When it comes to cold weather desserts, you’ll be hard pressed to find something cozier and tastier than my Bourbon Bread Pudding with Berry Sauce. Made with stale bread and frozen berries, it’s economical to make and a true delight to eat.

individual bread pudding on a floral plate drizzled with bourbon sauce, berry sauce and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Why I Love This Bread Pudding Recipe

I love capirotada (Mexican bread pudding), and wanted similar flavor profiles, but with a boozy and fruity element. I especially love that these are portion controlled and made in small ramekins. Because if you know me, you know I have no self control when it comes to bread pudding of any type. 

These mini bread puddings can be made in ramekins, a large muffin pan, or mini cast iron skillets.

They are a delicious dessert to really impress and can be served any time of year because the berries are frozen. So no matter if it’s summer or winter or anywhere in between you can make this deliciously boozy dessert.

frozen berries in a saucepan to make bread pudding sauce.

Finally, I absolutely LOVE that this easy recipe gives me a way to use up any stale bread I have laying around. Giving something a new life that would otherwise get tossed  is so satisfying! If it so happens that the new life is as a warm, cozy and bourbon-y dessert, well, that’s just the berry sauce on top of the bread pudding. 

How to Make

While this recipe for bread pudding might look long, I promise it is super simple and only takes about 20 minutes of active time. Just follow these steps:

Syrup for Soaking

Combine water, cinnamon sticks, and piloncillo in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, creating a syrup. Simmer syrup uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered for 1 hour. Discard cinnamon sticks.

Bake the Mini Bread Puddings

Butter six 10-ounce ramekins, a large muffin pan, or mini cast iron skillets.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together syrup, eggs, milk, bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Toss in the bread cubes, and stir gently to evenly coat; let stand a few minutes. Divide among prepared dishes, pressing down slightly to make level.

6 ramekins filled with bourbon bread pudding on a sheet pan fresh from the oven.

TIP: If you want, you can assemble the bread puddings up to this point and refrigerate for up to 24 hours prior to baking. Bread pudding makes for an excellent dinner party dessert!

Bake until set in the center and top is golden, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

TIP: If bread browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil to protect it from burning.

Bourbon Drizzle

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add sugar, milk, bourbon, and salt, stirring until incorporated and smooth.

wooden spoonful of berry bread pudding sauce above the pot.

Warm Berry Sauce

Combine the berries, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer it until the berries have released all of their liquid, about 5 to 8 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly. Use a wooden spoon to combine.

overhead shot of plating a mini bourbon bread pudding on a patterned plate with a side of hard bourbon sauce and berry sauce in bowls.

How to Serve

To serve, un-mold bread pudding onto plates. Pour bourbon sauce over top of bread pudding and top with warm berry sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

overhead shot of individual bread pudding on a floral plate topped with bourbon sauce and berry sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have stale bread on hand?

Not to worry! You can dry out some bread (or croissants) in the oven. Simply cut the bread into cubes and throw them on a sheet pan. Place them in a 350F oven for 15-25 minutes, until the bread feels dried out. It should now be ready to soak up all the yummy, custardy goodness!

What kind of berries are best for the bread pudding sauce?

I’m a sucker for all berries, so I love using a mixed bag. That said, you can absolutely opt to use just a single type of berry if you prefer. Just note that for certain berries like cranberries you may need to add a few more tablespoons of sugar to get the flavor balanced just right.

Also, while you certainly *can* use fresh berries to make the sauce, I’m of the opinion that you should save the fresh ones for eating fresh. Frozen berries are picked at peak ripeness, so they will have all the sweet berry flavor you could want at a fraction of the price of fresh. They are ideal for cooking into things like this bread pudding sauce.

Can I make bread pudding ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can assemble the bread puddings but not bake them, keeping them covered in the refrigerator to soak overnight. Baked bread puddings will also keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to four days. Baked bread pudding can also be frozen for up to three months.

To reheat the bread pudding, pop them into an oven set to 250 until warmed through.

Both sauces can also be made ahead of time and will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I can’t eat corn… what is an alternative for cornstarch?

Cornstarch acts as a thickening agent for the berry sauce. If you are avoiding corn, feel free to substitute an equal amount of arrowroot starch (also known as arrowroot flour) instead.

Need more dessert inspiration?

Check out these other delicious recipes:

If you tried this recipe for Bourbon Bread Pudding with Mixed Berry Sauce, please let me know how it turned out! You can either tag me on Instagram to show me your creations, or you can comment below.

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45 degree angle shot of bourbon bread pudding topped with berry sauce and vanilla ice cream

Bourbon Bread Pudding with Mixed Berry Sauce

5 (4 ratings)
This classic bread pudding is served with a bourbon sauce, topped with warm berries, and vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

Bourbon Bread Pudding:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, for ramekins
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 ounces piloncillo or 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 16 ounce day-old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

Bourbon Sauce:

Mixed Berry Sauce:

Instructions 

Bourbon Bread Pudding:

  • Butter six 10-ounce ramekins, large muffin pan, or mini cast iron skillets
  • Combine water, cinnamon sticks, and piloncillo in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, creating a syrup. Simmer syrup uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered for 1 hour. Discard cinnamon sticks.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together syrup, eggs, milk, bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Toss in the bread cubes, and stir gently to evenly coat; let stand a few minutes. Divide among prepared dishes, pressing down slightly to make level.
  • Bake until set in the center and top is golden, about 40 minutes. If bread browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Remove from oven; let cool slightly.

Bourbon Sauce:

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add sugar, milk, bourbon, and salt, stirring until incorporated and smooth.

Mixed Berry Sauce:

  • Combine the berries, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer it until the berries have released all of their liquid, about 5 to 8 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly. Use a wooden spoon to combine.

Assembly:

  • To serve, un-mold bread pudding onto plates.
  • Pour bourbon sauce over top of bread pudding and top with warm berry sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes

  • If you don’t have any day-old bread on hand, bake fresh bread cubes in the oven for about 10 minutes. You can also swap in croissants for an even butterier take. YUM!
  • Bread pudding is best served warm, but can be kept refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
Calories: 796kcal, Carbohydrates: 131g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 149mg, Sodium: 486mg, Potassium: 387mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 83g, Vitamin A: 706IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 200mg, Iron: 4mg

Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: October 2018.