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!
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.
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.
2. In a pan, add 1.5 cups milk.
3. Add 4 tablespoons of sugar.
4. Then add 1 teaspoon 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.
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.
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.
8. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and stir. Keep this mashed bread and milk mixture aside.
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.
10. Now place this pan on stove top and begin to melt the sugar on a low heat.
11. Use a spoon to stir this mixture while the sugar is melting. Stirring ensures uniform browning.
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.
13. As the solution turns pale, keep stirring well to get an even color and caramelization.
14. When the pale golden color turns to golden with small bubbles, the caramel is ready.
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.
16. Here is a photo of the caramel coated on all sides. Let the caramel cool down and set in the pan.
17. And another photo with a round pan, should you be using this instead.
18. Next, spoon the mashed bread and milk mixture into the pan evenly.
19. Again, here’s a pic of the pudding mixture poured in a round cake 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.
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.
22. When the water becomes hot, place the steamer pan on the rice cooker. Now add the pudding pan onto the steamer pan.
23. Cover with a lid and steam for 30 minutes, until the caramel bread pudding is set.
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.
25. Place the pudding pan carefully in the broad pan.
26. Cover with a 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.
29. Below a photo of the pudding once it cooled down at room temperature.
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.
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.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more veetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Bread Pudding | Caramel Bread Pudding
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
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.
- 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)
This Caramel Bread Pudding from the archives first published on December 2014 has been republished and updated in January 2023.