Classic Indian Pudding Recipe | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Indian Pudding

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Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock
Makes 8 servings.
Preparation Method
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Indian Pudding is a warm baked custard that uses native cornmeal, milk, molasses, and cinnamon. It’s a delicious, cozy dessert—and a great alternative to pies for the holidays! Make in advance and just reheat, topping with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The origin of Indian Pudding dates back to the 1700s; it was said to be a favorite dish of Founding Father John Adams! It’s essentially a version of British “Hasty Pudding” (which was made by boiling wheat flour in water or milk until it thickened into a pudding) but in the New World, native corn was the grain of choice and it substituted wheat in this recipe. The Native Americans made cornmeal which early settlers referred to as “Indian flour.” 

Over time, Indian Pudding became more of a sweet dessert (vs. savory). While it’s certainly not the prettiest pudding, this dessert more than makes up for looks with its rich flavor. There’s just nothing quite like it!

If making Indian Pudding in advance, just reheat in the microwave prior to serving. For a holiday dinner, you could try making this dessert in individual ramekins. Sprinkle with more spices if you wish. 

4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

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

Bring 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, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then stir until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish. Bake for 2 hours, or until the pudding is firm and the top is browned.