Best Christmas puddings 2021 to buy – tried and tested by experts

We've taste-tested Aldi, Co-op, Waitrose, and more Christmas puddings to find the best for this year...
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  • If you’re contemplating where to buy your Christmas pudding this year then look no further. Our team of food experts has tasted a variety of puds to find the very best Christmas puddings for 2021.

    From the best Christmas food gifts to mince pies, this year’s Tried & Tasted Awards are all about discovering the best Christmas food available to buy for 2021 – and Christmas puddings are no exception.

    Our Senior Food Writer Jessica Ransom says, “Christmas puddings can be divisive as people often have different priorities. While some prefer a boozy pud, others would rather a generous scattering of fruit and nuts throughout the mixture so that they can flame it themselves. This year we had some strong entries which we feel work as a brilliant compromise for all tastes.”

    From supermarket brands such as Aldi and Waitrose, to individual producers such as Lewis & Cooper, this year’s best Christmas puddings vary in price as well as look, taste, and flavour. Most even give Mary Berry’s Christmas pudding recipe a run for it’s money.

    How did we test the best Christmas puddings?

    Our expert food team; Food Editor Samuel Goldsmith, Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks, Senior Food Writer Jessica Ransom, and Food Writer Keiron George, blind taste tested all of the puddings. With well over 12 years of experience in the food industry combined, the judges have an array of qualifications and expertise when it comes to judging the best. Food Writer Keiron George certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to cakes and puddings as not only does he run his own wedding cake business, he was also a contestant on Bake Off The Professionals earlier this year.

    When it came to deciding which pudding was simply the best, the judges focussed purely on taste. The judges favoured puddings with a generous filling of fruits and those with a great flavour and texture. A boozy pudding was a bonus but puddings must also look the part – with extra points for puddings that has the ‘wow’ factor in terms of look.

    Aldi Champagne Pudding with a fruity top on a pewter cake stand

    Credit: Aldi

    What is the best Christmas pudding you can buy 2021?

    Aldi Champagne Pudding

    Winner: Best Christmas Pudding

    Weight: 400g

    For a sparkling finale, the Aldi Champagne pudding will not disappoint. The judges were blown away by this entry. And found it to have a good balance of flavour as well as looking the part bejewelled with glazed cherries and nuts. Instead of traditional brandy, the inside is unconventionally soaked with Champagne.

    “Champagne might not be the traditional pairing for Christmas pudding, but we feel it’s only right to serve Aldi’s bubbly-infused option with a chilled glass of Champagne for toasting. The fruit and nut jewelled topping would make it difficult to flame this pud but there’s no harm in reaching for a sparkler or two if you don’t want to miss out on the at-table theatre,” says Senior Food Writer Jessica Ransom. As it’s jam-packed with rich fruits this pudding is sweeter than some of the other winners so ideal for those with a sweet tooth.

    VIEW AT ALDI | £4.49

    Best Christmas puddings 2021 – runners up

    Pack shot Co-op Irresistible Richly Fruited Christmas Pudding

    Credit: Co-op

    Irresistible Richly Fruited Christmas Pudding Co-op

    Winner: Best Individual Christmas Pudding

    Weight: 100g

    “A delicious little pudding – full of fruity flavour,” says Goodto’s Food Editor and Tried & Tasted Awards judge, Samuel Goldsmith. “It’s great for individuals or when there aren’t many pudding lovers at the party.”

    Ideal if there are only a few at the Christmas dinner table that enjoys Christmas pudding. Dress this single-serving pudding up with a dollop of cream and a sprig of holly for a classy look. The judges commended the great boozy taste (it contains brandy, sherry, and rum) and texture of this pudding from Co-op and enjoyed the well-balanced flavour. The fruit is of good quality and it also contains walnuts and almonds.

    VIEW AT CO-OP | £1.75

    Pack shot of Lewis and Cooper Traditional Plum Pudding

    Credit: Lewis & Cooper

    Lewis & Cooper Traditional Plum Pudding

    Winner: Best Traditional Christmas Pudding

    Weight: 900g

    This pudding stood out for its luxurious plump fruit. It’s not overly sweet, and the combination of rich fruit and booze made it taste particularly festive. It’s deliciously moist and quite a looker too, so was awarded high scores all around. So if you favour a traditional pudding this is a great option.

    It’s so popular with the locals to the Lewis & Cooper shop in Northallerton that it’s stocked it year-round. Food Writer Rosie Bensberg says “It has a good punch of booze and is deliciously moist.” It’s flavoured with Hennessy Cognac that adds a strong flavour that compliments the citrus notes in this pudding.

    Launching online later in the year, available throughout the year from the Lewis & Cooper shop in Northallerton or email sales@lewisandcooper.co.uk for it to be posted.

    VIEW AT LEWIS & COOPER | £13.99

    Waitrose No.1 Figgy Pudding on a dark plate surrounded by fruits

    Credit: Waitrose & Partners

    Waitrose No.1 Figgy Pudding

    Weight: 800g

    This stunning figgy pudding has a bejewelled fruit top making it the perfect Christmas feast finale. It’s glossy, extremely boozy and packed with fruit and nuts that add to that luxurious festive feel. Although traditional in flavour it has a fun modern shape. And comes topped with candied fig halves, walnuts and whole glacé cherries and a decadent fig, honey and port sauce. The pudding is soaked in rum as well as cider adding a lovely rich flavour. It contains vine fruits and walnuts as well as figs that add to the traditional feel.

    VIEW AT WAITROSE | £12

    Are shop-bought Christmas puddings already cooked?

    Shop bought Christmas puddings have been cooked but will need to be reheated before serving. This can usually either be done by boiling the pudding in a pan of water or by warming it in the microwave.

    To make a Christmas pudding you typically cook it twice. First, often well ahead of Christmas, the pudding is steamed. The Christmas pudding is then reheated before serving. Christmas pudding is cooked in advance is so that the flavours can melange and mature making it extra delicious for Christmas Day.

    Can you reheat a shop-bought Christmas pudding?

    Shop-bought Christmas pudding is best served when heated once. However, the leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or the oven. Keep in mind however that heating Christmas pudding for a second time can give it a rubbery texture.

    To microwave leftover Christmas pudding: Put the pudding onto a microwaveable plate and cover it with clingfilm. Microwave on high until the Christmas pudding is hot. It will take approximately 2 mins to reheat, however, the time will depend on the amount you are reheating.

    To reheat a shop-bought Christmas pudding in the oven first heat the oven to 150C/Gas 2. Then wrap the leftover Christmas pudding in foil and cook for 45 mins – 1 hr until hot.

    See all the winners of the Tried & Tasted Christmas awards