This holiday season, curl up with this warm, decadent dessert.
Christmas is celebrated in various ways around the world, but one thing is almost always consistent—there will be a lot of food. If you’re in charge of dessert this year and want to impress the people you’re celebrating with, try a bread pudding.
Stale bread is covered with milk or cream, eggs, sugar, and occasionally other toppings to make this dessert. They’re also a distinct and delectable dessert that, unlike fruitcakes, is unlikely to be shared with other family members or friends. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite bread pudding recipes for your holiday celebration.
1. Bread Pudding in the Air Fryer
There are few better Christmas gifts than an air fryer for people who enjoy cooking. It appears that you can make almost anything in the appliance, from perfectly crispy veggies to chicken wings to desserts like this macadamia nut and white chocolate bread pudding recipe. If Santa hasn’t yet brought you an air fryer, there are also instructions for making this recipe in the oven.
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
- 10 ounces chopped white chocolate or white chocolate morsels
- 1 1/1 cups toasted and coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- 1 1/2 crusty French baguettes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 14 cups)
- Vanilla Bean Crème Anglaise, for serving
How to Do It
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, milk, and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate is completely dissolved.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and the egg. Whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream mixture, then gradually whisk in the remaining cream mixture. Set aside for 30 minutes to soak the macadamia nuts and cubed bread.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter a large baking dish.
- Place the bread pudding mixture in the prepared baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until the bread pudding is puffed, golden brown, and set in the center. Remove from the oven and set aside for a few minutes before serving with the Vanilla Bean Crème Anglaise.
2. Bread Pudding with Pumpkin
Pumpkin is more commonly associated with fall holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, but the flavor is so delicious that why limit it to only a few months of the year? Make this bread pudding for your Christmas dessert to enjoy more pumpkin-flavored foods. This bread pudding recipe also incorporates orange zest, cranberries, maple syrup, and pecans, resulting in a flavorful treat with only 263 calories per serving.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated fat-free milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/ tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 5 slices whole wheat bread, cut into cubes and dried
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp chopped toasted pecans
How to Do It
- Cooking sprays a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish. Cut two 20-by-2-inch pieces of heavy foil. Cross the strips and set the dish in the center.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the next nine ingredients (through orange zest) and whisk until smooth. Combine bread cubes and cranberries in a mixing bowl. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Wrap the dish in foil.
- In a 6-quart electric pressure cooker, combine a trivet and 1 cup of water. Transfer the dish to the cooker using the foil strips. Fold the foil strip ends over the top of the dish.
- Put the lid back on. Set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow 15 minutes for the pressure to release naturally. Release any remaining pressure with caution. Carefully lift the lid.
- Lift the bread pudding out of the cooker using foil strips. Arrange on a wire rack. Remove the foil strips and cover. Allow cooling slightly. Serve warm or chill for up to 24 hours. Combine maple syrup and pecans in a small bowl. When serving, drizzle over bread pudding.
3. Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Cherries
Chocolate is delicious in almost any dessert, but sometimes you want something more than just another chocolate cake. Try this chocolate cherry bread pudding instead. It has a rich chocolate flavor, as well as cherries, vanilla beans, and cinnamon. This is a decadent dessert and one of our favorite bread pudding recipes, despite having only 5 grams of saturated fat per serving.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 large egg whites
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup skim milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 8 oz whole-grain bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (4 cups)
- 2 cups frozen sweet cherries, thawed
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
- 3/4 cup roasted unsalted pistachios, chopped, divided
How to Do It
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking sprays a 2-quart casserole dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, eggs, and milk. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread cubes, cherries, chocolate chunks, and two-thirds of the chopped pistachios. To coat, add the egg-milk mixture and toss well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press down gently to compact. Wrap in foil.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the custard has set. Remove the cover and top with the remaining one-third of the pistachios. Continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes more or until the pudding is puffed and golden on top.
- Cool for 15 to 20 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
4. Bread Pudding with Eggnog Croissants
What says Christmas more than eggnog? However, it should not be used solely as a beverage. If you enjoy eggnog, it’s a great ingredient to use in baking to add a custard-like flavor to anything, such as this bread pudding recipe. This bread pudding not only substitutes eggnog for milk or cream, but it also substitutes croissants for traditional bread. It’s a fresh and delicious twist on a classic dessert.
- 4 full size croissants
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups eggnog
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup eggnog
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
How to Do It
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Nonstick cooking sprays a 2-quart baking dish.
- Place the croissants in the baking dish, and cut them into cubes.
- In a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Whisk in the eggnog, sugar, vanilla extract, rum extract, and nutmeg. Spread the egg mixture on top of the cubed croissants. Lightly press the croissants to ensure that they are all soaked in the egg mixture. Allow for a 10-minute resting period.
- Bake the bread pudding for 30-35 minutes, or until the center is set and the top is golden brown.
- Make the syrup while the bread pudding is baking. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar for 6-8 minutes or until the mixture turns a caramel color. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture appears to be separating. When the mixture is golden brown, whisk in the eggnog slowly. The mixture will bubble and possibly seize, but keep whisking. Bring the mixture back to a boil and continue to cook for a minute or two. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the baking soda. Before serving, allow the syrup to cool slightly.
- Serve the bread pudding warm with the caramel syrup on top.
5. Bread Pudding with Pecan Pie from New Orleans
Pecan pie is a holiday classic, but if you want to try something different this year, try this pecan pie-inspired bread pudding recipe. One of the recipe’s best features? You can begin preparing it a few days ahead of time so that you aren’t scrambling in the kitchen on Christmas morning.
- 1 lb. loaf of stale french bread, cubed (challah, brioche or other sturdy bread will also work)
- 1 ½ cups pecans
- 6 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups milk
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar, for serving
How to Do It
- Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread half of the bread cubes in the baking dish, then 12 of the pecans, then the remaining bread, and finally the remaining pecans. Place aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and brown sugar for 4-5 minutes on medium speed. After that, add the vanilla extract and mix for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to mix and stir in the corn syrup, heavy cream, milk, melted butter, and salt. Allow the mixture to come together. The mixture should be poured over bread cubes. Allow standing for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight, pressing down on the bread occasionally (covered).
- Preheat the oven to 350oF and position a rack in the center. Fill a water kettle halfway with water.
- In a large shallow roasting pan, place the baking dish. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
- Bake for 55-70 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Allow cooling to room temperature before serving. You can refrigerate it at this point until ready to serve.
- Allow the bread pudding to come to room temperature before serving, then top with plenty of powdered sugar!
6. Chocolate Bread Pudding
This decadent chocolate bread pudding recipe is ideal for when you’re craving something chocolatey but also need to use up some leftover bread that’s about to go bad. Did you ever imagine those two desires could be so in sync? Because few things go better together than chocolate and fruit, the recipe also includes cherries baked into the bread pudding.
- 16 oz bread (brioche, challah, French bread, or white bread), preferably stale
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, divided
- Fresh whipped cream for serving, optional
How to Do It
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using nonstick cooking spray, coat a 913-inch baking dish.
- Bread should be cut into 1-inch cubes. If the bread is stale, place it in the baking dish. Spread it out in a single layer on a baking sheet if it is fresh. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time. Then place the bread cubes in a baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, combine the milk and cream and heat over medium heat until just before it begins to boil.
- While the milk is heating, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture, whisking vigorously as you go to avoid curdling the eggs. Combine all of the bittersweet chocolate and half of the semi-sweet chocolate in a mixing bowl. Continue whisking until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Cover the top of the bread in the baking dish with the chocolate custard. Gently press the bread into the custard with your hands or a spatula, ensuring that all of the bread is soaked.
- Evenly distribute the remaining semi-sweet chocolate on top. If desired, gently press the chocolate into the bread with your hands or a spatula so that it does not cover the entire surface.
- Place the dish in the oven. 35-45 minutes, or until the pudding is puffed and browned. If you shake the dish, you will notice a slight jiggle. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5-10 minutes to cool.
- If desired, serve the bread pudding warm or at room temperature, topped with fresh whipped cream.
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