“The appeal of this classic pudding from the endless summer of childhood is not just its rich, dense flavour; it’s also that ‘roly poly’ is a funny expression in the way ‘spotted dick’ isn’t, actually,” says TV presenter James May.

“This is an easy version, which is cooked in the oven rather than steamed on top. Convention specifies raspberry or strawberry jam, but it would probably work just as well with marmalade, Nutella, or thinly sliced Spam.”

Jam roly poly recipe (Pavilion/Martin Poole/PA)
Jam roly poly recipe (Pavilion/Martin Poole/PA)
Jam roly poly recipe (Pavilion/Martin Poole/PA)
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Jam roly poly
Amount Per Serving
Calories 508 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 30mg1%
Potassium 126mg4%
Carbohydrates 62g21%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 38IU1%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 59mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Jam roly poly

A classic British dessert
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4
Calories: 508kcal
Author: James May


  • Large bowl
  • Rollinh pin
  • Roasting rack
  • Roasting tin


  • softened butter for greasing
  • 200 g self-raising flour plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g shredded beef suet or vegetable suet
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 ml semi-skimmed milk or water
  • 6-7 tbsp raspberry jam or strawberry


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Butter a large sheet of baking parchment and set aside.
  • Stir the flour, suet, sugar and salt in a large bowl until fully combined. Slowly stir in the milk or water to form a soft, spongey dough.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Roll the dough out into a 22 x 32cm rectangle.
  • Spread the jam onto the dough, leaving a 1.5cm border around the edge. Slightly dampen the border with water. Gently roll the dough up from the short end and transfer to the baking parchment, seam-side down. Wrap the roly poly in the baking parchment, making a long pleat in the paper to allow the pudding to expand as it cooks. Twist the ends of the parchment like a Christmas cracker and tie tightly with kitchen string, to seal the pudding inside. Repeat the wrapping process with a large piece of kitchen foil.
  • Place the pudding on the roasting rack set inside the roasting tin. Pour boiling water halfway up the roasting tin, just to the base of the pudding, and cook in the oven for 30–35 minutes.
  • Remove the pudding from the oven, unwrap the kitchen foil, then snip the string and unwrap the parchment.
  • The pudding should be well risen and lightly browned in places. Don’t worry if the jam has made its way through to the outside of the pudding and ends up on your face.
  • Place on a warmed serving plate and cut into thick slices. Serve with lots of custard.


Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg

Oh Cook! 60 Easy Recipes That Any Idiot Can Make by James May is published by Pavilion. Photography by Martin Poole.

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