Bread Pudding

DessertChristmasBourbon

Authentic New Orleans bread pudding with French bread, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, spices, and served with a Bourbon sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This bread pudding recipe is based on one from the famed Bon Ton Cafe in New Orleans. My friend Becca gave us the recipe years ago and now it’s a family favorite, especially around the holidays!

The sauce uses plenty of bourbon (Becca says the Bon Ton’s sauce has even more bourbon in it), but feel free to cut down the amount. We also give directions for making a kid-friendly bourbon-free version of the sauce.

My father always gets a dazed and happy look in his eyes when this bread pudding is mentioned.

How to make bread pudding

Bread Pudding Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Raisin Soaking time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes 8-10 servings

Need a kid-friendly sauce without bourbon? Use 1/2 cup of water mixed with 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and 2 Tbsp of cider or white vinegar in place of the bourbon called for in the sauce recipe.

Get the raisins soaking in bourbon before you start anything with this recipe. You can even soak them a day or two ahead.

The bread you use should be a little dry. If the bread you are using is fresh, after you cube it, spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

Ingredients

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6-7 cups)
  • 1 quart milk
  • 3 eggs (large)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Bourbon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey (less or more to taste)

Method

1 Soak the raisins: In a small bowl, combine the raisins with 1/4 cup bourbon. Cover and soak for 1 to 2 hours. The raisins should soak up most of the bourbon in this time.

2 Preheat oven to 350°F.

3 Soak bread in milk: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place milk in a large mixing bowl and add the bread that has been cut into squares. Press the bread into the milk with your hands until all of the milk is absorbed.

4 Make egg mixture, pour over bread: In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the sugar, vanilla, allspice and cinnamon. Pour over the bread and milk mixture. Add the bourbon soaked raisins (with or without the remaining soaking liquid, according to taste). Stir gently to combine.

5 Butter baking pan, add bread mixture, bake: Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour the bread milk and egg mixture into the baking pan.

Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until the liquid has set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

6 Make the bourbon sauce while the bread pudding is cooking. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat. Add the sugar and egg and whisk to blend well. Slowly cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, then remove from heat. Do not allow the mixture to simmer! (Or the sauce will curdle. By the way, if your sauce curdles, just take it off the heat and blend it smooth in a blender.)

Whisk in bourbon to taste. Whisk again before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Serve the bread pudding with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made.

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Bread Pudding

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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327 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. R.L. daigle

    2 cups of sugar was way too much. One would have been plenty.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Kimbr

    This year will be my third year making it. I love the texture and smell especially when you pour the sauce on. I’ve tweaked it a bit by substituting different liqueurs like brandy and amaretto (switch out vanilla for almond extract ) and added mini chocolate chips at the end of baking but it is by far the best dessert I’ve made.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  3. Deelite100

    It’s delicious! I have a question. Can I assemble ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake? If yes, how long can I leave it in the refrigerator? Thx

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  4. Patricia

    I’ve made this twice and my husband says it’s the best bread pudding he’s ever had. I used half and half both times because I didn’t have milk. It was very rich and creamy and it is better the second (and third) day. Thanks for another great recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Fanceen

    So, I have made this recipe, MANY times before. I like to use the raisin infused whiskey for the sauce, btw. I also found that not everyone enjoys the taste of whiskey, so the original amount for the sauce is too much for them. I just use a bit less. Remember, you can always add more, but can’t take away! Anywho, my QUESTION is, I am going elsewhere for thanksgiving and planning to make this. HOW can I make this ahead of time? Bake day before, cool completely, refrigerate and then reheat (somehow? how?) the next day? Or…. I’m at a loss of how to do this without drying it out TOO much. Or is this one of those that needs to be made and eaten right away? Thanks so much!

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