Drea’s Bread Pudding

T-minus two days until Fall! There’s no better way to start the season that I can think of besides a huge batch of homemade bread pudding. A recipe crafted from love and the pursuit of all things cozy.

If you’re a sucker for bread pudding but have not been impressed with the recipes you’ve been finding, we are in the same boat. When I think of bread pudding, I think of warm spices and an almost custard like consistency with a crispy crust. Flavor and texture reign supreme in my book.

This all started because I am on a mission to implement some traditions in my own life and marriage. It got me thinking about Christmas morning. What would be better than waking up to warm bread pudding, a hot cup of coffee and a house that smells like Fall?

So I set out to try some of the recipes I found online. Some were too dry, some were too mushy, and some wouldn’t even be tasty if it weren’t for the heap of caramel or chocolate on top.

You’ll know when it’s done when it forms a ‘belly’ and the middle puffs up. The edges will also be golden brown.

Priority #1: The custard. Most of the bread pudding recipes I found were a 1:1 ratio of milk to eggs. While I appreciate that this texture is acceptable for a lot of people, for me it wasn’t. I wanted a more custardy (that should be a word) texture so I upped the ratio to 2:1 and doubled the eggs.

Priority #2: Texture. I resolved this by making sure my bread was really, really dry. Using a combination of breads here also helped bring out the different textures within the custard. When all of the liquid is absorbed, it leaves the top part of the bread a little more exposed so it can crisp up in the oven.

Priority #3: Flavor. I wanted to have a subtle vanilla flavor but also be able to taste the bread as well. I applied the same logic here as the bread and started playing with a combination of liquids to boost the flavor. You’ll notice in my recipe I use 3 different types of liquid: butter, creamer and milk.

Try using an additional pan with some weight on it while the bread soaks. This will help make sure it is absorbed evenly and allow the top to brown.

With all this in place, and about 8 batches of bread pudding behind me, I think I nailed it! Now look, I’m not claiming to have re-invented the bread pudding wheel here, but I did play with ingredients until the result was one of pure joy. All it took was my time, love and a few extra pounds added to my midsection. lol. Which reminds me, I need to make more friends in this neighborhood so I can give more away.

I digress. All I mean to say is that this was a fun experiment and an elegant solution to finding the perfect bread pudding recipe to make every Christmas. Maybe I’ll even end up being known as the ‘cool aunt that makes the bread pudding we look forward to every year.’ Aim high!

And friends, do let me know if you try this recipe and if you liked it. Couldn’t hurt to know those extra lbs paid off πŸ™‚ #noregrets

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bread pudding

Drea’s Bread Pudding

Raise the bar on your bread pudding with this flavor-packed texture bomb of a desert. The top is crispy and I’ve made the inside overtly custardy. With notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, this dish will perfume your kitchen with all things Fall.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 812 1x



8 cups of cubed bread of your choice

3 vanilla pods

3 1/2 cups milk of your choice

1/2 cup vanilla coffee creamer (hazelnut is a good one too)

6 tablespoons of butter

1 cup vanilla sugar *see notes

8 eggs slightly beaten

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

Dash of allspice


The day before: chop the bread into cubes. I chop mine at about 1/2 inch. Put in a bowl, set a towel on top and leave on the counter overnight. Toss it with your fingers every time you go into the kitchen to be sure it all dries out evenly. You can even let it sit for a couple days, no pressure.

Day of: Set out all the ingredients on the counter.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, salt, sugar, milk, coffee creamer and vanilla on medium heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Careful not to burn the milk. Let it cool and set aside. Once cooled, add the spices and taste along the way. Make sure you like it before you pour it into the bread and adjust if needed.

Grease a 13×9 pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Add the bread cubes to the pan.

Combine the saucepan mixture with the beaten eggs and pour over all the bread. You can either use your hands to push down the bread so the custard soaks in or put another dish on top with something heavy in it to weigh it down.

Let sit for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the bread pudding in and bake for 40 minutes. Check to be sure it is done. It should have a risen belly in the middle and when you jiggle it, it should be firm.

Remove, let cool slightly and serve when the belly deflates. Top with spiced whip cream, chocolate sauce, berries or caramel.


Make sure your bread is super dry: Due to the higher ratio of eggs to milk, this recipe is intended for bread that is very dry.

Don’t skip the vanilla sugar: taking the time to perfume the sugar with vanilla bean makes a huge difference in this recipe. It adds the depth of flavor that bread pudding really needs. Recipe: Scrape out the inside of 3 vanilla beans and add it to a whole bag of sugar. Use your hands to massage the vanilla into the sugar and store in an airtight container to bake with. It adds a TON of flavor to any baked dish so this effort pays off in the long run.

Always use fresh spices when you can: adding fresh nutmeg to this recipe does make a difference. I’ve made it both ways but I can tell the difference in the boldness of flavor when using fresh nutmeg vs the tamer flavor of pre-ground nutmeg. Either way, it’s delish. But if you’re looking for a stronger flavor profile I recommend using fresh nutmeg.

The type of bread makes a difference:Β This is the fun part. Peruse your local bakery and look for interesting grains. For this recipe, I found a loaf of white chocolate walnut bread and combined it with brioche. Since brioche is a less dense bread, I would recommend mixing it with something heartier or you will want to reduce the liquid you pour in.

Save the vanilla pods: After they are scraped out, I keep them whole and store it in the sugar container. I just sift it out when I need the sugar. It also perfumes the sugar. Another benefit to doing this is that you can pull out a pod and use it in other creative ways. For example, if you want to make chocolate chip cookies you can gently heat the cooking oil with a vanilla pod and infuse the oil with more flavor for the cookies. Just discard the pod when you’re done. I know they are expensive, but they do pay off.

  • Author: Drea
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Category: Bread Pudding
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: custard bread pudding, homemade bread pudding, fall deserts, stale bread recipe

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