Serves a Crowd

Thomas Keller's Leek Bread Pudding

October 29, 2015
11 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 12 (as a side)
Author Notes

Here’s how to do right by stuffing: Remove stock, replace with cream. Add plenty of cheese. We’ve been thanking Thomas Keller for this recipe for years. Join us? Adapted slightly from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home (Artisan, 2009). —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch thick sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 cups 1-inch cubed crustless brioche or Pullman loaf
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded Comte or Emmenthaler cheese
  1. Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat, drain excess water from leeks, and add to pan. Season with salt, and sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low. (They'll release liquid as they cook.) Stir in butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft, about 30 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. While leeks are cooking, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 20 minutes, turning pan about halfway through. Transfer to a large bowl, leaving the oven on.
  3. Add leeks, chives, and thyme to the bowl of bread; toss well. In another large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then whisk in milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup shredded cheese in bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Spread 1/2 of bread mixture in pan, and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Spread remaining bread mixture in pan, and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough milk mixture to cover bread, and gently press on bread so milk soaks in. Let rest 15 minutes.
  5. Add remaining milk mixture, letting some bread cubes protrude. Sprinkle with salt and remaining cheese. Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sara DePasquale
    Sara DePasquale
  • peeply
  • Tori Pintar
    Tori Pintar
  • karin.anderson.52
  • Margie

25 Reviews

Sara D. November 26, 2021
I cut this down by 2/3 for an intimate gathering. I still used the same amount of herbs and leeks as if for a full batch & that seemed about right. This recipe was fine but I prefer my traditional stuffing recipe. Always fun to try something new though!
Angela December 26, 2020
Bland, too soft, and not enough cheese. Most of the reviews double the spices and leeks - they’re right.
peeply November 25, 2018
An absolute hit every time. I double the herbs and add nutmeg, ginger and allspice to the cream for more soaked in flavor. Also double the leeks and add sautéed portobello mushrooms and ground turkey or sausage. Addictive!
Tori P. November 23, 2018
This was so delicious and despite the heavy ingredients it was a fluffy bread pudding for Thanksgiving. I doubled the leeks and added some fresh cranberries to the leeks at the end of cooking. I doubled the chives and added some lemon zest. I used 1 cup swiss cheese and 1/2 cup beechers flagship. I think you could add more cheese but that sort of changes the richness of it. I liked that the cheese was more of a flavor enhancer as opposed to a dominant fIavor. I only had to bake it about 1 hr 15 min.
karin.anderson.52 April 2, 2018
I made this recipe, realizing right away that the amounts of leek, chives, and thyme could not be sufficient for the amount of bread - I doubled them. And tripled the cheese. Also, added a bit of leftover prosciutto. The result was very tasty, and I will make it again. But 1 1/2 hours baking time is way too long, fortunately I checked after 45 minutes, and the bread pudding was nicely browned, crisp and done.
susan February 17, 2018
I just added milk mixture and it doesn't come close to "covering bread." Bread in pan is ~3" high and milk only came up to about 1/2 that. Did anyone else find this? I'm tossing it to make sure all bread gets egg mix in it, but it's definitely not swimming like directions indicate it should.
Renée R. November 22, 2016
I just finished making this and it only took 42 minutes to bake. It was firm and nicely browned. I've now done some investigating and there are many sites that give the baking time as 1 1/2 hours, but there are others that give it 35 to 45 minutes. I can't imagine baking this for the longer length of time. The custard would surely break, right? It is gorgeous and absolutely delicious.
Suzanne B. November 21, 2016
Can this be made with cornbread? I have two gluten free guests - trying to decide what bread to use.
Tori P. November 23, 2018
I definitely think it could. I bet you'll get a denser product because cornflour often yields a denser bread but I bet it would still be delicious.
violetnp November 21, 2016
Can you omit the cheese and have it turn out well?
Randi U. November 11, 2016
have made this with good gluten free bread for the last two years and everyone loves it!
Betty G. September 4, 2016
My daughter made this for our Thanksgiving dinner last year. It was wonderful! I'd like to make it for a dinner party. Unfortunately, my husband has an allergy to anything onion related. I thought about using mushrooms instead but I'm afraid it will tur the dish grey. What could I use instead of leeks?
erin November 2, 2016
I think celery, cooked slowly in butter just like the leeks above, would work nicely here as an onion replacement. Or even fennel, if you're a fan. I'd include mushrooms, regardless - they'll be so good with the thyme and cream, and if you sauté them alongside the celery they shouldn't release much color into the final dish (even if they did the taste would be worth it).
Margie November 28, 2015
Totally wonderful addition to Thanksgiving dinner. Makes a LOT, so next time will do half..but other than that, no changes at all. Cheesy deliciousness!
Erika E. November 25, 2015
I plan to make early Thursday morning, for a dinner party on Friday. Wondering about undercooking it a bit and finishing/reheating. Thoughts?
hmgbrd7 November 23, 2015
2 questions--think a crusty bread would work here (i.e. a baguette or whole grain batard)? Would this freeze well? Thanks!
piccantedolce November 22, 2015
awesome! Thanks for this info. I'm thinking I'll test it out for the Thanksgiving dinner I'm throwing for my friends here in Toronto.
Heather P. November 7, 2015
This has been my vegetarian stuffing for three years now. It's so delicious (and even better the next day, in my opinion).
Rita C. November 20, 2015
Thanks for the tip, Heather. SO I'm assuming this can be made ahead and reheated on day of?
Heather P. November 21, 2015
Absolutely! I always make this on Wednesday and reheat it in the oven on Thursday while the turkey is resting/being carved.
Rita C. November 26, 2015
Thank you! Making this tonight :)
Lisa H. November 16, 2017
How long and at what temp for reheating?
Rita C. November 16, 2017
I don't exactly remember know, but guessing 350 for 30mins?
Rita C. November 16, 2017
know = now :)
Lisa H. November 16, 2017
Thank you!