This Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding begins with thick brioche bread and is layered with fresh blueberries. All of it is topped with a lemon custard and baked until lightly golden on top with the center being perfectly set.
Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding
There’s not much I love more than carbs. Thick slices of soft, bready carbs.
If it’s between choosing the main dish and an extra basket of bread, I’ll choose the extra basket of bread every single time.
Eggs or French Toast? It’s always going to be the latter. And honestly, if there was a breakfast place that served a little carb lovers combo—a trio of waffles, pancakes, and French toast—I’d probably never go to a different restaurant again.
And when we can combine bread and dessert? I’m a straight goner.
Thick, rich, old fashioned bread pudding might be the perfect dessert. The bread turns into a rich almost cake-like consistency as it’s baked in a creamy custard. This Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding version is so bright and flavorful, perfect for the spring and summer months.
Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding Recipe Ingredients:
- Bread: You can use a lot of different bread varieties for bread pudding: brioche, hawaiian sweet rolls, challah, french bread, etc.
- Sour Cream
- Half & Half
- Granulated Sugar
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
- Fresh Blueberries
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Sugar: Rubbing fresh citrus zest into sugar helps release the aromatic oils in the zest, which enhances the citrus flavor. In this case, rubbing lemon zest into the sugar, and sprinkling it on top of the bread pudding, makes the lemon flavor pop.
How To Make Bread Pudding From Scratch:
- Bread: Cut or tear the bread into smaller, cube sized pieces. Bread pudding works best when the bread is slightly stale (the custard soaks into slightly stale bread better) so if your bread is fresh, let it sit out, uncovered, for a few hours until it is a little drier.
- Custard: Whisk the eggs, half & half, sour cream, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract together to make the bread pudding custard.
- Assembly: Grease the ramekins with baking spray (or butter) and fill each ramekin about halfway full with bread, pressing the bread down to squish it together. Top with a few blueberries, then top wih custard. Add more bread and blueberries, and finish with the custard.
- Soak: Allow the bread pudding to soak about 30 minutes, which helps the bread to really absorb the custard.
- Topping: Rub granulated sugar and lemon zest together, then sprinkle it over the top of each mini bread pudding. Allow the bread to soak about 45 minutes before baking (this ensures the bread really soaks up a lot of the custard).
- Bake: Bake the blueberry lemon bread puddings until they have risen, are golden brown on top, and jiggle slightly when shaken gently.
- Cool: Allow them to cool slightly before serving. They will deflate a bit as they cool, which is normal. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or a vanilla glaze.
Which Bread Makes The Best Bread Pudding?
To some degree, the bread choice is a personal preference. Personally, I find that the best bread pudding is made with something like brioche or hawaiian sweet rolls. The sweetness of each of those breads truly enhances the flavor of old fashioned bread pudding.
Of course, you can make bread pudding with white bread, french bread, challah, etc. You can even use sourdough bread, though that will lend a tangy, savory element.
What Baking Dish Is Best For Bread Pudding?
As you can see, this recipe is for Mini Lemon Blueberry Bread Puddings (made in small ramekins for individual servings). However, you can make this in a 9×13 baking dish instead.
How To Make Bread Pudding Custard?
The custard for bread pudding is often made with some combination of milk, eggs, heavy cream, half & half, etc.
For this bread pudding with blueberries, I use a combination of sour cream, eggs, and half & half. If you don’t have half & half, you can use heavy cream and whole milk instead. Since half & half is made of heavy cream and milk, you can substitute milk and heavy cream for half & half.
And the sour cream addition? It’s the secret ingredient, which makes this just about the best bread pudding recipe of all time. It adds extra creaminess and a hint of tang that is unbeatable.
How To Dry Bread For Bread Pudding:
There are a few different ways you can dry out bread for bread pudding, if your bread isn’t already dry.
You can leave the bread out overnight, you can leave it out for a few hours, and you can even place it in a warm oven with the door cracked open.
What’s The Difference Between Bread Pudding And French Toast Casserole?
An easy bread pudding recipe and a French toast casserole are fairly similar. They both are made of cubed bread that soaks in a custard and is baked in the oven.
Often French toast casserole is topped with a crumb cake topping, and usually does not have as much sugar in the custard recipe as bread pudding does.
Moreover, bread pudding is usually topped with a sauce–icing, ice cream, hard sauce, etc. French toast casserole is typically served with syrup.
How Best To Store Homemade Bread Pudding?
Bread pudding is one of those desserts that is best when made right before it is served. There’s nothing like fresh, warm bread pudding with a scoop of ice cream cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of icing on top, melting into the bread pudding like a creme anglaise.
However, if you have leftovers, store them in the fridge in an airtight container. When ready to eat, warm in the microwave.
Quick and Easy Bread Pudding Tips:
- Press Down: Make sure when you put the bread into the baking dish that you press down onto the bread. As the bread soaks up the custard, it will lose volume, thus you want to really pack in the bread into your baking dish(es).
- Custard: Make sure the custard covers all of the bread. You don’t want any dry bread, otherwise it will be too hard and crunchy after it bakes.
- When baking in the ramekins, the bread will sit higher than the edge of each ramekin. Make sure as you pour in the custard you pour a little over the tops of the bread. They don’t need to be submerged, but they do need to have been touched with liquid.
- Deflate: Bread pudding does deflate as it cools, which is completely normal. The custard expands as it bakes, making the bread pudding very tall. As it cools, everything settles a bit.
- Soak: If possible, let the bread pudding soak about 30 minutes before baking. This will help the bread really soak up the custard.
After this recipe, try these favorites next:
- Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding
- Peach Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast
- Lemon Blueberry Cream Pie
- Lemon Blueberry Crumb Cake Muffins
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- 1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest
- 2 1/2 cups half & half*
- 6 eggs, large
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/3 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 loaf thick bread, cut and cubed (brioche bread, french bread, hawaiian sweet rolls, etc).
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Whipped Cream
- Lemon or Vanilla Icing/Glaze
- In a small bowl, rub the granulated sugar and the lemon zest together until well mixed. Then, reserve 2 Tbsp of the lemon sugar for later.
- Next, in a blender, add half & half, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, lemon juice, and the lemon sugar. Blend the custard until well combined.
- Spray 10 small ramekins with baking spray, or grease with unsalted butter. (Alternatively, you can bake this in a 9x13 baking dish.)
- Divide half of the bread in the ramekins. Press down on the bread slightly to help pack it in. Sprinkle 2/3 of the blueberries on top of the bread (dividing the blueberries as evenly as possible among each ramekin).
- Divide half of the custard in the ramekins.
- Top each ramekin with the remaining bread and blueberries, pressing the bread down slightly again.
- Add the remaining custard on top, pouring gently in the ramekings and over the bread, doing your best to make sure all of the bread on top is moist.*
- Let the bread puddings soak for 45 minutes in the fridge.
- Lastly, sprinkle the 2 Tbsp of lemon sugar on top, dividing evenly among the ramekins.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment or non-stick foil. Place the ramekins on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the custard is set and knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the bread is browning too quickly, tent with foil and continue baking until the custard is set.
- Serve these lemon blueberry bread puddings warm, topped with ice cream, whipped cream, or icing. (Bread pudding will deflate as it cools, which is normal.)
*Half & Half: If you do not have half & half you can make your own by mixing equal parts heavy whipping cream and whole milk.
*Also, instead of building the bread pudding in each ramekin, you can gently mix the bread, blueberries, and custard in a large mixing bowl. Using a large spoon, scoop the mixture into each ramekin and then let it sit for 45 minutes. Either way will work.
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