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You're missing something great if you've never tried New Orleans bread pudding! This delicious dessert has a soft, custard-like texture and an amazingly creamy bourbon sauce that's drizzled on top. Keep reading for tips on making this popular Mardi Gras treat.
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How would you describe bread pudding?
This dessert tastes a little bit like French toast, but sweeter and with less eggy flavor. It also has a juicy burst of flavor from the soaked raisins, and a delicate bourbon flavor from the sauce. Overall, it's absolutely delicious!
Do you have to use stale bread?
It's best to use a stale loaf because it soaks up the liquid better than fresh does. If you don't have any that's stale, cut it into cubes, spread on a cookie sheet, and bake it at 200 F for 10 minutes to dry out the cubes.
How do you know when it is done?
You'll know it's done when there is just a slight wobble in the center of the pudding when you shake the pan. Also, insert a toothpick or knife into the center; it should come out clean. The edges should be slightly browned as well.
Can you make it ahead of time?
Yes, you can assemble this dessert the night before, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bake it fresh right before serving, as it tastes best warm.
What is bourbon sauce made out of?
The delicious sauce for this dessert is made from a 50-50 blend of cream and milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, cornstarch, and bourbon. The sugar, vanilla, and salt is dissolved in the warm milk, then you'll add a slurry of the cornstarch and bourbon to thicken the sauce. Simply whisk and simmer until thickened, but still pourable.
Should bread pudding be refrigerated?
Yes, it must be refrigerated because it contains eggs and milk. Make sure it's covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to keep out other odors from the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can you freeze it?
Unfortunately, this dessert doesn't freeze very well. You can cut the bread into cubes and freeze that ahead of time, then assemble the dessert and bake it fresh.
How to Make
- Soak the raisins in bourbon. This softens them and adds flavor.
- Soak the bread cubes in milk for 10 minutes to allow it to absorb the liquid.
- Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and spices to make a custard.
- Mix the bread and custard together, then bake at 350 F for 35 minutes, until set.
- Make the bourbon sauce by dissolving sugar and vanilla in milk, then thickening with a slurry made from cornstarch and bourbon. Simmer until thickened.
- Don't like raisins? Try cranberries, currants, or another dried fruit that you like.
- Want to add crunch? Add ¼ to ½ cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.
- Need an alcohol free version? Soak the raisins in boiling water, and thicken the sauce with a slurry of cornstarch and water. Be sure to add extra alcohol-free vanilla extract or a teaspoon of apple juice to the sauce.
- Reheat leftovers in the microwave, or covered in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes.
- Soak the raisins for at least a couple of hours, or up to overnight, to soften them.
- Use a blend of raisins for a variation of color and flavor.
- Be sure to use stale bread to help it absorb the most liquid.
- Soaking the bread longer will give you a softer, more custard like texture.
- Keep the sauce on medium-low heat, as high heat may cause it to curdle or separate.
- Lumps in the sauce? Simply pour it through a mesh sieve to strain them out.
- Enjoy the pudding while it's warm from the oven.
- Golden Raisins: adding a different kind of raisins makes this even tastier.
- 9x13 Pan: this nonstick pan is the perfect size for this dessert.
- 2-Quart Saucepan: this heavy-bottomed pan won't burn food easily.
- Stainless Steel Whisks: these sturdy whisks make your sauces smooth.
Craving more sweets for Mardi Gras? You're in the right place!
The pleasure of a 5-star review for this recipe would be greatly appreciated.Print
This old fashioned Southern dessert is simple to make and is perfect for Mardi Gras! An easy custard, raisins, and cinnamon add lots of flavor, and you’ll love every drop of the creamy bourbon sauce poured on top.
For the Bread Pudding
- ½ cup raisins (85g)
- ½ cup golden raisins (85g)
- ¼ cup bourbon whiskey (60 ml)
- 2 cups whole milk (480 ml)
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar (250g)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 8 cups French bread, cubed (225g)
For the Bourbon Sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream (240 ml)
- 1 cup whole milk (240 ml)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (66g)
- Pinch of salt
- 5 teaspoons cornstarch (16g)
- 3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey (45 ml)
- Soak the raisins. Stir together the raisins and bourbon, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, until most of the bourbon is absorbed. Stir occasionally.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9x13-inch cake pan or casserole dish, then sprinkle with brown sugar and melt the sugar for a few minutes in the oven.
- Soak the bread. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the milk over top. Stir and let stand until all the milk is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Make the custard. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and spices until smooth, then pour into the bread mixture. Add the soaked raisins and mix until well blended.
- Bake. Dump the bread and custard mixture into the buttered pan and bake at 350 F for 35 minutes, until the edges are browned and the custard is set. There should only be a slight wiggle in the center when you shake the pan.
- Make the sauce. Heat the cream and milk until warm, whisking in the sugar and vanilla until dissolved. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and bourbon, then add to the milk mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 2-5 minutes. You should have 1 ¾ cups of sauce.
- Serve. Enjoy the pudding while it's warm, and drizzle each ½ cup serving with about 2 tablespoons of the bourbon sauce.
- The pleasure of a 5-star review for this recipe would be greatly appreciated.
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- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: southern bread pudding, old fashioned bread pudding recipe
This recipe was originally published on February 14, 2020.