Bacon and Onion Roly-Poly Pudding
bacon and onion roly poly

Bacon and Onion Roly-Poly Pudding

Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4
bacon and onion roly poly
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Celebrating Heritage British Food & Cooking

Bacon and onion roly-poly pudding is a classic British family favourite from the 1960s.

I have very fond memories of my grandmother’s cooking. She was a very traditional cook and my childhood dinners were good old British standards like shepherds or cottage pies and suet puddings like this one or steak and kidney.

I think that her choices were influenced by wartime rationing which only stopped in the UK in 1955. The need to provide filling, substantial meals with limited ingredients means using what is available.

Children who cleared their plates would get dessert (aka pudding), confusing I know! Granny’s apple crumbles with lashings of hot custard were legendary.

Anyhow, let’s get back to the roly-poly pudding!

This bacon and onion suet pudding is made with suet pastry, bacon and onions and then rolled up like a Swiss roll (think suet dumpling with a bacon and onion filling) and steamed for about 2 and a half hours.

laid out bacon and onion roly poly
Laid out pudding before rolling up ©recipesfromacornishkitchen

Really easy to make and only simply seasoned, give it a try.

I seem to remember my Granny making it using leftover boiled bacon. The meat was definitely in chunks rather than thin strips. The next time we have boiled bacon, mash and cabbage (my wife’s Irish so it’s only a matter of time), I will try it and let you know.

irish bacon mash andcabbage
Irish bacon mash and cabbage

This is a real tummy filler. Serve it up sliced with new potatoes, peas and gravy for a nostalgic treat!

bacon and onion pudding served with new potatoes and peas

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Here’s the Recipe …

bacon and onion roly poly

Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Pudding

The classic 1960's suet and bacon pudding like Granny used to make.
3.94 from 50 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: 🇬🇧 British
Keyword: bacon, British, pudding, steamed, suet
Difficulty: Average
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 468kcal
Author: Richard



  • 220 g Self-raising flour
  • 120 g Beef suet Atora
  • 180 ml Water
  • Salt a couple of pinches
  • 6 rashers Back bacon smoked, trimmed of fat
  • 1 onion medium
  • White pepper


  • Slice the onion thinly and cut the bacon into bite size pieces.
  • Put the flour, suet and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Add the water and stir to mix well.
  • On a floured worktop, roll the pastry into an oblong to about 1 cm thickness.
  • Put the bacon and onion over the pastry and sprinkle with a little white pepper and roll up like a Swiss roll.
  • Now flour a clean muslin cloth and put the pudding on the cloth and roll it up like a Swiss roll.
  • Tie both ends with string and place it into a steamer basket.
  • Cover and steam for 2 and a half hours taking care that the water doesn’t boil dry.
  • Slice the pudding and serve with potatoes, peas and gravy.


Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

You may also like one of my other recipes …

steak and kidney pudding
Steak and kidney pudding
A delicious traditional meat pudding like my Grandmother used to make
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shepherds pie
Shepherds Pie
No Frills Shepherds Pie
Check out this recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

What is beef suet?

Beef suet is the hard crumbly fat from around a cow’s kidneys.

What is suet pastry?

Where can I buy suet?

How many calories are in bacon and onion pudding?

What is Atora?

Are suet and lard the same?

What can I use instead of suet?

Grandads Cookbook may reference or include sections of text and images reproduced courtesy of:


  1. J knight

    I don’t have a steamer basket nor an electric steamer. Can I put it in a ban marie in the oven, or over a pan of steaming water?

  2. Chris Lambourn

    Can I put this in a slow cooker

  3. Rebecca

    What the green herb u add ? Thanks

    • Hi Rebecca,
      The herb added by some recipes as in the picture is parsley.
      I don’t add it personally as it’s not traditional and I don’t
      remember my Granny using it.

  4. Kevin Bushby

    Wow !! My mum used to make bacon pudding for us back in the 70’s, and boy was it good !!! Probably not really good FOR you, but it tasted great. I’m going to make this ASAP. Thanks.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Same here, 60’s and 70’s for me.I was brought up by my grandmother (born 1899) and suet puddings were a bit of a staple.
      It does taste really good!

  5. linda thornton

    How long would this take in a pressure cooker? Also can you make the day before do you think, well prep and cook the day after?

    • Hi Linda,
      For a pressure cooker, steam normally for about 25 minutes and then cook on low pressure for a further 30 minutes.
      If you make it the day before, wrap it in cling film and store in the fridge overnight. Remove the cling film and
      allow it to come up to room temperature before cooking.

  6. Had this many times as a kid mum would serve with mash and peas and both a cheese sauce over the roll poly and a parsley sauce over the veg. Now when I make it I tend to bake it so the pastry isn’t soggy still a favourite.

  7. 5 stars
    Could I boil it in a pot of water? Many thanks

    • Hi Chris,
      If you have a large enough pot you could curl the Roly Poly into a pudding basin, wrap the entire thing in the muslin cloth and steam it like you would a steak and kidney pudding.

  8. 5 stars
    Just as my Mum used to make it. Back in the 70s we had a journalist stay, from the Guardian, and Mum made this and served with roast potatoes and sprouts – the journalist loved it!! My ultimate comfort food 🙂

  9. Sarah Hill

    Hi Richard. I have a friend in a self-contained flat in a care home whose mum used to make this for her. She has an airfryer. Could this be cooked in an airfryer, and if so, how would you do the steaming element, please? And at what heat, and for how long? Thank you.

    • Hi Sarah,
      I’ve done a bit of research on your question and it seems generally the answer is no, you can’t steam this kind of dish in an air fryer.
      Some air fryers do have a steam function but these seem aimed at cooking mainly vegetables and fish, which all cook quickly.

  10. My mother made this served with a white sauce back in the 50’s and 60’s. It was one of my favorites and I have never made it. This will change next week when my Mexican and Canadian friends come for lunch expecting a true English dish!

  11. Clive Coleman

    5 stars
    Terrific 👍🏻

  12. My mum used to make this when I was about 6ish. We came from a big family and it was quite a job to put food on the table for our lot. Mum used to use “pussy pieces ” in them days. Delicious. I now use your recipe and it brings back good memories. I got quite a shock when the wife made it for us, as my our children were growing up. I am just shy of 70 years of age and I am making it myself now.

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