What is Bread Pudding?

Sherry Holetzky

Bread pudding is a dish that is served frequently during the holidays, but it can be served and enjoyed any time. It has become a tradition, but it originated long ago, mainly as a way to use up day-old bread. While this dish is generally associated with the Southern regions of the United States, it probably originated in England.

Almonds, which can be included in bread pudding.
Almonds, which can be included in bread pudding.

Bread pudding is quite simply a sweetened version of bread dressing, made from bread, eggs and milk. The main difference is the addition of sugar or other sweet ingredients. It is also sometimes made from cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls, coffee cake or donuts.

The basis of bread pudding is cubed bread.
The basis of bread pudding is cubed bread.

This pudding is commonly served warm and is often topped with heavy cream, ice cream or whipped cream. Some people choose to serve it with fancy sauces, such as caramel or custard sauce. Different recipes add fresh or dried fruits to the pudding, or make it from raisin bread, while others add nuts, such as almonds. There are also bread pudding recipes that call for rum, sherry or brandy.

Bread pudding is often topped with whipped cream.
Bread pudding is often topped with whipped cream.

The following is a simple recipe for bread pudding that anyone can make. Begin by removing the crusts from two loaves of white bread. To avoid waste, place the crusts in your blender and grind them into breadcrumbs. Pour just enough milk over the breadcrumbs to cover them, and let them soak. Next, dice the bread slices into cubes.

Add the breadcrumb mixture, two eggs and one can of sweetened condensed milk to the bread cubes and mix. Sprinkle with two teaspoons of cinnamon and add one teaspoon of vanilla. Mix thoroughly. The mixture will be very thick. You may add milk, one tablespoon at a time, if needed.

Once mixed, pour the bread mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Dot the mixture with pats of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Stir once to make sure the bottom is firm, not soggy. Serve your homemade bread pudding warm with your favorite topping. For a simple sauce, warm up a jar of caramel ice cream topping and drizzle it over the pudding.

Most bread pudding recipes call for white bread.
Most bread pudding recipes call for white bread.

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Discussion Comments


A few Thanksgivings ago, someone in my family made a pumpkin bread pudding with cinnamon and nutmeg. With some cream on top, it was even tastier than pumpkin pie.


The great thing about bread pudding is that it is so flexible. While many people make sweet bread puddings, such as chocolate bread pudding, it can be a savory dish as well as a dessert. Bread pudding can be very delicious with vegetables and spices, or topped with gravy; and while similar to the stuffing or dressing that many people prepare for Thanksgiving or other holidays, the biggest difference is that bread pudding is usually no longer identifiable as being separate bits of bread, but rather does look like a single loaf.


Bread pudding has its beginnings as a dish that used up old, leftover bread.

Today, some people might choose to do the same, so as not to waste any food, but bread pudding can also be made from fancy sweet breads, with fruit most desirable are berries, as a fancy and delicious dessert.

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