blueberry bread and butter pudding Recipes

blueberry bread and butter pudding

For some of us, classic French toast — not particularly French or toasted, to be honest, unless we’re speaking of pain perdu — is sufficient on a weekend morning to make it feel exceptional. For others, it’s casserole-style or bust because baking it in one big pan is vastly more enjoyable than dipping and frying on repeat while people who are not cooking come by and steal slices before you even get to sit down. But I’m going to make the argument that once you have Brit-style bread pudding casserole, uplifted by the tiniest step that is buttering the bread before fanning in out in a pan, there’s no other way.


getting startedsliced, crusts thinnedtriangle-dsprinkle with lemon sugar

Typically, the bread is then scattered with raisins and the custard has a little nutmeg or other warm spices in it, but Casa SK has a bit of a blueberry situation right now, and her name is Anna. It doesn’t matter how many we put in front of her or how slowly we encourage her to eat them, within a minute of them landing on her high chair tray, they’ve been hoovered into her tiny maw and she’s banging angrily on it and screeching for more. [Side search: Emily Post board books…] Because we’re a little scared of what happens if we run out, we’ve ended up with a oversupply of blueberries in the fridge, but even if you don’t have the same problem, you should go ahead and create it because if you haven’t yet tucked blueberries sprinkled with lemon sugar between slices of buttered bread and poured a vanilla custard over the whole mess and baked it until the blueberries leak, the center is luxe and the top is crisp and bronzed, you’re in for a very lucky weekend.

blueberry bread and butter pudding
blueberry bread and butter pudding
blueberry bread and butter pudding

previously

One year ago: Tomato and Fried Provolone Sandwich
Two years ago: Three-Ingredient Summertime Salsa
Three years ago: Charred Corn Crepes
Four years ago: Zucchini Tomato and Rice Gratin
Five years ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers
Six years ago: Raspberry Brown Sugar Gratin, Summer Succotash with Bacon and Croutons and Nectarine Brown Butter Buckle
Seven years ago: Asparagus with Chorizo and Croutons and Sour Cherry Slab Pie
Eight years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti and Garlic Mustard Glazed Skewers
Nine years ago: Zucchini Bread

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Leek Ham and Cheese Egg Bake and Spaghetti Pie with Pecorino and Black Pepper
1.5 Years Ago: Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits
2.5 Years Ago: Cheese Blintz and Garlicky Party Bread
3.5 Years Ago: Pasta and White Beans with Garlic-Rosemary Oil
4.5 Years Ago: Potato Chip Cookies

Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 1 hour plus optional overnight
  • Print

There’s a temptation when it comes to bread pudding and French toast casseroles to make them complex — vanilla bean, brandy-soaked raisins, salted caramel and mascarpone are never unwelcome after all — but I resisted because it’s also nice to know that you could use regular old white sandwich bread plus the butter, sugar, milk, eggs and lemon you probably already have in your fridge and whatever berries look good right now to make something exceptional. Non-dairy milks would work well here, as would more rich breads, but I don’t find the latter necessary to make something luxurious.

Finally, in case it looks confusing, I trimmed the crusts down on my bread because I was using a very thick-edged sourdough pullman but otherwise wouldn’t have bothered.

  • 1 pound (455 grams) loaf white sandwich or pullman bread or 14 to 16 slices, stale is fine
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, softened or melted, plus a smidge to butter the pan
  • 1 cup (170 grams) fresh blueberries
  • 6 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups (710 ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • Powdered sugar, golden or maple syrup to finish (optional)

Dab bread slices with 3 tablespoons melted butter. If your bread is already stale, no need to pre-toast/dry it out. If it’s fresh, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread slices on two trays and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until firm to the touch but not yet browned. If desired, you can cut the slices on the diagonal now too. (I find this easier once the bread is firm.)

Lightly butter a 9×13-inch or other 3-quart casserole dish. Fan bread slices out in pan. Scatter blueberries over and be sure to tuck some between slices so that they can burrow and collapse. Place sugar and lemon zest in the bottom of a small dish and use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar, so it breaks up a bit and also releases the most flavor. Sprinkle half of lemon sugar over bread and blueberries. Whisk eggs in a large bowl and slowly whisk in milk. Stir in vanilla and salt. Pour custard slowly and evenly over bread, berries and sugar. Sprinkle with remaining lemon sugar.

Let mixture soak for 15 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to bake it, heat oven (or increase temperature) to 375 degrees. Bake pudding until a knife inserted into the center of the casserole and turned slightly causes no liquid custard to spill into the crack, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. This can vary by the density of your bread; it can sometimes take up to 45 minutes.

Let cool slightly before cutting into squares. Dust with powdered sugar or serve with a syrup on the side, if desired.

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85 comments on blueberry bread and butter pudding

    1. deb

      I always used very rich breads, too, usually leftover challah or that insane Balthazar brioche, but I’ve started liking more savory white breads (or baguettes) because I like the contrast against the richness of eggs, milk and sugar.

      1. Ellie

        Speaking as a Brit, I normally use very ordinary white bread most of the year, and panettone (and cream) at Christmas :)

  1. DianaW

    This is the kind of dish that I’d rather cook in a microwave – except for a quick browning under the grill – because it’s much faster and saves energy, when only cooking one dish at a time.
    Any chance of your adding alternative cooking times for microwave cooking to your recipes, please?

  2. mimi

    I have a 10.5 month old who feels the same way about blueberries. I ration them when I put them on her tray, as no matter how many I put out, they’ve disappeared into her mouth in seconds. I swear she had 15 in her mouth at once, and I don’t want her to choke lol. I think we’ll be making some of this not-French-toast as a vehicle for her blueberry addiction.

  3. My experience with French toast is that it’s a way to use stale bread to sponge up lots of maple syrup. This looks relatively healthier. And, as you note, less prone to theft. Your version also looks like something to impress the out-of-town guests who will be arriving soon.
    There are worse things than a kid who screams for fruit. Count your blessings!

  4. Katie

    This looks amazing and I just added the ingredients to my foodkick cart to be made this weekend! Do you think you could explain a little how you layered the bread so beautifully? I studied the pictures but can’t quite figure it out. No super important, but it’s so pretty…

    1. deb

      Very typically for me, I began extremely carefully because I wanted it to be super-pretty. I put four pieces right into the corners (corners into corners) and then went around concentrically with the other pieces and then got frustrated and threw them all into the center. Right triangles aren’t eager to fan, I found, but it’s hard to make it look ugly once the points are up.

  5. This looks delicious!
    And I had to laugh because my daughter also had a “blueberry problem”. She loved them so much that I dressed her as a blueberry for her first Halloween, and instead of a 1st birthday cake she had a blueberry pie (in November…because she had refused to accept that blueberry season had ended).

    Now she’s almost 2 and the obsession has waned a bit, but we all still call her “Louberry” and probably always will! (Her name is Louisa. :-))

  6. Jessica

    Definitely going to put my last sad, wilted pint of blueberries to good use (well, better use than a boring old smoothie). Do you think the addition (or substitution) of a tsp of almond extract would work with the flavor, or should I stick to only vanilla?

  7. Natalie

    This looks amazing, can’t wait to try it! I only have 2% milk and heavy whipping cream. Can I use a combination of both, and if so, what ratio do you recommend?

  8. EmilyVP

    We tend to freeze blueberries because my little ones inhale them, too. Do you think that thawed berries in their juices would make this too soupy? I’d like to try this in the cooler months when turning on the oven is an option.

    1. NicM

      I also keep blueberries in the freezer and was wondering if they would work here. My guess is you’d add them frozen like I’ve done with other baked goods.

  9. Debby

    My daughter is now in her 20s and still feels this way about blueberries. There are worse cravings to have than fruit.

    1. deb

      I hope it was clear I was speaking warmly, or that is the way I speak warmly. We find it, like most things about our kids, ridiculously charming. Even the banging and screeching. The other people on our airplane this summer, however, may not.

  10. Leslie Freeman

    In England this is eaten as ‘pudding’ aka dessert. Would you add a sweeter custard mixture to serve it as such?

  11. Sharon

    As with certain foods in my life, (like oxtail stew, steak and kidney pudding,) this gets made about once a year and is eaten just by me, (I’m single) in 1 or 2 sittings………..thoroughly enjoyed and not made until the next time!

  12. krithikap11

    I’d like to halve or make a third of this with 2 eggs, one cup of milk and 5-6 slices of bread. Do you think that’d work? I could use a loaf pan to bake it!

  13. Shannan

    I just made something very similar but buttered the bread with store bought lemon curd/lemon butter. It was wonderful!

    1. junebugapril

      HA, I knew Sultanas were raisins, but I just wondered whaaa, Sultan hat? Why are they called that? Who knew?

      Sultana:
      sul·tan·a səlˈtanə/
      noun
      1 A small, light brown, seedless raisin used in foods such as puddings and cakes.
      2. A wife or concubine of a sultan.

      Oy vey! :)

  14. Chiara Rodriguez

    Is anyone else having trouble with getting to the recipes from the emails? Whenever I click on the “read more” nothing happens but I just realized if I click on the SK at the top of email it does take to homepage.

    1. deb

      Sorry for the trouble. We are aware of the glitch but haven’t been able to fix it yet. The title of the recipe and the top image should link to the whole post.

  15. Sarah

    As a British born and bred this was always a put together what you have dish. Not so many eggs but the milk/cream balance was very casual. Then i was lucky enough to be a guest at a Women’s Institute pudding night and the B&B pudding was amazing. Delicious plump dried apricots were the fruit and a good shot of whisky included in the custard. Absolutely unforgettable.

    Run with it everyone. No ‘proper’ proportions or ingredients required. A favourite is croissants instead of bread – no more butter needed.

    1. Marie M.C.

      I use stale croissants, too. Then I toast the stale croissants in the oven to be sure they’re real dry. Aways get rave reviews!

  16. Garlic + Zest

    I just finished up the last of my blueberries in some very tasty little crisps — but there’s still time for this bake during the weekend… I just need to get to the store! By the way, lemon and blueberry — I mean, has there ever been a more perfect union?

  17. There is a glitch in the emailed subscription posts in that after wading through all the annoying advertising and reading the first post, clicking on the “more” button doesn’t work at all, I can only get that first page unless I go through my browser to your website. Can this be fixed? Thanks, can’t wait to try this amazing recipe. Also, will low fat milk work here? Thanks

    1. deb

      Thanks for letting us know; we’re trying to figure out why the link won’t work, or I am. I cannot so far. The ads stink; I don’t place them or make money on them. If you’re looking for a more tasteful newsletter where all the links work, feel free to try the weekly one we launched last fall; it’s both new recipes alerts and menu ideas for the week — you can sign up in the sidebar. I’d intended it as a replacement for the one you’re getting (because of the horrible ads and other technical issues) but then realized how many people were reading it and of course would never cut everyone off.

      Lowfat milk — not a problem.

  18. Christel

    Hi Deb,
    when I was a child, we always collected lots of blueberries in the forest, it needed a whole afternoon. The next day my mother made steamed yeast dumblings with lots of blueberry sauce, this was heaven.
    B&B pudding we know around here with cherry (sweet or sour cherry) or apples. Your version is a new good idea. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Lesley

    Can I suggest using a brioche loaf? Which is even better, lighter, fluffier and richer and as an alternative raisins and a generous helping of marmalade on the buttered slices – the perfect autumn/winter dessert. I make this when friends visit – four of us for supper and I now make it to serve 12 because they are very greedy!

  20. RS

    I made this! Prepared it last night, and stuck it in the oven this morning. Used almond milk instead of cow’s and lime zest instead of lemon because that’s all I had at home. It was great. Maybe I am not the most even “sprinkler” of sugar, so the sweetness level varied a bit across the pan. And also seemed a bit dry on the edges, used sandwich bread and maybe I used too much bread for the amount of custard? Overall, still good and I think easy to make-ahead for company too. Thanks, Deb. My first comment here but long-term lurker.

  21. Anne

    I work in design, and I cannot ephasize enough how I want to change either the scale or the font of the titles in the new layout so it works better visually. I’m sorry to say anything critical about your website ever, but it just isn’t working for me. The titles relative to the text are just off– especially with the lack of capitalization in the titles. It would work better I’d they were a different font, but in the same font, it’s harder to justify how gigantic the titles are. Argh. My visual OCD can’t take it, Deb!

  22. When you mentioned blueberries, it reminded me of a favorite book from my child hood – Bluberries for Sal. Your daughter might enjoy the story! the blueberries are dropped into a bucket – kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk!

  23. Kathryn Kolencik

    I thought you might be interested to know that I dove into this recipe today…for my little 14mo. who has food allergies. Yes, I created a version of this for a boy with milk, egg, oat, and soy allergies! It’s still baking, but I can already tell it’s going to be amazing. I used coconut milk/cream instead of milk, egg replacer, and bread from a bakery that makes it without soy lecithin (dough conditioner) or egg. Oh, and soy-free margarine. That last ingredient probably blew your mind, but it actually tastes great – he loves it! I’ve baked with it with great success (including a pie crust before I found soy-free shortening). Thank you for posting great recipes to inspire me to tickle his taste buds and fill his tummy without pulling out the EpiPen. :D

  24. Carolyn

    Made this for Sunday breakfast this morning – very yummy! I tossed some diced peaches on top with the blueberries.

  25. Bridgit

    So good! My daughter is not a big fan of blueberries (!?!) but loves cheese cake, so we made it with dollops of slightly sweetened cream cheese. I’ve also made this a few times from my own recipe, with the same egg to milk ratio. Once with banana and chocolate chunks, also delicious.

  26. Sumati

    Perfect looking, as I am sure it was to taste!! I enjoy reading your blog. It’s most heart-warming to see how you have fallen in love all over again. It’s just the most fantastic surprise isn’t it, after you think it can never be so again, after your first child :)
    BTW, I used stale sourdough and I think it helped, since I can’t use eggs in any of my baking. Got a nice gumminess that could substitute for a custardy feel, and an extra crunch from the edges.
    Perhaps there’s a “proper” recipe in that somewhere!

  27. Pamela Dupuy

    I used small ciabatta squares cut into triangles and the consistency was great. I made this today for the first time and served it to guests. Everyone loved it! This recipe is a keeper. I will make this again soon.

  28. Jennifer

    Hi! Is this the kind of thing I could make far ahead and keep in the freezer until we’re ready to bake it? If so, would I thaw it first before baking or just bake frozen for a longer time?! Sorry if you already answered this, I checked but I didn’t see anything about it. Thank you so much!!

    1. deb

      I don’t have any experience freezing bread puddings and french toast casseroles but I don’t see why it couldn’t be. I’d probably go ahead and thaw it. Otherwise the oven is going to bake the edges long before the center is cooked.

  29. emma

    I tried to make this and it turned out kind of like french toast with scrambled eggs in it. Any suggestions? I’m wondering if my liquid to bread ratio was off so it didn’t fully absorb.

    1. deb

      Sounds like it. I always find recipes like this tricky to get right. (Because 16 ounces or 14 slcies of one bread may not absorb the way 16 ounces/14 slices of another does.) If it seemed to have a LOT of custard that didn’t absorb, you might have benefitted from more bread or a more absorbent one.

  30. E.B. Russell

    The very day before I went into labor, I went blueberry picking. I’m sad to say that not very many berries ended up making it home with me, and that my daughter is also similarly afflicted with the blueberry lust. And neither one of us has grown out of it, so far, six years later. Thanks for the smiles :)

  31. Margaret

    I made this! To rave reviews, with a few tweaks. I made it as a dessert, so added 1/2 cup of sugar directly to the custard, along with a little bit of cinnamon. I also cubed the bread and tossed it directly with melted butter, as in your pumpkin bread budding. It took longer to bake, but was piled up higher in 2-quart baking dish. Fantastic! I also had a thought — what about making the crumb topping from your blueberry crumb cake and putting that on top? Next time.

  32. Sarah Cho

    I had tremendous success making this using sourdough bread and turbinado sugar (inspired by your stone fruit crisp recipe). I halved the recipe and baked it in a deep pie dish. The top corners had a wonderful crispy texture, the sweetness was perfect (even with maple syrup), and the lemon paired so well with the blueberries. Thank you!

  33. Jess.

    On Friday morning, I’ll be waking up to a newly-minted 13-year-old. I think this is what he’s going to get (and we will all rejoice) for his celebratory breakfast. Much easier than pancakes, as I get ready to run out the door for work. You’re a problem solver, Deb! xox

  34. Kat

    Do you think this would go soupy if I doubled the fruit (say, 1 c blueberries + 1 c raspberries, or 50:50 raspberries and peaches) and if so, should I cut down the milk a little? I like a sweet breakfast sometimes but I like it best if most of the sweetness comes from the berries/peaches/whatever.

  35. lsproull2013

    Your new web site is terrific in many ways, but the “print” button and the “email” button at the end of each recipe does not work. Very frustrating!!!!

    1. deb

      I’m sorry they’re not working for you. They are on our end. Can you tell me more about what is happening — of course it should be working for everyone.

  36. Terry

    Yesterday was my day to bring something to church for coffee hour. I made this and it was amazing ! Everybody loved it and it was really easy to make.

  37. Christian

    To be anal: bread and butter pudding and bread pudding aren’t the same thing. The above is bread and butter pudding; bread pudding is bread soaked in milk and then completed broken up and baked with raisins and mixed peel, eggs, sugar and a little butter to make a kind of dense cake. The latter kind isn’t that fashionable, probably because it’s not much of a looker …

  38. lesliewh

    I made this for a Sunday night dessert with six twenty-somethings and the hubby and me. The only adaptations were using 12 pieces of bread (didn’t weigh it) after eyeballing my baking dish, as well as frozen Maine blueberries (the tiny ones which I added frozen as suggested). I also cut the bread into triangular quarters which allowed me to arrange the smaller pieces more easily; in turn, they absorbed the custard better. I had some ginger sugar from our farmers market, so added the lemon zest to that; it was a great addition. With a bread pudding, I always make sure to push the bread down into the custard with a sturdy spatula so all of the bread is coated. I let it soak in the fridge for a few hours, then baked and consumed. It was delicious, young folk loved it and I would definitely make it again.

  39. erineaguayo

    ohmygoshohmygoshthankyou! This was the best-ever breakfast for dinner, along with some Will it Waffle rosemary hash browns. I used the blueberries and raspberries from the bushes in our backyard, and a local sourdough white sandwich loaf, and it was a worthy application. Can’t wait to have this save brunch when my truckload of Mexican in-laws arrives in Vermont this weekend!

  40. Katie

    This was a lovely breakfast. I used regular old sandwich bread and would definitely recommend cutting the crusts off – I did not and they just got too done/hard.

  41. Liz

    I made 1/3 recipe in a kind of pasta dish oven save bowl, my own whole-wheat/pumpkin/brioche (my go to for French toast) and local sweet cherries instead of blueberries. I make my brioche into mini-loaves so my French toast I call French toast medallions – the little slices worked very well in the smaller dish/quantity. I thought it was perfect, though especially loved the crispy corners!

    I have shredded zucchini in salt for the next recipe which will be my supper so it is a smitten kitchen kind of day!

  42. KathyD

    Made this for dessert on Sunday before reading the comments about adding more sugar if doing this for dessert. We all liked the fact that it wasn’t too sweet, although I’d probably add just a touch more sugar next time. Great way to feature blueberries. I’ll also let it sit a little longer next time before baking.

  43. Cindy

    I made this with left over hot dog and hamburger rolls from my family picnic on Sunday. Amazing! Great use of left over bread. I’ve eaten it for breakfast and dessert every day this week. Delish. Next time I’ll add just a touch more of the lemon sugar and perhaps use a higher quality bread :)

  44. I made something very similar last week, and I used straight up grocery store Hawaiian rolls. Call me notclassy the ungourmetcook, grocerystorelame, – BUT – you can imagine what that tastered like!

    Love be some blueberries anything. And love you SK!

  45. Carla

    Just wanted to report that I made this with goats’ milk (whole) and goat butter for a friend who cannot tolerate cows’ milk. It came off perfectly!

  46. Mama de Leah y Josue

    My hubby just made this for us this morning for breakfast. It was delicious! For the person who said that it was like scrambled eggs and bread, you might need to beat your eggs a little longer. He whisked the custard mixture for about four minutes before pouring it on the bread. We used stale homemade whole wheat bread so we had to bake it 45-50 minutes because the bread was so dense. We covered it after 35 minutes to keep it from browning too fast. Delicious! We will store our stale bread in the freezer for now on just for this bread pudding!

  47. Megan

    This was great! I used bread that was not stale, and I was too hot and too tired to toast it, so it didn’t soak up the custard as much as stale bread would have, but it was still delicious. We especially loved the lemon sugar. I recently made the KAF blueberry breakfast cake, and that lemon sugar would be perfect on it!

  48. Julie

    This is lovely. Deb, everytime I am looking for a recipe to make with an ingredient I already have, I turn to you (for the last 2 yrs). Your recipes are delicious, not too sweet( my preference) and more whole grain where it won’t affect the outcome of the end product. I’ve NEVER been dissapointed by a SK recipe. Thank you sooo much! J

  49. Patty

    This was yummy! I used 8 T of sugar instead of 6, and a little more zest. Question for you — we only ate half of it. Should I cover and put what’s left in the fridge or is it okay at room temp for a day or two? What about re-heating? Many thanks!