Suet Pastry Recipe – How to Make Suet Pastry

Suet pastry is a good, old fashioned British pastry used for steamed and boiled sweet and savoury puddings, roly-poly puddings and dumplings. Similar to short-crust in texture but tougher and more elastic. It’s very quick and simple to make which is good as it needs to be used quickly once made. Not suitable for freezing.

suet pastry pudding

Soft suet pastry for a traditional British pudding

Suet pastry puddings have gone out of fashion nowadays. They date from a time when most men and women had hard and long physical jobs that burned calories.

The rhyme that goes “Monday is wash day” was just that. The woman’s whole day would be spent doing the family’s washing, by hand. Labouring jobs for the men would often mean 10 hour days of hard work plus a long walk to work and back.

Their problem wasn’t keeping trim, their problem was getting enough calories to live on. Suet, with 850 kcal per 100g provided cheap concentrated calories to fuel the day.

That’s why so many famous British dishes included suet even if not made with suet pastry; jam roly-poly, spotted dick, steak and kidney pudding, steak and ale pudding, Christmas plum pudding to name some.

So if you’re trying to lose weight, have a very small portion! If you’re working hard burning 3,000 calories a day then tuck in.

Cooking Tip – Suet Pastry Pies & Puddings

Most recipes for pies will suggest steaming the pie for hours – often 5 or 6. You can cook in the microwave instead. Timings vary according to the power of the microwave and recipe but generally between 8 and 12 minutes is correct.

Ingredients for Suet Pastry Recipe:

  • 8 oz (225 g) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 oz (112 g) shredded suet
  • Water


  • You can use self-raising flour instead of plain and omit the baking powder.
  • Generally suet is made from beef fat but you can get vegetarian suet if you wish.

Method for Making Suet Pastry:

  1. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Add the shredded suet and mix well.
  3. Mix to a stiff dough with the water.
  4. Roll out and use at once for sweet and savoury roly-polys and boiled and steamed puddings.

More Pastry Making Guides, Tips & Information