Does anyone have a "hands-down" the best recipe for a base bread pudding, or any flavor combination?

My son just loves bread pudding. It is his favorite dessert. He says that his goal is to try every flavor combination imaginable for bread pudding. I myself, enjoy a banana chocolate bread pudding, but really have no idea how to make it. I have tried several different recipes, but all have turned out really "forgettable".

I would love to surprise my son with an unforgettable dish of his favorite dessert (the kind that you hear people say, "no one can make a _______ like my mom!").




Nancy August 30, 2017
I'm finding my old standard recipe for bread pudding just a bit boring or one-note. Think it needs something to liven it up (sour? pepper? not sure).
Read through this thread and got some ideas:
pineapple & ginger (sharp - from betteirene)
bourbon & heavy cream (rich - from five and spice)
maple syrup & saffron (unusual - adventures of a whole wheat pastafarian)
Do y'all have more or other suggestions?
trampledbygeese December 23, 2012
I make a lot of bread pudding, this is by far my most favourite method:

It's very traditional in that it's not very sweet (goes good with custard or heated jam if you want something a bit sweeter).
Passion4Food March 9, 2011
Hello Fellow Foodies,

I wanted to follow up and let everyone know that finally had SUCCESS with making bread pudding thanks to all of the tips that I received from all of you. I used Challah bread, and decided on a blueberry/pineapple bread pudding (mainly because that is what I already had in the house). My son said that it was in the top 3 of bread puddings he has ever tasted (I guess I'm still striving for the #1 spot - lol). He requested an irish cream sauce to go with it.

I made major progress with the bread pudding effort and I owe a major part of it to you. I've even attached a photo of the end result. Thanks again to everyone who replied to my inquiry.
CECILY February 11, 2024
Should try making bread pudding out of 5 day old Croissants. I make it all the time. Good quality croissants or some of your own will be the best choice.
6 eggs
3 cups of heavy cream
1 stick of melted brown butter
2 TBSP Madagascar Vanilla
1 cup of granulated sugar

Arrange 12 croissants in a baking dish
Cover with custard for 30 min & press down.

Let it sit another 15 min
Heat oven 325 def F
Bake for 75 min

Bourbon Salted Caramel Drizzle:
1.5 cup dark brown sugar
1 stick melted quality unsalt butter
1.5 Tsp sea salt
2 TBSP makers mark or your choice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1tsp of same Vanilla (see above)

Mix all except the cream and stir continuously to reduce

Once thick and bubbling slowly temper in heavy cream
boulangere March 3, 2011
Dear Passion, I'm so very sorry! I haven't forgotten you; I've just been swamped at work, but I'll be home tonight finishing off a couple of carrot concoctions for this week's contest, and I'll send along the recipe. Thanks for waiting!
Passion4Food March 3, 2011
Thanks to all the foodies that responded! I am on my way to grocery store now to buy "good bread". I'm planning another attempt at bread pudding this weekend, incorporating all of the tips I've received to date from my "foodies". I'll let you know how it goes.

P.S. Boulangere....I'm still interested in your version that you refer to in your post. Haven't received it yet, but please don't forget me. :-)
Passion4Food March 3, 2011
Thanks to all the foodies that responded! I am on my way to grocery store now to buy "good bread". I'm planning another attempt at bread pudding this weekend, incorporating all of the tips I've received to date from my "foodies". I'll let you know how it goes.

P.S. Boulangere....I'm still interested in your version that you refer to in your post. Haven't received it yet, but please don't forget me. :-)
amysarah March 2, 2011
I like 'fancier' bread puddings, but frankly, to me the quintessential one is the simple, homey type - the kind that's more about improv than an exact recipe. When my kids were growing up, I always froze the dry-ish ends of whatever bread was around - once there was enough, I'd defrost and dry it a bit more in a low oven and bread pudding would happen. So, it was never the same twice - could be made with french bread, challah, leftover croissants, walnut-raisin, cinnamon swirl, etc. - often a combo of a couple of breads. Also, would vary brown/white sugar, milk/cream, different fruits or berries, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, chocolate...whatever was on hand or seemed like a good mix. (Once you have a good custard base down, it's very easy to get creative with it.)

But in terms of an actual recipe - Wolfgang Puck (there's a name you don't see around food sites much these days) has a good chocolate bread pudding I used to make occasionally for dinner parties:
It calls for brioche, but challah works just as well and is far less pricey (and often easier to find.) Also, this site has a nifty 'recalculator' widget that figures ingredient quantities for any # of servings you plug in...very handy.
RavensFeast March 1, 2011
my favorite bread puddings always seem to have brioche as their common denominator. Doesn't hurt to pour a caramel sauce on top.
betteirene March 1, 2011
Some of the challenges in making a nice bread pudding include selecting the right bread and finding a recipe that tells exact amounts. Cross off any recipe that calls for "1 loaf of white bread" without specifying if it's French or Wonder or if it's a 16 oz. or 20 oz. loaf. Once you make enough of them, you'll get a good feel for how many cups of custard will turn a couple of cups of bread into an unforgettable pudding.

Also, try to use the size pan called for in the recipe. If you don't have a pan in that size, adjust the baking time accordingly so that the pudding isn't too soggy in the middle but too dry around the edges.

This is a basic recipe for scalloped pineapple, typically served as a Southern side dish instead of as a dessert. At heart, it's really a bread pudding, and you can doctor it up to your son's heart's content by adding some lime zest and juice, some grated fresh ginger or a sprinkle of cinnamon, or all of the above. Instead of the pineapple and its juice, you could substitute shredded carrots and apple juice, shredded apple and apple juice, mango and papaya with orange juice or sliced bananas, chocolate chips and heavy cream--lightly pack the fruit into a large measuring cup, then add enough liquid to equal 2 cups.

At least 8 hours before you plan to serve the bread pudding, dry the bread cubes. I shave off the chewy part--the 1/4" outer shell--of a loaf of French bread with a serrated knife. Dice the bread into 1" cubes, measure out 4 cups, and spread it onto a baking sheet to dry overnight. Pulse the crust and any remaining bread in a food processor to make bread crumbs for another use.
Cream together 1 cup butter (preferably unsalted), 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 large eggs and 1/4 cup milk, cream, half and half or canned milk. Stir in 2 cups of chopped fresh pineapple with its juice, then the bread cubes. Spoon lightly into a buttered 11"x7" baking dish and bake at 350° for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out barely clean. It will continue to cook for a few minutes after it's removed from the oven, so be careful not to overbake it. If bake in a 13"x9" dish, check for doneness after 45 minutes.
Melusine March 1, 2011
From my German grandmother's family: Tear up enough day-old 'good' bread to fill a 4-quart mixing bowl. ('Good' bread = lean baguettes/Italian/Vienna-style bread.) Pour a gallon of milk over it, and let it soak for an hour or so. Whisk 5 eggs with 1.5 cups sugar. Pour it over the bread/milk. Squish it through with your hands a couple of times to make sure it's mixed well. Pour into a greased bundt pan, or several loaf pans. Bake at 350 for an hour, covering if it gets too brown. It's done when a knife comes out clean. The pudding will have puffed way up, and will sink dramatically when it cools. My heretical additions: Vanilla and fresh nutmeg; brown sugar instead of white. Serve warm, with homemade caramel sauce.
fiveandspice March 1, 2011
My personal favorite is the bread pudding from The New Best Recipes cookbook. Here is a version online:
It's a very basic recipe, flavored with a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon, and bourbon. But, I think the basic quantities and technique would lend itself to adding many other flavors, such as fruits or chocolates or other spices instead.
boulangere March 1, 2011
Yes, but I don't have access to it at the moment. I'll send it to you tonight.
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