This pumpkin bread pudding recipe is made with sweet challah bread, layered with pumpkin puree, and filled with spicy fall flavors. A drizzle of homemade caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream finish this Fall treat off. It’s the perfect make ahead dessert for the holidays that will have your family wanting more!
We all know that when fall rolls around most of our baking recipes are going to contain that sweet pumpkin flavor. If you love bread pudding, this will quickly become a seasonal favorite, along with my famous apple bread pudding. While you are stocking up on the canned pumpkin puree, grab a few extras so you can make pumpkin cinnamon rolls and two-ingredient pumpkin donuts. If you are more of a cake person, go with a batch of this pumpkin bar recipe or these pumpkin pie cupcakes.
During this time of year, we know most are getting together more often, serving crowds, and hanging out with their families. Special gatherings call for easy comfort food recipes like this pot roast recipe, brown sugar glazed ham, dry brine turkey, or herb roasted chicken. All of these dishes pair well with a rich tray of pumpkin bread pudding for dessert!
Why You’ll Love Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- A twist on the traditional bread pudding.
- Perfect for the fall and holiday seasons.
- Can be made ahead of time.
- Great for serving crowds.
- A way to use leftover bread.
- Ingredients are pantry staples, so you won’t have to shop much!
What Ingredients do I Need for Easy Pumpkin Bread Pudding?
- Challah bread – brioche or thick French Bread will work as well.
- unsalted butter
- large eggs – let the eggs come to room temperature to make mixing easier and more creamier
- half & half
- light brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- pumpkin spice
- pumpkin puree – be sure you’re using 100% pumpkin puree and not a blend that already has spices or sugars in it
- unsalted butter
- light brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- half & half
- vanilla extract
Pro Tip: We are using canned pumpkin puree for ease, but if you have a fresh pumpkin, you can use that instead.
How to Make Pumpkin Bread Pudding
PREP: Grease the baking pan with cooking spray or by brushing it with butter. Place the bread cubes in the bottom. Mix together the eggs, half and half, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree, and salt.
LAYER AND CHILL: Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Stir to coat if needed. Drizzle the melted butter over the pumpkin bread pudding. Cover tightly with foil and chill.
COOK: Allow the dish to come to room temperature while the oven preheats to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil, and continnue baking for another 30 minutes.
CARAMEL SAUCE: While it’s baking, combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly and remove once the temperature reaches 220 degrees. Remove from the heat and pour in the half and half, vanilla, and salt.
SERVE: Slowly drizzle the sauce over the warm bread pudding. Reserve some for individual servings. Let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Making bread pudding ahead of time is a great idea, because the longer it sits, the better it tastes. However, do not let it chill for more than 24 hours or it may get soggy.
- We like using challah bread because it’s a little sweet, thick, and buttery – much better than regular sandwich bread.
- Your baking dish should be room temperature before cooking. If not, it could shatter during the baking process.
- Be sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Watch the temperature of the caramel sauce, it burns easily. We use a candy thermometer for best results.
- Keep the leftover caramel sauce in a container with a lid for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Mason jars work well. When ready, heat for 30 seconds in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop.
- To use fresh pumpkin puree: cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy parts. Place each half flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees until it’s fork tender. Scoop out the pumpkin and puree with a blender until smooth. Allow it to cool before adding it in.
The United States produces over 1.5 BILLION pounds of pumpkins per year!
Keep leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave if desired.
If you want to freeze it, transfer for it to a freezer bag once it has cooled but do not add the caramel. Instead save it for when you are ready to serve.
You can, but we like it when it’s warm or at room temperature!
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- 8 cups 1 pound loaf Challah bread, cubed into 1 inch pieces)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 8 large eggs room temperature
- 2 cups half & half
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup half & half
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, half & half, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice blend, salt, and pumpkin puree. Be sure that all the eggs are well beaten and all the ingredients are well combined.
- Into the bottom of the prepared 9×13 baking dish, place the cubed challah bread.
- Slowly pour the egg mixture over the bread making sure you cover all the bread with the egg mixture. You can gently stir the mixture so that all of the bread is coated in egg mixture.
- Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and drizzle it over the entire top of the pumpkin bread pudding.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350* F. While your oven is preheating you will want to allow your baking dish to sit at room temperature to warm up before placing it into a hot oven. This is especially important if you are using a glass baking dish.
- Bake the pumpkin bread pudding for 45 minutes covered with aluminum foil. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- While your pumpkin bread pudding finishes baking you can make your caramel sauce by adding the unsalted butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar to a saucepan on medium heat. You will melt your butter and cook your sugars for 5-6 minutes, whisking constantly, or until the mixture reaches 220*F on a candy thermometer. Be very careful not to let your sugars burn.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the half & half, vanilla extract and salt until fully incorporated.
- When the pumpkin bread pudding comes out of the oven, slowly pour the caramel sauce over the top of the warm bread pudding. Reserve about ½ cup of the caramel sauce to serve with individual servings.