Why Should You Try This Recipe?
Can’t get enough of pumpkin recipes? If so, you are in the right place. This Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding is exactly what you need because it is:
- The perfect fall pumpkin dessert, not to mention it is comforting, pleasantly sweet, and amazingly delicious.
- A great way to use leftover pumpkin puree and leftover bread.
- Made with simple ingredients and easy to customize and make your own with various (optional) add-ins like dried fruit, nuts, and spices.
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 whipping cream, large 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. Alternatively, you can use a cup of brown sugar or even coconut sugar as a sweetener in this recipe.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg + Allspice: The touch of ground spices really make this pumpkin dessert recipe taste like fall. Feel free to use 2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice (or pumpkin spice) instead.
How to make this 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 together the wet ingredients: In a large 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 Challah bread pieces, 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 greased baking dish. Spread it using the back of a spatula to make sure that it is in an even layer. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of pecans, if using.
- Bake! Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack and serve while it is still warm or at room temperature.
This pumpkin dessert recipe is so delicious, like you-can’t-stop-eating-it delicious.
- Serve with sweet condiments: For extra decadence, I like to serve it warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of maple whipped cream, cream cheese maple frosting, creme fraiche or my chocolate frosting without butter.
- Try it with store-bought condiments: 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.
- Sweet Potato Puree: If you’d rather make this recipe with sweet potatoes use an equal amount of sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin puree.
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
The leftovers of this easy bread pudding recipe 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.
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.
Absolutely. This recipe can be served by itself or with ice cream, whipped cream, or cream Fraiche on the side.
You can serve bread pudding warm fresh out of the oven, at room temperature, or even right out the fridge.
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)
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 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).
- Use your favorite type of bread. Jewish Braided Bread and Brioche bread are soft, pillowy enriched bread that makes for a tender, bouncy pudding. If using day-old stale bread, French baguette, savory country, or crusty artisan bread, I recommend adding an additional ⅓ cup milk or cream to the pumpkin custard.
- Use fresh or canned pumpkin puree. Both work beautifully. Two cans equals approximately 3 ⅔ cups puree.
- Do not use canned Pumpkin Pie Filling. This is sweetened with sugar and additional spices.
- Push down the bread gently into the custard. If the custard doesn’t fully cover the bread cubes, give it a gentle nudge occasionally during the 30-minute soaking time.
- Allow the bread pudding to sit for 30 minutes before baking. This allows the bread to soak up all those rich, custardy flavors.
- Allow it to rest once baked. The bread further soaks up even more of the mixture.
- The center will spring back to the touch when it’s ready. This ensures the eggs are fully cooked through.
- To store: Leftovers 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.
This recipe is adapted with minor changes from Anne Burrell and Suzanne Lenzer’s “cook like a rockstar” cookbook.