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Not to be confused with Dessert.
For other uses, see Pudding (disambiguation).
Pudim de leite de Las vegas.jpg
Brazilian pudim de leite (milk pudding)
Type Pudding
Cookbook: Pudding  Media: Pudding
Pudding of the dessert type may be served with toppings such as fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Pudding is a kind of food that can be either a dessert or a savory dish. The word pudding is believed to come from the French boudin, originally from the Latin botellus, meaning "small sausage", referring to encased meats used in medieval European puddings.[1]

In the United Kingdom and some of the Commonwealth countries, the word pudding can be used to describe both sweet and savory dishes. Unless qualified, however, the term in everyday usage typically denotes a dessert; in the UK, pudding is used as a synonym for a dessert course.[2] Dessert puddings are rich, fairly homogeneous starch- or dairy-based desserts such as rice pudding, steamed cake mixtures such as Treacle sponge pudding with or without the addition of ingredients such as dried fruits as in a Christmas pudding.[2] Savory dishes include Yorkshire pudding, black pudding, suet pudding and steak and kidney pudding.

In the United States and some parts of Canada, pudding characteristically denotes a sweet milk-based dessert similar in consistency to egg-based custards, instant custards or a mousse, often commercially set using cornstarch, gelatin or similar collagen agent such as the Jell‑O brand line of products.

In Commonwealth countries these puddings are known as custards (or curds) if they are egg-thickened, blancmange if starch-thickened, and jelly if gelatin based. Pudding may also refer to other dishes such as bread pudding and rice pudding, although typically these names derive from the origin as British dishes.


The modern usage of the word pudding to denote primarily desserts has evolved over time from the almost exclusive use of the term to describe savoury dishes, specifically those created using a process similar to sausages where meat and other ingredients in a mostly liquid form are encased and then steamed or boiled to set the contents. The most famous examples still surviving are black pudding, which was a favourite of King Henry VIII, and haggis.

Baked, steamed and boiled puddings[edit]

The original pudding was formed by mixing various ingredients with a grain product or other binder such as butter, flour, cereal, eggs, and/or suet, resulting in a solid mass. These puddings are baked, steamed or boiled. Depending on its ingredients, such a pudding may be served as a part of the main course or as a dessert.

Boiled or steamed pudding was a common main course aboard ships in the Royal Navy during the 18th and 19th centuries. Pudding was used as the primary dish in which daily rations of flour and suet were prepared.

Steamed pies consisting of a filling completely enclosed by suet pastry are also known as puddings. These may be sweet or savory and include such dishes as steak and kidney pudding.




Kheer, from India, here made with rice

Creamy puddings[edit]

Instant dessert pudding

The second and newer type of pudding consists of sugar, milk, and a thickening agent such as cornstarch, gelatin, eggs, rice or tapioca to create a sweet, creamy dessert. These puddings are made either by simmering on top of the stove in a saucepan or double boiler or by baking in an oven, often in a bain-marie. These puddings are easily scorched on the fire, which is why a double boiler is often used; microwave ovens are also now often used to avoid this problem and to reduce stirring.

Creamy puddings are typically served chilled, but a few, such as zabaglione and rice pudding, may be served warm. Instant puddings do not require boiling and can therefore be prepared more quickly.

This pudding terminology is common in North America and some European countries such as the Netherlands, whilst in Britain egg-thickened puddings are considered custards and starch-thickened puddings called blancmange.




Cultural references[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pudding". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.