Every time I make bread pudding, I end up scratching my head and wondering, “Why don't I make this more often?” I usually make bread pudding for the holidays (hey, it’s a classic) but I’m starting to think we should have it all year. It’s so good! I have so many fond memories of filling up on holiday feasts with my family, and many of those memories end with making room for just one more bite of sweet bread pudding. My bread pudding recipe makes a delicious treat with a party of flavors that all get along. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.

Where does bread pudding come from?

It amazes me how far bread pudding has come considering its humble beginning. Food historians have traced this classic comfort food all the way back to the 11th century, where it was invented by frugal cooks as a way to use up stale, leftover bread. Every crumb was valuable back then! It was a kind of “poor man's pudding” in its early days. But between the heavy cream, dried fruits, and spiced rum, boy does it feel rich to me. 

bread pudding

What kind of bread is best for bread pudding? 

I like to make my bread pudding with challah. Technically, you can use whatever old bread you have around (steer clear of mold, of course), but I’m kind of a purist on this one. Why? Because challah is special. It’s similar to brioche bread—it has a rich and spongy texture because it’s made with egg yolks. In addition to the satisfying texture, it has complex, tangy honey notes. In a nutshell it’s a little soft, a little sweet, and a whole lot delicious! And that, my friends, is why challah is the best bread to use in your next bread pudding.

bread pudding
bread pudding igredients

What makes my bread pudding so special? It’s all about the dark rum and spices. 

Remember that party of flavors I mentioned earlier? Bread pudding might seem like kind of a boring dessert at first glance, but mine truly is bursting with flavor. Different types of dried fruit like cherries and golden raisins add different flavor notes, but I also like to add nutmeg, cinnamon, and fresh orange zest for warmth and brightness. 

And that’s not all—the icing on the cake (so to speak) is actually the rum sauce. My rum sauce is inspired by Southern bread pudding recipes. In the south, people really seem to like the extra spice, sweetness, and kick that a hard rum sauce adds. You can use white rum, but I prefer dark. Dark rum often has spices added and is aged which means it has a richer, bolder flavor. My favorite rum to use for this recipe is Captain Morgan’s spiced dark rum. No need to break the bank for something that’s going into a glaze, in my opinion.

Yield: Makes 10 servings
My Best Bread Pudding Recipe with Dark Rum Sauce

My Best Bread Pudding Recipe with Dark Rum Sauce

Bread pudding might not seem that exciting at first glance, but this will be a dessert that you want to make again and again. Make it extra decadent with a hard rum sauce on top.


Bread Pudding
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon to butter the pan
  • 1½ pounds brioche or challah, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup dark rum


  1. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch pan with the one tablespoon of unsalted butter.
  2. Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Pour the half and half and cream over the bread cubes. Toss gently to coat. Let the bread cubes soak at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt the 12 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, and rum. Stir until combined.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the butter/sugar mixture along with the orange zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture followed by the raisins and cherries or cranberries. Mix gently until evenly combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.
  5. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake, covered, for 55 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the bread pudding is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes while preparing the glaze.
  6. Melt the butter in a medium pot over low heat. Once melted, remove the pot from the heat. Add the rum and confectioners’ sugar. Stir until incorporated. Add the cream and mix until smooth. Pour the glaze over the top of the bread pudding and let sit for 15 minutes.
  7. Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to boil gently for 10 minutes to thicken. Serve with the bread pudding. Bread pudding is best served slightly warm the day it is baked.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it # breadpudding
November 30, 2022 — Mary DiSomma