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Bread Pudding with Ice Cream on Top Recipe

How to Make Bread Pudding with Recipes

Nathan Hawkes Nathan Hawkes Mar 28, 2024

This article will tell you everything you need to know to make bread pudding. You will be able to design your own bread pudding recipes. It's almost cutting and pasting to put your own recipes together.

We have included a variety of recipes to use as example, to help with techniques, and to give you ideas for your own desserts. 

  • Boston Cream Pie Bread Pudding
  • Cranberry Vanilla Bread Pudding
  • German Chocolate Bread Pudding
  • Pumpkin Walnut Bread Pudding


 See also this bread pudding recipe.

These are wonderful bread puddings, but you can create your own.



Bread Pudding

We used to eat at an upscale food bar. They had dessert bar that would dazzle your eyes out.  Obviously, you could eat for a month there.

But the strategy was to eat a little of several beautiful desserts and then come back and load up on what you liked most. Often, that was the bread pudding.  That was the downhome, comfort dessert, the most satisfying.

Bread pudding is one of the simplest desserts and one of the most forgiving.  It's really a custard, an egg and milk combination that you cook until the eggs set up. But so is a pumpkin a custard and many other desserts including most cheesecakes.  

What do I need to know to make bread pudding?

You're baking a custard, a mixture of milk and eggs, so custard rules work.  You do not need to bake a bread pudding in a water bath, but these six rules apply:

  1. Your egg to milk ratio should be close to one egg tor every one cup of milk.
  2. Your egg and milk combination should be whipped until well-blended. It should be a uniform color with no streaks of egg white.
  3. For a two egg and two cups of milk pudding, you'll need four cups of dry bread pieces, about six slices. 
  4. The bread pieces need to be dry; wet bread will disrupt the ratio of milk to eggs. If your bread isn't dry, spread the cubes over a baking sheet and dry them in a 250 degree oven.
  5. Soak the bread pieces in the egg mixture for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. When you take the pudding from the oven, let it cool on the counter for an hour. The custard will continue to cook as long as it is hot.

How do I know when my bread pudding is done?

Yes, you have to pay attention to doneness and pans, pudding size/depth, and ovens matter. Testing doneness is both an art and a science.  We'll start with the art:

  1. Put you hand on the pudding and gently press. It should have some firmness. (This takes practice.)
  2. Take the pudding out of the oven and jiggle it. Only the center should jiggle,
  3. Stick a table knife into the pudding one inch from center. The knife should come out clean. (You probably use this method for your pumpkin pie.)
  4. Use a kitchen thermometer.  Test doneness in several places. The temperature should be 170 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.  


Delicious Bread Pudding

A word about breads

Any bread will do. Some will do better than others. 

If it's an everyday bread pudding, I'm going to go with an everyday, homemade what bread--Country Farm White Bread or Buttermilk White Bread. The crusty breads will work. I don't mind sunflower seeds and I love raisins and nuts in my pudding.

If I'm looking for a fancy bread pudding, I'm going to look for fancy breads--Cranberry Nut Bread and Swedish Vanilla Bread. We have bread pudding recipes for Pumpkin Walnut Bread.

 A word about add-ins

Go to town! Any dried fruit will work. Any nuts will work. How creative are you? Chunks of fresh apples will work. Chocolate chips will work--they're going to melt into swirls. 

But remember, it's not just the add-ins that you can get creative with. You can work with toppings--syrups and sauces. And ice cream.

A word about sauces

Most bread puddings call for a syrup or sauce but they are not necessary. But they can certainly enhance your pudding.

You can use any sauce recipe. . And we have an incredible array of pancake syrups.  You could drizzle an apple pancake syrup over a cranberry nut bread pudding. Or a vanilla cream syrup over a chocolate bread pudding.

For more ideas, see our pancake syrup mixes.

Now, for the Recipes 


Bread Pudding with Drizzle on Top

Boston Cream Pie Bread Pudding

This is a delightful bread pudding.  We made it in ramekins but you could also make it in a six-cup baking dish.  In a baking dish, you may need to increase the baking time—just test it with a knife for doneness.

  • 4 cups cubed stale bread (cut into cubes)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp Madagascar Vanilla Extract or equal
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Grease an 8x8 baking dish and add bread cubes to it. Set aside.
  3. Combine milk, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Pour this mixture over the bread cubes, and allow it to soak into the bread for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the center is set and jiggly.
  5. Serve warm with chocolate sauce.
  • ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in heavy cream until smooth.


Bread Pudding with Chocolate Chips on Top

 Cranberry Vanilla Bread Pudding

Cooking times may vary substantially depending on the pan, the amount of water added to the pan, and the temperature of the water.  The pudding will be done when the eggs set.  The knife test is simple and reliable.

We used our little blue spatula to loosen the puddings from the ramekins, turned each pudding into the palm of our hands, and then reinverted them onto serving plates.  It was easy and simple and the presentation is elegant.

This pudding works especially well with Swedish Vanilla Bread.  

Instead of taking the tie to make the vanilla sauce, you can use Lawford's Private Collection Vanilla Cream Syrup.


2 large eggs
2 cups milk
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or rum flavoring
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 slices of white bread cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, maple syrup, flavoring, and salt.  Whisk together well.
  2. Stir in the bread cubes and cranberries.  Let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Turn into six buttered one-cup ramekins.  Set the ramekins in a large baking pan of water.  Pour hot water into baking pan to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350 or until a knife comes out clean.
  4. Let cool in the ramekins.  Once cool, use a soft silicone spatula to loosen the pudding from the ramekins.  Turn the puddings out on individual plates for serving and drizzle with the sauce.


For the sauce

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter in a pan.  Stir in the cornstarch.  While stirring and over medium heat, drizzle in the cream.  Add the granulated sugar and stir until dissolved. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbly.


Bread Pudding with Chocolate Drizzle

German Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Coconut Sauce

  • 4 cups stale white bread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 oz milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a 8x8 baking dish and set aside.
  3. Heat the chocolate chips and 1 cup of milk on the stove over medium-low heat, or in a microwave-safe bowl in short bursts (stirring in between) until the chocolate is melted. Add the cocoa powder, and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rest of the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the chocolate mixture, and stir until combined. Add all the bread cubes, combine, and let the mixture soak into the bread for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with caramel pecan coconut sauce.


Caramel Coconut Sauce:

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans

Heat butter, brown sugar, and milk in a medium saucepan stirring constantly until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla, coconut, and pecans.

Mouthwatering Bread Pudding

This is an outstanding pumpkin bread pudding recipe.  It calls for a dark pumpkin bread in lightly spiced custard with caramel streusel topping and a caramel sauce and topped with caramel whipped cream.

This is a four component recipe-the bread, the custard with the streusel topping, the caramel sauce, and the caramel whipped cream.  Each component is important. Together, they are magnificent.


To make the pudding

4 cups pumpkin walnut bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes and allowed to stale for half a day—about 4 slices.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 large eggs
3 cups whole milk or half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

  1. Stir the granulated sugar and spices together in a large bowl.  Make sure they are well mixed.  Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Gently stir the cubed bread into the liquid and let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the bread and egg mixture into the baking pan. Spoon the topping (recipe follows) over the bread mixture.  Bake for 34 to 38 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
  3. Serve with the caramel sauce (recipe follows).


To make the topping

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup walnut pieces

Cut the butter into the brown sugar and nuts until mixed.


To make the caramel sauce

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 milk or half and half
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan.  Add the milk and butter.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the vanilla and stir.  Let it cool for 10 minutes. Serve over the hot or cold bread pudding.

To make the caramel whipped cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons caramel flavor
2 tablespoons meringue powder (a stabilizer)


Place the ingredients in a large bowl and whip with an electric mixer or with your stand-type mixer until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate leftovers. Whipped cream that has become soft can
be rewhipped.

 Baker’s notes:  This is a fine bread pudding without the sauce.  The sauce is rich so you may prefer to just leave it off.  You may also use Vanilla Cream Syrup. 

More Resources

See "Marvelous Bread Puddings" with a recipe suitable for pumpkin walnut bread.


Bread Pudding with Banana on Top

What tastes better – caramel or vanilla? 

I use caramel flavor more than I use vanilla. I love the warm flavor of caramel. I hardly ever make vanilla whipped cream anymore — caramel whipped cream is incredible. The desserts that we serve in the store — we top those with caramel whipped cream. Why? People love it! If your recipe calls for vanilla, substitute caramel. Most cookie recipes are fabulous when you use caramel flavor instead of vanilla. Caramel frosting is incredible. Caramel complements fruit so well. Cakes and muffins that call for vanilla are delightful with caramel.


Click here to give caramel flavor a try in your recipes.




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