If you love French toast, you’ll love this sweet and decadent Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce! It is shockingly easy to make, and guaranteed to satisfy your sweet cravings.
What is bread pudding?
If you’ve never had bread pudding, it’s essentially a French toast casserole. It consists of stale bread baked with a mixture of eggs, milk, and sugar.
Do you have stale bread sitting on your kitchen counter? Well, now is it’s time to shine! Bread pudding takes stale bread and turns it into a rich dessert.
When you bake it, it gets a custardy texture, similar to the center of a slice of French toast! What makes this bread pudding truly outstanding is the caramel sauce. It is perfectly sweet and sticky, and makes every bite feel super indulgent.
Ingredients and Equipment Needed
You also don’t need any kind of fancy equipment for this recipe. Just some classic stand-bys:
One reason why I love bread pudding is because it is made of simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen: milk (whole is best), eggs, sugar, cinnamon, butter, vanilla, salt, and cream! The only thing you may need to buy is the bread (more on that below).
The Best Bread for Bread Pudding?
I recommend using a soft, slightly sweet loaf of bread in this recipe. Brioche and challah are the best options for that classic bread pudding look and feel. But, no need to let other breads go to waste. If you have some hamburger buns or hot dog buns that have gone stale – use them! French bread, dinner rolls, Hawaiian Rolls, they’ll all work – once they’ve gotten stale.
The key to this recipe is super stale bread. I leave my bread on the counter with the bag open for two days before using it in this recipe. Fresh bread with too much moisture will result in a mushy bread pudding. Plus, the drier the bread gets, the more it will soak up the sweet batter, and the more flavorful it will get!
If you don’t have stale bread but you want to make your bread pudding right away, try drying your bread out in the oven. Simply cut the loaf of bread into chunks, spread them out on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven at 350℉ for 10 minutes.
You don’t need to be a lifelong baker to make bread pudding. It comes together in a few easy steps. Chop up the bread into bite-sized cubes and put them in your greased baking dish. Then mix up the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. The cinnamon may float on top of the batter at first, but the more you mix, the more it will sink in and combine.
Pour the batter into the bread. Make sure that you move the bowl around as you pour so that it coats all of the bread on top. It might be helpful to pour the batter from the bowl into a measuring cup with a spout, then pour it from the measuring cup into the baking dish. This is completely optional, but it will make things easier and more precise!
Simply stick the bread pudding in the oven and bake it for 40-45 minutes. When it’s done, the bread on top will look a little toasty and the batter will have a custardy texture. If you give the pan a little shake, the custard should jiggle around, but you should not see any liquid in the pan.
The Caramel Sauce!
While the bread pudding is baking, you’re also going to make your caramel sauce. The caramel sauce is really what makes this recipe great. Combine the butter and sugar in a small saucepan and mix over heat until the sugar is melted. If you’re not sure whether the sugar is melted, scoop some of the sauce out of the pan with a spatula. If you see any gritty texture on the spatula, you need to keep going. If it’s a pure liquid, then it’s time to move onto the next step! Pour in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up but don’t be alarmed, this is supposed to happen! Mix until the caramel is finished bubbling and all of the ingredients are evenly combined, then stir in the salt.
Bread pudding is best served warm. I recommend that you slice it up and pour the caramel sauce on each individual slice, rather than pouring the sauce over the whole casserole at once. This will make it easier to save the leftovers.
Make This Recipe Your Own!
Feel free to make this recipe your own by adding mix-ins. I like to fold some raisins or pecans into the soaked bread before baking.
Another way you can elevate this recipe is by adding a dash of bourbon to the caramel sauce. Mix 2 tablespoons in with the butter and sugar when you start making the sauce. The alcohol will cook off and the bourbon will impart an oaky, nutty flavor.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover bread pudding in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes, or in the microwave for 1 minute.
Store the sauce separately in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for 30-second increments until it is warm and melted.