Apple Bread Pudding is a new classic you’ll want to make for every holiday gathering this fall. Sweet brioche bread is tossed with a cinnamon spiced custard that’s studded with thinly sliced apples, and the result is a perfectly proportioned sweet-and-savory casserole. You’ll find endless occasions to make this bread pudding – drizzled with salted caramel sauce for dessert, or prepared the night before and served with maple syrup for Christmas brunch. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how or when you serve it, as long as you actually do.
Ah, bread pudding. You might believe this classic recipe is reserved for stale white-table restaurants with other solid-but-somewhat-boring offerings like Lava Cake and Sorbet. Or that it’s a dessert grandma used to make and you, in your enviable but underdeveloped wisdom of youth, turned your nose up at because how in the world can bread soaked in milk and eggs be ungodly delicious?
Or you might be in my camp. A camp I graduated to after motherhood, where bread pudding became a new classic – a trusty, tried-and-true recipe I could turn to when I needed to feed all of the hangry mouths for a holiday brunch without fuss, or transform the stale sourdough bread loaf that I once again forgot to use into a decadent, mouthwatering dessert using just a few ingredients from my fridge and pantry.
Yes, bread pudding is a hero in all its forms, and this cinnamon spiced apple bread pudding is the newest addition to my arsenal. Studded with apple slices throughout and drizzled with salted caramel sauce, it’s rich and decadent and a serious crowd-pleaser. And it’s flexible, too. Skip the caramel sauce and drizzle it with maple syrup and you’ll have a Christmas brunch recipe the family will crave all year.
How to Make Apple Bread Pudding
Apple bread pudding is a seasonal star for the fall and winter holidays – a totally irresistible crowd pleaser. It’s savory enough to offer for breakfast or brunch, but sweet enough to drizzle with salted caramel sauce for dessert. Be sure to properly prepare the apples so they don’t sink to the bottom of the bread pudding. Thinly sliced apples stay integrated throughout the bread cubes, and the result is a perfectly layered bread pudding bursting with apple flavor in every bite.
- Slice the brioche bread into 2″ cubes, then spread onto a baking sheet.
- Bake the cubes in a 250°F oven for 10-15 minutes until dried out – they should be firm and very slightly browned, but not toasted.
- Wash, quarter, and core the apples. Thinly slice the apples (1/8″ – 1/4″ thickness) using a mandoline or very sharp knife.
- Run your knife through the apple slices to create bitesized pieces.
- Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a 10″-12″ skillet over medium high heat. Add the apples, toss to coat in the butter, and saute until they’re soft and starting to brown around the edges, 7-8 minutes.
- In a very large bowl, combine 4 eggs with milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the eggs are fully beat into the milk.
- Add the brioche cubes and apples and toss thoroughly with the custard.
- Grease a 9×13″ casserole dish with butter, then pour the apple bread pudding mixture into the dish.
- Cover with foil, transfer to the fridge, and chill for at least 1 one hour and up to overnight.
- Bake the bread pudding at 350°F for 30 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake an additional 25-30 minutes uncovered until golden brown. The center will be slightly puffed, but it will deflate.
- Rest for 5 minutes, then slice into squares and serve warm with salted caramel sauce.
Apple Bread Pudding Frequently Asked Questions
Can leftovers be frozen? Bread pudding doesn’t freeze well – it turns to mush once defrosted. Leftovers are best stored covered in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals. I find that bread pudding is best the day it’s made because the crispy bites stay crisp and the tender bits stay tender.
Is there an alternative to brioche bread? Yes! Challah bread can be substituted for brioche with excellent results. For a more savory bread pudding, use sourdough or french bread.
What kind of apples should I use? I like to use a variety of apples that are both sweet and tart in flavor and firm in texture so they hold up well once sautéed then baked. I used one honey crisp, one fuji, and one granny smith. Gala and pink lady apples are also great choices.
Can I eat bread pudding for breakfast? The answer is a resounding HECK YES. Apple bread pudding is excellent for breakfast, and perfect for feeding a hungry crowd. Perhaps skip the salted caramel sauce (or not, you do you) and drizzle with maple syrup instead.
Tips for Making This Recipe Perfectly
- Use brioche or challah bread for a sweeter bread pudding, or sourdough or french bread for a more savory version. Both are delicious.
- Slice the apples thinly, instead of into chunks or cubes. This will help them sautee quickly, plus they won’t sink to the bottom of the custard.
- Be sure to chill until the bread has completely absorbed the custard to achieve the right texture – otherwise you’ll end up with bits of custard baked atop the bread.
- Drizzle with salted caramel sauce for a sweet dessert, or maple syrup and powdered sugar for a seasonal twist on french toast casserole.
More Sweet Seasonal Recipes You’ll Love
- Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
- French Toast Bread Pudding
- Apple Crisp with Walnuts and Pecan
- Paleo Pumpkin Bread with Spiced Pecan Swirl
- Blueberry Vanilla Applesauce
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Apple Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel SaucePrint Recipe Rate This Recipe Pin Recipe
Apple Bread Pudding
- 1 loaf brioche bread sliced into 2" cubes
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter plus more for greasing
- 3 medium apples quartered, cored, and thinly sliced, then chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 2 c whole milk
- 1 c heavy cream
- ½ c packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 c packed light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2-1 tsp sea salt
- Heat the oven to 250°. Grease a 9” x 13” casserole dish with butter.
- Dice the bread into 2” cubes and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and baked until dried. The cubes are ready when they’re firm and dry, but not toasted.
- Melt the butter in a 10” skillet over medium high heat. Add the apples and saute until soft, 7-8 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, whole milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the sautéed apples and dried bread cubes and gently toss.
- Pour the bread and apple mixture into prepared casserole dish. Cover with foil and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°Transfer the foil covered casserole dish to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until the bread pudding is golden brown on top and puffed. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes; it will deflate.
- While the bread pudding makes, prepare the caramel sauce. Combine the brown sugar, butter and heavy cream in a small sauce-pot over medium heat. Whisk frequently until the butter melts and the ingredients meld together. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sauce transforms from grainy to smooth and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
- Slice the bread pudding into 8-10 squares, drizzled with caramel sauce, and enjoy immediately.
- Use brioche or challah bread for a sweeter bread pudding; use sourdough or french bread for a more savory version.
- Slice the apples thinly, instead of into chunks or cubes. This will help them sautee quickly, plus they won't sink to the bottom of the custard.
- Be sure to chill until the bread has completely absorbed the custard to achieve the right texture - otherwise you'll end up with bits of custard baked atop the bread.
- Drizzle with salted caramel sauce for dessert, or use maple syrup and powdered sugar for a seasonal twist on french toast casserole.