Last updated on February 23, 2019 by Liza Hawkins
This holiday bread pudding is a simple and tasty way to prepare a make-ahead festive dessert during the Christmas season!
Coming off Thanksgiving, we’re eating our way through a lot of leftovers. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a slew of other trimmings.
I also ended up with most of a loaf of hearty, rustic cranberry walnut bread.
Truth be told, I realize a lot of folks don’t love bread pudding—even though you see it made on shows like Chopped all. the. time.
It’s often the chefs’ go-to for the dessert round, but I’d wager not because it’s the best dessert on the planet. It’s because it’s simple to make. They can whip up a custard base, tear apart a loaf of bread (or croissants, doughnuts, bagels…you name it!), and get that individually sized serving of bread pudding into the oven and ready to eat in about 20 minutes. Hoping, with fingers crossed, that the inside gets done all the way…which it often does not. Twenty minutes goes by quick, gang.
Holiday Bread Pudding
Good news is, you’re not beholden to a 20 minute window of time to make this holiday bread pudding.
In fact, you can make it ahead if you want. Like, the day before.
Or, you can make it the day of; it’s really flexible, which I love.
There’s a lot of custard mixed in, so while the edges get deliciously golden and crispy, the rest of the bread pudding stays creamy. Bread pudding’s the worst when it’s too dry, and I’m certain that texture is the reason so many people have grown to hate it.
This holiday bread pudding’s best served warm, topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream OR drizzled with Pioneer Woman’s Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce. Mmm…
- 1 loaf of rustic, crusty bread with cranberries
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups whole milk
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
When you're ready to bake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of the casserole. Bake the holiday bread pudding for 35-45 minutes, or until the edges are golden and crispy and the middle is set (it bounces back when gently pressed).
- Let the holiday bread pudding rest for 15 minutes before serving!
I used a rustic cranberry nut bread for this recipe, but you can easily substitute any kind of rustic loaf, with or without mix-ins: Italian, French, sourdough, etc.