As a kid, bread pudding didn’t appeal to me. Soggy bread? No thanks! As I got older, I quickly changed my tune. I promise this Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce will change yours too!
Easy Apple Bread Pudding Recipe
This is it, a simple but traditional dessert that you can make all fall and winter, especially for the holidays. Can’t you just picture a warm cozy fire, all of the family snuggled up in the living room with big bowls of warm Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce? Everyone is joking about memories and stories from growing up, and you stop for just a moment to watch and listen, taking in every moment.
I love when you let yourself be totally present in the moment. Sometimes I think, please let me remember their little hands and giggles and paint this picture in my mind forever. When I serve my kids this homemade bread pudding and see their faces light up as they eat it, it makes my heart melt. Please let these moments last forever!
Traditional bread pudding usually uses raisins, but we chose to mix things up in this easy bread pudding recipe. Instead of raisins, we used sweet glazed apples and crunchy walnuts. If the apples didn’t have a glaze on them, I would have folded them in with the bread and custard. However, I chose not to for two reasons.
- The apples with glaze become quite heavy and sink to the bottom of the custard, which leads to another problem, burned apples on the bottom.
- Glazed apples also add more sugar and liquid to the custard which can lead to separation.
Besides the addition of these glazed apples, this is a fairly traditional bread pudding recipe that I think you and your family will love!
What is Bread Pudding?
Bread pudding isn’t actually pudding. It really is the dumbest name. I mean, yes there’s a custard that turns the bread soggy, but that’s really it. Bread pudding is actually comprised of thick pieces of bread that have been piled into a casserole dish and covered with a custard made from milk, sugar, eggs, spices and usually a fruit (often raisins).
The entire dish is cooked until the bread has absorbed all of the liquid and resembles a baked french toast. Bread pudding is almost always served with a warm sauce over the top and is meant to be served without any other toppings.
Some people eat bread pudding for breakfast, but in our house it’s a dessert.
Apple Bread Pudding Ingredients
The ingredients list for this easy bread pudding recipe may look lengthy, but I bet they’re all ingredients you have on hand already. To make this homemade bread pudding, you’ll need:
- Heavy cream
- Granulated sugar
- Apple pie filling
- Chopped walnuts
And for the vanilla sauce for the bread pudding, you’ll need:
- Light brown sugar
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla extract
What’s the Best Bread for Bread Pudding?
You can actually use a few different types of bread to make apple bread pudding, including:
- French bread
These are the only types of bread that I will use in my homemade bread pudding recipe because of their dense texture and flavor. When choosing a bread for bread pudding, you want one that is thick and dense enough that it won’t fall apart in all of that custard, and also something with a great flavor to really enhance anything else you add to the bread pudding.
How to Make Bread Pudding
Homemade bread pudding requires a little extra TLC to make, but overall it’s incredibly easy to prepare. As long as you give yourself enough time to chill the bread pudding before baking it, you’ll be fine! Here’s how to make bread pudding from scratch:
- Cube the bread and toast it in the oven.
- While the bread toasts, whisk together the cream, milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a bowl.
- Place the toasted bread in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, then pour the egg mixture over top.
- Place the bread pudding in the fridge for an hour to chill.
- After an hour, spoon the apple pie filling over the bread pudding. Sprinkle the walnuts over top.
- Bake the bread pudding until browned on top.
- Make the vanilla sauce for bread pudding and drizzle over top before serving.
How to Serve Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is served by scooping a portion out into a bowl, served warm with a warm sauce over the top. You can totally add ice cream or whipped cream if you’d like as well, but I kind of prefer mine just with the sauce.
Although, there is something wonderful about warm food alongside creamy, cold ice cream. Up to you!
How to Reheat Bread Pudding
To reheat bread pudding, cover the pan with foil and pop it into a warm oven (around 350 degrees F). You’ll need to heat the bread pudding for roughly 15 to 20 minutes, or until warmed through. Covering the pan with foil is key, otherwise your bread pudding will dry out and/or burn on top.
Can Bread Pudding Be Frozen?
I bet you’ll be surprised to learn that bread pudding can in fact be frozen. However, just remember that it can only be frozen once it has been baked entirely. If you attempt to freeze it before being baked, it will separate and go completely soggy. It’s not worth the attempt.
Here’s how you freeze bread pudding:
- Cool the bread pudding and cover it with plastic wrap. Alternatively you can remove the bread pudding into a large freezer bag or Tupperware.
- Place the bread pudding in the freezer, making sure to leave it flat.
Once you’ve got the bread pudding in the freezer it should last for 2-3 months. That’s pretty darn good!
Can I Make This Bread Pudding Egg-Free?
Eggs are essential to a good, traditional bread pudding, but we understand that there are food restrictions and dietary choices that could cause one to look for an eggless bread pudding recipe. If that’s you, may we recommend just skipping the eggs and using soy milk instead? The eggs really help to create a custard that is thick, creamy and really binds the bread together, but you should be okay to switch things up a bit.
Can Bread Pudding Be Made in Advance?
Yes, you can actually make this bread pudding recipe an entire day ahead of time, and you have two options when you do so.
- Prep the bread pudding. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to rest, covered with foil for up to 24 hours before baking.
- Completely bake the bread pudding and merely reheat in the microwave or oven. Be sure that if you’re reheating in the oven you have the entire dish covered with foil. This is to be sure that the top doesn’t over brown or burn.
Tips for the Best Bread Pudding
Starting with really dried out bread, day old bread, or toasted bread is key to making the best bread pudding. The dry bread soaks up the vanilla sauce without turning to mush, which gives the bread pudding a better texture overall. Fresh bread won’t work for this recipe, so please don’t use it!
We also recommend using 2% or whole milk in this apple bread pudding recipe. Even though this recipe calls for heavy cream as well, you want to pair it with a milk that has a good amount of fat in it. The milk fat adds moisture and flavor to the bread pudding and prevents it from drying out.
Lastly, you’re welcome to add more or less spices to this easy bread pudding to suit your own tastes. We like our bread pudding to be nice and cinnamon-y, but I know not everyone loves that!
More Easy Apple Desserts:
- Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting
- Easy Apple Dumplings with Sprite
- Mini Dutch Apple Cheesecakes
- Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Apple Pie Bombs al la Mode
- Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls
- Apple Pie Pull-Apart Bread
- Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce
- Best Apple Crisp
- Apple Cider Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
- Apple Pie Fried Ice Cream
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Apple Pie Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
- 1 loaf brioche or challah bread or french bread *french bread is fine in a pinch
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 dash nutmeg
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-20 ounce cans apple pie filling or make your own with our homemade recipe
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 Egg
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Either spray with cooking spray or butter a 9x13 baking dish.
- Cut bread into 1-inch bite size pieces. Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, turning half way through
- In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Pour mixture over bread cubes and let sit for 1 hour in the fridge, pressing down on the bread after 30 minutes.
- Mix the apple pie filling with the walnuts.
- Spread apple pie filling over the top of the bread. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over the top.
- Bake uncovered for 50-55 minutes or until puffed and browned on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool while you make the sauce.
For the sauce:
- Whisk light brown sugar, the cornstarch, 1 egg, melted butter, heavy cream, milk, and salt together in a heavy saucepan until smooth.
- Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour sauce over warm bread pudding, or serve on the side in a bowl.