This bread pudding with bourbon sauce recipe is a reader favorite, and for good reason. Bake hearty bread cubes in a vanilla custard, then finish it by drizzling a rich, caramel sauce over the top. This dessert is so quick and simple. If you don't have a lot of experience with baking, this recipe makes it seem like you do. Plus, if you're cooking it for a holiday, you can bake it during dinner, which means you don't have to negotiate with your relatives for precious pre-dinner oven space.
To make this bread pudding with bourbon sauce, cut half a loaf of day-old bread into cubes. If you can find challah, use that. If you can't, use a rich bread like brioche or literally any light bread you have on hand. Place the bread cubes in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Then, whisk the eggs, whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, extract, and salt together in a large bowl. Pour this custard mixture on top of the bread cubes and set aside for five minutes. Submerge the bread and refrigerate the dish for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375° and bake it for 50 minutes or until it has puffed up and is golden brown. Let it cool while you work on the bourbon sauce.
For the bourbon sauce, combine granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the sugar mixture, heavy cream, and bourbon (optional). Stirring occasionally, cook until the mixture has thickened. This should take 5-8 minutes. Pour the bourbon sauce over the bread pudding and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Serve warm, possibly with a side of vanilla ice cream.