Full of flavor and perfect for making ahead, this savory bread pudding steals the show at holiday meals! Leftover stale bread, creamy custard, and fresh herbs create a delicious casserole that's perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Elevating the traditional dessert, this savory bread pudding also serves as stuffing! It's become a Thanksgiving staple on my table as it seamlessly combines creamy richness with savory flavors.
Inspired by a stale scone bread pudding I made as a pastry chef, this savory bread pudding uses leftover bread, giving it a crispy top with a creamy custardy center. It's even perfect for breakfast when you're not craving a sweet French toast casserole or cinnamon bun cake!
Why We Love Savory Bread Pudding
Best Bread for Bread Pudding
I have tested this savory bread pudding with many different variations of bread and found that any crusty bread works perfectly. Here are some of my favorite options:
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Bread: You can use any leftover bread you have on hand. We used a mixture of half sourdough bread and half french bread.
Mushrooms: Baby Bella (crimini) mushrooms will give the bread pudding a pronounced mushroom flavor. Substitute with white button mushrooms for a less earthy flavor!
Onion: Onions provide a sweetness to the pudding that compliments the savory flavors. Use a vidalia or yellow onion for the best flavor. I use these onions in my caramelized onion focaccia too!
Fresh herbs: Fresh rosemary and thyme are my favorite for this recipe, but you can use fresh chives, parsley, sage, or a mix as alternatives. If fresh herbs aren't available, substitute with half the amount of dried herbs.
Heavy cream: Cream adds richness and a super creamy texture to the bread pudding. You can substitute it with whole milk or half and half but it won't be as creamy.
Chicken stock: The stock adds moisture and another depth of flavor that soaks up into the bread cubes as they bake. Use vegetable broth or beef broth in substitution.
Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!
Flavor Variations and Additions
Savory bread casserole is so versatile and can cater to any occasion! You can use this recipe as a base for your favorite flavors like:
- Italian-inspired: Crumbled cooked sweet Italian sausage, parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil.
- Savory breakfast casserole: Add cooked diced bacon, Italian sausage, and sharp cheddar cheese.
- Vegetarian: Any fresh vegetables can be used! Try diced red bell peppers, mushrooms, wilted spinach, and sauteed leeks.
- Croque Monsieur: Add Swiss cheese or Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and diced leftover ham.
Step 1: Cook the mushrooms, onion, and celery. In a large Dutch oven, saute the mushrooms, onion, and celery in melted butter until soft. Mix in the fresh herbs and garlic.
Step 2: Mix in the broth and simmer. Mix in the flour, then chicken broth, stirring continuously. Season with salt and fresh black pepper, bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer until thickened.
Step 3: Make the custard base. Whisk together the eggs and heavy cream.
Step 4: Mix in the stale bread cubes. Once the sauce is cool, toss in the stale cubed bread and mix until well-coated.
Step 5: Mix in the custard. Mix the custard into the bread, tossing to combine.
Step 6: Bake! Pour the savory bread pudding into your greased baking dish. Bake until the internal temperature is 165 F/74 C.
If your pan is broiler-safe, broil for 2-3 minutes until the bread cubes are crispy.
Tips for the Best Bread Pudding
- Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Dicing the bread into 1-inch cubes maintains a balance of structure and softening during baking.
- Oven dry the bread. Oven-drying the bread cubes yields a crispier texture and enhances sauce absorption compared to room-temperature staled bread.
- Serve for Thanksgiving! Baked with eggs and heavy cream, this bread pudding stuffing remains moist and avoids drying out, making it an ideal side dish. Pair it with garlic bread rolls for the ultimate spread!
- Assemble and chill the pudding overnight for a creamier texture. If a softer texture isn't preferred, prepare the sauce in advance and assemble everything the next day!
- Grease the pan- this will keep the bread pudding from sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan!
No, it does not need to be covered!
Yes! Pour the bread pudding into the baking pan, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge overnight. I don't recommend making it further than 24 hours in advance or it will be soggy. You can also prep the components a few days in advance, then mix and bake when ready!
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
For this recipe, we baked ours in an 8.5 x 11.5 baking pan. If using a larger pan, it will likely only bake for 20-25 minutes!
If you plan on serving a crowd, double the recipe and bake it in a 9x13 baking pan. You will need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time!
Serve it as an alternative to your Thanksgiving stuffing, as a breakfast casserole, or as a side dish. It's perfect for your holiday dinner spread!
Savory Bread Pudding
- 8 cups 1-inch cubed bread We use a mix of Sourdough and French bread
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups crimini mushrooms finely diced
- 2 cups Vidalia onion diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- Before you start. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
- Stale the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes onto a large unlined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until dry and toasted. Set aside. You are looking for the bread to be crisp like a crouton, without color!8 cups 1-inch cubed bread
- Cook the veggies. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, and celery and saute until soft, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 10-15 minutes.6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 cups crimini mushrooms, 2 cups Vidalia onion, 1 cup celery
- Stir in the fresh herbs. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.3 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- Simmer the sauce. Stir in the flour. Then the broth, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Set aside to cool completely, about 1 hour. It must be at least room temperature otherwise the hot sauce will cook the eggs!¼ cup all-purpose flour, 3 cups chicken broth, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon pepper
- Make the custard. Whisk together the eggs and cream.⅔ cup heavy cream, 3 large eggs
- Toss the bread cubes in the sauce. When the sauce is cool, stir in the stale bread, tossing to coat the bread. Then stir in the custard.
- Prepare the baking dish. Grease a large baking dish with butter. We used an 8.5 x 11.5 pan.
- Bake the bread pudding. Pour the bread pudding into the baking dish and bake at 350 F/180 C for 25-35 minutes (depending on how deep or shallow your pan is), or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. For a crispy top, turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes at the end of the bake time until the top of the bread cubes are golden brown. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn! (Make sure your pan is broiler-safe before doing this!)
- Serve and enjoy! Garnish with fresh thyme, serve warm, and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.