This Cranberry Toffee Christmas Bread Pudding is a decadent, yet quick and easy holiday dessert! You can use any bread and don't need to use sweet bread (like brioche) because the dried cranberries, toffee bits, and condensed milk do all the sweetening. You don't even need to add sugar. This bread pudding also uses a simple store-bought caramel sauce (in the form of sundae sauce), while the orange gives it that extra special flavor boost!
Bread Pudding is a popular recipe around the holiday season, especially at Christmas. And it's the perfect accompaniment to a holiday dinner. This Cranberry Bread Pudding is a little different than a traditional recipe for bread pudding and was inspired by my Cranberry Bread Pudding Cheesecake (I created it for a cheesecake contest years ago). I have always been a fan of bread pudding, but we never had it at home when I was growing up and I always wondered why.
When I asked my Mom why we never had bread pudding she was actually surprised that I'd even want it. When she was growing up, it was just a dessert for using up stale bread. But to me, bread pudding was special, even kind of exotic.
💭What is Bread Pudding?
Bread Pudding has been known as "poor man's pudding" going all the way back to the 11th century. Yet, although it started out as a frugal dessert, bread pudding recipes are now considered trendy; even showing up on the menu of upscale restaurants. You can read more about the Origin of Bread Pudding HERE.
I happened to have a lot of extra leftover dried bread (I had frozen) from when I dried too much to make my Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing at Thanksgiving. We had accidentally bought a stuffed turkey, so I needed a lot less than I had planned. This was the perfect recipe to use up all that leftover dried bread!
For this simple bread pudding recipe with condensed milk, you'll need:
- dry bread
- condensed milk
- milk - I use 1%
- toffee bits * I use Skor toffee bits
- dried cranberries
- grated orange peel
- caramel sundae sauce
- whipped cream (heavy cream) optional
See recipe card for quantities.
This Christmas bread pudding with caramel sauce is not only the best bread pudding, it's super easy to make!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9X13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cut dried bread into cubes and add cubed bread to a large mixing bowl
- In a separate smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Then pour egg mixture over the bread and stir until the bread is coated. Let bread soak 5 minutes.
- Stir in toffee bits and dried cranberries.
- Spread bread mixture in prepared baking dish.
⏲️ Baking time
Bake this bread pudding with condensed milk for 45 minutes (uncovered), or until the edges of the bread are golden brown. Drizzle with caramel sundae sauce and grated orange peel and serve with whipped cream and additional cinnamon, if desired.
📖Variations & Substitutions
- Gluten-free- use a gluten-free bread
- Dairy-free - use a dairy-free condensed milk
- Cranberries - you can use golden raisins instead of dried cranberries or fresh cranberries
- Orange peel - you can zest it instead of grating it but I personally like the bigger pieces you get grating it.
- Caramel sauce - you can heat it up if you prefer and add warm sauce to the bread pudding or use a homemade caramel sauce or a bourbon sauce instead
- Bread - white bread or French bread is ideal for this recipe, but you could use a different type of bread. Cinnamon raisin bread gives it a nice flavor!
- Add-ins - add ¼ cup grand marnier, but remove 2 tbsps of condensed milk from the recipe
💭 Top tip
- Leave your bread out overnight to dry it.
- Quick Dried Bread: To dry out your bread very quickly, bake it in the oven, on a baking sheet, at 300 degrees F/150 degrees C for 3 minutes on each side
I like to bake Caramel Bread Pudding in a festive red casserole dish (affiliate link) when I'm serving it as a holiday dessert! You'll also need a mixing bowl, a bread knife (affiliate link) and a large cutting board (affiliate link). You'll also need a grater or zester (affiliate link)
👪 Serving Size
This Orange Cranberry Bread Pudding serves 8 (1 cup servings). But you can half, double or triple the recipe by simply clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust.
If you are just storing it overnight, simply cover it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. Leftover bread pudding can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container (affiliate link) for 3-4 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: place in microwave-safe bowl and reheat on full power for 1 minute and 30 seconds approximately.
🥫Leftover Condensed Milk
But you can also freeze condensed milk! It should be frozen in an airtight container. NOTE: it will not actually freeze solid because of the sugar content. You can thaw frozen condensed milk overnight in the refrigerator. And it can be frozen for up to three months without any noticeable flavor or texture changes, as long as the container is tightly sealed. Whisk the milk if there is any separation, and note that thawed condensed milk should not be re-frozen. You can read more about freezing condensed milk HERE.
So if you are looking for easy bread pudding recipes for Christmas dessert, you'll love this delicious bread pudding!
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📋Cranberry Toffee Christmas Bread Pudding Recipe
- 2 tbsps grated orange peel
- 5 tbsps caramel sundae sauce (same type you use for ice cream sundaes)
- whipped cream (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C and spray a large (9X13) casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Add cubed dried bread crumbs to large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, milk, egg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture over the bread and stir until the bread is coated. Let soak 5 minutes.
- Stir in toffee bits and dried cranberries.
- Spread mixture into prepared casserole dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or edges of bread have browned. Serve warm.
- Add grated orange (this is a MUST!), distributing evenly, then drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream) and additional cinnamon sprinkles, if desired.