Bourbon Bread Pudding

It is beyond me how the holidays are already well in our rear-view mirror, the Super Bowl has come and gone, Valentine’s Day can be crossed off the calendar, and here we are with Lent already at our doorstep. Time really does fly when you’re a grown up. I disapprove. Regardless of how I feel, time is going to keep on ticking, so we may as well enjoy all the moments we’re given. Which is why anytime a fun food holiday rolls around I waste no time reading about regional/cultural food traditions and baking up some festive eats. With Lent comes Mardi Gras, which entails all sorts of amazing eats from the New Orleans area. Last year for the occasion I made Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya, Moon Pies, and a traditional King Cake. This year I have more awesome recipes for you and thought that we’d kick things off with this bourbon-soaked bread pudding. It is Friday, after all!

I fell in love with bread pudding a few years ago when my Chief Culinary Consultant and I went to a cozy little Italian restaurant to ring in the New Year. We ended up being served dessert right at midnight, which was perfect. He ordered a chocolate bread pudding, and I… can’t remember what I ordered. Most likely because he gave me a taste of his and I fell in love with it, so he offered to trade me desserts.Β  #1 – What a man for trading me desserts – he’s the best. #2 – This is a classic example of what usually happens when we go out to eat – he always tends to order the more delicious food, and I often regret my choice.

When I first saw this recipe there was no question in my mind how fabulous it would be. And, hello! Lots of bourbon! I tasted this both plain and with the accompanying bourbon sauce. Without the sauce, there is maybe a hint of bourbon but it’s not strong at all; however, the sauce is what really gives it a kick! You can decide how amped up you want your bourbon flavor πŸ™‚ I do believe this dessert may have cracked my Top 10, it’s that amazing. I highly recommend stuffing your face with it, especially if it’s on a night your hockey team lost and you need to drown your sorrows in something. As my Chief Culinary Consultant told me as we were leaving the game on Wednesday night and I informed him of my plan when we got home, “Well, if you’re going to drown your sorrows in something, that’s probably the best thing to do it with.” Amen. Pass the bourbon sauce.

One year ago: Chocolate Malted Whopper Cookies
Two years ago: Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glazed
Three years ago: Ham and Split Pea Soup
Four years ago: Almost Fudge Gateau

New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


For the Bread Pudding:
1 (18 to 20-inch) French baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces (10 cups)
1 cup raisins
ΒΎ cup bourbon, divided
8 egg yolks
1Β½ cups light brown sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1Β½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
ΒΌ teaspoon ground nutmeg
ΒΌ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

For the Bourbon Sauce:
ΒΌ cup bourbon, divided
1Β½ teaspoons cornstarch
ΒΎ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.

2. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through and rotating the baking sheet front to back. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

3. Meanwhile, heat raisins and Β½ cup bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, placing the bourbon and raisins in separate bowls.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk in in the remaining ΒΌ cup bourbon plus the bourbon used to plump the raisins. Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let the mixture sit until the bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the majority of the bread is still hard when squeezed, soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the raisins. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and raisins. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, mix the granulated sugar and remaining Β½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, pinch 6 tablespoons butter into the sugar mixture until the crumbs are the size of small peas. Remove the foil from pudding, sprinkle with the butter mixture, and bake, uncovered, until the custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until the top of the pudding forms a golden crust, about 2 minutes.

7. Let the pudding cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours). Serve alone or with Bourbon Sauce (I strongly recommend the bourbon sauce).

8. To Make the Bourbon Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of bourbon until well combined.

9. Using a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

10. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in salt, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon. Drizzle warm sauce over bread pudding.

(Recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)


63 Responses to “Bourbon Bread Pudding”

  1. Mary @ Bake Break on February 17, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Time really does fly when you’re a grownup. Agreed: it kinda sucks.

    But bourbon sauce is the remedy! This looks fantastic – I can imagine a warm bread pudding with bourbon sauce would be perfect right now!!


  2. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on February 17, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I adore bread pudding. And bourbon-flavored or rum-flavored desserts. This is so perfect for me!

    The only exciting “food” holiday for me coming up is St Paddy’s day b/c I get to use lots of green food coloring. Lol And yes, time flies! I wish it could be pink/red and Valentines Day season forever!


  3. Kimiko on February 17, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Yum! That looks great! I never thought I liked bread pudding until I tried the bread pudding at The Palace restaurant in Santa Barbara. Their bread pudding also had bourbon…so I think I should give this recipe a try!


  4. Lori on February 17, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I don’t think I own any bourbon. Which brand did you use?


    • Michelle on February 17th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Lori, I used Jim Beam because I still had about a half bottle sitting around. Maker’s Mark is also a good brand for baking.


  5. Kiri W. on February 17, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Oooooh yum! I love a good bread pudding, and bourbon? Yes please!


  6. The Doll Baker on February 17, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Drooling! β™₯


  7. Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie on February 17, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I’m always nervous about ordering bread pudding – I’ve had fantastic bread pudding and not so fantastic bread pudding! It seems to be a dessert that is tricky to get right. But, this looks delicious!


    • The Kitchen Kook on January 27th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      You shouldn’t be! Bread pudding is actually not too hard to make, and it’s kinda fun coating all of the bread pieces with a rich custard! It’s one of my favorite desserts. I like to make my time and tested, trust-worthy spiced white chocolate bread pudding. But I definitely am going to give the traditional one a try!

      Here’s the white chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg version to compare!


  8. Amber, RD on February 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I totally share your sentiments. My husband and I were looking at our calendars just this morning and I exclaimed to him that Ash Wednesday is already next week. Holy Cow! I guess it’s time to crank out some of my vegetarian and fish recipes!
    I love anything with bourbon in it, including Diet Coke! πŸ™‚ Bourbon in bread pudding sounds amazing!


  9. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on February 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Oh my Gosh! This bread pudding looks amazing! That’s it! I’m picking up some bourbon this weekend!!!


  10. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on February 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Time really does fly! It’s crazy sometimes. I was always scared of bread pudding but this recipe looks too delicious to pass up πŸ™‚


  11. Erin @ Brownie Bites on February 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I LOVE bread pudding! It’s one of my guilty pleasures that I rarely get to have.


  12. Eileen on February 17, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Honestly, I don’t think I can ever remember having bread pudding. If I did, it was a very long time ago and my grandma would have made it. Yours looks wonderful! I think you’ve inspired me to make a batch one of these days.


  13. Katrina on February 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Yes, please!


  14. Nicky @ Pink Recipe Box on February 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Bread pudding isn’t usually my thing, but this recipe sounds fantastic! I love the idea of planning ahead and making recipes for upcoming holidays.


  15. layne on February 17, 2012 at 11:20 am

    My absolute favorite dessert of all time! I adore bread pudding-it may help that I live a short distance from New Orleans and frequently visit. I have tried just about every restaurants bread pudding down there!!


  16. Champs on February 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Woow looks so good.


  17. Mireia on February 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I have never done bread pudding!!

    One more thing to add to my never-ending list!!!


  18. Maria on February 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Oh yum! What a comforting dessert!


  19. Cat on February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Yum…Given the ingredients, I’m sure it tastes orgasmic. I mean, what’s not to love about 8 egg yolks, a mountain of sugar, Bourbon, and a hefty dose of heavy cream? However, if I made it as is, and if I stayed excruciatingly quiet while eating it, I’d be able to hear the sound of my arteries closing up. This would make my nutritionist pop an aneurysm. Will definitely try it, but at the very least will scale back the heavy cream to half-and-half and use skim in place of the whole milk, which I never buy. And because I’m a diabetic, I’ll sub Splenda for the sugar. Because the recipe has great “bones,” no doubt it will still be almost (not quite, but ALMOST) as fabulous!


  20. Jessie on February 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I was looking for a way to use up my bourbon and I think I have just enough. Yippee!!


  21. Miranda on February 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve made a very similar recipe before using Kahlua, everything is better with liqueuer! YUM!


  22. Janice on February 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I’ve never made bread pudding before, but I’m going to give it a try this weekend. A few questions for you since I am going to make it a day before I serve it. Would you recommend adding the bourbon sauce the night I make it or the next day? Also, would it be best to refrigerate it overnight or leave it out?


    • Michelle on February 17th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Janice, You should refrigerate the pudding once it is baked and has cooled for at least 2 hours. If you make the bourbon sauce ahead of time, refrigerate that too. You could pop the bread pudding back in the oven to reheat (cover it with foil) on 350 or microwave individual pieces. I ate leftovers reheated in the microwave and they were fine. You want to add the bourbon sauce when you serve it – drizzle it on warm and fresh.


      • Cory on May 17th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

        This was my question too, how to make it ahead but still have it taste amazing when it’s served. Thanks for the advice! I am new to bread pudding also, making it this weekend for my sister in-laws birthday, it’s her fav, and I want it to be amazing (but it has to be made ahead of time cause the lamb roast will be in the oven before the meal!) Kitchen juggling is always a joy!


  23. Angelyn on February 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Looks soooo goood ….. πŸ™‚


  24. Kristen on February 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Does the temperature stay at 450F the whole time?


    • Michelle on February 19th, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Kristen, No, you’ll see that after you toast the bread at 450F you reduce the temperature to 300F. That’s what you bake it at until the very end.


  25. Anita at Hungry Couple on February 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Yes, I agree that time is moving too quickly. I hate winter and the only thing that keeps me going after New Year’s is Valentine’s Day. After that i just mope until spring πŸ™‚ We were never huge bread pudding fans because they always seem to be too dry but last summer we had the most amazing bread pudding on vacation in Mystic, CT. The waitress insisted we try it and we were hooked. Plus, we have several excellent bourbon cocktail recipes if this dessert doesn’t work out πŸ™‚


  26. Sarah@SarahCupcake on February 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Mmmm I love bourbon in anything. An excuse to put booze in food is good enough for me!


  27. Chandra@the plaid and paisley kitchen on February 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    This is a Great Mardi Gras recipe!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!


  28. Missy on February 17, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    FIne! I will have some bread pudding and a shot of bourbon! YUMMY!


  29. Cat Davis on February 18, 2012 at 12:20 am

    That looks like some serious deliciousness right there!


  30. modernworkinggirl on February 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

    YUM. Break pudding is all the rage here in England. In fact, I thought it only existed here! Thanks for the recipe…


  31. Shaina on February 18, 2012 at 11:25 am

    This sounds delicious! I want to try it, but do you have any tips to make it a little less fattening? What is the best to use in place of the heavy cream?


    • Michelle on February 18th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Shaina, Well, my personal dessert philosophy is everything in moderation. I don’t usually cut fat or sugar from my desserts, as I believe a little bit of a splurge on something decadent is better than multiple servings of something lower-quality. I hope that makes sense! You honestly won’t get the same consistency if you substitute for the cream. At the most, I would take it down to half-and-half, but again I haven’t tested it with that so I can’t guarantee the results.


      • Shaina on February 18th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

        Thanks for the advise! I think what I’ll do is just make your exact recipe but maybe cut it in half so I’m not tempted to eat too much πŸ™‚


      • The Kitchen Kook on January 27th, 2013 at 10:03 pm

        This is a year old, but I just wanted to say that I totally agree with you Michelle! I love eating healthy! But I don’t feel that “bad” foods should be off-limits either. As long as you enjoy things in moderation and balance it with healthy foods and exercise, you deserve your heavy cream every now and then!


  32. Christina @ Sweet Peas Kitchen on February 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    oh yeah! bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts! Looks incredible!! πŸ˜€


  33. Kirsten on February 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I love bread pudding. I will definitely try this. My favorite though is the chocolate bread pudding at Stonewood Grill. I haven’t tried to make it myself yet, but here is the link to the recipe. I would love to see it made on your website!


  34. Cat on February 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Well, for Shaina or anyone else who is interested in streamlining this recipe a bit, I am happy to report that if you do as I said I planned in my post above, subbing half-and-half for the heavy cream and skim milk for the whole, it still turns out over-the-mood delicious! I had to make it last night, just to test. Also used all Splenda in place of the sugar. No one I served it to today had even an inkling that it was sugar-free, and they never missed the milkfat. They kept oohhhing and aahhhing over how “sinfully rich” it was, and when I told them it was sugar free, they pigged out completely! Even with subs, this is a wonderful recipe. Would that I did not have to sub, but us old ladies have some stringent dietary restrictions!! When I was younger, I would have gone full-tilt for all the cream, butter, sugar i could cram in there. Now, after some near-fatal health problems, I have “religion.” Still like a little treat now and then, but I’ve sworn off the “hard stuff”. And with a few subs, I still can. Also, golden raisins (had some I needed to use) in it were gorgeous. LOVE that bourbon (that’s the “secret ingredient” in my pecan pie, as well. Always makes a hit!) Thanks, Michelle!


    • Shaina on February 18th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Thanks for the tips!!! Good call on the golden raisins, those are great!


  35. Oui, Chef on February 18, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    My heart started beating faster just reading the title of this post. When I saw the photos I was a gonner.


  36. RisaG on February 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I think Bread Pudding is heavenly. This looks so good. I want some right now.


  37. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen on February 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Oh my – this looks amazing! I spied that bottle of Jim Beam in the background. That was my father-in-law’s favorite so I’ve done lots of baking with it as well. It does extraordinary things to baked goods!


  38. Emely on February 20, 2012 at 4:19 am

    OMG! I so loved this, I thought I should try doing something different this weekend and let me say this was a big hit. My family loved it!


  39. Mar on February 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Wow, this bourbon bread pudding looks AWESOME! I can imagine how tasty it must be. I think my son would like it, as bourbon is his tipple of choice (it’s okay, he’s an adult πŸ™‚ !)


  40. Stephanie on February 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Hi! I’m so excited to try this recipe! I just wanted to know how long I can keep the leftovers for??


    • Michelle on February 20th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Well, my leftovers lasted exactly one day πŸ˜‰ But if you have more restraint than we do you could probably keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  41. Kaitlin on February 21, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Bread pudding is one of my weaknesses. Yours looks divine! What a great way to celebrate Mardi Gras!


  42. LindaK on February 26, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I tried this awesome recipe!! It was an absolutely the best ever success. All the guest loved it and I will only make that recipe of bread pudding. Recipe is a keeper. Thank you.


  43. Sandra on March 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    It’s good to see a non soggy bread pudding.


  44. Mary-Lynne on January 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Can I use dark or spiced rum instead? πŸ™‚


  45. Beata on January 25, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Well, this throws an interesting twist on my quest for a bread pudding recipe. I bought a Panettone as I saw some show on Food Network doing a bread pudding with it. Well now I have a Panettone and this recipe. I love the recipes you always have so I am going to make it work. Toast the Panettone and skip the raisins. Cross my fingers …. and have a back up plan.


  46. Vanessa on February 6, 2013 at 2:23 am

    What happens if I use 8 eggs instead of just the egg yolks ??


    • Michelle on February 10th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Vanessa, You won’t be able to create a custard with whole eggs.


  47. Yumi on November 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I have been looking for “Non-Alcoholic” version of bread pudding… Do you have one in handy? What I need to modify?


    • Michelle on November 14th, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any bread pudding recipes on the site that don’t include.


  48. Cheryl Kohan on February 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    The bourbon is a fabulous nod to Bourbon Street but I’ll bet this would be great using brandy, instead. Hmmm…think i’ll try it both ways!


  49. Betsy Harner on February 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Have bourbon……will make! Sounds so yummy!


  50. Greg on February 16, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you! We love it!


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