Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

This bread pudding with bourbon sauce recipe is decadence at its best! Moist, dense yet light, kissed with classic spice flavor. The sauce makes it over-the-top indulgent!

A slice of bread pudding on a white plate drizzled with bourbon sauce.

Why You’ll Love This

This easy bread pudding recipe with bourbon sauce will make quite a huge impression on your holiday guests! They will request you make it every year.

Family members have repeatedly asked me to make a bread pudding worth posting for you and them alike. There are a million recipes out there, and I’ve combed and researched for quite a while to find what I thought would be the perfect one for everyone.

I ended up going with a basic base and adding my own touch to the pudding and the bourbon sauce. OMG, you guys, this will be your go-to recipe for any occasion, I promise.

The sauce…dare I say is addictive! I could just drink this stuff, don’t judge.

Are you looking for more fun desserts to serve during the holidays try our easy pumpkin cheesecake, Gramercy Tavern gingerbread, or southern sweet potato pie.

Slice of bread pudding drizzled in bourbon sauce on a white plate.

What is Bread Pudding?

A traditional bread pudding is made with cubed bread tossed in a simple custard (egg/milk mixture) and baked until golden. Easy to assemble with very simple ingredients. There are definitely other types of bread pudding, but there really is nothing like the classic version.

Why do I need to use stale bread for bread pudding?

What do you do with stale bread? Make bread pudding, of course!

Since the bread is the base of this recipe, it’s important to use a good quality one.

You want bread that will stand up well (so your dish doesn’t go mushy and soggy) and has excellent flavor and texture on its own, so it actually adds to the flavor of the dessert.  Good quality ingredients are key to a great bread pudding.

My sister brought us a New Orleans-style french bread, and I wasn’t using it immediately, so I popped it into the freezer. Well, it did not hold up well through the freezing, so I used it in this recipe. It was stale enough to soak up the pudding base perfectly.

Key Ingredients

  • French bread – Day old, you want the bread stale, as noted above. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • Custard base – Eggs, heavy cream, and whole milk.
  • Flavorings – Pure vanilla extract, freshly grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt.

How to Make this Bread Pudding Recipe with Bourbon Sauce

Cube the day-old bread into about 1-inch pieces and place in a very large mixing bowl. Leave them out for a day, especially if your bread is fresh.

Next, whisk the eggs to combine. Add the milk, sugar, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt and whisk to combine again.

Egg mixture in a glass mixing bowl.
Egg mixture poured over bread cubes.

Pour the custard mixture over the bread cubes and stir to coat evenly.

Pour the bread pudding mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. This is where you can press down to make a more uniform compressed bread pudding, or you can leave it like it is, and you will have crusty bread edges on top after baking.

It’s a personal preference. We like ours more compressed and soft.

Bread pudding mixture in a glass baking pan ready to sit overnight.
Before refrigerating.
The bread pudding mixture after sitting the refrigerator overnight.
After soaking overnight.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours up to overnight. I like to leave it overnight, which makes it a great make-ahead dessert.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the pudding uncovered for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Serve warm. Upon cooling, the pudding will fall a little.

Don’t Sweat The Recipe is supported by its readers. We may earn a commission if you purchase through a link on our site. Learn more.

Bourbon Sauce Ingredients

Unsalted butter, heavy cream, orange peel, dark brown sugar, good quality bourbon, and kosher salt.

How to Make Bourbon Sauce

Bourbon sauce in sauce pan.

Again a good quality bourbon makes this sauce SHINE! Don’t go cheap bottom shelf with the bourbon. We use Four Roses Small Batch, yum!

While the pudding cools slightly, make the bourbon sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, bourbon, three long slices of orange peel (without the pith), and a pinch of salt.

Simmer until thickened, whisking often. It takes about 3-5 minutes.

Slice of bread pudding with bourbon sauce poured over the top on a white plate with extra bourbon sauce in a serving pitcher.

Sit back and listen to the ohs and ahs of everyone devouring this stunning dessert!

You can certainly add dried fruits or even chocolate chips, but we recommend trying it without first.

Slice of bread pudding with bourbon sauce poured over the top on a white plate.

Tips

  • If your bread is fresh, cut it into 1-inch cubes, spread it out into an even layer on a large baking sheet, and dry it in a 300-degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Be sure to gently warm any leftover bourbon sauce before serving. It might crystalize a little in the refrigerator.

Variations

  • You can also use Italian bread, brioche, challah, croissants, cinnamon raisin bread, and even our panettone recipe.
  • Feel free to toss in some about 1 cup of raisins or other dried fruit.
  • Try adding about 1 cup of chocolate chips.
  • Add chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • You can serve an alcohol-free version by topping the bread pudding with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, or maple syrup.

FAQ

Can this be made ahead?

Yes, doing so yields more flavor in the bread pudding! Make the bread pudding as instructed up to the soaking overnight. Cover the unbaked bread pudding tightly and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.

Can I use regular sliced bread?

Although I have never used sliced bread, you can certainly try it. This bread pudding recipe requires thick cubed bread. I think you would need a lot more regular sliced bread.

How to know when the bread pudding is done?

You know bread pudding is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Or you can use an instant-read thermometer; it should read 160 degrees F.

Can I use another whiskey to make this bread pudding?

Yes, feel free to use whatever kind of whiskey you desire. You can use any other brown or amber-colored, grain-based alcohol. Brandy and rum are your best bet. But the flavor will differ. Clear alcohols do work but deliver a lot less flavor than dark alcohols.

Storing and Reheating

Let the bread pudding cool completely, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
It also reheats beautifully. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and reheat for 20-30 minutes or until heated through(depending on the size and if it came straight out of the fridge). Or you can reheat individual servings in the microwave for about 1 minute.

How to Freeze Bread Pudding

Wrap the completely cooled pudding in the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months.

More Dessert Recipes

A slice of bread pudding on a white plate drizzled with bourbon sauce.

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce Recipe

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce – Moist, dense yet light, kissed with classic spice flavor. This bread pudding is decadence at it’s best! The bourbon sauce makes it over-the-top indulgent! 
4.64 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon, bread, pudding, sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 551kcal
Author: Leigh Harris

Ingredients
 

Bread Pudding

  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound loaf of day-old French bread, cut into 1″ cubes (about 8 cups)

Bourbon Sauce

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup good quality bourbon
  • 3 long slices orange peel, without pith
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Instructions

Bread Pudding

  • Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a very large bowl to sit out for 24 hours.
    1 pound loaf of day-old French bread, cut into 1″ cubes
  • Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs to blend. Add the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
    8 large eggs, 3 1/2 cups whole milk, 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir to coat and blend evenly. Pour into the buttered baking dish spread out evenly, and press down for a more uniform slice or leave as is for crusty edges on top. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to overnight. (overnight preferred)
  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Uncover the pudding and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. ( the pudding will fall as it cools)

Bourbon Sauce

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in the brown sugar, cream, bourbon, orange peel, and the pinch of salt. Simmer whisking often until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Cool slightly.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup good quality bourbon, 3 long slices orange peel, without pith, 1 pinch kosher salt

Notes

If your bread is fresh cut it into 1-inch cubes, spread it out into an even layer on a large baking sheet, and dry it in a 300-degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes.
To Make Ahead – Doing so yields more flavor in the bread pudding.! Make the bread pudding as instructed up to the soaking overnight. Cover the unbaked bread pudding tightly and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.
Storing – Let cool completely, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To Reheat -Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and reheat for 20-30 minutes or until heated through (depending on the size and if it came straight out of the fridge).
Freezing – Wrap the completely cooled pudding in the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
 

 

Nutrition

Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 233mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 1042IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 2mg

Share With Your Friends And Family!

6 Comments

  1. I have never made bread pudding. Do you pour the sauce over all of it when warm, or over individual pieces when served? Is the sauce warm when you do either? Thank you

      1. I’m not sure what you are asking. But you will peel long strips of orange peel off the orange (without the white part) and steep them in the sauce to add flavor. This method makes it easy to remove the peel unlike using orange zest. I hope this helps.

    1. Hi, Leo! We use Four Roses Small Batch. We have tried their single barrel and it was way too strong. I hope you enjoy the recipe! Thank you so much for coming by.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *