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!
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
You will know it’s done when a knife inserted comes out clean. You can also use an instant-read thermometer. At 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s done.
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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce Recipe
- 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)
- 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
- 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)
- 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
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
Hi Sandra! We pour the sauce over individual servings. Thanks so much for coming by!
Confused about the orange peeling?
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.
What brand of bourbon whiskey do you recommend because I don’t consume alcohol.
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.