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This Classic Bread Pudding Recipe is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth! The sweet and creamy dessert takes stale bread and turns it into a decadent, comforting treat.
Cozy Homemade Bread Pudding
The warm flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon soak into pieces of leftover bread to make this delicious homemade dessert, all covered in a lovely vanilla sauce. The flavor of the pudding is totally addicting. For someone with a sweet tooth, the sauce is definitely necessary too. It adds even more great flavor and moisture to the dish!
I tested this bread pudding quite a bit to make sure it was the best! I played around with the amount of milk and eggs, in particular. I found that it was far better without too much milk or eggs. Too much milk that didn’t soak into the bread ended up leaving a watery layer in the final pudding that looked kind of separated. Too many eggs and it tasted more like breakfast and very eggy.
Rest assured, the final recipe turned out perfect. I daresay this is the best bread pudding recipe out there and it tastes just like the one Grandma used to make! Nothing beats a classic dessert done right.
What Is Bread Pudding?
By definition, bread pudding might not seem like it’s for everyone – stale bread soaked in a milk and egg mixture doesn’t exactly sound like the most exciting treat. And at first glance, it seems a lot like a french toast casserole. But I promise you will be obsessed! It’s actually quite different than a french toast casserole. It’s lighter and fluffier and more dessert-like. It’s so moist, soft and creamy, and the light flavors will make every sweet tooth swoon.
I love the simple, universal ingredient list for this recipe. It’s such a satisfying dessert, and you can make it on a whim with all ingredients accounted for!
For the Bread Pudding
- Day-Old Bread: You’ll need 6 cups of cubed, stale bread. You can use any kind you have on hand – french, challah, brioche, regular sliced, etc.
- Milk: I prefer whole milk, but you could use 2% as well. Milk is such a big part of this recipe, it’s best to go with high fat to get the best result.
- Vanilla Extract: Plenty of vanilla extract adds incredible flavor so that your pudding doesn’t just taste like milk and eggs.
- Ground Cinnamon: This warm spice is a must!
- Ground Nutmeg: The nutmeg is also a must. It adds a subtle flavor that really elevates the bread pudding and gives it something extra.
For the Vanilla Sauce
- Butter: Half a cup (1 stick).
- Heavy Whipping Cream: For that lovely creaminess.
- Vanilla Extract
What Kind of Bread to Use
I tested this recipe with several different breads. I found that fresh bakery breads that had gotten stale were much fluffier in the end than a regular sliced loaf of bread. I much preferred the fluffy texture, so that would be my recommended bread.
However, bread pudding is great for using up stale bread, and just about any bread will work! Feel free to use whatever kind is available.
How to Make Bread Pudding
For such a luxurious dessert, bread pudding is seriously simple to prepare. Just soak your bread and leave the rest to your oven! The sauce that goes on top is made in under 5 minutes, too.
- Grease Pan: Grease an 8×8-inch casserole dish and set aside.
- Assemble Bread in Pan: Cut the bread into 1-inch chunks and spread them evenly in the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Add Milk & Egg Mixture: In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread, getting all the bread wet from the mixture.
- Let Soak: Let the bread sit for 20-25 minutes to soak up the milk and egg mixture.
- Bake: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Once preheated, bake for 50-55 minutes and remove from the oven when done.
- Make Vanilla Sauce: While the bread pudding cooks, make the vanilla sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat, then add the sugar, cream and vanilla extract. Slowly cook over low heat while stirring until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Drizzle Over Pudding & Serve: Remove the sauce from the heat and drizzle it over the warm bread pudding.
How to Tell When Your Pudding is Done Cooking
When bread pudding is done baking, it should be jiggly, but set. The center should rise fully, so if it hasn’t yet, it probably needs a little more bake time. Everyone’s oven is different, so keep an eye on the pudding and adjust accordingly.
Variation and Mix-In Ideas
There are so many yummy things you can mix into your bread pudding. Want some ideas? Here are some of my favorite ways to put a spin on this classic recipe.
- Add Dried Fruit: Raisins, craisins or golden raisins make a great addition. You could even add other dried fruits like like pineapple or cherries.
- Chocolate Bread Pudding: I always find a way to sneak chocolate into my desserts! And this one is no exception. Try adding chocolate chips to your pudding and topping it with Homemade Chocolate Sauce.
- Add Nuts: To give this creamy bread pudding a satisfying crunch, add in some toasted walnuts or pecans.
- Boozy Bread Pudding: Adding a few tablespoons of rum or bourbon to your pudding is a great way to amp up the flavor!
Tips for Success
If you’ve never made bread pudding before, that’s okay. These tips will help your first batch come out perfect!
- Let the Bread Fully Soak: You need to have the right balance of bread to liquid, and the bread should be stale. If the bread doesn’t soak up all the liquid, you end up with that strange separated layer. When you first add the liquid to the pan, your bread will be afloat. After sitting and soaking, it should be very moist but no longer floating.
- What if I Only Have Fresh Bread? If your bread isn’t stale, spread it evenly on a baking sheet and put it in a 200°F oven for 15 minutes. You want to be sure that it’s stale so it really soaks up the milk and egg mixture.
- Cook Sauce on Low Heat: You don’t want the burner to be too hot when you’re cooking the vanilla sauce; keep it at low heat the whole time.
- For a Crispy Top: If you want your bread pudding to be crisp on top, just bake it for an extra 2-4 minutes with the oven turned up to 400°F and the pan moved up to the top rack.
This flexible dessert can be served in any number of delicious ways. These simple ideas will make it feel extra special!
- Top with Whipped Cream: A dollop of Homemade Whipped Cream adds the perfect finishing touch to bread pudding.
- Serve with Another Sauce: You don’t have to make the vanilla sauce for this dessert if you don’t want to. It tastes amazing with Salted Caramel Sauce too!
- Top with Ice Cream: A warm and creamy treat like bread pudding calls for a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream to go with it. Yum!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
I recommend eating a serving of this bread pudding while it’s fresh, but the leftovers are also delicious. Store them covered in the fridge. Refrigerated bread pudding will keep for up to 5 days.
To reheat, place individual portions in the microwave for 45 seconds, repeating and adjusting the time accordingly until the pudding is warmed through. The sauce can be reheated alongside the pudding and then drizzled on top.
Can I Freeze Bread Pudding?
Bread pudding is not the ideal dessert for freezing, but it can be done successfully if stored properly! If you want to keep it in the freezer, tightly wrap individual portions in plastic wrap. Frozen bread pudding will last for up to 2 months and should be thawed in the fridge before it’s reheated.Print
Satisfy your sweet tooth using basic kitchen ingredients with this Classic Bread Pudding Recipe! This sweet and creamy dessert takes stale bread and turns it into a decadent, comforting treat.
For the Bread Pudding
- 6 cups cubed stale bread (french, challah, brioche, regular sliced)
- 2 cups milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (207g) sugar
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
For the Vanilla Sauce
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Grease an 8×8-inch casserole dish and set aside.
- Cut bread into 1-inch chunks and spread evenly in the bottom of the casserole dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread, getting all the bread wet from the mixture.
- Let the bread sit for 20-25 minutes to soak up the milk and egg mixture.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Bake for 50-55 minutes. It should be jiggly, but set. The center should rise fully, so if it hasn’t yet, it might need a little more bake time. Remove from oven when done.
- While the bread pudding cooks, make the vanilla sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat, then add the sugar, cream and vanilla extract.
- Slowly cook over low heat while stirring until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and serve warm over the bread pudding.
To make this in a 9×13 pan, use one and a half recipes worth.
Keywords: easy bread pudding, bread pudding sauce, how to make bread pudding, vanilla sauce, old fashioned bread pudding, easy dessert idea, classic dessert
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