I Made Ree Drummond’s Lemon Bread Pudding Recipe and Yes, It’s Ridiculously Good

Updated: Feb. 15, 2024

This Pioneer Woman bread pudding recipe adds a lemony twist to the classic dessert—and has a homemade bourbon whipped cream that you'll want to eat by the spoonful!

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Because Ree Drummond’s husband loves lemon meringue pie and custard-y desserts, this Pioneer Woman Lemon Bread Pudding was born. It was a “no-brainer” for Ree to add lemon custard into the classic recipe.

She’s right—it’s a perfect combo! This comfort food perfectly combines a light citrus burst with the satisfying coziness of bread pudding.

The Pioneer Woman’s Bread Pudding

Ree Drummond Lemon Bread Feature Image CopyCathryn Jakicic/Taste of Home, courtesy thepioneerwoman/facebook.com


  • 1 loaf eggy bread, such as challah or brioche
  • Softened butter for greasing the baking dish
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 large eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup of heavy cream, very cold
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon

Tools You’ll Need

Baking the Bread Pudding

First, I cut the bread into 1-in. cubes and spread them out on a baking sheet to dry out overnight. (These are the best sheet pans for the job.) If you’re in a hurry or are answering an urgent bread pudding craving, you can put the cubed bread into a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Remember, you’re shooting for lightly toasted cubes, not browned.

Then all I needed to do was whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Once it was well mixed, I whisked in the sugar until it dissolved.

I greased a 13×9-in. baking dish—Ree suggested butter but I used Pam. (Read more about when to use cooking spray.) Then I spread the cubes into the pan and poured the liquid over the bread. (It’s not in the instructions, but I used a big spatula to squish all the cubes into the liquid. Squish! Squash!)

In the recipe, Ree suggests letting the bread soak up the liquid while the oven preheats to 325°F, but in her show, she confesses to popping it right in an already-heated oven without a soaking period.

I baked the soaked bread for 50-55 minutes until the top was a beautiful, golden-brown color.

The Whipped Cream

While it rested (for at least 15 minutes) I whipped up some bourbon whipping cream. This step, Ree says, takes the dessert “from good to great”—which may be the understatement of the year. Let’s just say, you should make a double batch of the whipped cream and save some for your coffee! And your bowl of berries, your oatmeal and your buttermilk pancakes. Seriously—you’ll want to have this with everything.

You need a cup of very cold heavy cream and 2 tablespoons each of bourbon and sugar. Mix it all at high speed until stiff, about 4 minutes. Heaven!

The Outcome

Overall, the recipe was blissfully simple. The most time-consuming step in this recipe was zesting the lemons, which was quick with the help of a Microplane. I’ll be dreaming about this dessert long after the last piece of Pioneer Woman bread pudding is gone.

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