Bread pudding with whiskey sauce

By Katherine

Someone drizzled that sauce like a pro

From the humblest to the haughtiest of restaurants, bread puddings are everywhere down here. The best are so rich and moist it’s a wonder anything that good could have been created from milk and day-old bread. We’ve seen them with decadent caramel or white chocolate sauces, rich dark chocolate chunks, heavenly pecans.

When we wanted to make one, two things were clear: 1) It would have no raisins. (Greg hates them.) 2) The sauce would have to be made from whiskey, bourbon to be precise.

Katherine’s bread pudding

  • 1 1-pound loaf of French bread (Italian is OK, but it must be a light, white bread)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup pecans ground into a flour

Greg’s whiskey sauce

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 pan. Slice loaf and cut slices into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large mixing bowl. In a four-quart saucepan warm milk and cream until just beginning to bubble. Do not boil or let scald. As the milk and cream are warming, beat eggs and sugar until lemon yellow on medium-high speed, about a minute. Set aside. Pour milk over bread and stir to incorporate. Mix in egg mixture. Stir in spices, ground pecans, bourbon and finally the melted butter. The mix will be soupy. Pour into prepared pan. Set the dish in a larger pan or on a baking sheet with raised edges. Place in oven, with rack out, and carefully pour water into the larger baking pan to fill it about an inch high. Carefully slide the rack back in, taking care not to slosh water. Bake for about an hour or until a knife blade inserted in the center comes out clean. The pudding will puff up and fall when it cools. As the pudding cools make the whiskey sauce. In a small saucepan melt butter. Whisk in brown sugar until fully dissolved, about a minute. Add bourbon all at once and take a quick step back, because those fumes are intoxicating. Whisk until incorporated. Add cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Allow mix to boil, continuing to mix constantly. Allow to thicken into a nice rich brown, thick sauce, about five minutes. Pour over bread pudding and serve while still warm.

A note to nondrinkers: A teaspoon of vanilla extract can be substituted for bourbon in the pudding. A caramel or chocolate sauce of your choice can be used in place of the whiskey sauce.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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110 Responses to Bread pudding with whiskey sauce

  1. Zo Zhou says:

    Ohhhh yeahhhh…I still have yet to find a whiskey I like that can be purchased. Also purchased without bankrupting me for the week. Sounds marvellous either way though (with bourbon or with vanilla). Even though it’s spring over here the weather is miserable enough to warrant a large slice of this (are they slices? Whatevs).

    • Katherine says:

      We used Jim Beam, just the standard one. I’m sure it’s more expensive over there. But that toffee sauce you made for your marmalade cake would work well. And yep, they’re slices, tasty, tasty slices!

  2. I completely agree with Greg, absolutely NO RAISINS should ever be in bread pudding, and whisky sauce is a must. Delicious looking bread pudding, by the way.

      • A_Boleyn says:

        I like raisins …. :{ especially since the raisin challah bread I make bread pudding with is so rich and buttery that you can just use regular milk to make it rather than cream. I don’t have to add additional raisins or cinnamon either. But you can’t make bread pudding for one so it’s a rare treat at my house.

    • katherine says:

      Oh using challah sounds wonderful!

  3. No raisins! In anything.

    • katherine says:

      We actually have some in the house and I made a dessert with them last night. Well, my part had them, his didn’t. We normally never have them in the house, but they were on sale in snack packs.

  4. Tandy says:

    there are two things I love about this, no raisins being one, and the bourbon the other!

  5. Veronika says:

    … Must… remind… boyfriend – to buy some bourbon. He (understandably) won’t let me cook with his drinking whisky and hoards it. πŸ™‚ This looks gorgeous – the sauce, especially!

  6. rsmacaalay says:

    Bourbon in a bread, never tried it yet but I am so willing to as that photo above looks so yummy.

    • katherine says:

      If you ever make it, I’d love to see the info you pull up on what countries make this! Isn’t that awful, I guess I could just look that up, but you do such a better job on that front.

  7. Katherine, you have outdone yourself. You have definitely presented a new way to make bread pudding (of course I’m used to the southern way). I love this

    • Katherine says:

      Thanks, Kay. We’re going to New Orleans for a few days next month and every menu I’ve seen has bread pudding on it. Some are souffle style, which I’m guessing will taste similar. How does your family make it?

      • You guys are going to have such a good time in New Orleans and the food.. oh girl the food lol. We normally make bread pudding with biscuits (we also use regular bread if we don’t have biscuits). We separate the biscuits into smaller pieces and soak them into milk. Once soaked for awhile we add an egg, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, and whatever else you want like raisins, etc. Stir, then bake. Very simple and easy.

    • katherine says:

      Biscuits sound amazing! I use those in stuffing, with cornbread too.

  8. Very sexy food pic – terrific

  9. I also don’t like raisins :).

    This looks indulgent and delicious + I love the plate!

    • katherine says:

      We got that at Target! I told Greg we couldn’t always just use the same plates. I’m constantly looking for clearance plates or vintage dishes I like. He’s constantly rolling his eyes at this.

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    These recipes are the best souvenirs! You guys need to go on the road more often. Great recipe and a very good pic.

    • Katherine says:

      We’re going to New Orleans next month. I think every restaurant has bread pudding or bananas foster and since Greg isn’t big on bananas I’m sure we’ll be getting more bread pudding ideas. Hopefully there’ll be more exotic desserts since bread pudding is so common at restaurants here.

  11. BrainRants says:

    *making Homer Simpson noises*

    • katherine says:

      Doesn’t it all go back to Homer? I swear everytime Greg opens a beer I go mmm beer, because that’s what our Homer Simpson opener says. Also, every Thanksgiving I crack wise about our gravy levels being dangerously high. That joke never gets old.

  12. rutheh says:

    Clearly we do not have enough bread puddings up here in Pittsburgh. Yum!

    • katherine says:

      When I was a teenager I worked at a restaurant the served bread pudding and for years I thought I didn’t like it because of how they made it. It was so popular though. Maybe the closer you get to the Mason Dixon the less appealing it is!

  13. SimpleP says:

    Happy comfort food, just in time for fall. One of my all time favorites!

  14. Lea Ann says:

    The only bread pudding I’ve found around here is at Whole Foods on Sun. morning and it’s wonderful.. some sort of liquer wonderfulness! I agree, someone did indeed do a pro job on that drizzle.

  15. Would it be too much to ask for a double helping? Scrumptious!
    Have a happy day.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  16. Mmmm Whiskey sauce…. the bread pudding looks good too!

  17. spicegirlfla says:

    This is pure indulgence and when I go for bread pudding, I go all the way and this recipe rocks!! You have spared no calorie expense in your cream, carbs and alcohol!! Yummm!!! What’s up with no raisins!!?? picky, picky

    • Katherine says:

      It was so good… We ate a piece each that night I put a few tiny pieces in Tupperware and the rest went to work! I figure I still spend less than I would have buying dessert out, if I give most away to the coworkers.

  18. sallybr says:

    Bread pudding: that’s a dessert I’m afraid of – but your version would turn the fear into something else… seems amazing! I guess running an extra 10 miles would take care of it, right? πŸ˜‰

  19. egg me on says:

    I hate raisins too, Greg! Yuck. That’s one great looking dessert! Good call on the whiskey sauce.

  20. movita says:

    Oh my… must try!!

  21. Kelly says:

    Oh, I have to try bread budding – it looks so delicious and the whiskey sauce is a wow.

  22. Kristy says:

    Last night was a bread pudding kind of night I guess. πŸ˜‰ I like the exclusion of raisins and the addition of a bourbon sauce. It looks finger lickin’ good!

  23. I don’t know if it is my southern roots or what but you can’t have bread pudding without whisky sauce- it is just a no no! This looks sinful, the perfect dessert for the fall and I have never been one to like raisins in my mine so kudos for our likings! LOL!

    • katherine says:

      I don’t mind raisins, but they just don’t fit do they? The best ones we’ve had are just really smooth, so I didn’t want pecan chunks either. Grinding them up still gave us the flavor.

  24. G-LO says:

    Awesome! Life is always better with whisky. πŸ™‚

  25. Korena says:

    I normally don’t mind raisins, but I agree with all the haters here! They get such a weird, squishy texture when baked into moist things, blech. I like the sound of the ground pecans – I bet peaches or other stone fruit would go well in this pudding.

  26. nrhatch says:

    Oh my . . . that looks GRAND.

  27. I had never heard of bread pudding until I started dating my English background husband. I like eating this type of thing for breakfast, with or without whiskey! Well, OK, preferably with. There I said it.

    • katherine says:

      I do wonder about the origins. You see it all the time in the South and it’s really popular in New Orleans. I figured that was the French influence. It’s probably popular a lot of places.

  28. I love bread pudding and that most countries and cultures find something to do with stale bread! Gorgeous sauce and photo – no raisins Greg? …I was surprised!

  29. charlywalker says:

    Raise the RUF-us on this one!

  30. Caroline says:

    Whiskey? Bourbon? Dessert? Say no more. I’m hopping on the next plane and should be there this evening. So, don’t be alarmed when you see me sitting at your kitchen table gobbling up the rest of this bread pudding. πŸ™‚

  31. Jessica says:

    I think I thought I didn’t like bread pudding until a friend of mine ordered some about 5 years ago and I tried it. Ohh, man…. I’m also not a fan of raisins, so this looks perfect!

    By the way, I don’t know what kind of music you guys are into, but Blind Pilot (a band I like) is playing in Little Rock on Saturday!

    • katherine says:

      Oh we’ll have to check them out! There are some good shows here this month Hayes Carll, Mates of State… We’re Alt-rock, alt-country people if that makes sense. I think the last show we saw together was Son Volt.

  32. Yep ! just checked we have all the required ingredients so its off to the kitchen now. Thanks for posting it looks great.

    • katherine says:

      Let us know if you do and remember it’s so soupy when you put it in the oven! If you already know that just give me a virtual smack!

  33. ceciliag says:

    I know you have so many comments but I just have to say.. OH YEAH! PICK ME!
    Oh and katherine, I see you are in today. Good. Greg called me a goof ball yesterday,(whiney- telling on you-voice) A goof ball!!..I don’t even know what that is! .. and I think he wrote it in Caps, well maybe not the caps but he called me a mean word. Just thought you should know – i think he needs a little smacky handy! c

    • katherine says:

      Oh gracious. Did he now? Cecilia, I’m glad you brought this to my attention. I will have speaks with him! Although, you know that is quite the term of endearment. He only calls people he really likes goofballs. But in any case, smacky handy is in order.

  34. acakediva says:

    I love bread pudding! I will have to give your recipe a go!

  35. Charles says:

    No raisins?! For shame! I haven’t had a bread and butter pudding in years – my mother used to make them quite a bit when I lived at home. Blast from the past! Love the idea of the whiskey sauce… very “adult”!

  36. JamieAnne says:


  37. Courtney says:

    Yum – love the idea of a bourbon sauce! And I’m in complete agreement with Greg about the raisins. Bleck.

  38. Carolyn Chan says:

    Bread and butter pudding is always so decadently delicious. And such a great way to use up stale bread.

    • katherine says:

      You’re the second person to call it a bread and butter pudding, which sounds far tastier than a simple old bread pudding. It has a lot of butter!

  39. Bethea says:

    Wow. That photo is stunning and I bet it still doesn’t do the dish justice!

  40. I’ll be honest…I don’t do bread puddings (Liz loves them). However, simply for the whiskey sauce I might let Liz make this for us. πŸ˜‰

  41. Perfect for fall, mmmm love comfort food. Raisins sound good, depends on the mood.

  42. randommanda says:

    Wow – sounds divine!!

  43. Amy says:

    I haven’t had bread pudding in so long…thanks for the reminder! Now I have an absolutely delicious-looking recipe to try πŸ™‚

  44. Sissi says:

    Great-looking, original bread pudding! I also often skip the raisins in the recipes and substitute them with prunes. However, if there is bourbon I suppose there’s no need for any dried fruit πŸ˜‰

  45. Need a LOVE button for this one!

  46. Stef says:

    Thank you for including the alcohol-free version as well; I appreciate it!
    Though, I adore bread pudding with raisins. πŸ˜‰

    • Katherine says:

      You’re welcome! Some sauces stir it in off the heat, so the alcohol evaporates. I did it on the heat and the alcohol burned off. But I can’t see nondrinkers really wanting a bottle of Jim Beam in the house!

  47. Love that you both had a hand in this dessert! It looks sinful!

  48. Joanne says:

    I’ve been meaning to make bread pudding at home for a while now! Thanks for a fantastic recipe. I have some salted caramel in my fridge that I think I’ll use for the sauce…is it possible to just add a little bit more whiskey directly to the bread pudding with the cream and milk? I will try it!

    • katherine says:

      I bet yours would be amazing! Yes, bourbon can go in with the milk once you pour it over the bread crumbs if you want. I add it with the pecans, but it’s one of those recipes where the order doesn’t have to so precise.

  49. Bread pudding is the BEST! Yours looks scrumptious…especially with whiskey sauce. As for Greg and his raising aversion, soaking them in whiskey first (about 30 minutes or more) before adding any recipe usually kicks them up quite a bit.

    • katherine says:

      Geni, I love that idea. However, it may make me more prone to drink whiskey than Greg to eat raisins. I remember I went to Athens, Georgia for a wedding when Greg and I were first dating and had this amazing salad where they’d plumped the raisins like that. I tried to recreate it at home. I overcooked the sweet potatoes, undercooked the honey mustard chicken and never got the raisins to plump. It’s been 12 years, I should try again.

  50. peasepudding says:

    We always had bread pudding as kids so it’s not my favourite unless jazzed up a bit as you said and I think whiskey would be a great way to do this.

  51. You made me want bread pudding so bad, I had to make it today. I love the stuff.

  52. My mother talks about her mother’s bread pudding being the best in the world. Funny thing is, my mom never made it for us! I now have John’s Thingamajig and you’re bread pudding to make this weekend! This looks excellent!

  53. ambrosiana says:

    I love desserts with liquors but this bread pudding witj whiskey looks amazing and outstanding!!

  54. Pingback: Richard’s bread pudding | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

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  56. rutheh says:

    Mardi gras dinner dessert!
    Thanks for idea Katherine

  57. Erin says:

    Anything with whiskey sauce must be good. This reminds me dining in NOLA. Can’t wait to try it.

    Erin –

  58. I’ve been having such fun looking through your recipes. First saw you over on the Chica Andaluza and followed a link over hear. And since I’ve just wasted a good hour or so reading, not wasted, reading recipes is never a waste of time, but shall I say, invested the time, just thought I would say thanks and I’ll try investing some more time here when I can.
    And, ummmm, Bread Pudding, totally one of my faves, I collect Bread Pudding recipes, just don’t make them often, as then I would eat them. Of course, that’s not a bad thing at all either.

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