Classic British Desserts: 19 Tasty & Traditional UK Puddings

British Desserts

Classic British desserts (or ‘puddings’ as we Brits also call them) really are one of the wonders of the world.

If you think we’re being dramatic, then you’re obviously  not from the UK, but you’re certainly in the right place to learn about traditional British desserts.

When it comes to puddings in Britain, you might’ve only heard of the famous one from Yorkshire. But despite its name, that’s not actually a dessert.

So what is a traditional British dessert?

A traditional British dessert is Apple Crumble, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Eton Mess, Banoffee Pie, and all the other classic sweet dishes that the UK is famous for. A typical and traditional British dessert is steeped in British food history, not to mention ridiculously comforting and moorish.

Traditional British Desserts

There’s just loads of classic British desserts, including these 19 beauties:

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Maybe the most famous British dessert, a good old apple crumble just can’t fail to satisfy. Sweet, soft spiced apples finished with a crisp yet crumbly topping of flour, butter, sugar and oats.

Best served with hot custard, although cream or ice cream are also good choices. The apples can be swapped for other fruit – also popular are plums, pears and berries.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

Now Bread and Butter Pudding is a proper retro British dessert! Custard and sultanas are added to a tray of, you guessed it, bread and butter, before baking into a golden after-dinner delight.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

You could say the cheeky devil that is sticky toffee pudding puts the ‘great’ into Great British cuisine. You could also say we’re overreacting, but we’d suggest you try for yourself first. The name says it all really. STICKY. TOFFEE. PUDDING! It’s just bound to be good.

Jam Roly Poly

While it’s name suggests a sticky gymnastics move, a Jam Roly Poly is in fact a fun and tasty traditional British dessert! Jam spread over a flat suet pudding which is then rolled up and baked or steamed, is a description that really doesn’t do this pudding justice.

Spotted Dick

As far as weird British food names go, Spotted Dick is perhaps the least appetising. It all depends on what you’re into of course, but back in the 1800s, ‘Dick’ was simply another term used for pudding (naturally). The addition of custard to this suet and dried-fruit bad boy makes it all the more delectable. A real quintessential British dessert is Spotted Dick.

Treacle Sponge Pudding

Treacle sponge pudding is another absolute classic of a British dessert that’ll warm you up in winter and still have you salivating in summer. It’s pretty much what the name tells you and with custard it’s just ridiculously good.

Eve’s Pudding

Eve's Pudding

Not dissimilar to an apple crumble, but Eve’s Pudding has a nice light vanilla sponge covering the soft stewed apples. Yet another brilliant albeit retro British dessert, especially when served with custard, cream or ice cream.

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell tart

Not everyone will agree, but for us at least, Bakewell Tart is in our top three traditional British desserts. There’s just something about this almond and jam sponge that delivers every time. 

Eton Mess

Traditional British Desserts - Eton Mess

Eton Mess is one of many fantastic traditional English desserts (to be more specific), that just can’t disappoint. Strawberries, meringue and whipped cream thrown together is all that’s needed to create this epic British classic.

Custard Tart

Another absolute classic is the custard tart, involving pastry filled with the silky vanilla, egg, sugar, milk and cream mixture. Whilst it could be eaten hot, it’s best served cold once set.

Arctic Roll

The Arctic Roll in particular is an old fashioned pudding typically eaten as part of a school meal, but isn’t so common these days. We’re not sure why really. Ice cream wrapped in sponge. An absolute triumph of a dessert if you ask us.


English Trifle

A Trifle (pronounced “try-full”) can come in an array of flavours, but the traditional British trifle is a layered, strawberry based dessert and is constructed as follows: Base layer – Victoria sponge fingers encased within strawberry flavoured jelly. Second layer – custard. Third layer – whipped cream, topped with fresh strawberries.

Jelly and Ice Cream

An absolute favourite at children’s birthday parties in the UK is jelly and ice cream (jelly otherwise known as ‘jell-o’ in other parts of the world). Strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, orange, lime and more: oh the jelly flavour options! Added to a few scoops of ice cream, this British dessert will make you feel young again.

Queen of Puddings

Queen of Puddings

As far as British puddings go, Queen of Puddings can be considered the head of state. Eating this sweet, buttery, breadcrumb based treat, complete with jam and a meringue topping, will almost make you feel part of the Royal Family. Ok, we might be getting slightly carried away.

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie is quite possibly the best dessert in the world. Ever. Bananas, cream and toffee on a buttery biscuit base. Erm, yes please. The best British dessert by a country mile (some might say).

Gypsy Tart

Gypsy Tart

The Gypsy Tart is an especially sweet dessert that goes great with some cream or creme fraiche. It’s made from evaporated milk, muscovado sugar and pastry. All the things a growing Brit needs.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb is a particularly tasty fruit and very popular in the UK, particularly in summer. The most common pudding to make with rhubarb is a Crumble, other great cold options being a Rhubarb Fool or a Rhubarb Trifle, just to name a couple of examples.

Summer Pudding

The Summer Pudding is an absolute stunner of a British dessert. Berries are the star of the show, sitting inside a casing of white bread that soaks up all the tongue-tingling fruit juices. Incredible.

The Cheese Board

Cheese Board - Classic British Dessert

Finally, the classic British dessert that is the cheese board (at least, it’s traditionally enjoyed in Britain). Not your typical sweet dessert, although it is often served with fruit, such as grapes or figs, as well as crackers and chutneys.

And that’s your list of classic British desserts.

Yes, it’s only natural that you’re now gagging to find a top-notch place to eat in the UK…

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