Vanilla Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

From Scratch: 10 Meals, 175 Recipes, and Dozens of Techniques You Will Use Over and Over

From Scratch

By Michael Ruhlman

Published 2019

  • About

This recipe replaces the savory elements of the previous strata with sweet ones. It’s topped with a caramel sauce rather than cheese. You can simplify this by using only vanilla extract, or you can enhance the flavor by infusing the half-and-half with a vanilla pod.


  • 3 cups/710 milliliters half-and-half
  • 1 cup/200 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract plus one vanilla pod
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 8 cups/400 grams cubed bread, day-old or dried in a low oven
  • Bourbon Caramel Sauce, for serving


Preheat your oven to 325°F/163°C. Oil or spray a 9-by-13-inch/22-by-33-centimeter baking dish. Combine the half-and-half and sugar in a small saucepan. If using a vanilla pod, cut it in half lengthwise and add that to the pan. Bring the half-and-half to a simmer over medium heat, then remove the pan from the heat. Scrape the beans from the pod, if using, and return them to the half-and-half. Add the vanilla extract (if using), cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature (it can be warm, as long as it doesn’t cook the eggs when combined).

Add the eggs and blend the mixture till uniformly combined. Spread out the bread in the prepared baking dish and pour the custard over the bread. Allow the bread to soak up the custard, 10 to 20 minutes.

Bake until the custard is set, 45 to 60 minutes. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature topped with the bourbon caramel sauce.