Vanilla-Bourbon Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce

Vanilla-Bourbon Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce

I don’t make bread pudding often, but it used to be part of my daily routine. When I worked as a chef, bread pudding was a very popular item on the menu, and I was tasked with preparing it.  There are endless variations of this classic dessert, and I have had some great ones over the years. A decadent chocolate one can be fabulous around the winter holidays.  But this recipe I developed because I wanted a simpler one, with nice vanilla flavor.  I also love caramel, so I had to add that as well.  I top this bread pudding with a delicious caramel sauce, which allows me to control the sweetness factor a bit more. The trick to all of my bread pudding recipes is the bread: challah (or a great brioche) bread makes the best bread pudding.  Trust me, no matter what you read, don’t use French bread. Usually I like to bake my bread pudding directly in the ramekins themselves, but not with this recipe.  I bake this one in a simple baking pan.  To serve, I scoop it into individual ramekins and top with the caramel sauce and whipped cream—for an admittedly uber-indulgent treat.  This is an easy, make-ahead dessert that works well with guests and never disappoints. You can serve it warm or chilled depending on your preference, both are delightful.
bread pudding

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Bread Pudding

April 21, 2018
: 8
: 1 hr 15 min
: 45 min
: 2 hr
: easy


  • 1 (1-pound) challah, bread cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise and beans scrapped
  • Step 1 Place the cubed challah in a lightly greased 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch square baking pan.
  • Step 2 In a large mixing bowl add the sugar, eggs and eggs yolks, whisk well till pale yellow in color.
  • Step 3 Add the milk, cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, bourbon and whole vanilla bean scraped (seeds only). Whisk well to incorporate.
  • Step 4 Pour the  custard mixture onto the challah.  Using a rubber spatula, gently press down to incorporate the custard into the challah. Plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to soak.
  • Step 5 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baking pan on a baking sheet and place in the middle of the oven.
  • Step 6 Bake for about 45 minutes or until set in the middle.
  • Step 7 Cool slightly before serving in individual ramekins or on dessert plates. Top with with warm caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream if desired.
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Caramel Sauce

April 21, 2018
: 1 1/2 cups
: 10 min
: 10 min
: 20 min
: easy


  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Step 1 Put the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter and salt into a medium size sauce pan over low heat. Cook while whisking for about 6-7 minutes or until it begins to thicken.
  • Step 2 Add the vanilla extract and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  • Step 3 Refrigerate caramel sauce till needed, warm on low in microwave if needed.

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