• Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding

Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding

Hola!  This post is coming to you from the temperate climes of Lanzarote.  Hungry Hubby and I are holidaying with my folks and it’s really rather lovely.  The sun is glorious and nothing is done in a hurry.  Our wifi is hit and miss but actually, I’m mostly enjoying switching off from the world back home for a wee while as soon enough, the inevitable madness of life will start again.

Knowing I’d be away for Stir Up Sunday, our Christmas pudding was made and photographed several weeks ago which was also before I dropped and destroyed my poor DSLR, Nicky the Nikon! Fingers crossed he’s been fixed or repaired by Nikon whilst I’m away or my blog will be in deep doo-doo indeed. Our pud is now wrapped up and maturing nicely back home in the Apple Chapel as we force ourselves to enjoy an ice cream or three besides the pool or sea front. Honestly, the things you force yourself to do in the name of food blogging…;)

In preparation for Christmas, I like to empty all my bags of dried fruit into one big jar and soak in booze – this year, it was a quarter of a bottle of rum leftover from making a lot of caneles and a few dark’n’stormy cocktails ;). There are plenty of recipes out there which are quite particular as to which fruits you should use for Christmas cakes and puddings but I must say I pay little attention to these bossy instructions and instead favour clearing out the cupboards of sultanas, raisins, cranberries, currants, citrus peel and glacé cherries etc.

It’s very satisfying to empty out half used packets and I see no reason why you can’t make your own mix to suit your own family’s preferences.  People can be very peculiar about dried fruit but that’s ok, it’s almost Christmas and if you are offended by currants, abhor glacé cherries or feel citrus peel is the spawn of Satan then crack on and remove them from the mix! For all my love of kitchen experimentation, I think it’s hardly fair to force your loved ones to let go of their long-held food memories and traditions come the Yuletide.


That being said, I did allow myself a little rogue behaviour in my method of cooking this year’s rich and boozy Christmas pudding – I made it in my slow cooker. It always bothers me when steaming in a saucepan on the hob that it will run dry or the heat will be too fierce and crack my basin. A little daft as they are designed with this use in mind but it is one of my idiosyncrasies.

Plus, the notion that come the Big Day we could free up a coveted spot on the hob by reheating in the slow cooker was very appealing. To feed our hungry hoard all their favourite vegetables and plenty of gravy mean each burner is already spoken for, well in advance of the day. I plan on plugging the slow cooker in in the conservatory with our pud in on low once I wake on Christmas morn and even, use a second slow cooker to reheat the red cabbage which will be served alongside the turkey. Christmas 2014 in the Jo Blogs household is clearly going to be planned with military precision rather uncharacteristically!


It’s quite hard to overcook a Christmas pudding when steaming, be it in a slow cooker or in a pan. It’s a deliciously dense mix and the heat will slowly permeate through all the dried fruits and whatever additions you wish to make.

My recipe is in no small part based on Nigella’s Ultimate Christmas Pudding from Nigella Christmas. I’ve tweaked it and found a version which converted the members of our family who claimed to hate Christmas pud before now. They now say they hate the shop bought variety and if you fall into this category, I urge you to give this one a go. I use a more generous proportion of fruit and like to use some candied citrus peel in the mix rather than zest alone.

Also, having made more rich fruit cakes than you can imagine for my fruitcake crazy family, I’ve found Tia Maria to be the best booze to add a little festive cheer into the mix. I have a loose wrist when measuring it and if I hadn’t soaked this year’s fruit in rum, they would have been steeped in extra Tia Maria too. Actually, I’ve found a local supermarket here in Lanzarote which is practically giving away the Frangelico it’s so cheap so I shall experiment with that to make a gluten-free miniature pudding for my dad with nuts added too and will get back to you with the results.

Like I cleared out my dried fruit stores in making this recipe, you could clear out your booze cupboard and use whichever liqueur you fancy.

Perhaps slightly nonsensically, I can’t bring myself to use suet which is the most traditional fat of choice for such desserts but instead, I replace it with butter. This is for two reasons – the first being I can’t forget how absurdly unhealthy it is (not that I’m claiming butter to be the healthy choice but it’s Christmas and it is allowed!).

Secondly, I never use a full packet even at this time of year so it goes to waste more often than not. I’ve never encountered a problem – structural, textural or flavour wise – from replacing it with butter so you can sleep soundly with your choice, either way!  I can’t encourage you enough to try this delicious pudding which tastes like the very essence of Christmas itself.


5 from 5 votes
Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding
Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding
Servings: 8
: 338 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 300 g dried fruit of your choice include some citrus peel if liked
  • 80 ml Tia Maria
  • 75 g soft butter
  • 75 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 60 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 small-medium Bramley apple coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp honey golden syrup or treacle as preferred
  1. If you have time, soak the dried fruits of your choice in the Tia Maria. A week is great but you can speed up the process by heating the fruits and booze in a bowl covered with cling in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. Allow to cool back to room temp before using and they will have plumped and absorbed the liqueur.
  2. Butter a 1.5 pint pudding basin. Plastic or ceramic are perfectly fine.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar then beat in the eggs and honey or syrup. Sift over the flour, spices and baking powder then stir in the bread crumbs. Mix in your dried fruits, the grated apple and any residual alcohol. Scrape the lot into the pudding basin and cover with a piece of buttered grease proof paper and square of foil you have folded an inch wide pleat into. (Making sure the paper is next to the pudding batter.)
  4. Tie the foil in place under the rim of your basin with string crimping any residual foil and paper around this to prevent leakage of water into the pudding.
  5. Place the pudding in your slow cooker and pour in boiling water from the kettle upto 1-2 inches from the rim of the pudding basin. Put the lid on and cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. When cooked remove from the slow cooker and cool to room temperature. Replace the grease proof, foil and string then store somewhere cool and dark until Christmas Day. Reheat in the slow cooker in the same manner as which you cooked it, this time 3-4 hours steaming will suffice but more is unlikely to cause a problem should you need or want to delay serving dessert for a longer period of time.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding
Amount Per Serving
Calories 338 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 170mg 7%
Potassium 118mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 60g 20%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 49g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 5.7%
Vitamin C 1.3%
Calcium 5%
Iron 5.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. Ann Koekepan 17/11/2014 at 10:43 - Reply

    This year for sure I will make a Christmas pudding, knowing I might eat it on my own is a big chance. Thanks for again a clear recipe and nice comments, I will try yours. And as I am the ever testing person I will try 2 recipes, also the Nigella one, let you know what I find ;-)
    And keep enjoying your holidays!

  2. Maureen Irvine 17/11/2014 at 14:44 - Reply

    I love this recipe but will substitute port for the tia maria and, of course, in the spirit of Christmas, I will pour a glass for me!

    • Jo Blogs 17/11/2014 at 15:42 - Reply

      Quite frankly it would be rude not to Maureen ;) Salut!

  3. […] faith that food will ever be a pleasure again. I’m not a fan of suet, as I talk about in my slow cooker Christmas pud post so this little pud is made with a healthy measure of […]

  4. […] it makes a very decadent french toast or bread and butter pudding. The crumbs for this year’s Christmas pudding came from the very last of one loaf and I urge you to consider making your stuffing with some too. […]

  5. […] perfect sweet full-stop after even a typically over-the-top Christmas meal.  For those who hate Christmas pudding or can’t face such a filling dessert when there is so much else to eat around, one of these […]

  6. Lucy 07/02/2015 at 16:07 - Reply

    Fantastic recipe, it was a huge success. Did steam the traditional way though, as no slow cooker. Thank you.

    • Jo Blogs 07/02/2015 at 16:16 - Reply

      Excellent! So pleased you enjoyed it. Can I ask why you are making Christmas pud in February for? :D

  7. Janet m 04/12/2015 at 09:47 - Reply

    Love this xmas pud recipe buying ingredients today.

    • Just Jo 04/12/2015 at 12:47 - Reply

      That’s great to hear Janet – enjoy your pudding :D

  8. Wendy 29/12/2015 at 22:06 - Reply

    Why have I waited so long for the best Christmas Pudding I’ve ever had?(my husband’s words). It was the best I’ve ever had too, I shall be making this yearly from now on. Thank you Jo.

    • Just Jo 29/12/2015 at 22:08 - Reply

      Oh that’s so wonderful! I’m so glad you both loved it so much Wendy. Merry Christmas to you xx

  9. Ann Jewkes 04/01/2016 at 01:05 - Reply

    I made this for Christmas OMG have waited years for something this good I would usually bye one when I go home to the UK so I would have my craving at Christmas as not able to bye them in the states. Made slight changes to dried fruit add some prunes and used Brandy instead of Tia maria turned out really good next time I will try the Tia maria thank you so much for creating this.

    • Just Jo 04/01/2016 at 06:38 - Reply

      I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it so much Ann. You can change the dried fruits and booze up to suit as you like, your changes sound great. Yay, now you can make as many as you like and save your baggage allowance on your trips home ;)

    • Ann 04/01/2016 at 23:32 - Reply

      If the crumpets and vindaloo recipes are as good as the Christmas pud I know I have ended up in heaven. Excited to try them

      • Just Jo 05/01/2016 at 06:51 - Reply

        Oh they so are! Not that I’m biased or anything lol

  10. Janetm 03/11/2016 at 18:25 - Reply

    Well here we are again Christmas 2016. Your pudding was so luxurious last year my daughter has asked me to make it again so mixing tomorrow.

    • Just Jo 03/11/2016 at 18:37 - Reply

      Wonderful Janet! I’ll be making some miniature versions of this plus one big one myself this weekend :D

  11. Wendy 03/11/2016 at 21:57 - Reply

    We absolutely loved your Christmas pudding last year, so as requested by my family I have made two this week.
    Thanks so much Jo.?

    • Just Jo 04/11/2016 at 15:43 - Reply

      Ooo double pudding trouble! lol Yay, that makes me so happy to hear you love it that much Wendy :D

  12. Lesley 07/11/2016 at 20:47 - Reply

    I’ve made this today. It’s cooling in the kitchen as I type, smells fab! Keeping it safe for a wee pre-Christmas dinner my mum is hosting on the 3rd December for extended family ?? Can’t wait to try it, if it tastes as good as it smells it won’t last long ????

    • Just Jo 07/11/2016 at 21:54 - Reply

      Oh that’s brilliant Lesley – thank you for letting me know you’ve made one! I am sure you and your family will love it. Might be worth making another one for Christmas Day itself, just in case lol ;)

      • Lesley 08/11/2016 at 11:23 - Reply

        Good idea! Have left over dried fruit now lol!!

        • Just Jo 08/11/2016 at 21:26 - Reply

          Well you simply must make another in that case Lesley, lol ;)

          • Lesley 06/12/2016 at 17:00

            Just letting you know that your pudding was a great and tasty success – we had a family pre-Christmas dinner last Saturday – fab pudding! I’m making another one tonight for Christmas Day ????????

          • Just Jo 06/12/2016 at 17:26

            Aw yay! So glad it was enjoyed by you and your family Lesley. It’s wonderful to hear you liked it enough to already be making another! :D

  13. Judith 16/11/2016 at 22:33 - Reply

    I am looking forward to making this on Stir up Sunday, just wondered if I can use 75g suet, as I have a packet which I want to get rid of, instead of the butter. I may even make another one with the butter in it. I have never made it in a slow cooker, I have had to make it in the microwave as I don’t like pressure cookers, never used one, think it may explode !!

    • Just Jo 16/11/2016 at 22:58 - Reply

      Hi Judith – yes you can use suet but having tested both ways, you’ll likely find the rise is better with butter than suet. Not a deal breaker but it’s definitely different. The Instant Pot is not half as scary as a trad pressure cooker mind :)

      • Judith 16/11/2016 at 23:06 - Reply

        Hi Jo

        Could you put self raising flour in it to make it rise more. Will make both anyway but not at the same time.


        • Just Jo 16/11/2016 at 23:09 - Reply

          Sure thing – that would help :)

          • Judith 16/11/2016 at 23:10

            Looking forward to stir up sunday. Thanks

  14. Michelle 19/11/2016 at 09:44 - Reply

    I’ve got the fruit soaking in Pedro Ximinez. I don’t have a bramley apple, can I use a carrot instead? I think it should work!

    • Just Jo 19/11/2016 at 10:09 - Reply

      Oh nice choice on the booze! You can definitely use a carrot – just grate it as finely as you can x

      • Michelle 19/11/2016 at 12:52 - Reply

        Thanks, I’m looking forward to it! Didn’t really like the Nigella mono mammary one when I made it, so with your tweaks I think it will be good!

        • Just Jo 19/11/2016 at 13:01 - Reply

          Lol that’s not the best description she’s ever come up haha! I think you can definitely be more heavy handed with the spices, butter is infinitely better than suet and Tia Maria makes everything better lol.

  15. Terri 13/12/2016 at 16:09 - Reply

    This sounds amazing and easy but…..as an American I’ve never made it before. How much in advance should I make it to serve on Christmas day? Do I still have time?

    • Just Jo 14/12/2016 at 09:13 - Reply

      Hi there Terri! I’m delighted you want to try this recipe. I have made it and eaten the next day (to get photos of it actually lol) and it was just fine. The magic number is actually six weeks in advance which is when Stir Up Sunday falls but get it made as quick as you can and it will still be delicious. It just mellows and matures with keeping. If you like it, you could always make one for next Christmas! It will keep a year stored correctly x

  16. Michelle Young 25/12/2016 at 16:08 - Reply

    This was amazing! I will definitely be making this again. Very light and lovely texture

    • Just Jo 25/12/2016 at 17:40 - Reply

      Wonderful Michelle! Merry Christmas xx

  17. Sue Wright 28/12/2016 at 17:22 - Reply

    Fabulous no suet! Family really enjoyed it said it was so light!!
    In fact I’m making it again right now for new year lunch!!
    Thankyou and a very happy new year!.

    • Just Jo 29/12/2016 at 18:21 - Reply

      I love that you loved it so much they you already made a second Sue! It is so much lighter using butter rather than suet. I tried both and butter was my preferred version. Happy New Year to you too – enjoy that pudding x

  18. Linda Baker 31/12/2016 at 19:16 - Reply

    I cooked my Christmas pudding in my slow cooker recently it is a brilliant simple way ,,,l used to cook mine in a traditional steamer on the hob ,and keep topping up the water to ensure it did not dry out .l filled my slow cooker with hot water plugged in and put the pudding in ,,,it did not need any topping up of water for the 8 hours and the pudding is beautifully moist .

    • Just Jo 01/01/2017 at 14:03 - Reply

      It’s so much easier in the slow cooker isn’t it Linda? Proper hands free cooking. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You’re right – it is so light and moist isn’t it? :D

      • Linda Baker 01/01/2017 at 16:05 - Reply

        It certainly is Jo, l have usually spent hours with my timer on to check it was not going to boil dry ,in the slow cooker the water did not evaporate at all.

  19. Emma 17/01/2017 at 16:28 - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I made on a whim on Christmas eve- had to substitute apple for pear, used up all dregs of dried fruits & soaked quickly in tea (kids won’t eat boozy stuff!) & it was fab, everyone polished it off plus no effort at all in slow cooker. Have saved recipe for repeated use :) Happy New Year!

    • Just Jo 17/01/2017 at 17:00 - Reply

      Happy New Year to you too Emma! I’m so thrilled to keep on be getting reports from people who made my slow cooker Christmas pud last Christmas.
      It’s so wonderful to imagine it in homes across the world, not just my own!
      Your tweaks sound great – I have never thought of adding pear but I like the idea of that, perhaps I will do that for next year’s pud!

  20. Joanne Coleridge 20/09/2017 at 13:47 - Reply

    Hi Jo
    Been meaning to write a review for the last couple of years! Well I made this after you first posted the recipe and every year since and shall again this year even though I make at least two every time and we eat the previous years on Christmas day an then one of the newer ones with the in laws. This is absolutely the best one I have ever eaten and everyone has always praised have lovely it tastes and moist. So easy to do and the one in my family that had the most votes is the one made with honey and subbed with apricot brandy as I didn’t have Tia Maria. Even the children have some and love it. As for the booze in it, hey it’s Christmas and not that much to worry about. I’m thinking of doing one in the slow cooker this year and one in the IP just to see if there is any difference.
    Keep baking, cooking and blogging as your recipes are always fab.
    Thanks Jo

    • Just Jo 21/09/2017 at 18:03 - Reply

      Oh Jo, I can’t tell you how happy your lovely review made me today. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how much you enjoy this pudding. I love the idea of apricot brandy and you’re right – by the time it’s cooked, there is very little booze to worry about in it (or so they say hehehe ;) ). I’m thrilled to hear you make so many of this recipe! I was convinced this was the best one I’d tried but wait till you have a go of the Instant Pot version. I am going to experiment with IP Xmas puds again this year so hope to add more recipes to the blog. I’m currently having a little break but don’t you worry, I have plenty of recipes left in me to share! xx

  21. Gary Roach 08/10/2017 at 20:57 - Reply

    Will be trying this recipe for Christmas – it sounds great! A couple of questions from a Texan who only knows about British things from reading Charles Dickens and P. G. Wodehouse. Would you confirm the 1.5 pint basin size? Sounds awfully small. Also, the cooked pudding should be stored in a cool, dark place; I take it that it should no be refrigerated, but is a dark cabinet in a house where the temperature is maintained in the 72 – 75 degree range okay? This will be my first plum pudding.

    • Just Jo 09/10/2017 at 19:57 - Reply

      Hello there Texan Gary! I am so thrilled to hear my little blog is being read so far from home, thanks for taking the time to comment. I use my 1.5 – 1.75-pint pudding basins no problem with this recipe. The larger would be about 4 cups in volume for you. Christmas puddings are very hearty and rich so that isn’t usually made very large, especially to serve after the feast of Christmas Dinner. That being said, I’ve got a 2 litre (8 cups) spherical mould I am using for mine this year and I shall be doubling my recipe to fill it. As for storage, you don’t want to refrigerate it – typically and traditionally it would have been stored in an unheated room back in Victoria England, in days pre-refrigeration! I think you will be safe at 72˚F – just make sure to allow the pudding to cool fully then dry off any condensation and replace the lid with greaseproof paper/baking parchment and fresh foil so it is dry when tucked away. I hope you enjoy your first Christmas Pudding! xx

      • Gary Roach 09/10/2017 at 22:57 - Reply

        Thank you, Jo. I have never eaten – or even seen – a Christmas plum pudding, except in movies and magazines, so I’m expecting this to be a big treat.

        My usual Christmas dessert is mince pie, while the rest of my family takes apple or pecan pie. I’m the only mince pie lover in the entire family.
        I’ll probably have to coerce them to sample the pudding!

        • Just Jo 10/10/2017 at 09:08 - Reply

          Aw that’s lovely Gary, you are in for a treat and I am sure it will live up to your expectations. I’ve converted all my family to Christmas pudding lovers and a few of them were die hard dried fruit haters. Hopefully your family can be similarly persuaded!

          • Gary Roach 06/12/2017 at 20:23

            Ah, Jo. My first ever Christmas pudding is on the hob … well, okay, in the trusty old one-horse-open slow cooker. We Texans usually put jalapeno peppers, chili powder, and/or barbecue sauce in everything we cook, but I was able to resist the urge.

            I used raisins, sultanas, and dried cherries as the main fruits, and tossed in a few apricots, prunes, and dates. Bathed ’em in Tia Maria for a week.

            Bought a Mason Cash 0.92 quart basin, and the recipe filled it to within an inch of the top. I wrestled with buttered parchment paper, aluminum foil, and string for an hour or so, and lost every battle. The kitchen floor was littered with wads of paper and foil. Then a light bulb appeared in my brain and generated a brilliant idea … at least I think it was a winner.
            I used a large rubber band to hold the foil in place, then tied it with string, and cut the rubber band off. It worked great, but unfortunately I accidentally snipped the string too. The second try was successful. Sure made the job easier.

            On Christmas Day I will be either a hero or laughing stock. If it’s hero, I will take the credit. If laughing stock, I’ll pass the blame to you! In either case, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, and hope that we all remember the reason for the season.

  22. Jane 17/11/2017 at 21:23 - Reply

    Hi Jo
    we have been invited for Christmas lunch with some friends and I’ve offered to make desserts and they’ve requested a Christmas pudding. I’m not a Christmas pud lover and so I’ve never made one! I’ve been researching recipes and cooking methods and came across your recipe and blog. I like the idea of cooking my pud in the slow cooker, and the feedback on your blog gives me the confidence to do this, it is also evident that your recipe is a big hit! One question on my part is can I add mixed chopped nuts and if so, what quantity would you suggest?
    Thank you
    Best wishes

    • Just Jo 17/11/2017 at 21:58 - Reply

      Hi Jane, thank you for your lovely message. I’m very glad you found my recipe. It certainly does get rave reviews – I have a lot of lovely emails too from people who have made this year after year for their families <3.
      You absolutely can add some chopped nuts. We sometimes have almonds or pecans in ours. You can either add 2 tbsp worth to this recipe or for an even nuttier version, you can replace up to 50g of the dried fruit with nuts. I hope you enjoy your pudding x

  23. Wendy 18/11/2017 at 10:52 - Reply

    Hi Jo, My third year of making your fantastic Christmas Pudding. I made two last year, but didn’t get round to eating the second one. I am so looking forward to trying the extra matured pudding. Best Christina Pudding ever.
    Best wishes

    • Just Jo 20/11/2017 at 06:58 - Reply

      Oh that is surely going to be amazing if you have had it for a year now Wendy! How exciting. I’m so happy you’ve chosen my recipe for the last two years – thank you! xx

  24. Katy 26/11/2017 at 11:34 - Reply

    I love this recipe, thank you so much for sharing it. I substitute the tia Maria for half brandy and half chambord which makes it extra fruity. (I only did it out
    Of necessity once, when the brandy ran out, and it paid off!) It’s literally in the slow cooker now and with the Christmas cake I’m the oven, and Magic Christmas in the radio- it’s well and truly festive here!!!

    • Just Jo 26/11/2017 at 12:15 - Reply

      I love the sound of that combo Katy, Chambord is gorgeous. I’m so pleased to hear you love this recipe, thanks for letting me know. I’ve got a Christmas cake in the oven as we speak, I’m looking forward to the festive aromas later!

  25. Janiece 25/12/2017 at 20:51 - Reply

    Merry Christmas from Adelaide, South Australia! I made my first Christmas pudding ever, using this recipe, and am glad to say it was a smash hit. I will be making it every year now! FYI i soaked the fruit in Cointreau as that’s what i had to hand. I served the pudding with whipped cream into which i had grated some orange zest, to complement the Cointreau (and of course with brandy custard). We don’t have Bramley apples in Australia so i used a Granny Smith. Thanks for sharing.

    • Just Jo 26/12/2017 at 13:39 - Reply

      You’re very welcome and Merry Christmas to you Janiece! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this pudding, Cointreau is a fabulous alternative and I use that in mine sometimes too xx

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