Pumpkin Butterscotch Brown Butter Bread Pudding

Updated 2.24.2020.

Last week I roasted four sugar pumpkins and have done relatively little with the puree, other than make some fabulous Pumpkin Gnocchi with my friends. This weekend I unearthed a recipe my grandma sent me a long time ago which would be perfect in order to use the pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge along with some dinner rolls I’d made and slightly burned on the bottom a few weeks ago. I hadn’t been able to part with them in the moment (i.e., throw them away) so instead I threw them into my freezer knowing I’d be able to use them for bread pudding eventually.

My recipe is based on the recipe sent to me by my grandma. I changed it slightly because I had more bread than what the recipe called for and I decided I wanted to add a brown butter element as well as some bourbon.

While the bread pudding is good on its own, it’s outstanding with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, which is what I topped it with. I would highly recommend topping your bread pudding with some flavor of ice cream or a dessert-like topping: like a bourbon sauce or something similar.

Bread pudding is a great way to use leftover bread, eggs and milk. Save scraps of bread that’s starting to go stale by throwing it in your freezer until such time that you accumulate enough old bread to make a pudding.

Just a little note to say that if you are thinking of using canned pumpkin as a substitute in this recipe, I recommend against it. I’ve made this recipe both ways and find it much better using fresh pumpkin. If you do use canned pumpkin, don’t say I didn’t warn you!


  • about 12 c. bread or rolls cut into approximately 1-inch cubes
  • 1 c. butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 qt. whole milk
  • 2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 T. bourbon (optional)
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. butterscotch chips
  • ice cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, until dry. Approximately 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the freshness of your bread.
  2. Meanwhile, begin browning one cup of butter in a small pan by heating it over medium-low heat until it bubbles and starts to bubble with flecks of brown and begin to smell slightly nutty.
  3. Also mix the eggs, milk, pumpkin, vanilla extract, sugar, cinnamon, salt and bourbon together in large bowl.
  4. When the butter has browned and the bread has dried, toss the bread cubes in the brown butter.  You can do this right in the dish you’re going to use for baking, a 15×11-inch baking dish. Then pour the egg mixture over and make sure all the cubes are covered in the mixture. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Occasionally press down on the bread to submerge in the egg mixture.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the mixture with butterscotch chips and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes to allow the pudding time to set. Serve warm with ice cream.

Recipe rating: 

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