Indian Pudding


Traditional American Indian Pudding, a baked custard pudding made with cornmeal, milk, eggs, and sweetened with molasses. Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My first encounter with Indian Pudding was over 30 years ago at Durgin Park, a landmark restaurant in Faneuil Hall, Boston, famous for its home-style Yankee cooking and, at the time, its cranky, octogenarian waitresses.

Few desserts look so completely unappetizing yet taste so incredibly good. One bite of this lumpy, brown mush, with a dab of vanilla ice cream, and I was sold. Scraped every last bit from the bowl.

Indian Pudding

Why indian pudding isn’t more widely known I have no idea; it’s one of my favorite desserts of all time, and a traditional New England Thanksgiving classic. Indian pudding is a baked custard with milk, butter, molasses, eggs, spices, and cornmeal.

The name is likely derived from the cornmeal, which was known as indian meal way back when. Here is a tried-and-true recipe for indian pudding adapted from An Olde Concord Christmas, a long out-of-print book from the Concord Museum.

Indian Pudding Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10


  • 6 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream


1 Scald the milk and butter: Scald the milk and butter in a large double boiler. Or heat the milk and butter for 5 or 6 minutes on high heat in the microwave, until it is boiling, then transfer it to a pot on the stove. Keep hot on medium heat.

2 Preheat oven to 250°F.

3 Make cornmeal milk base: In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, and salt; stir in molasses. Thin the mixture with about 1/2 cup of scalded milk, a few tablespoons at a time, then gradually add the mixture back to the large pot of scalded milk. Cook, stirring until thickened.

4 Temper the eggs, combine with milk cornmeal mixture: Temper the eggs by slowly adding a half cup of the hot milk cornmeal mixture to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture back in with the hot milk cornmeal mixture, stir to combine.

5 Add sugar, spices, raisins if using: Stir in the sugar and spices, until smooth. At this point, if the mixture is clumpy, you can run it through a blender to smooth it out. Stir in the raisins (optional).

6 Bake: Pour into a 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dish. Bake for 2 hours at 250°F.

7 Cool for an hour: Allow the pudding to cool about an hour to be at its best. It should be reheated to warm temperature if it has been chilled.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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It's National Indian Pudding Day! Here's Why You Should Celebrate - fun article on NPR including another recipe for indian pudding

Showing 4 of 55 Comments / Reviews

  • Rod Cleaves

    Indian Pudding is an old tyme (sic) New England desert. I grew up with it in the 40’s. I just found this site and recipe. It’s almost exactly how we made it back then. One difference though, we served it with chilled Hard Sauce rather than ice cream or whipped cream. Hard Sauce is nothing more than: confectioners sugar, butter, and a flavor to your liking. Some people like vanilla, I like brandy or maybe a almond essence. Melt the butter and stir in the sugar until it’s almost too stiff to stir, add the flavor and refrigerate.

    A cold dollup of Hard Sauce on well warmed Indian Pudding and God can take me home.


  • David

    I’m about to make my mothers version of Indian Pudding (or as I am calling it here in Berkeley, CA, Indigenous Peoples Pudding). This is the version I’ve been eating for fifty years:
    1 Cup yellow corn meal
    1/4 Cup sugar
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 Cup butter
    1/2 Cup black molasses (not bootstrap)
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 1/2 quarts hot milk (6 cups)

    Raisins in baked goods is sacrilege in my house.

  • Christina

    Is it possible to use lactose feee milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc? Thanks!!

  • Nidia Moller

    I tried your recipe for Indian Pudding. The cornmeal seemed to sink to the bottom of the pan and form a thick layer, while the rest of the mixture formed a pudding. Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong?

  • Robyn Lawson

    I just love this site….you can print a recipe and not have to print all the ads and gobbly-gook. You get just the recipe and save your ink and paper for more of their recipes!!!! And they are all good.

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