The Proper Way to Make Yorkshire Pudding

photo credit: Karen Hurley

September 11 was also Grandparents Day™ , a Hallmark Holiday™ , and this post is in honor of my mom’s parents, who emigrated to the US from Yorkshire, England in the 1920s. When my mom was a child during WW2 and meat was scarce, this simple but filling recipe for what is essentially a large pancake was a trick used by my grandparents to stretch out the meal. The rule was that whoever ate the most Yorkshire Pudding got the first serving of meat. My mom and her sisters ate as much pudding as possible, thereby becoming too full to make a dent in the meat and leaving more for the grownups. Despite its roots as a flimflam on the children, the girls grew up and served it to their families for Sunday dinners, and so do their offspring.

You must start the recipe with good grease. The grease can come from a roast beef, roast lamb, or roast turkey; coming into possession of two tablespoons of good grease is reason alone to make a Yorkshire pudding. Proclaim, “That’s good grease!” as you skim it off the bottom of the roasting pan and put it into a container. Store it in the freezer or just put it aside from the prior day’s cooking until you’re ready to go.

A few hours before dinner, whisk together the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tbs. water

Refrigerate the batter for a few hours before baking, though if you have to skip this step it’s probably ok, Grandma Lumley’s gravespinning notwithstanding.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a 13×9 Pyrex pan inside. You want the pan hot – sizzling hot. Once it’s heated, throw in the aforementioned 2 tablespoons of good grease and return the pan to the oven for a few minutes. You don’t want to pour the batter into the pan until the grease has melted and coated the bottom and is sputtering at you like a motorist you’ve cut off on the highway.

Only then do you take out the batter out of the refrigerator and whisk it once more, to within an inch of its life. Then remove the hot pan from the oven, pour the batter into it, and return it to the oven for 30 minutes.

I know it is tempting, but you should never open the door to check on “the pud” while it bakes. Instead, peer through the oven door window as its various corners begin to bubble and rise into the peaks and valleys that constitute a truly great Yorkshire pudding, the empty spaces that will channel the accompanying gravy into tiny brown rivers and lakes. The best Yorkshire puddings are half air.

If you’re really achieving spectacular topography, this is the time to call your siblings long distance to gloat. “I’m making the best looking Yorkshire pudding ever,” you may say to them. “Bet you wish you were here.” They will hang up and probably go start making one themselves, good grease or no.

If you are married to an Asian man who drinks sriracha and Sambal Oelek by the bottle and wonders what all the fuss is about, remind him that blandness takes up a quarter of the real estate on your family’s crest and makes you feel connected to your fore bearers.

Make sure you’ve set the table and warmed up some gravy and meat to serve atop the pudding (one of the best times to make this dish is the day after Thanksgiving) as the clock ticks down, because you’ll want to eat as soon as it comes from the oven. When you pull it out of the oven, call the entire family into the kitchen to comment on the contours of the pudding. Commemorative photos are never out of place.

If the pudding is completely flat, which sometimes happens too, do not despair. It will still taste good. But next time, find some better grease.

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Comments

  1. Jill says

    “remind him that blandness takes up a quarter of the real estate on your family’s crest”

    Just burst out laughing. But now I’m hungry for lunch, and not the plain yogurt waiting for me.

  2. Kristin says

    As a woman who’s also married to an Asian man I can totally relate. Every year at Christmas he asks me why my Mom always serves that tasteless bread stuff!

    • says

      I am taking special care to email this post out to all the Asian men of my acquaintance who have laughed at my Yorkshire Pudding. Feel free to send it on to Eugene.

      And by the way, I bet he eats it anyway.

  3. Risa says

    Your pudding looks divine! My husband used to make roast beef and Yorkshire pudding back in the day. He learned from his father. But he also used to cook eggs in bacon grease. Really. Not any more–good grease or not!

  4. Jim Hafner says

    Hey, you should have given the eagle bay donuts to the first reader who could translate sambal oelek… or reply with sriracha in Thai script!

    We have our own version of the Yorkshire that gets produced by kelly (or her mom) called German pancake… basically the same topography and flavor – and called into service on similar post-Thanksgiving occasions. I think the main appeal is the butter, bacon, maple syrup, rasperries, powdered sugar, etc. that it supports… but that might just be me. Have Andrew try it with sambal and report back.

    • says

      I have had the good fortune to be served that dish in your kitchen – as you mention, it’s basically a syrup and fruit delivery mechanism. Similarly, if the gravy is good you can mask a flat pudding. But the cook knows her shame.

  5. Mary Dexter says

    You don’t know “good grease” until you know the coffee can of bacon grease my mom kept by the stove. I am, after all, half Texan, though I don’t tell many people that.. She would probably have made this with bacon grease, as she had plenty around. And btw, that is one handsome pudding in the photo. How many did you go through to find the best?

  6. says

    I had heard of Yorkshire Pudding (of course as everyone has, I guess) but didn’t realize what it looked like or how it was made. My forefathers were all from Ireland so they were eating potatoes and drinking guinness. Talk about bland…the potatoes that is, not the beer.

  7. says

    Super write-up of the great art of Yorkshire puds!

    I’m from Yorkshire myself and have had a fair share of disasters in my time. There’s a great skill to Yorkshire puddings, but they’re always worth the effort.

  8. Sara Evinger says

    I’m thinking there’s Rorschach potential in Yorkshire pudding topography! If you can interpret tea leaves, or clouds, why not The Pudding?

  9. Kim Davis says

    Came to find a recipe, leaving after a bit of history a couple of laughs, with a big smile on my face! Thanks for the fun (and the recipe)!

  10. Mike Sponsky says

    Thank you so much. Yorkshire Pudding, just as you described was a winter staple in our house, but my granny (who was of course of English descent) passed away with out passing on the recipe.. I’ve been hunting for this one for years. With rich brown gravy on a winters day, Yummy!!

      • Mike Sponsky says

        Did Grandma Lumley have a recipe for plain unadorned suet pudding, by any chance? I remember my granny (who was a Scot) making it. It was a rather unappetizing appearing, grey, gelatinous mass, but was great on a cold winter day with brown gravy.

        If my memory serves it was usually served as a side dish with roast beef, the pudding replacing the potatoes.

  11. Lyn McLellan says

    I am in South Africa, I remember my grandma making yorksheir pud. She used to beat and beat and the put it into suzzling hot fat in the coal stove on the farm, i am going to try this recepie tks

  12. Monica from West Texas says

    I am a newlywed. My husband’s ex-wife was British, so you can guess why I am looking for a good recipe and explanation. Wish me luck.

  13. Russ says

    At the risk of being hunted down by angry Yorkshire men for giving away their secret, I will give you an additional step that will turn this from a good Yorkshire pud into the authentic article…

    A couple of days before dinner, put your cup of milk on the window sill…

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