How to wrap a pudding for steaming

As promised in my christmas pudding recipe, I’m sharing my step-by-step guide for how to wrap your puddings in order to ensure the perfect results when steaming.

It’s important that the pudding is securely wrapped in tin foil to prevent the steam from leaking into the pudding and condensing there, resulting in a damp sticky mess.

Make sure that you always grease your pudding bowl, and put a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom to make it easier to get the pudding out once it’s cooked.


You will need:

  • Greaseproof paper (or baking parchment)
  • Tin foil (aluminium foil)
  • String
  • Scissors

Before wrapping in foil, you need to put a piece of pleated greaseproof paper on the top of the pudding mixture. This prevents it from sticking to the foil. It needs to be pleated to allow for the pudding’s expansion. It will also serve to catch any condensing steam rising from the mixture and keep it out of the pudding.

Take a piece of greaseproof paper big enough to more than cover the top of the pudding bowl. Fold it slightly further than halfway, then bring the top layer back on itself and make a second fold to make it flat again, creating a “pleat” in the middle of the piece of paper. Pop this directly onto your pudding mixture.

Then, place the bowl on a long sheet of tin foil.

Fold the ends of the foil up and over the pudding nice and tightly - it should be long enough to come part way down the opposite side of the pudding.

Next, fold the foil DOWN the sides of the pudding, making sure that it tightly hugs the bowl.

Then fold the rest of the foil UP the pudding. The order here is important - the steam will be rising up the sides of the bowl, so you don’t want the outer layer of foil to be folded downwards to invite the steam to travel up inside and ruin the precious package!

Press the foil tightly all the way around with your hands. The bowl should be completely covered.

Next step: string!

Wrap the string tightly around the pudding twice. If you are using a pudding bowl with a lip on the outside, then use this as your guide for where to run the string. Ideally, the ends of the foil will come above the level of the string so that the string is tying it all tightly together.

Knot the string, but don’t cut it yet. Measure enough string to stretch over the top of the pudding bowl twice plus a couple of extra inches.

Then pass the long end of the string over the top of the pudding and thread it under both loops around the bowl.

Pass it back over the pudding and do the same again - don’t pull it tight, this is your handle to make it easier to remove the pudding bowl from the steamer!

Then tie off the string and trim the ends.

Voila! Your pudding is ready to be steamed.

If you’re par-steaming now and finishing at a later date (e.g. christmas puddings) you’ll need to unwrap and rewrap completely once it’s cooled after the first steaming, including replacing the pleated greaseproof.

When steaming it’s important to make sure the puddings fit into the steamers, that the steamers fit neatly onto the pans and that the water level doesn’t reach the bottom of the steamers.

… and make sure that the lids fit tightly onto the steamers over the puddings: