Classic Indian Pudding Recipe | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Indian Pudding

Makes 8 servings.
Preparation Method

Indian Pudding

Print Friendly and PDF

Indian pudding is a baked custard with milk, molasses, and cornmeal. It’s warm and comforting on a cold day. Or, it’s a delicious dessert for Thanksgiving as something different to enjoy besides pie! Best of all, Indian pudding can be made ahead of time and just warmed up.

Where did Indian Pudding get its name? It’s actually an American creation, combining British methods with Native American means. The name stems from the Brits’ “hasty pudding,” which was made by boiling wheat flour in water or milk until it thickened into a pudding. In the New World, where Native Americans regularly used corn as their grain of choice, European colonists tweaked the British pudding recipe and substituted cornmeal (often called “Indian flour”) for wheat flour, producing the dish we know as “Indian Pudding.”

We have references to Indian Pudding dating back to the 1700s and it is said to have been a favorite dish of Founding Father John Adams.

Originally, Indian Pudding was fixed to be either sweet or savory, but today, it’s known as a sweet dessert. While it’s certainly not the prettiest, Indian Pudding is good, simple comfort food and you’ll be coming back for more! For a nice dinner, you could try making this dessert in individual ramekins. Sprinkle with more spices if you wish. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

If making Indian pudding in advance, just reheat in the microwave prior to serving.

4 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter a 1½-quart casserole dish.

Bring 2 cups of milk to a simmer in a double boiler over high heat.

Slowly combine cornmeal to the milk. Cook for about 15 minutes, whisking frequently, until the cornmeal is smooth.

Slowly add the molasses, then remove from heat. Add brown sugar, butter, eggs, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then stir until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish, then pour the remaining 2 cups of cold milk over the top.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the pudding is firm and the top is browned.