Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Challah
I have been on a quest to create more pumpkin recipes lately. I don’t know if it’s the crisp breeze in the air or the sweet smell of warm spices, but I am determined to expand my pumpkin repertoire.
That is how this Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding came about. It is comforting, pleasantly sweet, and amazingly delicious. And it’s perfect for the fall and holiday season.
The best bread for fall-inspired bread pudding
First and foremost, we must discuss the bread.
Homemade challah is my preferred enriched bread of choice. It’s soft, deeply golden, and super satisfying. Plus, this recipe offers a great excuse to use the version of challah bread with raisins. A loaf of French brioche is another great option.
Ingredients needed for this recipe
I swapped out a few ingredients from my original pumpkin maple bread pudding to provide a clean and healthy recipe without refined sugar.
Gather together two cans of pumpkin puree, whole milk, heavy cream, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, kosher salt, vanilla extract, Challah bread, pecans, and raisins.
A few helpful tips on ingredients:
- Pumpkin: Make sure to purchase Pure Pumpkin Puree (no added sugar) versus Pumpkin Pie Filling (added sugar and spices). Fresh pumpkin puree is another great option.
- Milk + Heavy Cream: Full-fat of both dairy products adds body and richness. It is dessert, after all! Substitute 1 ⅔ cups half-and-half (half milk, half cream) for a slightly richer custard.
- Maple Syrup: Any color (dark, amber, golden) of pure maple syrup is wonderful. Use whatever you have on hand.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg + Allspice: The touch of ground spices really make this pumpkin dessert recipe taste like fall. Feel free to use 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice instead.
How to make pumpkin bread pudding recipe?
All it takes is one large bowl, a whisk, and a 9×13 inch baking dish (or a 9 or 10 inch pie plate) to get this pumpkin pudding mixed together and ready for the oven. Simply:
- Whisk, whisk, whisk! In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, whole milk, heavy cream, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, kosher salt and vanilla extract.
- Add bread and mix-ins. Add the cubed Challah bread, pecans, and raisins.
- Soak. Give it a gentle toss. Cover with stretch film and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Preheat and prep. Ten minutes before the soaking time ends, preheat the oven to 325 °F. Spray a 9X13 inch baking dish with oil.
- Transfer. Transfer the challah pumpkin mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread it evenly using the back of a spatula. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of pecans, if using.
- Bake! Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes and serve while it is still warm.
PRO TIP: I found the best ratio of liquid to bread is 1 ¾ cup liquid: 10 cups 1-inch cubed bread. This bakes a pumpkin pudding that is not too dry, not too soggy. If you prefer your bread pudding wet (or if using day-old bread, French baguette, savory country or crusty artisan bread), add another ⅓ cup of milk or cream.
This pumpkin dessert recipe is so delicious, like you-can’t-stop-eating-it delicious.
For even more sweetness, warmed caramel sauce or bourbon butter sauce would pair beautifully.
Variations for this pumpkin spiced bread pudding:
- Pumpkin apple bread pudding: Wash, peel, core and dice 1-2 tart apples (such as Granny Smith) and saute over low heat in 1 Tablespoon butter. Cool and add to the pumpkin custard mixture.
- Pumpkin chocolate chip bread pudding recipe: Add 1 cup dark, milk or white chocolate chips along with the mix-ins.
- Switch it up by using different nuts: Add or replace the pecans with 1 cup chopped walnuts.
- Pumpkin Bread Bread Pudding: I have seen a few recipes online for pumpkin bread bread pudding (say that 5x fast!) which uses leftover pumpkin bread. I have never tested this myself as I feel it would be too sweet and steal away from the silky pumpkin custard. However, if you want to give it a go, feel free to try using half Challah half pumpkin bread to add in more pumpkin goodness into the recipe.
Making Ahead & Dessert prep for Thanksgiving:
This recipe works wonders made ahead of time, which is why I always make sure to make it as a Thanksgiving dessert.
Simply prep it the night before, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and set it in the fridge overnight.
Remove from the fridge an hour beforehand, then bake in the oven following the recipe card below. If baking directly from the fridge, simply add 5-10 minutes to the baking time.
Storage and reheating instructions
This scrumptious bread pudding will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. Cover with plastic wrap and keep it in the same baking dish you made it in. Or, cut into individual portions and place in an airtight container with squares of parchment between each piece.
To rewarm, place the entire pumpkin casserole, covered (to prevent from drying out) in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until it is thoroughly warmed.
For individual bread pudding squares, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, tent with foil, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until warmed through.
More Pumpkin Recipes You Might Like:
- Easy Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
- Pumpkin Ginger Soup
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
- Need more dessert inspiration? Check out our Refined Sugar-Free recipes archive for more.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding Recipe
- 2 15 oz. cans Pumpkin Purée – no sugar added
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon all spice (or pumpkin spice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter – room temperature
- 1 Challah 10 cups of Challah bread – cut in to small chunks
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
Whisk wet ingredients:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, whole milk, heavy cream, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, kosher salt and vanilla extract.
Add in the mix ins and bread:
- Add in the cubed Challah bread, pecans, and raisins in the bowl.
- Give it a gentle toss. Cover with stretch film and let it soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven:
- Ten minutes before the soaking time ends, pre-heat the oven to 325 °F. Spray a 9X13 inch baking dish with oil.
- Transfer the challah pumpkin mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread it evenly using the back of a spatula.
- Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of pecans, if using.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes and serve while it is still warm (preferably with ice cream on top).
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This recipe is adapted with minor changes from Anne Burrell and Suzanne Lenzer’s “cook like a rockstar” cookbook.
This recipe was first published in October 2013. It has been updated with new photos, helpful information and a few minor changes to the originally published recipe in September 2020.