Bread Pudding Recipe

Put your leftover bread to work with this dreamy Bread Pudding drizzled with quick and luscious caramel sauce. It’s perfect for weekends and holidays with your loved ones.

A serving of bread pudding on a white plate with a fork and caramel sauce being poured onto it.

This recipe is easy to throw together in just a few minutes and it’s made just like an old-fashioned bread pudding. Whiskey-soaked raisins, custard, and a simple caramel sauce transform your day-old bread into something truly special.

Recipe ingredients:

Bread pudding ingredients in various bowls on a gray countertop.

Ingredients notes:

  • Bread: This recipe works best with French baguette, but it’s also fantastic with egg breads such as brioche or challah. Choose a whole, unsliced loaf so you can tear it into big chunks. Sometimes I check the day-old bakery section just so I can make this.
  • Bourbon: Any type of American whiskey or bourbon works here. If you like the taste of it in a glass, it will be delicious in the pudding. Brandy, cognac, or dark rum make fine substitutions. Or skip it! See my tips below.
  • Golden raisins: If you can only find regular raisins, that’s fine, too. Feel free to use dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or skip the fruit altogether.
  • Egg yolks: Yes, 8 whole egg yolks! Add the leftover whites into a batch of Egg Muffins, or freeze them (don’t forget to label and date!) for a future Lemon Meringue Pie or Schaum Torte.
  • Evaporated milk: In case you forgot to grab a can at the store, just switch out an equal amount of half-and half.

Step-by Step Instructions:

  1. Grease a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick baking spray or butter. To toast the bread, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the bread pieces out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 12 minutes. After you remove the toasted chunks, turn the oven down to 300 degrees.
    Ripped chunks of bread toasted on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
  2. Add the raisins and 1/2 cup of the bourbon to a small saucepan and bring the liquid to a simmer over low heat, just enough to let the raisins soak up the bourbon and get plump, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain out the raisins and set them aside, reserving the liquid.
  3. Pour the liquid to a large bowl, along with the heavy cream, milk, egg yolks, the rest of the bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. Whisk it all together until blended. Next, add the toasted bread to the custard and gently toss until all the pieces are coated in the egg mixture. Let the bread sit for 30 minutes to let the custard really soak in, but give the bread a gentle toss every few minutes.
    Chunks of bread soaking in a bread pudding sauce.
  4. To assemble the bread pudding, arrange half of the wet bread in the bottom of the baking dish. Then scatter half of the raisins over the top. Cover with the remaining bread, along with any renewing custard, then scatter the rest of the raisins over the top. Cover the top of the baking dish with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.
    Uncooked bread pudding in a rectangle baking pan.
  5. While the bread pudding is baking, make the cinnamon and sugar streusel. Mix together the butter, the rest of the cinnamon, and the granulated sugar together in a small bowl using a fork or your fingertips, until the mixture forms pea-sized clumps. After the 45 minutes in the oven is up, peel the foil off the pudding and sprinkle the streusel over the top. Rotate the baking dish inside the oven and bake the bread pudding for another 20 to 25 minutes, just until the custard is set.
    Bread pudding in a rectangle baking pan.
  6. To brown the top of the pudding, turn the oven back up to 450 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes, until the top of the bread is golden and starting to crisp up. (If you’re worried about over-baking, take the pudding out of the oven as it’s coming up to temperature, then pop it back in once it hits 450.)
  7. Then take your gorgeous masterpiece out of the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving. To make the easy caramel sauce, melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan until boiling. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the evaporated milk, salt, and vanilla. Spoon over the bread pudding freely, and with abandon!
    Caramel sauce being poured onto baked bread pudding.

Recipe tips:

  • Dry bread is essential! Don’t skip the toasting step, even if you cube the bread a day or two before. Stale bread still has water in it, so drying out the bread in the oven lets the custard work its magic.
  • Non-alcoholic version. You don’t have to make bread pudding with any alcohol, if you don’t want to. Make it kid-friendly and cook the raisins in water, then bump up the milk to match the quantity of bourbon the recipe calls for.
  • Make the caramel sauce ahead: The caramel sauce can be made up to 2 days before you need it, refrigerated and gently warmed on the stove.
  • Assemble the bread pudding ahead: Cover it with foil, and store it in the refrigerator unbaked, up to a day before you need it.
  • Bake and reheat the bread pudding: Bake according to the recipe instructions, cool completely, cover with foil, and refrigerate. To re-heat, bake covered at 350 degrees until hot in the center.
  • Freezing. Bake the bread pudding, let cool completely, cover with foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before freezing. Make sure the pan is wrapped tightly with foil, and it should keep for up to 3 months. To re-heat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then bake, covered, at 350 degrees until warm throughout.

A serving of bread pudding on a white plate, a side bowl of caramel sauce, and a pan of baked bread pudding.

Delicious Variations:

  • Mix up the bread. Sourdough, challah, egg bread, or brioche.
  • Add chocolate chips, pecans, or toasted walnuts to the bread pudding.
  • Love chocolate and orange? Try a combination of cointreau, orange zest, and chocolate chips.
  • Grate a raw apple or two and add it to the bread layers to bake down into the custard.
  • Slice ripe bananas to mix into the bread and custard.
  • Serve an easy chocolate sauce instead of caramel.

More favorite desserts:

Did you enjoy this recipe? Leave a comment and rating below!

Bread pudding with caramel sauce on a white plate.

Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Put your leftover bread to work with this dreamy Bread Pudding drizzled with quick and luscious caramel sauce. It's perfect for weekends and holidays with your loved ones.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 489kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For the Bread Pudding:

  • 1 (1-pound) baguette torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup golden raisins (5 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup bourbon divided
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

To make the Bread Pudding:

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • On a rimmed baking sheet, spread bread pieces out in a single layer. Toast until crisped and browned, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add raisins and 1/2 cup of bourbon and bring to a simmer (do not boil). Simmer until raisins have softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the raisins, reserving the liquid.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the reserved raisin liquid, remaining 1/4 cup bourbon, heavy cream, milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the toasted bread and toss until evenly coated. Let the mixture sit, tossing occasionally until the bread begins to absorb the custard and is softened, about 30 minutes.
  • Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with half of the reserved raisins. Pour the remaining bread mixture into the pan, sprinkle with the remaining raisins and cover with foil. Bake covered for 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and granulated sugar. Using your fingers, work the butter into the sugar mixture until the size of small peas.
  • Remove foil from the bread pudding and sprinkle with the cinnamon-butter mixture. Rotate the dish and continue to bake, uncovered, until the custard is just set, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees and bake until the top is crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Let the bread pudding cool for 30 minutes.

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt brown sugar and butter together. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  • Whisk in evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt. Pour over bread pudding and serve.

Notes

  1. Dry bread is essential! Don't skip the toasting step, even if you cube the bread a day or two before. Stale bread still has water in it, so drying out the bread in the oven lets the custard work its magic.
  2. Non-alcoholic version. You don't have to make bread pudding with any alcohol, if you don't want to. Make it kid-friendly and cook the raisins in water, then bump up the milk to match the quantity of bourbon the recipe calls for.
  3. Make the caramel sauce ahead: The caramel sauce can be made up to 2 days before you need it, refrigerated and gently warmed on the stove.
  4. Assemble the bread pudding ahead: Cover it with foil, and store it in the refrigerator unbaked, up to a day before you need it.
  5. Bake and reheat the bread pudding: Bake according to the recipe instructions, cool completely, cover with foil, and refrigerate. To re-heat, bake covered at 350 degrees until hot in the center.
  6. Freezing. Bake the bread pudding, let cool completely, cover with foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before freezing. Make sure the pan is wrapped tightly with foil, and it should keep for up to 3 months. To re-heat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then bake, covered, at 350 degrees until warm throughout.

Nutrition

Calories: 489kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 1264IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Julia

    Made this tonight. WOW is it so good!!!5 stars

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