Got a loaf of bread going stale, or a baguette that you didn’t quite finish? Lucky you, it’s time to make bread pudding!
Bread pudding is a delicious and super easy dessert that puts your stale bread to good use, but it tends to bake up a good few servings.
There’s no point in using stale bread for pudding if it’s just going to go to waste because you can’t eat the whole dessert. Luckily, baking the bread gives it an entirely new lease on life and, once it’s cooked, it freezes surprisingly well.
Best Tips for Freezing Bread Pudding
Assuming you’ve made this bread pudding from scratch, the first thing you want to be aware of before freezing it is that it needs to be completely cooled. Room temperature. Never put anything hot in your freezer, least of all bread.
If you’ve made a sauce to go along with your pudding, keep it separate. The sauce can be frozen in any freezer-safe container, just make sure you leave enough room for it to expand a bit.
In order to freeze and thaw evenly, it’s best to store your pudding in individual pieces. This will help it freeze faster and it also makes it easier to sneak out a single portion when you want a little treat to yourself.
Wrap the individual portions in plastic wrap and, if you’re very concerned about the well-being of your bread pudding, you can wrap it again in aluminum foil.
You can put it in your freezer like this, or you can gather all the individual parcels together and place them into a single freezer-safe Tupperware container. This will save them from getting crushed in your freezer.
Tupperware containers are also easier to label than aluminum foil, and it’s always good to put a date on anything you freeze. The frozen bread pudding will stay fresh for up to 3 months if you store it carefully.
A Caveat About Store-Bought Bread Pudding
If you’ve purchased your bread pudding and are dealing with leftovers, the question is going to be whether it has been sauced or not. If not, you’re fine, just follow the same steps as above!
If it has sauce poured on it, unfortunately freezing and unthawing is likely to turn it into a soggy mess. You’re better off to finish it within the next few days.
You can also send it home with your dinner party guests or leave it as a treat for your office co-workers. Hopefully, someone will return the favor in your bread pudding-less future!
Thawing and Reheating Frozen Bread Pudding
You don’t want to try to heat up your bread pudding from frozen, so it’s a good idea to let it thaw out in the fridge overnight before you’re ready to eat it.
If you notice it seems harder than you remember it being, that’s normal and okay. Warming it up will soften it, especially if you pour some delicious sauce over it as you do so.
To warm it up, you can use either the microwave or your oven. In the first, go slowly, with 10-second bursts.
If you cook it too long at once, it will go hard. In the oven, it will reheat nicely in about 10 minutes at 350F. Place it on a baking sheet and drizzle the sauce, if you have it, over the bread before warming it up.
If you find that it’s still a bit dry, no matter how careful you were, or if you don’t have any sauce, the best fix we’ve found is a dollop of ice cream!
More Options for Storing Bread Pudding
Freezing your bread pudding is not your only option, however, it is the best bet for long-term storage. If you only need it to keep for a few days, or if you have no room left in your freezer for treats, we’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeve for you.
Storing Bread Pudding in Your Fridge
If you’ve got a great sauce, or you plan on eating it with ice cream, you can get another day or two out of storing it in your fridge.
Simple and sweet, you can keep your pudding in the fridge. It will last in your fridge well for 1 – 2 days, but any longer than that and it will start to dry out.
Upcycling Bread Pudding
If you’ve got leftover bread pudding but you don’t necessarily want to eat the same dessert again, there are a few ways you can change it up just enough to make it feel entirely new. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Make French toast
- How you cook it will depend on how moist your leftovers are. If they’re a bit dry, just use a normal egg dip and fry it up, but if it’s quite custardy still you’ll want to be lenient with the amount of egg you use. Also, remember that it’s already sweet and spiced, so you won’t need more in your egg dip.
- Make cake pops
- Mush it with a bit of buttercream frosting–you really won’t need much if your pudding is still quite moist–and mold them into balls. Seal with a delicious chocolate dip and enjoy an entirely new decadent dessert in the form of cake pops!
- Grill it
- Similar to French toast, grill slices of your bread pudding until they’re toasty and top with jam or ice cream
- Deep fry it
- Definitely not the healthiest option around but a total hit at local fairgrounds and nothing short of delicious!
How to Make Easy, Delicious Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is really simple, and it can be made with just a few ingredients. You can also get creative and add extras to change up the flavors and make it a new dessert every time you make it.
- 2 C milk
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- ½ loaf of stale bread, or approximately the equivalent of whatever you have
- 1/3 C sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Pinch of salt
Bonus Flavor Ideas:
- Fresh, canned or dried fruit of just about any variety.
- Spices, like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, or allspice.
- Treats like chocolate or butterscotch chips or chunks of chocolate bars.
- Liquors like Kahlua, Rum, or Bourbon.
- Make it savory instead, using some bacon grease or cheese.
- Get a 9 x 13 baking dish ready by spraying it with cooking spray or coating it with a bit of butter.
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Cut or pull your bread into bite-sized pieces, about 1 – 2 inches and put it in a large bowl.
- Combine all your ingredients except the bread and any extra fruit or solids you’re going to be adding
- Pour the mixture over your bread and let it soak in for 10 minutes.
- Add your fruit or other treats and mix well, it should be soggy and kind of doughy.
- Put your pudding into the baking dish and bake for 30- 45 minutes, checking to make sure it sets and browns, but doesn’t burn or get dry.
Let your bread pudding cool before serving. Enjoy!
Make a Sauce for Your Pudding
There are endless sauces you can make for your bread pudding, but our favorite is a cream cheese-style sauce that makes your bread pudding sort of like a cinnamon-bun
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp butter
- ½ C sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine all the ingredients except the vanilla.
- Warm in the microwave until the cream cheese is completely melted, using 30-second bursts and mixing very well in between.
- When completely melted, stir in the vanilla.
- Drizzle over your bread pudding and salivate (but not onto the whole dessert).
Where Does Bread Pudding Come from?
There was a time when wasting any food was akin to sacrilege. Bread pudding has its roots in such frugal kitchens as far back as the 11th century, England. Back then, it was known as “poor man’s pudding,” for reasons you can probably guess.
What Kind of Bread Pudding Can You Make?
You can use just about anything you have available for your bread pudding – any kind of bread and just about any optional fruits or sweet treats as extra flavoring.
Some of the most popular types of bread pudding are made with brioche, which is naturally sweet itself, or puddings spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, maybe with some nuts and raisins tossed in for good measure. Really, the sky’s the limit and you can experiment with your own personal favorite flavors.
What Is the Difference Between Bread Pudding and Bread and Butter Pudding?
Bread pudding is a dessert made from stale bread, soaked in sweet milk and eggs that, when baked, turns into a delightful custard-style dessert.
Bread and butter pudding, on the other hand, is a particular type of bread pudding popular in the UK, which layers slices of buttered bread in a baking dish, decorated with raisins and then soaked in the egg custard mixture.