bread pudding with brown sugar topping in single serving bowl with milk

Homemade Bread Pudding

Making a basic Homemade Bread Pudding

Homemade bread pudding goes back to a time when nothing was allowed to go to waste. At it’s roots it was a way to use leftover bread when it was getting stale.

If you have never had bread pudding it may be hard for you to imagine what it would taste like. Have you ever had French toast? That has all the same basic ingredients and flavors that I have put into this recipe. So if you like French toast it’s my guess you will like this version of bread pudding.

Now you may be thinking that a homemade bread pudding would take a long time to make. The great news is it doesn’t. This pudding takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and another 40 minutes in the oven. It’s really is as simple as cutting up a loaf of bread and adding a few everyday ingredients. Your reward is a warm and delicious dessert fresh out of the oven. But it is great cold too.

What kind of bread?

It’s somewhat customary to use stale or dried bread when making bread pudding. The idea behind that is that stale bread will soak up more of the wet ingredients. I don’t dispute that perhaps the perfect bread pudding should be made that way but this simple recipe does not require either stale bread or an expensive egg enriched bread. If you are planning on using stale bread, you should plan on buying a bread from the bakery department. The loaves of sandwich bread in plastic bags are made to stay fresh, not get stale. Even if left out of the bag it’s going to take a while to get stale. Homemade or bakery bread will get stale quickly especially if left out. When recipes call for day old bread, it means bakery or homemade bread not the bread in plastic bags.

Lot’s of people would disagree that you can use bread that is still fresh, but you can. If you want to try making bread pudding you can use a regular loaf of bread bought in the bagged bread section of the grocery store. That is what I am using for this recipe. I’ve decided to use it because it is economical and I don’t need to plan ahead to make it.

I hope our pictures clearly show you that this simple recipe with an everyday loaf of bread can make a really tasty baked pudding dessert. The pictures don’t lie. This pudding was delicious.

Basics of bread pudding or stuffing

This recipe makes a very basic and simple homemade bread pudding. In our post Make your own Bread Stuffing with a recipe for a simple and basic savory stuffing, we point out that stuffing is just a bread pudding with savory ingredients. Now we are showing you the flip side using sweet ingredients and the exact same technique and equipment as we used making our stuffing.

Bread pudding and savory bread stuffing have another thing in common. Each has limitless possibilities. You can use any bread you want and use all your favorite flavors. The extra ingredients you put in are entirely up to you too.

Many would say this recipe for bread pudding is sadly lacking because it doesn’t have raisins. I left them out because not everyone likes raisins. I know when I started cooking, if a recipe had an ingredient listed that I didn’t like or didn’t have on hand, I somehow thought leaving it out would mess up the whole recipe. That’s one of the reasons we are giving you a bare bones bread pudding recipe.

Bread, eggs, a liquid and flavorings. Those are the basic ingredients of bead stuffing or bread pudding.

Our section below will give you more information about breads used in bread pudding.

Here’s what YOU WILL NEED:

Well that’s stating the obvious isn’t it? For this recipe I used a 16 ounce loaf of bread. The kind that comes in a plastic bag. I used a loaf of whole wheat bread. I like whole wheat bread and I guess I hope it is a redeeming factor to use a “heathier” bread. Actually all of the ingredients would be considered somewhere on the side of healthy, despite the calories. At least that’s the story I am sticking with.

Because I am using whole wheat bread all my pictures will show a darker and denser pudding than you would have if using white bread.

The best bread to use for bread pudding according to most recipes is enriched breads that have eggs added to the dough. Challah bread and brioche are egg enriched breads. They generally can’t be found in the bread isle. You will need to go to the bakery section. Those breads are pretty pricey so I always stick to a more standard bread which would also include some from the bakery like Italian or French bread. I am sure that there is a sacrifice in flavor and texture, but bread pudding started as a peasants dish and I’m okay with that.

Cutting the bread into cubes

Cut your bread slices into 9 or 12 cubes by cutting three cuts on the short end and 3 or 4 on the long end (top to bottom) as shown below. A bread knife is perfect for the job. A bread knife has a serrated edge. If you use a straight blade you end up squishing the bread to get the job done. A serrated edge glides right through it. If you don’t have a long knife with a serrated edge, use a steak knife with a serrated edge if you have it.

I usually stack 3 or 4 slices of bread at a time just to save time. You don’t need a lot of uniformity in size. Close, is close enough but you don’t want to cut your pieces really small. There is no need to cut off the crust.

a loaf of whole wheat bread being cut into cubes

a bowl of cubed bread

Now for our other ingredients

bread pudding ingredients of butter eggs vanilla maple syrup milk brown sugar salt and spices
2 cups milk or cream or 1/2 & 1/2
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

About the other ingredients


I usually have half and half around for coffee, so that is what I use most of the time. I sometimes use evaporated milk which has 1 and 1/2 cups (12 ounces) in a can and I add 1/2 cup of water to make 2 cups. You can use cream, but if you are using heavy cream you should thin it out a little with water or milk. You can also use low fat milk or a milk alternative such as almond milk.

Vanilla and maple syrup

I use maple syrup for a bit of sweetness in many dishes, even savory ones such as our PORK CHOPS APPLES AND ONIONS. If you have seen any of our recipes using maple syrup you will be familiar with my opinion on using imitation maple flavored syrups. Don’t skimp on maple syrup. Get the real thing. Yes it’s more expensive than the other syrups made with corn syrup and maple flavoring, but it’s worth it. At least for cooking. You don’t need a lot of syrup in any recipe so it will last you a while. Other than price, you will know real maple syrup because it will be called that. The imitation syrups cannot be labeled maple syrup. Real maple syrup is 100 % natural. If you don’t have real maple syrup on hand don’t use the imitation stuff, use an additional 1/4 cup brown sugar for added sweetness. If you want to know more about how maple syrup is harvested and boiled we have more information in our post HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE. There is a whole section about maple syrup.

The same is true when buying vanilla. Pure vanilla extract is worth the extra money you will spend for it. Imitation vanilla is not going to give you the flavor you want. You are only using a teaspoon or two at a time. Make it count. Vanilla is a major contributor to flavor. Other than price you will know the real thing by the label. It will say pure vanilla. The other stuff will say imitation or vanilla flavored.

Brown sugar

You can use light or dark brown sugar. White sugar will work too but I far prefer the dark sugar.

Any time you are using brown sugar you need to pack it down in the measuring cup to get the amount called for in a recipe. Packing means exactly what it sounds like, pressing the brown sugar into the measuring cup with your hand or a spoon. It’s a universal practice but not usually specified in a recipe.

Brown sugar is darker than regular sugar because molasses is added to it. You don’t taste the molasses, it just adds a deeper flavor to the sugar. The practice of packing brown sugar to get the correct measured amount is due to the heaviness that the molasses brings. It would be just about impossible to get the same amount of brown sugar twice if you were just spooning it in.

Because you are packing the brown sugar down to get the correct measure, it is best to use a dry measure. I’ll show you what I mean by a dry measure later in the post.

More about brown sugar

We started this blog to pass along tips we have learned along the way. And having been around a long time means there have been lots of things learned. This is a good one. If you don’t know it already, you are going to really appreciate it.

Once you open a bag of brown sugar and put it away for any length of time it hardens like a rock. It happens no matter how you store it. And it is nearly impossible to make that bag of brown sugar useful again in that solid state unless you decide to liquify it. And what good does that do? No recipe is calling for liquified brown sugar. So, in essence, if you don’t know this simple tip, your bag of brown sugar becomes a one recipe investment.

It looks odd but works great

Here’s the fix! Put a slice of bread, any kind of bread, over the top of the brown sugar. I keep my brown sugar in the plastic bag it comes in and lay the slice of bread over the sugar before I fold the bag closed and clip it. That’s it! There’s no time limit on how long the bread can be in there. It will continue to do it’s job. It’s not often in life that such a nagging problem is solved so easily. It really works!

bag of brown sugar with a piece of bread on top so it doesn't harden

All the brown sugar in the bag, all the way to the bottom is soft and ready to use. And better yet, if you have a solid block of brown sugar in your kitchen now, lay some bread over the top, close your bag or container and give it some time to work it’s magic. It might take a while but it’s better than throwing it away.

Melted butter

Notice on the ingredient list that I specify 5 tablespoons of butter, melted. That is not the same as 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Use the markings on the wax paper the butter is wrapped in to easily know where to cut. Then cut it into smaller pieces and melt it. I use the microwave for melting. Using a small glass dish I melt in 30 second intervals. It is often done in the first 30 seconds.

The order in which an ingredient is described becomes very important in recipes that need an accurate measure. A measure of sifted flour vs flour sifted is a world of difference in baking. Keep an eye out for that when following a recipe for baked goods. For now, in this pudding you don’t need to worry about exact measurements.


I am adding cinnamon and nutmeg to my homemade bread pudding. If you don’t have or don’t like nutmeg, up the amount of cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon. The pudding will still be great. If you don’t like cinnamon consider ground ginger, cloves or allspice but be conservative with those. Some have very intense flavor. I am sure there are dozens of spices I don’t know anything about. Use what you like. Without adding some spice for additional flavor your pudding will be a little bland, but still good.

Measuring tools

Do you know that some measuring cups are meant for dry ingredients and others are meant for liquid? I don’t ever see the day that one of our recipes are going to need that precise an amount of an ingredient, but if you are baking it becomes a lot more important. Even if you are making a cake from a box mix having the right measurements make a difference.

measuring cup for liquid measuring cup for dry ingredients and measuring spoon

About glass measuring cups

Glass measuring cups are much better than plastic. Stick with glass. You sometimes need to measure hot ingredients and you really shouldn’t be using anything plastic when you are exposing it to heat. Also, glass cleans up a lot better than plastic, especially when you are using oils. Glass measuring cups are fairly inexpensive. They come in all sizes and are handy for lots of things like serving gravy or a dressing, not just measuring. If you are going to buy only one, I would buy a 2 cup size. You often need more than a cup and why measure twice.

When you are using a glass measuring cup check the measurement at eye level. Looking down at the cup is the wrong perspective for an accurate reading. Either stoop down to look at it or put it on a flat surface that is eye level. Don’t try holding it level and looking. That isn’t going to confirm an accurate measure either.

About dry measuring cups

The dry measuring cup in the picture is stainless steel. Buying them was a splurge I never regret. I love them. But unlike the glass liquid measuring cups, plastic works for dry measuring. If you can’t swing the expense of an upscale set, don’t fret. Plastic sets worked for me for decades. What does count is what sizes you get. Many sets are not going to include a 1/3 cup. That leaves you to wing it with guessing at 1/3 of a cup in a 1/2 cup measure. My fancy set even includes a 2/3 cup. That’s really an extravagance:) It ‘s also nice if they cups are designed with the handle at the top of the cup so you can nest them together (one inside the other without leaning like the tower of Pisa) for storage. Oddly enough, not all do nest. When a measurement of a dry ingredient is called for, you are supposed to level it to the top of the cup for the correct amount.

The measuring spoon in my picture was another splurge. I used plastic for years and they do the job. What doesn’t do the job? Dinnerware teaspoons and tablespoons. They are not meant for measuring. They vary greatly in size from one set to another. Spring for a set of measuring spoons even if you can only afford a plastic set. They last forever and they are inexpensive. When a measurement is given in a recipe you need to level the measuring spoon straight across the top for dry ingredients to get the correct amount or fill to the top for liquid amounts.

This is WHAT TO DO:

Get prepared

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt your butter. When melted, pour it into a large measuring cup or a medium sized bowl. Mix the brown sugar into the melted butter. We are doing this first so we can get the butter dissolved into the brown sugar. If you add the melted butter directly to cold milk it starts to solidify again. It won’t be one clump of butter but it will be flakes of butter. This isn’t a make it or break it step, but it does help ensure you are going to distribute the butter more evenly throughout the pudding.

Once the melted butter has dissolved into the brown sugar add the rest of the ingredients. You may want to break the eggs and stir them a bit in a small cup or dish before adding them to the mix. The cinnamon and nutmeg are going to float to the top. Mix them in the best you can. You want everything incorporated. We are going to add this liquid mix to the bread cubes and we don’t want pockets of eggs or spices. As soon as the liquid mix goes into the bread it starts soaking in immediately, there is no time to mix these ingredients together once they are poured onto the bread.

Adding an easy caramel topping

You will notice in the next picture I have an additional 3 tablespoons of butter cut into 9 pieces and about 1/4 cup brown sugar. I am going to put them on top of the pudding before it goes in the oven. It makes a caramel sauce over the top. You don’t need it, but it tastes great.

Have a 9 to 12 inch round, square or rectangular baking dish ready. Use glass or ceramic rather than metal if you can. You are only a couple of minutes from putting your pudding in the oven. You don’t need to butter the dish first.

ingredients for bread pudding prepared and ready for the final step

Add the liquid ingredients to the bread cubes

bowl of bread cubes with liquid ingredients added

Put your pudding mixture in the baking dish

homemade bread pudding ready to go in the oven

Cover and put the pudding in a pre-heated 350 degree oven

Bake for 30 minutes with a tightly fitting cover or aluminum foil tucked tightly around the dish. After 30 minutes take the cover off and bake for another 10 minutes. When baked let the pudding sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

homemade bread pudding in baking dish out of the oven cooling

Ready to Serve

Now the only thing left to do is decide how decadent you want to get. I like mine with some milk in the bowl and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup. Needless to say it is great with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Have it your way. And enjoy.

bread pudding with brown sugar topping served in baking dish with 2 servings in background

bread pudding with brown sugar topping in single serving bowl with milk

Homemade Bread Pudding

Try our easy recipe for a basic homemade bread pudding made with a loaf of ordinary bread. It's great warm out of the oven or cold.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9
Calories 348 kcal


  • 1 loaf bread 16 ounces any kind you want
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups milk any milk or cream you want
  • 3 eggs
  • cup maple syrup use the real stuff
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

If adding a topping

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter sliced into 9 pieces


Preparation for Cooking

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • You will need a 9 to 12 inch baking dish round, rectangular or square. Glass or ceramic is best. Don't use a metal pan if you have a choice. You don't need to grease the pan.
  • Cube your bread slices into 9 or 12 cubes per slice. You can stack up the slices to make it quicker. Use a serrated knife, a long bread knife if you have it.
  • Put the bread cubes in a big mixing bowl.

Mix wet ingredients together

  • Melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave.
  • In a large glass measuring cup or a bowl that will hold about 3 cups, mix together the melted butter and brown sugar. Then mix in the milk, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix them all together well. Make sure everything is incorporated.

If you want to add the topping

  • Slice another 3 tablespoons butter into 9 slices and get about 1/4 cup of brown sugar ready.

Add the wet ingredients to the bread cubes

  • The bread will start soaking up the wet ingredients right away and the cubes will shrink down as the liquid is soaking in. Mix gently with a spatula or wooden spoon. You don't want the cubes to turn to mush. Mix until all the bread has been saturated and there are no more dry cubes.

Put in baking dish

  • Put the pudding in your baking dish. If you are using the topping (recommended) sprinkle the top with brown sugar and place sliced butter over the top.


  • Cover the baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Let the baked pudding rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.


  • You can serve warm just as it is or serve in a bowl with one or more of these: add milk to your bowl, maple syrup, whipped cream or ice cream. SO GOOD!


Nutritional information does not include the topping of brown sugar and butter or any of the goodies suggested to add to your serving such as ice cream or maple syrup.  


Calories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 12gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 541mgPotassium: 265mgFiber: 3gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 183IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 205mgIron: 3mg
Keyword baked dessert, basic bread pudding, comfort food dessert, homemade dessert, homemade pudding,, old fashioned bread pudding, old fashioned dessert, using bread to make pudding
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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