Spiced Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Chocolate Chips

published Oct 23, 2022
Pumpkin Bread Pudding Recipe

Cubes of rich bread baked in a warmly spiced pumpkin-purée custard.

Serves8 to 10

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour 15 minutes

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A photo of a piece of pumpkin bread pudding topped with powder sugar and white cream, on a small round plate.
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

Bread pudding is a humble dessert made from basic ingredients like bread, eggs, sugar, and dairy. It is often simply flavored with vanilla and served warm with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. This version, made with a pumpkin custard and laced with orange zest and warm spices, was created with the holidays in mind. Proudly serve it as a Thanksgiving dessert (topped with vanilla ice cream, of course!) to round out your meal or as a sweet Christmas morning breakfast, with a dollop of yogurt and side of bacon, berries, and extra maple syrup.

Should I Use Fresh or Stale Bread for Pumpkin Bread Pudding? 

Traditionally bread pudding was created as a smart way to use up leftover bread. Because it’s more dry, stale bread does a better job at absorbing the custard than fresh. But I don’t always have stale bread on hand, and I’m guessing you don’t either. Don’t worry, though — there’s a simple solution.

This recipe starts with a fresh loaf, which you’ll cube then lightly toast in the oven to dry it out. Just like stale bread, it will soak up the custard like a dream.

Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

What Kind of Bread Should I Use to Make Pumpkin Bread Pudding?

The best bread for bread pudding is something that is fluffy with a fine texture, which is perfect for absorbing and holding custard. A loaf of challah, brioche, or simple white sandwich bread are our top picks.

Stale croissants are another option that work well, as does sourdough (just be sure to remove the crust). For bread pudding, it’s best to avoid dense bread, like whole-wheat or rye.

What Ingredients Do You Need to Make Pumpkin Bread Pudding?

In addition to all the ingredients you would use in basic bread pudding, this version is enriched with pumpkin purée and warm spices. The recipe calls for canned purée, but if you’re game for a project you can always make your own pumpkin purée. Here’s everything you’ll need to make pumpkin bread pudding.

  • Brioche, challah, or white sandwich loaf
  • Whole eggs
  • Egg yolks
  • Pumpkin purée
  • Vanilla extract
  • Orange
  • Fresh ginger
  • Half-and-half
  • Granulated sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Cooking spray or butter
  • Dark or milk chocolate chips (optional)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Recipe

Cubes of rich bread baked in a warmly spiced pumpkin-purée custard.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (1-pound) loaf

    challah, brioche, or white bread

  • 6

    large eggs

  • 2

    large egg yolks

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1

    medium orange

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 6 cups

    half-and-half

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup

    maple syrup, plus more for serving

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon, plus more for serving

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 small pinch

    ground cloves

  • 1 small pinch

    cayenne pepper

  • Cooking spray or butter, for the baking dish

  • 1 cup

    dark or milk chocolate chips, preferably Guittard (optional)

  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Cut 1 (1-pound) loaf challah bread into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups). Arrange in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

  2. Place 6 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium orange until you have 1 tablespoon. Peel a 1-inch piece of giner and finely grate until you have 1 tablespoon. Place both in a large saucepan. Add 6 cups half-and-half, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup maple syrup,1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 small pinch ground cloves, and 1 small pinch cayenne pepper. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the liquid starts to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. While whisking constantly, slowly pour half-and-half mixture into the egg mixture. Add the bread and mix with a flexible spatula until the bread is evenly coated and mostly submerged. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 12 and up to to 24 hours.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep with cooking spray or butter.

  6. Add 1 cup chocolate chips if using to the bread pudding mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. The top of the bread pudding should be lightly puffed and dry to the touch, and the center should be slightly jiggly when you shake the pan. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, a little drizzle of maple syrup, and a dusting of ground cinnamon.

Recipe Notes

Spice substitution: 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cayenne.

Storage: The baked bread pudding can be cooled, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating in a 350°F oven until warmed throughout, about 15 minutes.