Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding Recipe

It's sweet. It's salty. It's full of yummy carbs drizzled with a caramel sauce. Basically, it's heaven in every forkful. Dried cherries blend beautifully with salty pecan pieces in this bread pudding that's so good you simply can't pass it up. One bite of it and you'll be transported back in time to your grandma's kitchen table. Recipe developer Kate Shungu's favorite thing to do is dig up vintage recipes for fans of her website and give those dishes a fresh twist, which she does with this incredible tasting recipe.

This wife, mom and fan of old cookbooks lives in Chicago with her husband and son, and loves entertaining with home cooked dinners. She was trained to cook by her mom and her favorite cookbooks are her family's collection of church cookbooks, which contain recipes that have been passed down in families through generations. You're sure to love them too!

Gather the ingredients for cherry pecan bread pudding

According to Betty Crocker, bread pudding is an old fashioned dessert and the perfect way to dispose of stale bread. Any type of bread can work for this flavorful custard, whether it's raisin bread, sourdough or whole wheat. That's the beauty of this recipe. In fact, The Daily Gazette notes that food historians believe bread pudding actually dates back to the early 11th and 12th centuries when bread easily went stale.

For this delicious recipe, all you'll need is stale bread, butter, whole milk, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans or similar nuts, dried cherries or similar dried fruit like raisins or dates, light brown sugar, and salt. Gather those ingredients and you're ready to go. 

Bake the bread cubes for cherry pecan bread pudding

This delicious dish fills a 13x9-inch baking dish and makes eight to ten servings. It amazingly only takes 15 minutes to whip up this tantalizing dessert. Cooking time, however, takes one hour and ten minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 F and spray the baking dish with cooking spray. Shungu uses French bread for her recipe and cuts it into small cubes measuring half an inch to three-fourths of an inch.

"French or Italian breads tend to be soft and fluffy, which is perfect for soaking up the milk and egg mixture," Shungu said.

Spread the bread cubes across a baking sheet, then drizzle six tablespoons of melted butter all across them. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until the bread is lightly toasted. "You can use whatever butter you have on hand. I prefer real butter in stick form and I usually use unsalted," she said.

Time to start assembling this cherry pecan bread pudding

While the bread cubes are toasting, whisk together four cups of the milk, the eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla along with the cinnamon to make the custard.

Remove the toasted bread cubes from the oven and scatter them across the baking dish. Sprinkle the dried cherries and chopped pecans all over the top of the bread cubes. Pour the sweetened milk mixture on the bread cubes, then use your hands to gently press the bread cubes down to make sure every single piece is soaking up the milk mixture.

"The dried cherries add a nice tartness to the pudding, the pecans add crunch and the caramel sauce adds sweetness and takes it into the over-the-top delicious category," Shungu said. "You can find dried cherries with the raisins and other dried fruits at your local grocery store. Fresh cherries have a short season, but dried cherries are delicious year-round. They're easy to keep in your pantry for making a dish like this and you can put any extras into oatmeal or even chocolate chip cookie dough to create chocolate cherry cookies."

Finally, sprinkle the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the mixture has firmed in the center and the bread cubes are turning a light golden brown on top.

Now let's prep your cherry pecan bread pudding caramel sauce

To make the caramel sauce for your cherry pecan bread pudding, place 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the kosher salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture comes together. Let cool for 10 minutes then drizzle over the bread pudding.

"This caramel sauce is easy to make — you just need to heat all of the ingredients until the brown sugar dissolves. It typically takes only a few minutes, so watch it closely to ensure it doesn't burn," Shungu said.

Be sure to wait until this fantastic dessert has cooled, then serve on a plate and dig in!

Cherry pecan bread pudding is perfect for dessert or for breakfast

Shungu confessed that at her house, this recipe has been made not just for dessert, but also for breakfast.

"We love bread pudding at our house and this one is a favorite by far. We've been known to enjoy it for breakfast, too," she said. "The recipe is pretty classic, with cubed bread, butter, sugar, eggs and milk. I made several tweaks. First, I used egg yolks in addition to whole eggs. The whole eggs make the bread pudding taste like a custard, which is a good thing. But too many egg whites can make it almost too custard-like. So, in order to keep the richness of the eggs but avoid it being too egg-y, I used the yolks for two of the eggs."

Some helpful tips for cherry pecan bread pudding to keep in mind

It's important to follow this cherry pecan bread pudding recipe exactly and not take shortcuts or it won't turn out correctly. For example, do not swap out whole milk for skim or fat-free unless it's necessary. "Whole milk lends creaminess and richness to the finished dish. However, you could substitute 2 percent or even skim milk with similar results. It just won't be quite as rich," Shungu said.

Make sure every piece of bread soaks up the milk mixture. "The goal of bread pudding is to have a soft custard-like bottom and a slightly crispy top. It's the combination of the two that makes it so irresistible. In order for the bread to soak up all of the milk mixture, I press the bread down into it as extra 'insurance' that the bread will soak everything up," she said.

Also, if pecans aren't a preferred nut, Shungu said chopped walnuts or slivered almonds are great substitutes for the pecans.

Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding Recipe
5 from 12 ratings
This recipe for cherry pecan bread pudding is the perfect solution for making good use of any stale bread in your pantry.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cherry pecan bread pudding with caramel sauce
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • 1 (1 lb.) loaf French or Italian bread
  • 10 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 and one-fourth cups whole milk, divided
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • half a cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • half a cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
  • half a teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the French bread into small pieces (half-inch to three-fourths of an inch cubes). Place the bread on a baking sheet. Melt six tablespoons of the butter and drizzle it over the bread cubes.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until the bread is lightly toasted.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together four cups of the milk, eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, one teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon.
  5. Place the toasted bread cubes in the baking dish. Sprinkle the dried cherries and chopped pecans over the top. Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes. Use your hands to gently press down, making sure the bread cubes are soaking in the milk mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the bread cubes with two tablespoons of brown sugar. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the mixture is set in the center and the bread cubes are beginning to turn light golden brown on top. Let cool slightly before topping with caramel sauce.
  7. To make the caramel sauce, place four tablespoons of butter, one cup of brown sugar, one-fourth of a cup milk, one teaspoon vanilla and the kosher salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine and cook for three to four minutes, or until the mixture comes together. Let cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle over the bread pudding.
Calories per Serving 464
Total Fat 19.1 g
Saturated Fat 9.0 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 94.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 67.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Total Sugars 43.1 g
Sodium 338.3 mg
Protein 7.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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