Skip the traditional pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and make this decadent pumpkin bread pudding with whiskey cream sauce instead!
When it comes to Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law has the right idea. His take on dessert? “You need a little sweetness to take away the fullness.” Truer words may have never been said, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving day dessert.
But, I can almost see you shaking your head, “no. way.”
There’s no way you’re going to forego your favorite pecan pie for T-day dessert. And don’t even think about me suggesting you skip the classic pumpkin pie flavors that reel in childhood recollections of fall’s favorite holiday.
Take a deep breath. There’s no need to despair, you can have all of those flavors and more, because bread pudding is here.
But is bread soaked in drippy goodness really a worthy of this hallowed day dessert? You bet! I’ll take it in my favorite baked french toast, or baked in the bird’s turkey day stuffing, or even as a hot roll dipped in mashed potatoes and gravy.
Bread pudding always reminds me of cajun and creole flavors thanks to a waitressing job I had in college at a New Orleans flavored restaurant that served it for dessert. I’d never tried it before working there, and how I got to college without ever doing so is a shocking mystery to me. Because once I tried it, laced with a dripping whiskey sauce, I was a goner.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding Ingredients
The beauty of homemade bread pudding is that it requires minimal ingredients and there’s no pressure to make it look perfect. You basically just throw everything into a dish and bake! Here’s what you’ll need to make this pumpkin bread pudding with whiskey sauce:
- Heavy cream
- Pumpkin puree
- Maple syrup
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Cinnamon raisin bread
- Granulated sugar
How to Make Pumpkin Bread Pudding
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Add the bread cubes and let them sit in the egg mixture for 5 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and bake until the bread pudding is set and golden on top. Once the homemade bread pudding is out of the oven, you can start on the bread pudding sauce.
Cook the cream, egg yolks, and sugar over medium heat until thickened. Remove from the heat, then stir in the whiskey. Then, toast the pecans and brown the butter. Stir everything together, then spoon the whiskey sauce over the pumpkin bread pudding.
What’s the Best Bread for Bread Pudding?
Bread pudding is best made with a sturdy bread so it can stand up to the soaking of the egg mixture without disintegrating into a mushy mess. For this recipe I used cinnamon swirl bread, just like in my favorite baked french toast. You could also try using chunks of stale bread that will moisten as the bread bakes.
Is There a Heavy Cream Substitute I Can Use?
This pumpkin bread pudding with whiskey sauce isn’t the recipe to make if you’re trying to save calories. If you have heavy cream on hand, I highly recommend making this easy bread pudding as written. It’s a special treat, enjoy it!
If you’re determined to make this pumpkin bread pudding a little healthier, you may be able to get away with using a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream in the bread pudding. But the heavy cream is a must in the bread pudding sauce!
Tips for Making the Best Bread Pudding
Pumpkin is whisked into the egg mixture along with the traditional pumpkin pie flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you have a favorite pumpkin pie spice, insert it here __________ and add away.
This whiskey flavored topper really brings the flavors all together. It could also be called a bourbon sauce as the two are interchangeable. What’s the difference? Read up on it here and use what you learn as small talk at those holiday parties where you need to impress. Cheers to that!
The whiskey bread pudding sauce can be made ahead and warmed or brought to room temperature to serve. Do not add the whiskey while the sauce is over a hot flame or fire will be on your side. Remove from the heat before ever adding alcohol to anything on the stove!
You can see more of my Bold & Spicy Thanksgiving recipes at Go Bold With Butter to round out your holiday cravings.
More Pumpkin Desserts You’ll Love
- Pumpkin Tiramisu
- My Favorite Pumpkin Roll
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mascarpone Pumpkin Mousse Cups
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce
For the bread pudding:
- 1 tablespoon butter , softened
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups heavy cream
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1- pound loaf cinnamon-raisin bread , cut into ¾-inch cubes
For the whiskey pecan sauce:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ⅔ cup pecans , chopped
- ⅓ cup whiskey
- To prepare bread pudding, preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 9x13-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter.
- In large bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, pumpkin puree, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Add bread cubes and let stand 5 minutes. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown and center is set. (The bread pudding will puff as it bakes and will deflate once it’s cooled from the oven.)
- To prepare the whiskey pecan sauce, add the cream, egg yolks and sugar to 2-quart saucepan and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly, or until mixture thinly coats back of spoon. Remove from heat and let the mixture stand, stirring often as it cools.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan on medium heat and add pecans. Cook 4-5 minutes or until butter browns and you smell a nutty aroma.
- Stir the browned butter and pecans into the cream mixture. Stir in the whiskey.
- Serve bread pudding warm drizzled with bourbon pecan sauce. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving.
More Easy Fall Desserts to Make
- Chai Shortbread Cookies
- German Chocolate Cake
- The Best No-Bake Cookies with Coconut
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Milk Bar’s Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Apple Blondies with Cinnamon Almond Streusel
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This recipe was created as part of my partnership with Go Bold With Butter. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There may be affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.
Is there any way ton make this the day before?
For sure. Bake it the day before then reheat in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
Should the pecans be toasted first?
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
They don’t have to be!
I made the sauce with Fireball Whiskey — absolutely delicious!!!
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
I really like your article. It is concise and accurate. I share it further.
Great to cook just so.
May I leave out the Whiskey and sub with non-alcohol???
Made this last Saturday. …its was wonderful..everyone wanted the receipe and there was none left..will make again and again
5 cups total heavy cream….I dunno. I might try half whole milk, half cream for the putting and then go whole hog on the sauce.
Would it go all wrong if you did all the steps except cooking it. Meaning soak overnight and cook next day? Want to make this for co-workers but have to be at work early and didn’t want to kill myself to get up way to early.
Matt @ Plating Pixels
This recipe looks absolutely divine. The cinnamon-raisin bread is a creative base. Love the elegant photography style. I included this recipe in my Thanksgiving recipe roundup since it looks so yummy!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
If this was served at my Thanksgiving, I would run straight to it!! OMG!
Annalise @ Completely Delicious
I adore bread pudding! This one looks fabulous, especially with that whiskey sauce. I could almost forget there was pumpkin in there. :) Also, thanks for the link love! I always love scrolling down to leave a comment, only to stumble upon one of my recipes.
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
What a decadent bread pudding, love the whiskey cream sauce!
Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy
What a great idea using that cinnamon swirl bread! I’d take this over pumpkin pie any day ;)
Do you suppose it could be lightened up just a little? Maybe fat free half and half, sugar free maple, etc?? Hoping it would work bcuz this looks beyond good but I am really sticking to the old diet!!
Pure Maple Syrup is a great natural sweetner, loaded with trace minerals !! Enjoy it!
I have such a weakness for bread pudding. Unless it has raisins in it, and then it repels me. But this looks perfect and raisin free.
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl
Whiskey Cream Sauce – holy moly. It may sound weird, but our favorite way to eat bread pudding is as pancakes – this sauce would be the perfect ‘syrup’ – so excited to try this.
I am really sad my computer screen would taste like stale dryer sheets and not this beautiful bread pudding if anyone caught me trying to nab a lick (nab a lick…sure, Imma roll with that).
This got weird, quick. Really, just wanted to say dayamn that looks good.
Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)
This looks seriously way too darn good for words. All the way pinned. I could not pin fast enough!
I want to bring that to my family dinner!!!!
I never use whiskey — can you tell me what to look for any certain brand?
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
Oh myyyy goodness, that sauce!!
This looks fantabulous! And that whiskey Cream Sauce, Yes Please!