Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding

September 26, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Pumpkin bread pudding is just the tastiest, holiday-friendly, breakfast, dessert, snack—you name it—with which to celebrate the cooler temps. Bread pudding and I go way back, as once I discovered it is essentially baked french toast under another, slightly sexier, name, I was sold. And interestingly enough pumpkin chocolate bread pudding and I also go way back, as one hundred years ago I developed some recipes for a cookbook, and one of them just happened to be the aforementioned flavored pudding.

My first foray into pumpkin bread pudding involved baking up a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chunk bread and using that as the base for the pudding; and although delicious, this time I wanted to prepare something a little less labor-intensive.

Here, a store-bought loaf of rich, buttery brioche or eggy challah is cubed and tossed with a rich custard of eggs and cream. If your bread is stale, that can maximize its ability to absorb the custard and also hold its shape, but I have used fresh bread with no problems. For the custard, I like a mixture of eggs and yolks, as that is what I used when developing my recipe for the aforementioned cookbook—why mess with a good thing? The addition of the pumpkin in the custard is not only wonderfully flavorful, but also adds a moist texture to the finished pudding.

The chocolate, which can be semisweet or bittersweet, is chopped. Usually I call for chips when writing recipes, or their ease of use (no added chopping step and finding them in the grocery store is a no-brainer) but the different-sized pieces and shards of chopped chocolate is so spectacular dispersed when amongst the spiced, pumpkin soaked bread, that I highly recommend using bar chocolate here. If you have one, I just love baking this up in an oval-shaped baking dish, but square also works. A sprinkling of cinnamon sugar pre-bake is nice for a little sparkle and crunch, but is optional. However, the drizzle of heavy cream or scoop of (melty) vanilla ice cream when served is not. If you’ve been making pumpkin chocolate bread pudding for as long as I have, it goes without saying that #wykyk (aka when you know, you know).
Jessie Sheehan

Test Kitchen Notes

This bread pudding has a burst of pumpkin flavor, a nice balance of spices, and a lovely texture. The chopped dark chocolate adds depth to the dessert. Personally, I prefer the bread to be stale for a better soak and to hold its shape. Here, I tested with fresh brioche and it turned out fine, but would have been better if it was a few days old Definitely serve with ice cream…and lots of it.

What You'll Need
  • Softened butter, for greasing
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound brioche or challah, preferably stale, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish with softened butter.
  2. Whisk the eggs, yolks, cream, milk, and pumpkin purée in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Toss the cubed bread and chocolate in the custard with your hands, or fold with a flexible spatula, until coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. To make the cinnamon sugar, combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl with a fork and sprinkle over the pudding.
  4. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the surface looks dry and slightly puffed, and the pudding has an internal temperature 165°F.
  5. Serve slices warm with a dusting of cinnamon, a drizzle of heavy cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The pudding will keep for 3 days tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Katerina Roth
    Katerina Roth
  • Jessie Sheehan
    Jessie Sheehan
  • CALfromLA
  • andrea s
    andrea s
Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

7 Reviews

Katerina R. November 10, 2023
My family loves this recipe. Letting the custard soak overnight allows the flavors to really meld.
Jessie S. November 10, 2023
Yay! Love reading this. ❤️❤️❤️
CALfromLA October 26, 2022
Does it reheat well if made the day before?
Jessie S. October 26, 2022
I would just not bake it. I’d make the custard and chill. And assemble the day u want to make. Or assemble and refrigerate over night.
CALfromLA October 26, 2022
Thank you for your quick reply!
andrea S. October 23, 2022
This was enjoyed as an ending to a saturday night dinner. It was surprisingly easy to make and family has been eating the leftovers for breakfast too. Teen daughter says it needs a sprinkling of sea salt on the top, but the rest of us thought the flavors were right on as written. The top bread bits did start to get really dark (black really) at the 45 min mark, so keep an eye on it. (I wonder if giving it a stir after resting and before baking would help to ensure the top bits are wet enough to prevent this)
Jessie S. October 23, 2022
So happy it was enjoyed and I like the salt idea! I think to avoid the burnt top, I would cover the pan with tin foil as soon you see the top browning too much? Maybe at like 30 minutes?