/ Food & Drink

Christmas dinner: will Yorkshire puddings be on your plate?

We each have our own traditions and preferences when it comes to Christmas dinner – but do Yorkshire puddings sit atop your plate?

04/11/2020: Results of our blind taste test

Our taste testers have rated nine supermarket own-brand frozen Yorkshire puddings, plus the big brand: Aunt Bessie’s.

Which? members can take a look at the results here.

We also polled 989 members in October to find out if Yorkshires would be appearing on their Christmas dinner plate –  just 37% said they would.

This brought us back to Oscar’s original debate here on Which? Conversation. As we approach the festive season, will Yorkshire puddings be forming part of your Christmas lunch?

06/12/2018: Will Yorkshires be on your plate?

Original author: Oscar Webb

You’ve carved the turkey (vegetarian and vegan options are available), served the potatoes and dished up the veg – in the little space left on your plate, you’ve some decisions to make.

The ‘trimmings’ make up a key part of any Christmas dinner, but which items should sit on the side of your plate remains highly contentious.

In our Christmas dinner survey, you voted gravy, pigs in blankets, stuffing, cranberry sauce and bread sauce your favourite sides – no surprises there perhaps. (Independent shops came out best for trimmings, ahead of all the supermarkets, according to our readers.)

Plate debate

But there’s one item in our survey that has caused controversy in the Which? office: Yorkshire puddings.

From all our food survey results, the statistic that sparked the most debate was that 21% of you said you serve Yorkshire puddings with your Christmas dinner.

Some cried heresy, while others couldn’t contemplate their Christmas dinner without a pud.

Pudding preference

Now, I’m not averse to Yorkshire puddings – they’re a delicious addition to any roast dinner.

But homemade ones – always miles better – require a great amount of time and effort (in short supply in Christmas day kitchens).

And the finished result takes up a huge portion of your plate – a space I’d prefer to reserve for other trimmings. In my case, stuffing, bread sauce and as many different types of veg as possible.

Best for veg

So when it comes to veg, who are the best retailers? Our readers recommended shopping at a local greengrocer’s or farmer’s market or ordering from a veg box scheme for the best veg.

Aldi and Lidl came out top for supermarket shoppers in our survey, followed closely by M&S, Ocado and Waitrose.

While no supermarket scored poorly for taste or quality, Sainsbury’s ranked bottom of the table with a 69% customer score.

Do my views on Yorkshires make me a pudding pariah? What are the essential components of your Christmas dinner plate? And where do you source your meat, veg and trimmings?

Do you have Yorkshire puddings with your Christmas dinner?

Yes – of course! (51%, 374 Votes)

No – certainly not. (49%, 365 Votes)

Total Voters: 739

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Yorkshire puddings were served as a separate course and probably served to blunt the appetite a little for the scarce meat that followed. They were also served with gravy for meal on their own. I can’t find evidence of dates when they became associated with roast beef, but when I was young that was all they were served with in our area. Lately, especially with frozen capabilities, they have broadened their scope and the hole in the middle is suitable for anything one cares to fill it with. I love Yorkshire puddings and don’t have any hang ups about serving them with any meal, however, Christmas dinner cooking is complicated enough and there probably won’t be a hot enough oven available to do them justice, unless cooked before and just re-heated for the table. The shop varieties are a good standby, but the pride comes in taking out your own and getting them out of the tin without breaking them. Like new baked bread, the hotter the better.

A delicacy much missed by me. I will have to master them next year as I have enough instructions on how to make them and the necessary equipment. And pancakes. My wife’s low-carb diet has a lot to answer for!

P.S. Ethical Consumer is covering non-palm oil or properly certified palm oil treats for Christmas goodies. Unsurprisingly Iceland does well.

Sorry but there’s only one proper way to cook Yorkshire Puds and that is underneath spit roast beef so that all the drippings fall on the Yorkshire.
With turkey? That’s sacrilege!

Good point terfar!

Yorkshire’s go with owt, well, especially a roast! Christmas Day dinner is no exception. Yorkshire puddings deserve a place on your festive plate!
Being a Yorkshire lass, when I was young, my grandma always served the Yorkshire pudding first with homemade bone gravy that my grandad made over 3 days.

My grandpa could be like that sometimes. He was from the East Riding.

Andromeda says:
8 December 2018

I though “Which” was supposed to be an organisation offering practical and timely advice for purchase decisions.

I can’t quite grasp why space is being taken up on such inane trivia as this.

And why am I wasting my valuable time now, come to think of it!

Hey Andromeda 🙂

We do do that as well! Conversation is a space for a range of discussion, from ‘hard-nosed’ topics like our campaigns and scams to watch out for, to lighter topics like this one…

And that’s not even getting started on the output of the rest of W? as an organisation – which is constantly working to keep its consumer advice as cutting edge as possible.

Christmas dinner is clearly an important topic for almost everyone at this time of year though, don’t you think?


” thought ” ….. that was meant to be …..

I always go away for Christmas and cannot remember being given Yorkshire puddings.

You should come around to my house and see my collection ! : )

Now there’s an offer. You might like to know that the Royal Society of Chemistry offered guidance on Yorkshire puddings a few years ago: http://www.rsc.org/AboutUs/News/PressReleases/2008/PerfectYorkshire.asp RSC does not seem to have considered the type of flour, which I suspect could have an effect on the results.

Interesting. 4″ !! that is one deep pudding.

They do mention plain flour in the recipe.

Thanks for sharing, Wavechange — fascinating!

Here’s another one, Oscar, from a physicist with a penguin obsession: https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/25053/the-appliance-of-science

Edit: And another article: https://www.labnews.co.uk/features/christmas-chemistry-20-12-2010/

I’m not sure what the significance of the depth is, Patrick. It might make the top char before the bottom is cooked.

I do have Peter Barham’s “The Science of Cooking”. I must give it back to him : )

We used to attend the same conferences. Some others have dabbled in the science of cookery and there is even another book with the same title.

Well, it’s better than the cooking of science which too many people dabble in.

An understanding of science might not make you a better cook but it might help make you more wary of the false scientific claims that are made for some products.

I also have, amongst many other cookbooks this

“McGEE ON FOOD AND COOKING is a masterpiece of gastronomic writing; a rich, addictive blend of chemistry, history and anecdote that no self-respecting foodie or cook can afford to be without.

McGEE ON FOOD AND COOKING renders the everyday miracles of the kitchen wondrous and fascinating, shedding light on questions that have puzzled generations of cooks. If you’ve ever wondered why fish goes off quicker than meat; how to tell stale eggs from fresh ones; why you’re supposed to leave pancake batter to rest; how it is that cheese can possibly have so many different permutations of flavour and texture; why chopping onions makes you cry; about the health benefits of chocolate and alcohol; why Jerusalem artichokes make you fart; or even how to avoid poisoning your guests – then this is the book for you. With the enlightenment it brings, you may find yourself emerging from the culinary dark ages.

Harold McGee’s original ON FOOD AND COOKING was acclaimed as a masterpiece on both sides of the Atlantic, and won the 1986 André Simon Food Book of the Year. Now completely rewritten for a new generation, reflecting the seismic shifts in science and upsurge in home cooking over the past two decades, this new book will amaze all those who love food.”

This was the blurb when re-published in 2004. Someday I mean to read it rather than dip in.

So the blurb notes the ‘upsurge in home cooking over the past two decades”. I am afraid all I have noticed is the multitude of television programmes about home cooking, the vast volumes of ready meals flying out of the chilled cabinets in every store, and not a greengrocer left on the high street.

It is quite normal at this time of the year for nine out of ten books in the top ten best sellers to be cookery books of one sort or another. Yet as a nation we have one of the worst diets in the developed world, an obesity problem of obese proportions, and an almost pathological aversion to preparing a proper meal from fresh ingredients. So where does this informative literature end up, and how does Masterchef contribute to our general wellbeing and culinary satisfaction? Answers on a plate, please.

To answer the question NO.

The Yorkshire puddings in the image look really dry and tasteless, perhaps because they are a couple of years old now.

They’re waiting for when the gravy boat comes in.

I have never thought there was much taste in a Yorkshire pudding; it’s all about the texture, and the soggier the better in my view, but most people seem to like them done to a crisp.

Making Yorkshire puddings is not at all difficult but they need to be taken out of the oven while the base is still slightly soft; leaving them too long dries them out, and you end up with the cardboard example you might buy ready made. We can underrate some foods and miss out on its real pleasures when we rely on ready-made stuff.

At my Aunt’s, Christmas dinner of goose was preceded by home made Yorkshire pudding with gravy made from the goose juices. Delicious and, in true Yorkshire tradition, began to fill an empty tummy so not so much expensive food was needed.

I don’t know if Yorkshire puddings go well with goose, so I might leave space for extra Christmas pud instead.