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Square side shot of bread pudding on a plate
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5 from 2 votes

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Southern bread pudding with bourbon sauce is an old-fashioned holiday dessert that's perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Sunday supper!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword bread pudding with bourbon sauce, old fashioned bread pudding recipe, southern bread pudding
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Inactive Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 504kcal
Author Blair Lonergan



  • 1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • Optional, for serving: powdered sugar, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream


  • Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish; set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Arrange bread on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until dry, about 14 minutes. Cool completely. Transfer bread cubes to the prepared baking dish.
    Dry cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet
  • In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Pour over the bread cubes; gently toss to combine.
    Whisking milk and egg custard in a white bowl
  • Use a spatula to gently press down the bread so that it’s mostly covered and saturated. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
    Process shot showing how to make bread pudding with bourbon sauce
  • Remove the cover; bake until puffed and golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve with bourbon sauce, vanilla ice cream, and/or whipped cream.
    Overhead shot of a pan of old fashioned bread pudding

For the Bourbon Sauce

  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and salt; whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon.
    Bread pudding sauce in a pan


  • Use a loaf of French or Italian bread with a soft crust -- not a baguette. I find that the crust on the baguette is a little bit too chewy for this dish.
  • Use whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream for the custard -- not a lower fat alternative. You need the fat in the liquid for a rich, smooth, creamy pudding.
  • Allow the bread cubes to soak in the milk mixture for about 30 minutes before baking. This helps keep the inside of the pudding nice and moist.
  • Let the bread pudding rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. This will give the custard time to finish setting so that it's firm and easy to slice.
  • Vanilla sauce: for an easy, alcohol-free alternative to the bourbon sauce, spoon homemade "Crème Anglaise" over the bread pudding. To do so, just let vanilla ice cream melt until it's the consistency of sauce (a trick I learned years ago from The Barefoot Contessa)!


Serving: 1/12 of the bread pudding with bourbon sauce | Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 667IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 2mg