What are Some Varieties of Bread Pudding?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Bread pudding is a dessert dish made with bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and an assortment of spices. It is particularly associated with the holidays, and is often extremely rich as well as flavorful. There are a number of variations on basic bread pudding, most of which are relatively easy to make at home, and there are nearly infinite permutations of spicing and additions which can make bread pudding different each time it is made. The dish is very popular in England and the American South, although it crops in other regional cuisine as well.

The roots of bread pudding are probably ancient. Most cooks throughout time have devised creative ways to use up stale bread, rather than wasting it. Most of these techniques involved soaking the bread in a liquid such as milk, broth, or water, and seasoning it to make the resulting dish more exciting. In medieval England, such dishes were known as “sops” and they were often used for invalids or people with bad teeth. Chunks of bread also make an excellent thickener for a pudding, so bread pudding probably arose naturally in several places at once.


The basis of bread pudding is cubed bread, which is traditionally stale. Modern cooks also use an assortment of fresh and unusual breads, like brioche. The bread is mixed with milk and butter, along with an assortment of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Often, dried or candied fruit is mixed into the bread pudding as well, for extra flavor and texture. The pudding is typically baked until the bread begins to crisp. Some cooks like to place the bread pudding pan inside a larger pan filled with water, creating a bath which keeps the bread pudding moist and tasty.

Once baked, the bread pudding can be topped with a sauce. Many bread pudding sauces involve alcohol like whiskey or rum, although caramel and other flavors may be used as well. When the sauce uses alcohol as a component, it is known as a “hard” sauce. The combination of the sweet, spicy bread pudding and the sauce is a rich way to end an evening of food.

Some cooks serve their bread pudding hot, while others prefer to serve it cold. Cold bread pudding may be made in individual molds and turned out onto plates, while hot bread pudding is often served directly from the roasting pan. Likewise, the sauces can be hot or cold, depending on personal taste.


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Post 4

Caramel bread pudding is probably my favorite variation. It has to be good caramel though. I have been to places that try to just drizzle normal bread pudding with cheap caramel sauce and it is not the same.

I have always preferred the flavor of hot caramel to hot chocolate or fudge. It is so rich and sweet. When you combine that flavor with the soft creaminess of bread pudding it sends the taste buds into the stratosphere.

Post 3

My mom makes a delicious cinnamon bread pudding. She actually serves it most Thanksgivings instead of pies or whatever else most people eat for dessert on that holiday.

She found the recipe years and years ago in a magazine. It has long since disintegrated but she has it memorized. As far as I know it is not written down anywhere. I need to get her to write it down one day so that she doesn't take the recipe with her to the grave.

Post 2

@surreallife - I had a chocolate bread pudding at a restaurant recently and it was amazing. It was very good bread pudding to start with but they blended it with very high quality chocolate and garnished with a few chocolate chunks. It was a little decadent but who wants to eat diet desserts?

I never would have thought of chocolate as a good bread pudding ingredient. It was so tasty though. I looked a recipe up online and I am going to try to make it at home.

Post 1

Chocolate bread pudding is a good combination. Add some cocoa powder and melted chocolate mixture to the the bread for a simple but tasty treat.

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