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Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Bread Pudding

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Bread Pudding with luscious texture and beautiful flavor. This easy bread pudding recipe is an amazing impressive breakfast or dessert to share with the whole family. Make it during the holiday season or for any special occasion.

Slices of bread pudding in china bowls with fresh berries on top and gold forks to the side.

The first time I tried bread pudding was in a bar in Wyoming and there was so much whisky in it, I got a nice little buzz.

The experience was so remarkable that it instantly became my new favorite dessert.

The taste, the texture, the fire it started right in my soul…who could possibly resist such a joyful treat?

I was convinced the title “bread pudding” was but a ruse, as it couldn’t possibly be made with actual bread, could it? The soft and dense texture must be made out of the same thing as little kitten dreams. 

Alas, bread pudding not only includes all the bread, it was designed specifically to use up leftover stale bread and dates all the way back to 11th century England.

Also known as “poor man’s pudding,” bread pudding is one of those amazing recipes that was engineered for a budget.

Close up photo of bread pudding in a bowl with a gold fork about to take a bite out.

I found the whisky aspect of that first experience so scintillating that the first time I made homemade bread pudding myself, I added half a bottle to the sauce. 

What can I say? I’ve always been an overachiever. 

Let’s jump right into the important stuff: The ingredients and the method for cooking the best bread pudding.

What Type of Bread to Use for Bread Pudding:

Traditional bread pudding is made with brioche bread, leftover sourdough bread, or any type of white bread that was once fluffy and is now stale. The key to a delicious bread pudding is using bread that isn’t moist so that it soaks up the moisture of the custard and becomes incredibly soft and luscious.

Since we’re making bread pudding with gluten-free bread, we don’t have as many options. I have yet to find gluten-free brioche at grocery stores, but regular sliced bread, gluten free sourdough, and gluten-free baguettes work great. I have tested the recipe with both and find I like the regular loaf of sliced bread better.

If you bake your own bread, use leftover gluten free bread. You can also use leftover French toast.

Does the texture of gluten-free bread pudding turn out just like regular bread pudding?

Well…no.

Initially, I felt that gluten-free bread pudding tasted just like regular bread pudding but it had been ten years since I had bread pudding made with gluten. For the sake of being thorough, we ordered bread pudding from a restaurant and brought it home so that Jeff could do a side by side taste test.

We determined there is simply more density to regular bread pudding and gluten bread has a more consistent texture throughout. I believe the best way of mitigating the variable texture in gluten-free bread pudding is allowing it to soak for a good long while before baking.

More on this later.

Close up angled shot of two bowls of bread pudding with fruit on top and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for easy gluten free bread pudding.

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Bread Pudding:

Bread: Use one loaf of gluten-free sliced bread or two gluten-free baguettes, totaling about 6 cups of bread when chopped, or 15 ounces of bread (about 1 pound).

For the best result, use a gluten-free white bread that doesn’t include nuts and seeds on the outside. The best texture comes with a non-grainy standard white bread.

Milk of Choice: Pick any non-dairy milk you like. I prefer oat milk because I think it has the best flavor, but cashew milk, almond milk, and soy milk will work too. If you aren’t dairy-free, use whole milk or 2% milk.

Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk (or Butter): Coconut milk brings richness, natural sweetness, and provides a much needed fat content so that the texture of the bread pudding is just right. While you can use any dairy-free milk you like for the majority of the liquid, I do recommend sticking to the full-fat canned coconut milk for at least a portion of it. 

If you aren’t dairy-free, replace the coconut milk with 1 stick of unsalted butter (½ cup). This gluten-free bread pudding recipe tastes like a French Toast Casserole if you use butter instead of coconut milk.

Sugar: Used to sweeten the custard, pick your favorite granulated sweetener. I use brown sugar, but regular granulated sugar, coconut sugar, maple sugar, pure maple syrup, or sugar-free sweetener all work.

For very sweet restaurant-style bread pudding, use 1 cup of granulated sweetener in the custard mixture. I make it with less sweetener because I don’t like my sweets very sweet but you can adjust as desired.

Eggs: Used to thicken the custard, eggs serve and important role as they create a thick and creamy custard and also bring density to the bread pudding.

Take the eggs out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before you start baking to bring them to room temperature if you can. I don’t have a good suggestion for an egg replacer yet to make vegan bread pudding.

Vanilla Extract: A generous splash of vanilla brings warm flavor to the bread pudding to give it some nuance. Without the vanilla, there isn’t much going on in the way of flavor.

Optional Sauce: For the optional sauce, I use the rest of the can of full-fat coconut milk, gluten-free flour (for thickening), brandy, sugar, pure vanilla extract, and sea salt.

This sweet, creamy, rich sauce brings even more decadence to the bread pudding.

While the brandy is optional, I highly recommend you add it because it gives such an incredible flavor to the sauce. Nevertheless, you can skip it to make a basic vanilla sauce.

You can whip up a basic powdered sugar glaze using 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of water or lemon juice if you’d like. 

If you’d like to add raisins or currants to the bread pudding, sprinkle ⅓ to ½ cup over the cubed bread just before pouring the custard over it. 

Slice of bread pudding in a bowl with a bite taken out so you can see the texture of the inside.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • If you don’t follow a gluten-free diet, use regular brioche bread for this recipe.
  • Replace the brandy in the sauce with whisky or bourbon. Note that some alcohols are distilled with wheat, so use a gluten free alcohol if you’re serving guests who have a gluten allergy. If you don’t cook with alcohol, omit it.
  • If you love cooking with alcohol, add 2 tablespoons of brandy to the custard for the bread pudding as well.
  • Use regular milk in place of the non-dairy milk in the bread pudding.
  • Instead of using coconut milk in the sauce, use whole milk or half & half or heavy cream if you aren’t dairy-free.
  • Add vanilla bean seeds scraped from a vanilla bean to the custard if you have one.
  • If you’re a big fan of raisins, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup.

Now that we’re familiar with the ingredients, let’s make the best gluten-free bread pudding!

How to Make Bread Pudding:

Get Yourself Some Stale Bread:

First thing first: we need stale bread. Use day-old bread that has been sitting out or employ your oven to make stale bread. To make fresh bread stale, simply chop it into cubes, spread it on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 10 minutes or until it feels a little dry (not hard) and the moisture is gone.

You can also chop the bread and leave it out on the counter overnight the day before you’re making the bread pudding. 

Lightly spray an 8” x 8” square baking pan or a 9” x 9” baking dish with cooking oil. You can also grease it with butter or coconut oil if you’d like.

Transfer the chopped bread to the baking pan and try to arrange it so that it is all tightly nestled and there aren’t a lot of air pockets between the chunks. 

Note: I use an 8-inch square cake pan and I lay four slices of bread on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Because there will be a few small holes in between the slices, I fill any holes with little chunks of bread. I then chop the rest of the loaf into little bread cubes and lay them on top.

Sliced bread at the bottom of a baking dish.
Chopped bread in a baking dish.

I learned this method from watching Ina Garten. The end result is the bottom of the bread pudding is a perfect layer of spongy deliciousness, where the top layer has some of that fun texture. 

Make the Custard: 

Heat the oat milk, coconut milk, brown sugar, and sea salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until the milk is frothy and looks like it is just about to boil. Don’t bring the mixture to a full boil. This hot and frothy milk is known as scalded milk.

Remove the scalded milk from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

Whisk in the eggs one at a time until they are well incorporated, then stir in the vanilla extract.

Custard mixture in a saucepan for bread pudding

Make the Bread Pudding:

Pour the custard mixture evenly over the bread chunks. The bread will start to float up in the liquid so press the bread mixture down with the back of a wooden spoon so that all of the bread is saturated in custard and it appears like it’s in an even layer (this doesn’t need to be perfect). 

Pouring custard mixture over chunks of bread.

Pro Tip: For the best result, allow the bread to soak up the custard for 20-30 minutes (or even longer). If you can make this ahead of time, allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

This allows the bread to become so soggy that it results in a dense cake-like texture. Without this step, the texture of the individual chunks of bread is more distinguishable.

Baking dish with chopped bread saturated with custard.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the casserole dish in aluminum foil. Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes, until the top is slightly golden brown.

Bread pudding fresh out of the oven.

Dust the top of the bread pudding with powdered sugar (if desired).

Sprinkling powdered sugar over the bread pudding

Spoon some of the sauce (instructions below) over the top to allow it to soak in.

Spoon some of the sauce over the top of the bread pudding.

Slice the bread pudding and serve warm with more sauce drizzled on top.

Make the Bread Pudding Sauce:

Add all of the ingredients for the bread pudding sauce to a small saucepan and bring it to a full boil. Continue boiling, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and use it to serve the bread pudding.

If the sauce cools down before you have a chance to use it, heat it back up on the stove top or in the microwave until hot. You can store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

You can also make my Paleo Salted Caramel Sauce for a delicious rich dairy free caramel sauce vibe.

Wrap the baking dish in plastic wrap or store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Top down photo of a slice of bread pudding sprinkled with powdered sugar in a pretty bowl with fresh strawberries and blueberries on top.

So there you have it! An easy recipe for gluten-free dairy-free bread pudding recipe that is perfect for sharing with friends and family for any occasion.

If you’re looking for more sharable desserts that are always crowd-pleasers, try these out!

More Delicious Gluten-Free Desserts:

Enjoy this luscious bite of boozy heavenly bliss!

Close up angled shot of two bowls of bread pudding with fruit on top and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
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5 from 1 vote

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Bread Pudding

An easy, dreamy recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free bread pudding. This luscious treat can be served as a decadent breakfast or dessert!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Desserts & Treats
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 404kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

For the Bread Pudding:

For the Sauce:

Instructions

  • Lightly spray an 8” x 8” square baking pan or a 9” x 9” baking dish with cooking oil. You can also grease it with butter or coconut oil if you’d like.
  • Transfer the chopped bread to the baking pan and try to arrange it so that it is all tightly nestled and there aren’t a lot of air pockets between the chunks. 
  • Note: I use an 8-inch square cake pan and I lay four slices of bread on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Because there will be a few small holes in between the slices, I fill any holes with little chunks of bread. I then chop the rest of the loaf into little bread cubes and lay them on top.
    Chopped bread in a baking dish.

Make the Custard: 

  • Heat the oat milk, coconut milk, brown sugar, and sea salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until the milk is frothy and looks like it is just about to boil. Don’t bring the mixture to a full boil. This hot and frothy milk is known as scalded milk.
  • Remove the scalded milk from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  • Whisk in the eggs one at a time until they are well incorporated, then stir in the vanilla extract.
    Custard mixture in a saucepan for bread pudding

Make the Bread Pudding:

  • Pour the custard mixture evenly over the bread chunks. The bread will start to float up in the liquid so press the bread mixture down with the back of a wooden spoon so that all of the bread is saturated in custard and it appears like it’s in an even layer (this doesn’t need to be perfect). 
    Pouring custard mixture over chunks of bread.
  • Pro Tip: For the best result, allow the bread to soak up the custard for 20-30 minutes (or even longer). If you can make this ahead of time, allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight before baking. This allows the bread to become so soggy that it results in a dense cake-like texture. Without this step, the texture of the individual chunks of bread is more distinguishable.
    Baking dish with chopped bread saturated with custard.
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the casserole dish in aluminum foil. Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes, until the top is slightly golden brown.
    Bread pudding fresh out of the oven.
  • Dust the top of the bread pudding with powdered sugar (if desired) and spoon some of the sauce (instructions below) over the top to allow it to soak in.
    Sprinkling powdered sugar over the bread pudding
  • Slice the bread pudding and serve warm with more sauce drizzled on top.

Make the Bread Pudding Sauce:

  • Add all of the ingredients for the bread pudding sauce to a small saucepan and bring it to a full boil. Continue boiling, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and use it to serve the bread pudding.
  • If the sauce cools down before you have a chance to use it, heat it back up on the stove top or in the microwave until hot. You can store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

*Use bread that is stale, or cut the bread into chunks the night before to let it dry out. You can also cut the bread into chunks, spread it in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it feels stale but not overly crispy.
**I use oat milk, but you can also use regular cow’s milk if you aren’t dairy-free, or almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, etc.
***Use coconut sugar, maple sugar or regular granulated sugar if you’d like.
****This will be the rest of the can of coconut milk after making the bread pudding. It will be just over 1 cup, but you may as well use the rest of the can.
Store leftover bread pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6) | Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 610mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g

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Sandi Hampton

Tuesday 20th of December 2022

I knew I loved you when I found your Roasted Root website for my dairy free, gluten free husband. Your ability to come up with edible gluten, egg and dairy free meals always amazes me. Now Im head over heels! Anyone that can come up with a delectable BREAD pudding that is gluten free WITH brandy is my kind of people!! I can't wait to try this recipe! I already know it will be delicious. Thank you Julia! God bless you and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Julia

Tuesday 20th of December 2022

Ohhh Sandi! Thanks so much for the wonderful note! I'm so happy to hear you're a fellow bread pudding lover and that you're in for the brandy! Cheers, girl! Let me know if you guys try it out! Merry Christmas to you too! xoxox

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