Colonial Thanksgiving Recipe

I must admit I’m a sucker for historical, slow food and Colonial Thanksgiving recipes are super fun. Give me an old “receipt” as they were called and a handful of wholesome ingredients and I’m a happy kitchen girl. Here’s a family favorite for this time of year: Pumpkin Gingerbread Hasty Pudding.


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Hasty Pudding

No Colonial Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without hasty pudding! This particular recipe tastes like a hot, melted gingerbread men.

I have to think that Colonial moms had a sense of humor, or at least irony, when they named this delectable dish. Hasty pudding, though a favorite Colonial Thanksgiving or harvest season treat, is anything but hasty! Like any baked pudding or custard, this treat has a long cook time. No worries, this recipe adapts well to a slow cooker.

The trade off in cook time is that the recipe mixes together super fast. You can whip it up and toss it in the oven first thing in the morning and then be ready to sit down to a delightful breakfast after chores. Or, set it in the slow cooker to bake all night.

Colonial Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Gingerbread Hasty Pudding

Take your time relishing this whole food version of a seasonal favorite.

Gingerbread Hasty Pudding
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time-ish
2 hrs
Resting time
10 mins
Total Time-ish
2 hrs 30 mins

A traditional baked pudding made of wholesome ingredients for this festive season.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: colonial food, pudding, Thanksgiving dessert
Serving Suggestion: 4
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup einkorn, kamut or any whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup succanat, Rapadura or any raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 6- or 8-cup baking dish with butter. Or, individual ramekins.

  3. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, scald the milk.
  4. Meanwhile put the cream into a medium to large bowl, and add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, molasses, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and pumpkin.

  5. Add this cream mixture to the scalded milk. Whisk constantly, over medium-low heat until the pudding has thickened to the consistency of syrup (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
  6. In a bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Add 1/2 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs while whisking quickly.
  7. Whisk the egg mixture into the remaining cornmeal mixture. Add butter and stir until melted.
  8. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish (or ramekins), and place it on a shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven. Pour enough hot water into the shallow baking dish to come 2/3 of the way up the outsides of the baking dish.

  9. Bake until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean, usually about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and remove from the water bath and let cool slightly.  You can also put this in your slow cooker on low for six to eight hours, or on high for two to three hours.  If you use the slow cooker, don't worry about the water bath.
  10. Serve with warm berries, spiced apples or ice cream. Or, to keep it simple, garnish with whipped cream.

Other Favorite Colonial Thanksgiving Inspired Dishes

So, what’s your favorite colonial Thanksgiving dish?

Though it would have tasted a little different back then, I bet you might say pumpkin pie was a favorite, yes?

How about pumpkin cornbread?

Ok, honestly, the Colonials probably weren’t thinking about gluten, but this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake looks divine.

My favorite nerdy food channel on YouTube is without a doubt the Townsends guys! These historic re-enactment videos cover food, building and all pioneer living. Here’s a fun pumpkin bread recipe, but not what you might imagine:

Colonial Thanksgiving in Modern Times

This recipe happens to be featured in our seasonal book, Five Kernels of Corn. Don’t just eat like a pilgrim, learn to think like one! Colonial Thanksgiving celebrations like the tradition of the five kernels of corn are as relevant today as they were back then. Try your hand at some modern versions of these ideas, too! We hope this e-book will be a useful resource to you this season, or any time of year.

Walk with the Pilgrims, you family and your friends through ten separate invitations to set specific goals, including how to keep a gratitude journal, and complete useful projects. Also included are six suggested service projects, from crafty to practical, that can easily be completed with your family – kids included! Also tossed in just for fun is a delectable, traditional recipes and a free downloadable templates to make your holiday complete.

DisclaimerInformation offered on the Homestead Lady website is for educational purposes only. Read my full disclaimer HERE.

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6 thoughts on “Colonial Thanksgiving Recipe

  1. When do we put in the flour? It looks like it got missed in the instructions. Also, is it figured that this hasty pudding was not served in a runny-like way or like pudding as we know it now?

    1. Thank you for alerting me, Doris! I’ve ammended the recipe.

      As far as your question goes, this has a much smoother texture than something like bread pudding. However, it’s not dairy based, so it’s not smooth like a milk pudding. It’s something in between. Does that help?

  2. Your recipe didn’t say when to add the pumpkin so we added it when we added the cornmeal mixture. Came out great but my daughter (who’s 26 not 4!) couldn’t remember what it was called so now at our house it’s called ‘Higglety Pigglety’. We will make this again.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out, Donna! The recipes you make all the time are the hardest ones to write down, right? I’ve fixed that in the recipe and think I might just start calling it higglety pigglety at my house, too! Gives it a Beatrix Potter feel, don’t you think? 🙂

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