These light, delicious puddings can be made ahead and then reheated in a water bath just before unmolding and serving. They’ve been popular since Craft opened, and they work particularly well with a side of fresh blueberries or berry compote.–Tom Colicchio

LC Pass A Spoon, Please Note

These pillowy puddings practically resonate with lemony loveliness. Pass a spoon, please.

Four white plates, each topped with a lemon steamed pudding.

Lemon Steamed Pudding

5 / 11 votes
This lemon steamed pudding is sorta a sponge pudding—a cross between pudding and sponge cake with two distinct layers. And it’s made from everyday ingredients including lemons, sugar, flour, and buttermilk and magically separates.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories133 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • Ramekins


  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the ramekins
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, (either low-fat or full-fat)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Finely chopped zest of 1 1/2 lemons, preferably organic


  • Heat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Butter and lightly sugar six 4-ounce ramekins, tapping out any excess sugar.
  • In a stand mixer on medium to medium-high speed, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift the sugar with the flour and salt.
  • In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment and a clean bowl, combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, egg yolks, and lemon zest. Gradually add the flour mixture, then switch to a spatula and gently fold in the egg whites. Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins.
  • Place the puddings in a water bath (that is to say, place the ramekins in a large roasting pan, place the pan on the oven rack, and then carefully fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins). Cover the entire water bath situation with a large sheet of aluminum foil, crimping it to seal it tightly.
  • Bake until the puddings puff and the surface seems almost firm, 25 to 30 minutes. Then uncover the ramekins and continue baking until the tops are lightly golden and the puddings spring back when touched, about 15 minutes more.
  • Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekins and then invert each onto a plate.
  • Invert the puddings onto individual serving plates and serve warm.
Craft of Cooking by Tom Colicchio

Adapted From

Craft of Cooking

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Serving: 1 puddingCalories: 133 kcalCarbohydrates: 24 gProtein: 4 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 65 mgSodium: 52 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 18 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2003 Tom Colicchio. Photo © 2017 Zoë François. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This was my first-ever steamed pudding and the end result was magical. Look at the picture: how did the pudding separate into two distinct layers like that, both tasty? The process is basically foolproof if you can whip egg whites and fold them into batter, and the results are more than worth the effort expended. My guests raved about the dessert, and I snuck a second serving while no one was looking. This recipe will get used again and again.

The plating process seemed risky to me: “Invert the puddings onto Individual serving plates…” but I need not have worried. I did run a knife around the edge of the ramekins before inverting them and they came out cleanly.

These delectable little lemon cakes are very easy to put together. You’ve got just the right amount of tartness from the lemon to offset the slight sweetness of the very light and fluffy cake. I had a thin cake layer and a pudding-like topping and that worked for me. I’ll keep making them, they’re that good. These are very nice little cakes.

This tasted delicious and was quite easy to prepare. The top lemony pudding layer was a nice texture and perfect amount of lemon taste and sweetness.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I LOVE the texture of this pudding! It’s almost soufflé-ish. Is there any way to turn it into a chocolate version?

    1. I’m so pleased that you love these, Shannon! Given the delicate nature of this type of dessert, I wouldn’t recommend trying to swap ingredients to make a chocolate version. We do have an awesome chocolate souffle recipe on the site, though.