Old Fashioned Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

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Some dishes I only make on specific occasions and holidays.  Turkey is usually reserved for Thanksgiving.  Prime rib is my Christmas main dish.  For the Thanksgiving dessert table I always make honey crunch pecan pie.  And Christmas is the occasion for Old Fashioned Bread Pudding.

Bread pudding is a way to use up stale bread.  While I'm mixing up a batch, I'm always reminded of my father taking day old cornbread and mixing it with buttermilk for his breakfast.  It was a reminder of his days growing up on a small farm.  It was old fashioned, much like this bread pudding.  Funny thing is, I never use stale bread.  I always use a fresh loaf of sandwich bread.  The bread is supposed to be torn into pieces, but I will often cut it into cubes, working with four or more slices of bread at a time.  It make the work quick.  I've listed 'a loaf of white sandwich bread' in the recipe which is a rather unspecific amount.  Loaf sizes vary quite a bit.  Just fill a 4.5 quart mixing bowl with pieces of bread.

I know bread pudding isn't only our traditional Christmas dessert, but my children may not appreciate other recipes that use raisins and rum.  I think the lack of these ingredients is why this is such a loved recipe in our house.  We aren't huge fans of fruit in our cakes or breads and prefer to drink our rum.  Even with freshly baked pies with crust from scratch, this is the most popular treat at the Christmas dessert table.  Whenever we have a visiting guest, I'm always asked for this recipe, especially for the vanilla sauce.

I've learned a few things accidentally with this recipe.  One, the vanilla sauce is just as delicious without the vanilla; my husband actually prefers it without.  For some reason, he isn't a fan of vanilla, though he will hardly pass up a second helping of bread pudding.  Another thing I've discovered are substitutions for nutmeg.  A few times I've run out of nutmeg during holiday cooking and start making bread pudding before I've replenished my spice pantry.  If that happens, just substitute cloves for the nutmeg, but use half of the amount as cloves have a stronger flavor.  And, if you're out of cloves, too, try equal parts cinnamon and ginger.
Old Fashioned Bread Pudding

adapted from Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook

1 loaf of white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
3 c milk
1/4 c butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 c white sugar

Vanilla Sauce
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish; for thicker pudding, use a deeper 2 quart baking dish.  Place bread pieces in large bowl. In a small saucepan heat milk and 1/4 cup of butter until butter is melted; whisk to combine. Pour milk and melted butter over bread; let sit for 10 minutes before stirring.

Whisk together eggs, nutmeg, a tablespoon of vanilla and half cup of white sugar. Add to bread and milk; stir well.  Spread pudding mixture in greased baking dish. Bake in 350 F oven for 40-45 minutes.

While pudding is baking, make vanilla sauce.  Head half cup white sugar, half cup brown sugar, whipping cream, and half cup butter in medium saucepan and heat to a simmer, stirring frequently. Allow to simmer for about 4 minutes until sauce slightly thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.  Serve pudding warm, topped with vanilla sauce.


  1. Very cute picture of the boys helping and sampling. I have not made bread pudding in a long time. Love that there is nutmeg in there!

  2. I have never made a bread pudding - but this looks like the perfect recipe to try!

  3. Bread pudding is one of my favorites! You have such a busy kitchen!


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