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    The Best Bread Pudding Recipe

    Published December 19, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    Try my family’s favorite bread pudding recipe with croissants, vanilla bean custard, and dried cherries with Italian Zabaglione sauce. You will never want to eat another bread pudding recipe after you try this one.

    With the richness of flavors and textures, this is one of my all-time favorite desserts. If you are wanting to try out some more delicious dessert recipes, you must try my Ricotta Cheesecake or French Silk Pie

    bread pudding with whipped cream

    Bread Pudding

    Bread pudding is an easy-baked dessert consisting of cubed dried-out bread that is saturated in a custard with milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, spices, and sometimes dried fruit or nuts. This is a centuries-old dessert stemming back to Europe during the 11th century. It’s a great dessert to make if you have an abundance of leftover bread. Bonus if the bread is dried out, like when making breadcrumbs.  

    There are many variations to this recipe, and it indeed will be different depending on who is making it. There was a time I was not allowed to go to my aunt and uncles on Christmas Eve without bringing this, it’s that good.

    Ingredients

    • Bread – Almost any bread can be used. However, I used croissants, and they will make a more buttery, delicious bread pudding. Ask your local grocery store or bakery if they have 1- or 2-day-old croissants. They should be cheaper.
    • Vanilla – Beans are best to use, but you can substitute 1 bean for 1 tablespoon of extract.
    • Milk – Heavy cream will make this dessert very rich. You can substitute with ½ and ½.
    • Eggs – You can use cold or room-temperature large eggs.
    • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is used to sweeten the custard.
    • Dried Fruit – I prefer dried cherries in this recipe. You can use regular or golden raisins as well.
    • Toppings – Whipped cream is a must, and any other sauce you’d like, such as zabaglione.

    How to Make Bread Pudding

    Cut croissants into 1-inch squares and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crunchy.

    cut up croissants

    In the meantime, cut the vanilla bean in half longways.

    slicing a vanilla bean

    Add it to 6 cups of heavy cream in a large pot and scald the mixture on medium-low heat. You’ll know it’s scalded when you tilt the pot and see several bubbles start to form on the bottom of the pot.

    scaldining cream

    Once scalded, add to a mixing bowl with 15 egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar and mix well.

    temerping eggs

    Be sure to scrape all the goodness out of the center of the vanilla bean and add it to the mixture.

    scraping a vanilla bean

    Once the croissants are browned, place them in a large casserole dish.

    adding crust croissants to a casserole dish

    Sprinkle the dried cherries on top.

    dried cherries and cooked croissants

    Next, pour in the vanilla bean custard and fold it together with a rubber spatula until combined.

    adding batter to croissants

    Cover it with foil and bake it in the oven at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until the custard is firm.

    covering a bread pudding with foil

    Let it cool slightly before serving it with homemade whipped cream and zabaglione.

    baked bread pudding

    Bread Pudding Sauce

    There are a variety of sauces you can pour over bread pudding, including caramel sauce, a vanilla custard like in my Apple Irish Cake, or my personal favorite, zabaglione.

    Zabaglione is a light Italian dessert consisting of whisking together egg yolks, wine, and sugar over a double boiler until it becomes thick. It is classically made right before serving and can be eaten by itself or over cake, fruit, pastries, or ice cream. About 10 minutes before the bread pudding is finished, start making the zabaglione.

    In a metal, bowl whisks together 4 egg yolks and a 1/2 cup.

    whisking eggs and sugar

    Transfer it to a double boiler on high heat and add in the champagne while continuing to whisk.

    pouring champagne into a doubler boiler

    Beat vigorously until thick and foamy. It takes about 6-8 minutes, which is perfect because when this is done, the bread pudding will be finished as well.

    whipped zabaglione in a double boiler

    Pour zabaglione over the bread pudding before serving.

    pouring zabaglione on bread pudding

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: This is meant to be served as soon as it is done baking.

    How to Store: You can cover it and store it for 3 to 4 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of bread pudding to a baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake it in the oven at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes or until hot. Serve with whipped cream and sauce.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • If you do not want to use all heavy cream in the custard, you can substitute half of it with whole milk.
    • This can also be served with ice cream.

    More Dessert Recipes

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    The Best Bread Pudding Recipe

    5 from 8 votes
    Try my family’s favorite bread pudding recipe with croissants, vanilla bean custard, and dried cherries with Italian Zabaglione sauce.
    Servings: 16
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

    Ingredients 

    For the Bread Pudding:

    • 8 large croissants cut up into 1” squares
    • 2 vanilla beans cut in half longways
    • 6 cups of heavy cream
    • 15 egg yolks
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 ½ cups dried cherries
    • ½ whipped cream recipe

    For the Zabaglione:

    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup of dry champagne

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 350·.
    • Cut up croissants into 1-inch squares and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crunchy.
    • In the meantime, cut the vanilla bean in half longways.
    • Add it to 6 cups of heavy cream in a large pot and scald the mixture on medium-low heat. You’ll know it’s scalded when you tilt the pot and see several bubbles forming on the pot's bottom.
    • Once scalded, add to a mixing bowl with 15 egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar and mix well.
    • Be sure to scrape all the goodness out of the center of the vanilla bean and add it to the mixture.
    • Once the croissants are browned, place them in a large casserole dish. Sprinkle the dried cherries on top.
    • Next, pour in the vanilla bean custard and fold it together with a rubber spatula until combined.
    • Cover it with foil and bake it in the oven at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until the custard is firm.
    • About 10 minutes before the bread pudding is finished, start making the zabaglione.
    • In a metal bowl, whisk together 4 egg yolks and a 1/2 cup.
    • Transfer it to a double boiler on high heat and add in the champagne while continuing to whisk.
    • Beat vigorously until thick and foamy. Takes about 6-8 minutes which is perfect because when this is done, the bread pudding will be finished as well.
    • Pour zabaglione over the bread pudding before serving.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: This is meant to be served as soon as it is done baking.
    How to Store: You can cover it and store it for 3 to 4 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of bread pudding to a baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake it in the oven at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes or until hot. Serve with whipped cream and sauce.
    If you do not want to use all heavy cream in the custard, you can substitute half of it with whole milk.
    This can also be served with ice cream.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 737kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 9gFat: 56gSaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 414mgSodium: 192mgPotassium: 159mgFiber: 2gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 2673IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 127mgIron: 1mg
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: French