’s no need to feel left out even if there are just the two of you like Hungry Hubby and me 😉

Instant Pot Alternative Christmas Pudding
If you are one of the world's Christmas pudding haters but love the idea and the way it looks, and you love chocolate, this is the alternative Christmas pud for you! Rich as a chocolate fudge cake and topped with a boozy white chocolate ganache. Serve with large scoops of good vanilla ice cream!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Servings: 8
: 549 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 225 g soft butter
  • 225 g soft light brown or muscovado sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 25 g cocoa
  • 75 g dark chocolate melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the topping
  • 60 g white chocolate
  • 2 tbsp double cream 30g
  • Optional - 2-3 tsp Advocaat liqueur
To finish
  • A small amount of red and green sugarpaste or an actual sprig of holly
  • 1.5 l pudding basin
  • Greaseproof paper tin foil and some string or an elastic band
  1. Start by buttering your pudding basin very well with a little extra butter. If making your holly, do it now so it can dry before using. Roll three small red balls and stamping out three green leaves with a plunger cutter then press gently together. Set aside until needed.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and cocoa then fold into the creamed butter followed by the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Try not to eat all of the batter and instead scrape it all into your buttered pudding basin!
  4. Take a square of greaseproof paper and lay it over a piece of foil a few inches wider than your basin. Fold across the middle a deep pleat about 1.5 inches wide then paper side down cover the pudding. Secure with string or an elastic band and crimp the paper and foil up around it tightly.
  5. Place the trivet inside the Instant Pot inner pot and sit the pudding on top. Pour in enough boiling water to come about 1 inch below the foil. Put the lid on, leave the vent open and press Steam, setting a timer to 20 minutes (it wont countdown with the valve open). 

  6. When the timer sounds to indicate steaming has finished, press Cancel, lose the valve then set it to Manual High for 25 minutes. NPR for 20 minutes* before removing the pudding. Allow it to stand for at least 10 minutes before running a plastic knife around the edges and releasing it only a serving dish.

For the chocolate sauce:
  1. Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave proof bowl and zap for 30 seconds at a time on medium heating, stirring in between to mix. When just melted, beat really well with a small whisk and if using, add Advocaat to taste. Any more than 1 tbsp and it will be a runny pouring sauce rather than thick and spreadable. 

  2. Whisk again and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before spreading on top of your pudding. The pudding retains heat very well so try to wait until serving before topping the pud with the ganache so it doesn't completely melt.

Recipe Notes

*= this is an extremely forgiving pud. It can be left in the Instant Pot to keep warm until needed for up to 2 hours and will still be delicious and moist. You can make the ganache and leave it at room temp instead as soon as you have set the IP up to steam and by the time you serve, 2-3 hours later, it will be a spreadable texture.

It also keeps up to 2-3 days. Just allow it to cool completely, cover in clingfilm and reheat in the microwave when needed. One of two 30 second zaps on high should do it. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a little commission if you chose to buy items I’ve advertised, helping me to bring you all these recipes for free!

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  1. Sarah 6th December 2016 at 11:23 am - Reply

    You’ve become queen of the Instant Pot! I’m loving all of the recipes you’ve been sharing…this one in particular looks AMAZING!

    • Just Jo 6th December 2016 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Aw thank you Sarah, that’s a lovely thing for you to say! xx

  2. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours 6th December 2016 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Always good to have an alternative to the traditional Christmas pudding, I tend to find it really isn’t everyone’s choice. Particularly children. Looks lovely.

    • Just Jo 6th December 2016 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Yeah, some people just wont give a trad pud a try. Kids would really love this one, but I guess most people would love the Adocaat out when feeding it to kiddies 😀

  3. Erren @ Erren's Kitchen 6th December 2016 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    One word – YUM! Pinned! 🙂

  4. Lisa @ 6th December 2016 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    I feel deprived. Not only have I never made a Christmas pudding — I’ve never even had a Christmas Pudding, This looks so festive and I love the spices — but chocolate? I never would have thought!

    • Just Jo 6th December 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      Oh you are totally deprived Lisa! I understand it sounds odd if you have never had it but both the traditional boozy fruit one and this chocolate Christmas puds are so good!

  5. Tina Jui | The Worktop 6th December 2016 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    I’ve only just learned about Christmas puddings last year – it’ll be my second Christmas with them! It’s great to have this alternative version to try this year.

    • Just Jo 6th December 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      Remember – a Christmas pud can be for life, not just Christmas lol 😉

  6. irvine.maureen 6th December 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Oh I remember Advocaat! For those of us who remember the 70s it was the height of sophistication. It made a cocktail called a Snowball when mixed with either white lemonade or tonic water with a maraschino cherry on a stick added too.

    • Just Jo 6th December 2016 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      I may be made in the 80s myself Maureen but I love a Snowball to this day too! If you do, you best stay tuned for Thursday’s recipe… 😉

  7. Jessica Cantoni 6th December 2016 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Oh my, this sounds amazing. I do love and plan to eat the traditional pudding this year, but I know my husband would prefer this one! Next year I will give it a try 🙂 x

    • Just Jo 6th December 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      Just leave off the holly and make it when you can Jessica 😉

  8. Anne-Mette 7th December 2016 at 1:08 am - Reply

    Hi Jo.

    What size (diameter) pudding basin do you use for this, please?

    • Just Jo 7th December 2016 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Hello there Anne-Mette!

      I use a 16cm or 1.4 litre basin myself and it is *just* big enough – so if yours is a little larger then that’s perfect. I wouldn’t attempt it in a smaller one though, it rises beautifully and would overflow x

      • Anne-Mette 7th December 2016 at 12:09 pm - Reply

        Thanks 🙂

        I only seem to be able to find 16 cm pudding basins holding 1L or1,25L. What brand do you have?

        • Just Jo 7th December 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

          I use a Mason Cash one mostly – in fact, if you look up at the post, there are affiliate links to it on Amazon so you can see the one I have 😀

  9. Cliona Keane 7th December 2016 at 9:56 am - Reply

    What a fantastic idea! I’m not a fan of traditional Christmas pudding so this is such a good alternative, I think I’ll be putting my Instant Pot to good use this year! #CookBlogShare

    • Just Jo 7th December 2016 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      Welcome to the IP club Cliona! I hope you enjoy the pudding – I didn’t want anyone to feel left out 😀

  10. Clare 26th December 2016 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Hmmm delicious, been eyeing up this recipe since you first posted it.
    It was my first proper go with my Christmas instant pot! Used a bigger pudding bowl, and was a bit concerned the steam wouldn’t circulate but it came out well! Thank you for the recipe! May try it with chocolate orange chocolate and ganacge for another twist in the future!

    • Just Jo 27th December 2016 at 8:11 am - Reply

      Oh I am so delighted to hear you’ve made this pudding Clare – you must be the first person to let me know they have made it. I would think you could go a size or two even up on the pudding basin and it still work. A chocolate orange version would be amazing! Let me know if you do try that.
      Merry Christmas xx

      • Clare 31st December 2016 at 7:52 pm - Reply

        Because we loved it so much we made it again, but in a smaller bowl this time (a 16cm Mason cash,which took just over 1litre) the result was so much more moist and fudgy! I think the bigger bowl (20cm and 1.7l volume) didn’t allow enough space for the steam to do it’s thing!

        I’ll stick with the smaller bowl (almost all the mixture made it in, and I was glad to test the remaining morsels!)

        Looking forward to trying some of your other ip recipes when we get home! Thanks for the blog, so clear and very tempting photos!

        • Just Jo 1st January 2017 at 2:06 pm - Reply

          Hi Clare – thank you so much for coming back to let know know how you got on again. It’s great to hear it worked better in a smaller bowl – I suspect you’re right about the steam circulation around a smaller one being better.
          I’d so help you with any leftover mixture that doesn’t fit in the bowl hehehe 😉

          You’ve made my New Year with your comments Clare, thanks so much – stay in touch if you try other things too x

  11. Pam Barker 2nd January 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Jo you are definitely my new best friend ! I bought my IP in 2015 specifically to make Christmas puds as my old pressure cooker didn’t work on the new induction hob. But ….. I couldn’t find a decent suet free recipe or realistic instructions so the IP sat in the kitchen cupboard. Then quite by accident I found you last September, along came your very clear instructions and, adapting the pressure cooker recipe I’ve sworn by for the last 45 years, we had the most amazing Christmas puds ever. Thank you so much. Any plans for marmalade would be brilliant as this is also easy and amazing when cooked under pressure so I’m sure it would work well in the IP. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • Just Jo 2nd January 2017 at 6:52 pm - Reply

      Pam, you don’t know how much this comment has made my day. Thank you so much for trying the recipe and then feeding back that it worked and was enjoyed by you. It means the world to me. I’m delighted you’re here and hope you will enjoy the IP recipes I have in store – I have quite a few banked to be rolled out starting tomorrow. Happy New Year to you x

      P.S. Another reader asked me for a marmalade recipe today so I feel it is my duty as a food blogger to go out and find the best one this season! Watch this space 😀

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