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This cranberry pudding is a moist molasses cake covered in a rich butter sauce. It’s everything a traditional Christmas pudding should be!

Christmas pudding | Cranberry pudding with butter sauce

My family has many Christmas traditions, one of my favorite of which is this Christmas cranberry pudding. My grandma makes this dessert every year on Christmas Day. As a child, I was wary of it (a dessert without chocolate?!). But when I finally reached the age to be adventurous enough to try it, I realized what all the adults had been talking about. This stuff was amazing! It’s the style of Christmas pudding referenced in those old carols and Christmas stories, and a total treat.

How to make Christmas cranberry pudding

This Christmas cranberry pudding is a steamed pudding, like the traditional English puddings. To make it, you’ll need a steamer with 9-inch round pan or large stock pot and 9-inch round cake pan to create your own steamer.

The Christmas pudding steams for about 2 ½ hours, so it’s easiest to make the morning or day before eating it. You can steam the pudding and then store it refrigerated until ready to enjoy.

Jump to the recipe below to get started making the recipe.

The star: Christmas pudding butter sauce

The secret to this pudding is the magic butter sauce. My entire family goes crazy over it. The interesting thing about this Christmas cranberry pudding is that it contains no sugar, so it tastes pretty unsatisfying on its own. However, add the butter sauce and you have deliciousness incarnate

This Christmas cranberry pudding may be one of our favorite desserts ever – and it’s so rich that we’re happy to enjoy it to the fullest just once a year. (Well, twice this year, since we wanted to share it with you!)

The Christmas cranberry pudding does take a bit of time to make, but most of the time is hands-off while you wait for the pudding to steam. And it’s very worth the wait. If you are feeling adventurous, give this recipe a try for a special holiday meal – we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as our family does!

Looking for Christmas desserts?

Aside from this classic Christmas pudding, here are a few of our favorite easy Christmas desserts:

This Christmas cranberry pudding recipe is…


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Christmas desserts

Christmas Cranberry Pudding with Butter Sauce

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 1x


This cranberry pudding is a moist molasses cake covered in a rich butter sauce. It’s everything a traditional Christmas pudding should be!



For the Christmas cranberry pudding

  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 2 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Special equipment: Steamer with 9-inch round pan OR large stock pot and 9-inch round cake pan

For the butter sauce

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Slice the cranberries in half. Place them in a colander and rinse out the seeds.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gradually mix in the dark molasses and warm water. Fold in the cranberries.
  3. Grease the round pan and pour the cranberry mixture into the pan.
  4. Fill the steamer with water and place the pan in the steamer and cover with the lid. (If you don’t have a steamer, take a large stock pot and place an item in the bottom to elevate the cake pan, like a trivet, cookie cutter, empty tuna can, or folded dish towel. Then place the pan on top and fill the pot with water about half-way up the side of the pan.)
  5. Bring the water to a boil, and steam for about 2 ½ hours, checking the water level periodically, every 30 minutes or so, and refilling as needed. The pudding is done when you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean. Allow the pudding to cool. The pudding can also be made in advance and kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. When ready to serve, make the butter sauce: in a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, stirring often. Stir in the half and half and the sugar, then add the vanilla. To serve, cut the pudding into pieces and drizzle with butter sauce.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: British

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Sharon Clark says:

    I am making you Cranberry pudding recipe, just the way you said & it appears that 2 and 2/3 cups of flour is way too much. I couldn’t pour it into my cake pan- just had to pat it in. Is there a mistake to the amount of flour? I noticed other recipes only use about 1/12/ cups flour with the same other ingredients. I am bummed if it doesn’t turn out. HELP 😃

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      That’s the right amount. It should thick but gloppy pourable, maybe add a little bit more water if it is super dry.

  2. Linaya says:

    Hi there!
    I was wondering if this recipe would work with a Bundt pan?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I think that would work as long as you seal it tightly!

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