Bread pudding is a classic dessert recipe filled with warm, cozy flavours perfect for chilly winter days. Here’s how to transform stale bread into a crowd-pleasing treat!
Bread pudding looks simple and rustic, but one bite of this rich, custard-y dish and you’ll realize that this dessert is pure decadence! Is there any better way to use leftover bread? I don’t think so!
The origins of bread pudding date back to the Middle Ages, when it was used as a way to avoid throwing away stale bread. Every culture seems to have their own spin on it, from the British to the Creole, but the version I’m sharing today is my vegan take on the recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Bread Pudding Recipe
- Versatile. Bread pudding is like a blank canvas—add your favourite flavours and ingredients, or simply use what you have on hand. As long as you keep the original proportions the same, you can’t go wrong!
- Easy. This dessert requires minimal effort, with maximum reward. Those are always my favourite kinds of recipes!
- Zero waste. No one likes to throw away food and bread pudding gives you the opportunity to upcycle bread that’s past its prime into a delicious dessert.
- Vegan. Most bread pudding recipes are made with eggs and heavy cream, but my version uses some simple swaps to make it completely plant-based.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Day-old vegan bread
- Full-fat coconut milk – Don’t swap in lite coconut milk! You need full-fat to mimic the richness of traditional custard.
- Brown sugar – You can use either dark brown sugar or light brown sugar.
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract – Use a high-quality real vanilla extract, not imitation.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg – If you can grate your own nutmeg, you’ll be rewarded with extra cozy flavour.
- Non-dairy milk – I used soy milk, but you can use any unflavoured, unsweetened plant milk.
- Cornstarch – This thickens the custard mixture.
- Vegan butter – Let the butter come to room temperature.
- Pecans – I use pecan pieces, which are less expensive than whole pecans.
- Powdered sugar
What Is the Best Type of Bread for Bread Pudding?
Technically, any type of bread can be used for bread pudding. However, some types work better than others. I love using my vegan Japanese milk bread, which has a rich, buttery flavour. French bread, sourdough, or any other vegan bread will also work.
How to Make Bread Pudding
- Prepare. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl.
- Start the custard. Whisk together the coconut milk, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until warmed through.
- Make a slurry. Whisk together the non-dairy milk and cornstarch until the starch dissolves.
- Thicken the custard. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the coconut milk mixture. Continue to cook and stir until thickened.
- Finish the custard. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vegan butter and rum until the butter melts.
- Add the custard to the bread. Stir the sauce into the bowl with the bread. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes. At the end of the resting time, preheat the oven to 350ºF and coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bake. Spread the bread cubes into the baking dish and pour any liquid from the bowl over the top. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and bake for 35 minutes.
Tips for Success
- Dry out the bread first. If the bread isn’t fully dried out, cut it into cubes the night before and spread it on a baking sheet. Leave it uncovered at room temperature until it goes stale.
- Don’t over-bake. Bread pudding should be moist and custardy on the inside. Over-baking will result in a drier consistency.
- Let it rest before serving. Allowing the bread pudding to cool and set for about 15 minutes after baking will make it easier to slice and serve.
Variations and Serving Suggestions
- Add your favorite mix-ins. Such as chocolate chips, raisins or other dried fruit, or fresh fruit like banana slices or apples.
- Mix up the spices. Experiment with different blends of spices like ginger, cardamom, or allspice to create your own bread pudding. Pre-mixed seasonings like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice work too!
- Serve it with vegan “creme anglaise.” Creme anglaise is a decadent vanilla sauce often paired with bread pudding. I’ve found you can make something similar by melting vegan vanilla ice cream!
- Or serve it with ice cream. You can also serve bread pudding warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of vegan whipped cream on top. Drizzle with vegan caramel for an extra decadent touch.
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftover bread pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the microwave or oven before serving, or enjoy it cold or at room temperature.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Yes, you can freeze this bread pudding recipe for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap the cooled bread pudding tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe container or bag. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.
More Vegan Dessert Ideas
Vegan Bread Pudding
- 1 pound day old vegan bread cut into 1” cubes 453 grams
- 13.6 ounce full fat coconut milk 403 ml
- ½ cup brown sugar 107 grams
- ½ cup maple syrup 150 grams
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cup non-dairy milk cold (I used soy milk) 300 ml
- ⅓ cup cornstarch 42 grams
- ¼ cup vegan butter cut into cubes – room temperature 58 grams
- ¼ cup rum optional 60 ml
- ½ cup pecans coarsely chopped 56 grams
- Powdered sugar for topping optional
- Place the bread cubes into a large bowl and set aside.
- Combine the coconut milk, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir well and cook for about 7-8 minutes until warmed through. It should look like chocolate milk.
- Combine the cold non-dairy milk and cornstarch and whisk until the starch is completely dissolved.
- Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot milk while whisking. Continue to cook and stir until thickened about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the vegan butter and rum. Stir until the butter melts.
- Pour the sauce over the bread cubes and stir to coat. Then cover the bowl and set it aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 2 quart (or 9×9) baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread the soaked bread cubes into the baking dish and pour any liquid from the bowl over the top.
- Sprinkle the top with chopped pecans.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.