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.

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 challahbrioche, 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)

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