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Best Ever Bread Pudding

The secret to incredible bread pudding with a soft middle and crisp edges starts with leftover dinner rolls. I picked up the rich brown sugar sauce recipe from my friend Kathryn Gartmann. A big drizzle of it takes this dessert over the top and really makes it the best bread pudding ever. —Maria Petrella, Taste of Home Prep Cook
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + standing Bake: 40 min.
  • Makes
    15 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2-1/4 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 20 dinner rolls (1-1/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes (18 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together the first 10 ingredients until blended. Gently stir in bread. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. or 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar; let stand until bread is softened, about 15 minutes. Bake until puffed and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, for sauce, melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar; stir until dissolved. Gradually stir in cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add vanilla, sea salt and baking soda, stirring well. Serve sauce with warm bread pudding.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Make sure the eggs are well beaten into the yolks; this will help the bread absorb them and reduce the likelihood of scrambled egg texture winding up in your custard.
  • Most leftover breads work well in this recipe—if it'll make good French toast, it'll make good bread pudding. In general, soft and airy breads are best for absorbing the custard.
  • To reheat, cut bread pudding into pieces and cook them in a little butter on the stovetop until crisp on each side. The texture is wonderful!
  • Chocolate-Cherry Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup dried cherries and 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips before baking.
  • Apricot-Almond Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots and 3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds before baking.
  • Cranberry-Walnut Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup dried cranberries and 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts before baking.
  • Fig-Pistachio Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup chopped dried figs and 3/4 cup toasted pistachios before baking.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 serving: 497 calories, 29g fat (17g saturated fat), 151mg cholesterol, 540mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 2g fiber), 9g protein.

    Reviews

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    Average Rating:
    • Rakisha
      Jul 27, 2020

      I had a lot of leftover hoagie and kaiser rolls so decided to try out making bread pudding. I needed to halve the recipe and thought I adjusted accordingly but it took forever to bake...well over the 45 minutes before the knife came out clean. But when it was finally done!!!....Oh my goodness, definitely worth the wait. There was plenty of flavor, I loved the crusty top and moist middle. Some bread puddings I've tried are rather dry and I was praying this didn't turn out that way...no worries. Even as I'm indulging in a slice for breakfast this morning, I'm smiling at how delicious it is. The sauce just takes it over the top. I would definitely recommend this recipe and I plan to make it again with a little fruit and nuts.

    • BEpley
      Apr 10, 2020

      The best ever. Just add some raisins and roasted pecans and it is the best I ever had anywhere.

    • BradleyMac
      Mar 19, 2020

      My husband loved this recipe,especially the sauce. A definite make again.

    • marisbuller
      Mar 1, 2018

      I was never a fan of bread pudding until I tried this one...delicious!

    • danid
      Nov 14, 2017

      This is probablly one of the best bread pudding recipes I have ever tried. Didn't change a thing and worth every single calorie!!