Our Favorite Dessert That's Made With Stale Bread

Don't toss that leftover bread. 

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Classic bread pudding is the best example of leftovers and fridge staples that combine to make an amazing dish. What's not to love about bread pudding? Made with leftover or stale bread and a simple mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, and flavorings, a variation of bread pudding can be served for just about any meal of the day. The bread pudding we know today is derived from England's famous hasty pudding that was made with flour, milk, eggs, butter, and spices. No longer just a dessert, today's Southern bread puddings often show up as savory dishes with cheese, onion, garlic, and other herbs. Here are 5 reasons bread pudding is the classic dessert you need to make now.

Make It In A Slow Cooker

Imagine serving this warm and wonderfully spiced Cinnamon-Pecan Breakfast Bread Pudding to your family on a lazy weekend morning. A little prep work on the front end ensures a delicious and satisfying breakfast or brunch. Be sure and use French bread slices, which are thick and sturdy enough to absorb the egg and milk mixture without becoming soggy.

Make It With Fresh Seasonal Fruit

Need a new idea for using fresh summer fruit? This Blueberry Bread Pudding uses three cups of fresh blueberries; use frozen berries if you wish, and swap out blackberries, strawberries, etc., for the blueberries. A great make-ahead dish, this bread pudding is as easy as your favorite summer cobbler recipe.

Make It Holiday-Worthy

A bread pudding is the little black dress of the culinary world: while the basic ingredients make a great dessert, it only gets better the more you dress it up. This Stuffed Pumpkin with Cranberry-Raisin Bread Pudding is a mouthful of fall flavor. The recipe includes cranberries and pecans, and uses raisin bread instead of the traditional French bread. The mixture is baked inside a gorgeous pumpkin, which is sure to be the most fascinating baking vessel on your holiday dessert sideboard.

Make It Classic Creole

You can't talk about bread pudding without including a recipe for a classic Creole Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. A favorite of the queen of Creole cuisine, famed New Orleans chef Leah Chase, this bread pudding, topped with a tipsy Bourbon Sauce, is simmering with all the flavors that will remind you of your last trip to the Big Easy. And no, that isn't a typo. This recipe calls for 5 tablespoons of vanilla!

WATCH: Chef Scott Crawford Cornbread Pudding

Make It Savory

Gouda cheese, bacon, and challah bread combine to make this warm and comforting Savory Bacon-and-Leek Bread Pudding, ideal for brunch or supper. Want to take savory bread puddings to the next level? You may find it hard to believe, but there is another use for leftover cornbread other than crumbling it into a glass of cold buttermilk. This Parmesan-Herb Cornbread Pudding makes a stellar side dish, and could even stand in for your regular cornbread dressing.

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