The Easiest, Most Comforting Holiday Dessert
Bread pudding is comfort food at its finest. Warm, gooey and ideal for holiday gatherings, it's also a perfect vehicle for highlighting fall flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, cranberry and apple. A traditional bread pudding is baked in the oven, but you can make an even easier version in your slow cooker. Serve directly from the cooker to keep the pudding warm, or transport it in the cooker wrapped tightly in towels or in an insulated carrier so it will retain heat on the journey. This basic but fantastic bread pudding recipe is simple to adapt to ingredients you have on hand, and you can even get the kids involved by asking them to break up the bread into bite-sized pieces.
Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 8
Traditionally, bread pudding is made with plain white bread or day-old baguettes. However, any type of plain yeasted bread can work, from white to wheat to multigrain.
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 8 cups day-old bread, broken or cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
This recipe works with fresh fruit just as well as it does with dried fruit. Instead of the raisins or cranberries, try adding 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh blueberries or fresh apple slices. If you want a traditional apple-cinnamon flavor, omit the vanilla, and substitute 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for it.
- Grease the inside of the Crock-Pot with 1 tablespoon butter.
Heat the Crock-Pot
to low, and place the bread pieces in.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the butter with the brown sugar and the eggs.
4. Whisk in the milk.
5. Whisk in the vanilla extract, or slice the vanilla bean open and remove the seeds, whisking them into the mixture. 6. Sprinkle the dried cranberries or raisins over the bread pieces.
7. Pour the milk mixture over the bread pieces, making sure they are all moistened.
8. Cook the bread pudding on low for 3 to 4 hours or until the liquid has turned to a custard-like consistency.
Serve the bread pudding while still warm, with scoops of vanilla ice cream. Alternately, pour créme anglaise over the top of each serving, or whip up 1/2 cup of fresh cream with 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and top each serving with a small mound of the whipped cream.
Carly Schuna is a Wisconsin-based professional writer, editor and copy editor/proofreader. She has worked with hundreds of pieces of fiction, nonfiction, children's literature, feature stories and corporate content. Her expertise on food, cooking, nutrition and fitness information comes from a Level 1 personal training certification and years of in-depth study.