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Shakespeare & Beyond

Recipe: How to make a sweet potato pudding

Sweet potato pudding ingredients
Sweet potato pudding ingredients

Sweet potato pudding ingredients

The Folger is home to the largest collection of early modern western European recipe books in the United States, and a team of Folger researchers recently uncovered a very early European potato recipe in our archives. This recipe, “to make a potato puding,” comes from a recipe collection kept by the Grenville family from c. 1640-1750.

Read about how potatoes made their way from the Americas to England and how we adapted this particular recipe: From the archive to the oven

And then follow the recipe to cook this delicious pudding!

The Grenville Family’s Sweet Potato Pudding (adaptation)


3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

¾ lb. butter, softened

½ c. sherry (we recommend a dark sherry like Oloroso)

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

5 whole eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Add potato pieces and cook until tender.  Drain.

In a large bowl, mash the potatoes with the butter until uniform and combined.


Fold in the sherry, cinnamon, and eggs.

Bake in a buttered casserole dish for 45 minutes, or until the pudding has pulled away from the sides of the dish and the middle jiggles slightly when shaken gently.  The pudding will continue to set as it cools.


Do you, or did you put the casserole in a hot water bath to cook?

Martha Oberle — November 16, 2016

This looks great. I love making sweet potato dishes. However, when I hit the print, it is totally unusable. I’ll try and do it as a screen grab but can you folks fix it for other people?

Tish Wells — November 17, 2016

I just made this dish! It looks and smells great. Should it be served warm or cool? I’m not sure whether it’s a side dish or a dessert. Thanks.

Suzanne — November 22, 2018

I just made this dish! It looks and smells great. Should it be served warm or cool?

Suzanne — November 22, 2018

[…] can find another early modern English sweet potato recipe in this 2016 blog post recreating a “sweet potato pudding,” and further discussion of the history of the potato and other ingredients used in early modern […]

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[…] family has provided the world with this unusual yet fascinating ‘sweet potato pudding’ recipe from circa 1640-1750. Although it doesn’t technically look like a pudding – it is basically just […]

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