Bread Pudding | Caramel Bread Pudding

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This no bake recipe makes a delicious steamed Bread Pudding every time. It is a nice way to use nearly any day-old bread, and can be made with a simple homemade caramel sauce for an extra sweet dessert. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions and photos for how to make the best Caramel Bread Pudding, no oven needed!

bread pudding slice on a white plate.

About Caramel Bread Pudding

Rich and creamy caramel bread pudding is a classic dessert that’s made with leftover or 2-3 day old bread, milk, and sugar. No eggs needed!

The ingredients are combined to create a sweet and thick “pudding” which is poured over caramel sauce and then steamed. It comes out in a cake-like form, but is silky smooth when sliced and served.

I have made the caramel from scratch, but feel free to use brought caramel or caramel sauce. While the homemade one has a distinct classic caramel flavor and taste, the packaged caramel sauce may have a different flavor, so add accordingly and as needed.

Although both methods of steaming and baking are simple enough, we prefer steamed bread pudding. It has a smoother and more tender consistency, more closely resembling a traditional English pudding.

You also have more options when you steam, as this recipe can be prepared in a pan, pressure cooker, or even an electric rice cooker.

I show both steaming in an electric cooker and in a pan on the stovetop in the step-by-step guide below. I also share the details of steaming in a stovetop pressure cooker in the recipe card below.

There are a number of ways to customize and enjoy this rustic bread pudding recipe. Feel free to add other goodies like raisins, almonds or cashews.

Like I have mentioned above, here we share our favorite version, which includes a homemade caramel sauce layered on top of the finishing dessert. However, you can skip this step or swap with whatever topping you like.

slice of caramel bread pudding on white plate.
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Bread Pudding

Make Bread Pudding Mixture

1. First, chop 4 slices of bread or sandwich bread into cubes. The smaller the better as then they can be easily mashed.

You can use nearly any type of bread you like: whole wheat, brown, or white bread, or even a leftover baguette or buns. Here I used a mix of both white and whole wheat bread.

bread cubes for bread pudding.

2. In a pan, add 1.5 cups milk.

milk in pan.

3. Add 4 tablespoons of sugar.

add sugar.

4. Then add 1 teaspoon cornstarch.

add cornstarch.

5. Keep the pan on a low heat and stir so that the sugar dissolves. Heat the milk on a low flame. No need to boil.

simmering milk.

6. Once the milk becomes just hot, remove the pan from stove and place it on the kitchen countertop. Add the bread cubes to the milk.

add bread cubes to milk to make bread pudding.

7. Mash very well with a masher or spatula. The bread crumbs need to be mashed finely. If not, then small pieces of bread will be felt in the pudding.

mash bread slices to make pudding mixture.

8. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and stir. Keep this mashed bread and milk mixture aside.

add vanilla.

Make Caramel Sauce

Next, I make a caramel sauce for topping the bread pudding. But you can skip these steps and go right to steaming the bread pudding, if you prefer.

Make a note that if you skip on the caramel sauce, you will have to add some more sugar in the bread pudding mix.

9. In another pan add 2 to 2.5 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Here I used my rectangular cake pan.

You can use any pan as long as the pudding mixture fits into it and still leaves about 1 inch space from the top.

sugar and water in a rectangle baking pan.

10.  Now place this pan on stove top and begin to melt the sugar on a low heat.

melting sugar to make bread pudding

11. Use a spoon to stir this mixture while the sugar is melting. Stirring ensures uniform browning.

sugar solution for caramel bread pudding

12. You will start to see lots of big bubbles in the sugar solution. Continue to stir to break down the bubbles and keep the solution from burning.

bubbling sugar solution to make caramel.

13. As the solution turns pale, keep stirring well to get an even color and caramelization.

light golden sugar syrup.

14. When the pale golden color turns to golden with small bubbles, the caramel is ready.

prepared caramel sauce in pan.

15. Switch off the heat first. Then with the help of tongs or gloves, lift the pan and quickly start tilting so that the caramel gets coated evenly on all sides.

Be careful as the caramel and the pan are very hot. You have to be quick as once the caramel starts cooling, it sets.

caramel in pan.

16. Here is a photo of the caramel coated on all sides. Let the caramel cool down and set in the pan.

caramel sauce cooling in rectangular pan.

17. And another photo with a round pan, should you be using this instead.

caramel sauce in round pan.

18. Next, spoon the mashed bread and milk mixture into the pan evenly.

mashed bread mixture in pan.

19. Again, here’s a pic of the pudding mixture poured in a round cake pan.

mashed bread pudding mixture in round pan.

20. Cover and seal the pan with an aluminum foil, and poke holes with a tooth pick in the foil. This will let the moisture escape just a bit so that the bread pudding is properly steamed.

pan sealed with aluminium foil.

Steam in an Electric Rice Cooker

You could steam the bread pudding using any preferred equipment – Instant Pot, stovetop pressure cooker or a electric rice cooker. You can also steam in a pan on the stovetop.

Here I show you steaming using an electric rice cooker and a pan on the stovetop.

21. Simmer about 3 cups water in the cooker. Start heating the water when you are making the caramel.

By the time you are done adding the pudding in the pan, the hot water is ready and the pudding can be steamed.

heating water in electric cooker.

22. When the water becomes hot, place the steamer pan on the rice cooker. Now add the pudding pan onto the steamer pan.

pan placed in steamer pan in electric cooker.

23. Cover with a lid and steam for 30 minutes, until the caramel bread pudding is set.

steaming caramel bread pudding in electric cooker.

Steam Bread Pudding in a pan on stovetop

24. Boil 3 cups water in a broad pan in which the pudding pan can easily fit. The pan I used was a large pan, so I added 3 cups of water.

Please note that the amount of water to be added depends on the size of the pan. The water should touch about 1 to 1.5 inch above from the bottom of the pudding pan.

boiling water in pan on stovetop.

25. Place the pudding pan carefully in the broad pan.

pan with pudding mixture inside the water filled pan.

26. Cover with a lid.

pan covered with lid.

28. Steam on a medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the caramel bread pudding is set.

If you remove the pudding when it becomes warm, you won’t be able to get a neat slice with an even caramel coating on top, but the pudding with its soft gooey texture taste yum.

To get neat slices, you will have to refrigerate the pudding for a couple of hours and then un-mold. You can even serve this pudding once it cools down at room temperature.

steamed bread pudding.

29. Below a photo of the pudding once it cooled down at room temperature.

caramel bread pudding on a plate.

30. Here is a photo of the bread pudding with caramel prepared in a round pan. It was made with doubling the ingredients for a larger dessert.

round caramel pudding on plate.

Once the bread pudding is set, slice and serve at room temperature or chill in the fridge before enjoying.

You can also warm a slice at a time in the microwave for just a few seconds to have a warmed pudding.

It’s delicious to eat as-is, or add (more!) caramel sauce or chocolate sauce on top.

two slices of caramel pudding on oval white plate.

More Similar Desserts To Try!

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thick triangular slice of bread pudding on white plate.

Bread Pudding | Caramel Bread Pudding

This no bake recipe makes a delicious steamed Bread Pudding every time. It is a terrific way to use nearly any day-old bread, and can be made with a simple homemade caramel sauce for an extra sweet dessert.
4.67 from 27 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine American, World
Course Desserts
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

For bread pudding

  • 4 slices bread – large or sandwich bread or 6 slices small bread (whole wheat, brown, or white bread)
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For making caramel

  • 2 to 2.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions
 

Making the bread pudding mixture

  • Chop the 4 slices of sandwich bread into small cubes. The smaller the better as then they can be easily mashed.
  • In a pan, take the milk. Add sugar and cornstarch.
  • Keep the pan on a low heat and stir so that the sugar dissolves.
  • Heat the milk on a low flame. No need to boil the milk.
  • Once the milk has become hot, remove the pan from the stovetop and place it on the kitchen countertop. Add the bread cubes to the milk.
  • Mash very well with a masher or spatula. The bread crumbs need to be mashed finely. If not, then small pieces of bread will be felt in the pudding.
  • Add vanilla extract and stir to mix it evenly. Keep this mashed bread and milk mixture aside.

Make caramel sauce

  • In another pan take 2 to 2.5 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water.
    You can use any pan as long as the pudding mixture fits into it keeping about ½ to 1 inch space from the top.
  • Now place this pan on stovetop and begin to melt the sugar.
  • Using a spoon stir this mixture while the sugar is melting.
  • A stage will come when you will see lots of big bubbles in the sugar solution. Keep on stirring so that the sugar does not start burning from the edges.
  • Then the solution will start turning brown.
  • Keep on stirring to get an even color and caramelization.
  • When the color turns to a golden with small bubbles appearing, the caramel is ready.
  • Now turn off the heat or flame first. Then with the help of tongs or gloves, lift the pan and quickly start tilting and moving the pan, so that the caramel gets coated evenly on all sides.
    Be careful as the caramel is very hot and the pan too. You have to be quick as once the caramel starts cooling, it sets.
  • Let the caramel cool down and set in the pan.
  • Now in the pan containing the caramel sauce, transfer the mashed bread and milk mixture.
  • Cover with an aluminium foil and poke holes with a tooth pick in the foil.

Steaming in an electric cooker – option 1

  • Simmer about 3 cups water in the cooker. Start heating the water when you are making the caramel.
  • When the water becomes hot, place the pudding pan in the steamer pan. Cover with the cooker's lid.
  • Steam for 30 minutes, till the caramel bread pudding is set.

Steaming in a pan on the stovetop – option 2

  • Boil 3 cups or required amount of water in a broad pan in which the pudding pan can easily fit. The amount of water to be added depends on the size of the pan.
  • Place the pudding pan carefully in the broad pan. Cover with a lid.
  • Steam on a medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes till the caramel bread pudding is set.

steaming in a stovetop pressure cooker – option 3

  • Add 3 cups water or as needed in a pressure cooker. Note that the amount of water to be added depends on the size of the cooker.
    A large cooker will need more water and vice versa.
  • The water should touch about 1 to 1.5 inches above from the bottom of the pudding pan.
    First heat water in the cooker. Then place the pudding pan in it, carefully.
  • Remove the vent weight/whistle from the cooker's lid. Cover and seal the cooker tightly with its lid.
  • Steam the pudding on medium heat in the pressure cooker for 20 to 25 minutes till its set.

Serving caramel bread pudding

  • If you remove the bread pudding when it becomes warm, you won't be able to get a neat and firm slice, but the pudding with its soft gooey texture taste yum. 
  • To get neat slices, you will have to refrigerate the bread pudding for a couple of hours and then unmold.
    You can even serve this pudding once it cools at room temperature.
  • Slice and serve caramel bread pudding once its refrigerated. You can top the pudding with caramel sauce or chocolate sauce if you like.

Notes

  • Instead of making caramel sauce from scratch, you can use packaged caramel sauce. But add as needed. 
  • If you decide to skip making the caramel sauce, you will have to add some more sugar in the bread pudding mixture. So do a taste test once the mixture is ready and then add sugar as needed.
  • Use a few days old bread. If the edges of the bread are dry or chewy, then do not add these. By slicing, separate them, and use to make homemade bread crumbs. 
  • Use any soft wholemeal or whole wheat bread, white bread or brown bread.
  • This recipe is easily scaleable and you can make it for small parties. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Bread Pudding | Caramel Bread Pudding
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 224mg10%
Potassium 244mg7%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 32g36%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 198IU4%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.2mg13%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.3mg18%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%
Vitamin B6 0.1mg5%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 0.1mg1%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 200mg20%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 32µg8%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 31mg8%
Phosphorus 172mg17%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Caramel Bread Pudding from the archives first published on December 2014 has been republished and updated in January 2023.

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127 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Is it possible to replace the bread with biscuits. If yes, how many biscuits should I add. Do you recommend any particular variety?

    1. I have never tried and so I do not know if biscuits will work in the recipe or not. So I am unable to help you here.

  2. I follow all your recipes with great zeal.I write them down in my cook book.I came across this recipe and tried it. It was delicious.I wanted to ask you, can I use brown sugar instead,if so ,is the caramelization procedure same with brown sugar?Thankyou for your wonderful recipes and picture explanations.5 stars

    1. thank you sindhu for sharing this. yes, you can use brown sugar. brown sugar will caramelize faster than white sugar. to caramelize brown sugar, add some water. brown sugar has more moisture than white sugar, so you will need to add less water. so you can add about 1/2 to 2/3rd tablespoon water for 2 to 2.5 tablespoons sugar. the amount of water to be added will also depend on the size and type of brown sugar. so add less or more water accordingly.

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