Steak and ale pudding recipe

By Valentine Warner

  1. Serves 5-6
  2. Takes 50 minutes to make, 4 hours 15 minutes to cook, plus cooling
  3. Rating

Try Valentine Warner's take on the classic steak and ale pudding

tried and tested
Steak and ale pudding


  1. 750g braising beef
  2. l 3 tbsp plain flour
  3. l 1½ tsp flaked sea salt
  4. l 1 tsp black pepper
  5. l 35-40g dripping or lard
  6. l 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  7. l 500ml real ale
  8. l 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
  9. l 1 bay leaf
  10. l 1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  11. l 350ml beef stock, or canned beef consommé
  12. l 1 tbsp tomato purée
  13. l Butter for greasing
  14. l 150g baby (or silverskin) pickled onions, drained and rinsed (see tip)
  15. l Mustard to serve (optional)
  16. for the suet pastry
  17. l 400g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  18. l 200g shredded suet
  19. l ½ tsp flaked sea salt
  20. PLUS… A flameproof casserole and a 1.75 litre pudding basin


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. Trim the beef of any tough bits of gristle but leave the fat. Cut the beef into cubes (roughly 3cm), then put in a strong plastic bag. Add the flour, flaked sea salt and black pepper. Tie the end in a knot, then shake wildly until the beef is well coated in the seasoned flour.
  2. 2. Heat 25g of the dripping or lard in a large frying pan and fry the beef over a high heat in two batches until well browned all over, adding an extra 10g fat when the frying pan appears dry. Transfer the browned beef to a flameproof casserole. Return the frying pan to the heat and drop in the chopped onion with a little extra fat if need be. Cook over a low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Stir into the pot with the beef.
  3. 3. Deglaze the frying pan with half the ale, bringing it to the boil while stirring to lift all the sediment from the bottom of the frying pan. Pour this over the beef and onion mixture. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks and add with the bay leaf, sugar, beef stock or consommé, tomato purée and the remaining ale. Grind all over with a heavy bombardment of black pepper. Bring to a healthy simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid and continue cooking for a further 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice. After this time, the beef should be almost tender and the sauce should be thick. Remove from the oven, taste for seasoning, then leave to go cold.
  4. 4. Butter a 1.75 litre pudding basin. To make the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the suet and salt. Gradually stir in enough water to make a soft, slightly tacky, spongy dough – you’ll need around 300ml. Turn out onto a floured work surface and bring the dough together to form a ball.
  5. 5. Remove just under one-third of the dough to make a lid for the pudding. Roll out the rest until 1cm thick and use a plate as a guide to cut out a circle, 27cm across, using a dusting of flour here and there to prevent sticking issues. Line the basin with the pastry, to a level of around 3cm under the top edge of the dish. This is important as you must allow for the pudding to rise. Be careful with the pastry; if it rips, the gravy will snake and create a mess. Trim neatly to make a flat edge on which to fix the lid.
  6. 6. Stir the pickled onions into the beef mixture, then spoon into the lined basin. Brush the top edge of the pastry with water. Roll the remaining pastry into a circle just large enough to sit snugly on top of the pastry edge, then place over the filling. Trim the excess pastry, then press the edges together well to seal. Tear a large sheet of baking paper that amply overlaps the rim of the basin and, over this, lay a similar-size sheet of foil. Tie with string.
  7. 7. Put the pudding basin on an upturned saucer or small trivet in a deep saucepan and add enough just-boiled water to come halfway up the side of the basin after it’s put inside. (Alternatively, cook in a hob-top steamer.) Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid ?and put over a medium heat. Allow the pud to steam in simmering water for 2½ hours, adding more water when necessary.
  8. 8. Remove the saucepan from the heat, then carefully lift the basin from the water using oven gloves. Stand for 5 minutes. Cut off the string, foil and baking paper. Loosen the side of the pudding with a blunt-ended knife, then invert the pudding carefully onto a warm serving plate large enough for the filling to ooze into. Attack the resulting stronghold with spoons, knives and mustard reinforcements.

Nutritional info

PER SERVING (BASED ON 6) 819kcals, 44.1g fat (23.4g saturated), 34.8g protein, 63.5g carbs (7.8g sugars), 2.7g salt, 4.1g fibre

Chef's tip

Baby onions are also known as silverskin onions. They’re much smaller than regular onions and are used in pickling.

Wine Recommendation

Serve this with the same ale you used to cook the dish – or go for a gutsy Indian Pale Ale (IPA), which will stand up to the onions.


Please register or sign-in to leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you think.


February 25

I am making a gluten free steak and kidney suet pudding with john west steak and kidney already cooked,I am hoping 2.5 hours will do,its my first attempt,yes I do know their is a small amount of gluten in atora suet,but after 10 years of misery I think I can riisk a bit now and then.I thank you for info in steak and ale pudding recipe,thanks Ken.


March 10

We wanted something warm and hearty and this certainly hit the spot. Really rich and satisfying filling with a light a fluffy suet pudding. Cheated a little as I didn't line the pudding basin, just added to the top (slightly healthier!) so therefore reduced the cooking time. Definitely one for beating the winter blues.

Sign in
Sign in

Forgot password ?

Why sign up?
Save recipes, enter exclusive competitions and upload you own recipes!

Register for free now
Sign up for our newsletter for the latest news, recipes and offers.
Healthy recipes
Dinner parties
Dinner parties

Get delicious. news & recipes straight to your inbox
* indicates required
( mm / dd / yyyy )