For this classic Bread Pudding, challah bread is soaked in a rich custard spiked with spiced rum and vanilla, and baked until golden. It’s a great make-ahead dessert, and wonderful with ice cream!
Bread pudding is proof that some of the most delicious things are also the easiest.
Like Creme Brulee, bread pudding is a dessert that anyone can pull off. Heck, my toddler could probably make it.
Because it’s so easy and so deliciously comforting, it’s a good option to make for many occasions, whether it’s the holidays, or a special weekend dinner.
My little brother is obsessed with bread pudding, and has requested we make it for every holiday and any other excuse that could possibly suffice.
In other words: we’ve tried bread puddings of all kinds. It’s a family favorite and a beloved dish.
I’ve made chocolate bread pudding, fruity bread puddings, and have experimented with various breads and flavorings in the custard.
But this is my favorite version of all for this classic dessert.
It’s a pretty classic rendition, and is flavored with a subtle spiced rum and raisin combination. It has simple ingredients but delivers fantastic results.
What Kind of Bread to Use
I like challah here since it’s easy to find, has a slightly sweet flavor, and a light and fluffy texture. However, you could also use brioche or cinnamon bread.
I do not recommend french bread or anything really crusty. Think soft and buttery type white bread, with a rich crumb.
Step by Step Overview:
Prep the Bread:
For a proper bread pudding, you need to stale the bread first, so the bread can absorb the custard.
For best results, I do this by cutting fresh bread into cubes, then leaving it out overnight, uncovered.
If you’re in a hurry, you can also bake the bread in a 300F oven for about 10 minutes, to dry out the bread. Be careful you don’t brown it. You’re only looking for stale bread where there’s less moisture than usual.
Prepare the Custard:
To make the custard mixture, whisk to combine large eggs, whole milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spiced rum in a large bowl:
Toss the bread into the egg milk mixture, and also add some dried raisins:
Let the Bread Soak:
Let the bread sit in the creamy custard for 15 minutes, to gently absorb the liquid, and toss very gently when redistributing the bread.
Get Ready to Bake:
Pour the bread mixture from the large mixing bowl into a baking dish of your choice, set on a large baking sheet for easy oven transfer:
I’m technically using a 10″ diameter quiche dish (affiliate) because I think it’s pretty, but pretty much any baking vessel can be used.
You can bake in individual ramekins for single-serving portions, or bake it all in an 8×8 dish. Just make sure you keep your eye on it, and bake for less time in the single serving dishes.
Bake the bread pudding in a 350 F oven for just under an hour, until it still glistens in the center, but has crusty, golden brown edges on top.
If at any point the bread is browning too quickly, move the baking tray down a shelf in the oven, or cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Once baking is done, as the dish cools, it will “deflate” slightly and settle down further:
The raisins should now be juicy and plump, and the bread and custard will have combined into a new texture that’s creamy and rich. That’s the perfect bread pudding!
Warm bread pudding is best, so try to serve promptly out of the oven. Room temperature is okay too. I do not recommend serving cold.
It’s great as is, but you can also add a Caramel Sauce, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a vanilla sauce to make it extra special.
Baklava and Peanut Butter Pie are some of my favorite make-ahead desserts for special occasions. Enjoy!
Recipe Tips and FAQ
This keeps best in the fridge for up to 5 days, but it can also be frozen. Store in an airtight container or tightly covered with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
Yes, for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
Because it tends to be watery, I don’t recommend it. It’s better to add something like a raspberry sauce or dried fruit where the flavor is more concentrated.
This is an easy bread pudding recipe to change the ingredients up. I recommend trying it as written at least once, but feel free to experiment with mix-ins and flavors.
Chocolate chips – Change the raisins for semisweet chocolate chips or the chocolate of your choice.
Dried fruit – While raisins are classic, you may use your favorite dried fruit in its place. Try dried cherries or dried blueberries.
Extracts and Zest – You may add other flavor extracts or citrus zests like orange or lemon to the egg mixture. I recommend no more than two teaspoons total.
Maple syrup – Swap the rum for pure maple syrup for a different flavor and kind of sweetness.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Easy Bread Pudding
- 8 cups cubed challah bread* slightly stale
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 3 eggs**
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp dark spiced rum
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the heavy cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and rum. It should be a gorgeous mocha color.
- Add the stale bread cubes and raisins, toss gently, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Toss the bread halfway through so the cubes can evenly soak up the liquid.
- Pour all of the liquid and bread cubes into an 8×8 baking dish***, keeping in mind it will look like too much liquid, but it’s not. It will absorb during baking.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, until it has set and soaked up the liquid. It should be golden on the edges, but still glisten a bit in the center.
- Serve as is, or with ice cream, a dusting of powdered sugar, or chocolate sauce. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in December 2020. Originally published in January 2012.
34 Comments on “Bread Pudding”
I’m thinking about making this recipe for an office potluck. Will the alcohol bake out or can i use a substitute?
Hi Diana, if you google this topic, you’ll see that there’s a lot of discussion about this. The general consensus is that most will bake out, but not all. One site for instance says that at 15 minutes of bake time, 40% of the alcohol will remain. The alcohol remaining continues to go down after that, but it’s impossible to determine how much exactly at the end of baking. This is ultimately going to be your call. There are 2 tbsp of spiced rum for the whole dish, so the amount in my eyes after baking would be negligible, but if someone doesn’t want any traces of alcohol, they should probably avoid it. This has to be your decision, but hope this helps.
This recipe is perfection! I couldn’t love this bread pudding more!
My family enjoyed this! PErfect for holiday mornings!
I’m making this for a Friendsgiving this weekend!
A perfect bread pudding!
This bread pudding is the best!
Such a classic, perfect recipe!
This is a classic recipe. Love it with a drizzle on top, too!
That dark spiced rum in here, beautiful!!
Oooh, I love bread pudding, too, and this one was a hit with my family!
I soak my raisins overnight, and keep my raisin water to use in something else.
Here in Nola we use stale Leidenheimer or Zips French bread. The bread pudding gets baked in bain marie. It is womderdully fluffy. Serve with whiskey sauce, white chocolate sauce or spiked Creme Anglaise.
That sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
Substitute Goldschlagger for the rum, and Tres Leches for the vanilla. We had to rename it, “Oh My Gosh Breadpudding”!
Wow, those substitutions sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing, Julia.
Made this pudding for Xmas party. Everyone loved it. Added roasted walnuts. Yum!
Colleen, that’s awesome! Love the addition of the roasted walnuts.