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Orange Cranberry Bread Pudding

If you love a luscious bread pudding but you’re also crazy about the mergence of orange and cranberry, have I got a treat for you! This delicious bread pudding is a breeze to make and so tasty you’ll make it again and again. 

Questions People are Asking about Bread Pudding

Can I Add Flavors to Bread Pudding? 

This was the question on my mind as I stared at my mother’s bread pudding recipe, the one passed down in her now-infamous hand-written cookbook. (I’ve referred to this special cookbook in many other posts, in case you’re wondering.) 

Mom used to make bread pudding frequently but I was never a fan. Maybe I was put off by the way it looked. I’m not sure. But I decided to update her recipe with some new flavors. 

The holidays are upon us and I’m in the mood for flavors that remind me of fall. I happened to have a bag of fresh cranberries on hand and picked up a bag of oranges at the store so that I could add an additional layer of flavor. 

The outcome? Well, let’s just say you’ll never look at bread pudding again. And guess what? You won’t want to limit this recipe to the holidays, either. 

I hope you’ll let this recipe become a springboard for many other flavor profiles (many of which I’ll suggest later on in the post). 

What Kind of Bread Should I Use? 

That, my friends, is up to you. Soft bread (like you’ll find in a loaf of sandwich bread) will make a creamy, mushy bread pudding. This was my Mama’s choice. 

Firmer bread (like a French bread, or a ciabatta, which is what I chose) will make the pudding a little less mushy and give it a bit of a bite. One of my friends uses Brioche. Others use biscuits, dinner rolls, or other leftover bread products.

The choice is completely yours. 

Can I Change the Consistency of the Bread Pudding? 

Yes, of course! This recipe calls for three cups of milk/heavy cream. But if you don’t want your pudding to be as wet as mine you can cut back to two cups of liquid. 

Some folks like their bread pudding to be somewhat cake-like in texture, one that can be cut with a knife. 

Me? I like a softer, creamier version with a bit of a bite, which is how I ended up using ciabatta bread. I toasted it slightly, since the bread was fresh from the store. 

Our grandmothers usually used stale bread, biscuits, and muffins, (and that’s still a fine idea) but these days we move so fast it’s almost easier just to lightly toast the bread ahead of use in the pudding. 

Will Cooking Time Vary Based on the The Type of Bread or Amount of Liquid? 

Yes. Mama’s recipe (which calls for sliced bread) doesn’t need as much time in the oven. The use of chiabatta (a firmer bread) meant it would need more time to cook. I left mine in for 50 minutes but it could have gone an additional five minutes or more. (You’ll have to watch yours because baking times will vary.)

If you opt to use sliced bread (toasted/dried) you can lower your baking time to about 40 minutes.

I promise, no matter how you make it, this is one of those easy recipes you’re going to enjoy making again and again!

Do I Have to Use a 9 x 13-inch Pan? 

No, you can use any size pan you have handy. That might depend on the amount of bread you have handy. You might need to adjust the milk/cream mixture, scaling down a bit if you use a smaller pan and less bread. 

As you can see, this is a very adaptable recipe. I talked to a friend today who told me that she doesn’t even use a recipe for bread pudding. She just throws some milk, eggs, and sugar in on top of whatever bread she has handy. 

That’s one way to do it! 

And now, my friends, the recipe you’ve been waiting for. 

Orange Cranberry Bread Pudding Ingredients

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you likely hand on hand!

FOR THE PUDDING

  • Ciabatta (or French) bread, about 6 – 8 cups total (cubed, lightly toasted or dried out)
  • milk
  • whipping (heavy) cream
  • eggs
  • sugar
  • melted butter
  • orange zest
  • orange juice
  • fresh cranberries

FOR THE GLAZE

  • orange juice (no pulp)
  • sugar
  • cornstarch 

How to Make Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding

This came together so easily! I can’t believe it took me this long to make such a simple dish. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Chop your bread into chunks. If it’s not already stale or dried out, lightly toast. I used my toaster oven but you can do this in your regular oven if you like. 

Place bread cubes in 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or other). 

In a large bowl combine milk, heavy cream, eggs, sugar and melted butter. Mix well. (Note: If you want a drier finished product cut the milk/cream mixture to two cups: one cup milk, one cup heavy cream.)

Zest and juice one orange. Add to the liquid and stir. 

Pour milk mixture over the bread and mix well. Make sure each piece of bread is well coated. Soak for a few minutes if you’re using a heavier bread like ciabatta.

Fold in cranberries. Place dish with bread mixture into preheated oven and cook for 50 – 55 minutes or until set on top and golden in color. 

Make sure your bread pudding bakes long enough or the bread will be soggy and the eggs and milk won’t come together.

Make Your Sauce

In a small saucepan combine orange juice and sugar. Come to a low boil over medium heat.

In a separate cup or small bowl combine cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water and stir until smooth. 

Add corn starch liquid to hot orange juice mixture. Using a whisk, stir well. 

Continue to simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. 

When your bread pudding comes out of the oven pour the sauce over the top of the bread pudding and allow to soak into the bread pudding. 

Serve warm. I prefer to use a bowl to serve since this is a soft dessert. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to three days. Re-warm servings in the microwave individually. This is not a dessert to freeze and eat later.

What to Expect from this Bread Pudding

I’m just astounded it took me so long to come around. I was so happy with the orange flavor. It’s absolutely delicious with the addition of the cranberries. It’s going to be perfect for Christmas morning!

I loved the use of the ciabatta bread. It’s just the right texture, at least to my way of thinking. It absorbed the sweetness of the milk/egg mixture and paired beautifully with that amazing sauce. 

And, can we talk for a minute about how easy the sauce was to make? I’m just thrilled with the ease! Three ingredients. . .and boom! Luscious orange sauce! 

By the way, you don’t have to pour the sauce over the top. If you’re put off by the wet look of this dish just drizzle a little of the sauce over individual servings. 

I can’t wait to make this again and again. And I’m already thinking of variations, which I’ll share below. 

Variations on this Delicious Recipe

Okay, friends. I’ve got a ton of ideas and I’m thrilled to share them with you. Here are my favorites: 

Candied Orange Peel: If you like, you can decorate the top of your bread pudding with candied orange peel.

Almond Extract: I found out (quite by accident, while making my Poppyseed Cake with Orange Glaze) that orange and almond go together beautifully! Add half a teaspoon of almond extract to this recipe if you want to experience that luscious flavor combination.

Lemon: I made this great recipe twice today—once with orange juice and once with lemon. I chose lemon because my mom’s recipe called for lemon sauce. (Use lemon zest and lemon juice for the bread pudding. Use one cup sugar, two cups water, lemon zest and lemon juice to make the sauce.)

I absolutely loved the lemon version. When I make it again I’m totally adding blueberries. Lemon-blueberry? Yes, please! 

Lemon-Raspberry is another great option. The tart raspberries will be a perfect complement to the tart lemon. 

Cinnamon Roll: I would love to make this recipe coating the bread pieces in cinnamon and brown sugar and then adding more cinnamon/sugar to the recipe, along with vanilla bean or vanilla extract. I would also add a loose cream cheese frosting in place of the sauce. Because I’m nuts about nuts I’d probably add chopped pecans. Another option would be caramel and pecans on top of the cream cheese topping. 

Waffles: Hear me out, friend: Take some crispy waffles, break them up, and add to the pan, then top with the milk and egg mixture, along with maple syrup or maple extract. Yum! Top with a praline sauce. 

Chocolate Cherry: I’m thinking about making it with maraschino cherries and using a chocolate sauce on top. (Yes please!) 

Chocolate Chips: If you like you can add a cup of chocolate chips in place of the berries. If you’re nuts about nuts you can add a cup of chopped pecans or walnuts, as well. White chocolate chips would work, too. Maybe combine them with some raspberries?

Raisins: My mom’s (traditional) recipe called for raisins. I’m not a huge fan of raisins in my baked goods so if I do decide to go this route I’ll probably use Craisins (dehydrated cranberries). 

French Toast Casserole: Use French bread, cinnamon, lots of brown sugar. Skip the glaze on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Custard Cups: Bake this recipe in custard cups for individual servings. (Yum!)

Other Old-Fashioned Desserts

If you loved this trip down memory lane you’re going to love these other recipes from Out of the Box Baking. Here are a few of my favorites. 

Old-Fashioned Cobbler with Homemade Pie Crust: If you’re looking for a luscious cobbler with that crisp homemade crust you grew up eating, you’ve come to the right place. This easy recipe calls for canned pie filling but a crust so flaky and delicious you’ll swear you’re sitting around grandma’s table eating it.

Old-Fashioned Pound Cake: If you’re looking for a classic pound cake to serve at your next get-together, you can stop looking! I’ve got a luscious butter pound cake recipe for you that’s going to thrill and delight your guests and make you proud to serve it!

Old-Fashioned Banana Bread with Mayonnaise: If you’ve been on a search for the best banana bread recipe out there, search no more! This one is absolutely perfect! Best of all, this Old-Fashioned Banana bread recipe is super easy to whip up in a hurry! It’s loaded with flavor. . .and thanks to a secret ingredient (mayonnaise!) it’s moist, flaky, and super tasty!

Easy Apple Pie with Homemade Crust: If you love the warm rich flavors of apple and cinnamon and the lovely crisp crunch of a flaky crust, this is the recipe for you! Thanks to the addition of canned apple pie filling this Easy Apple Pie comes together so easily. . .but it tastes like it took hours!

I stumbled across another great homemade recipe today, y’all! Check out this recipe for Mini Southern Peach Cobblers from Southern Style Recipes. It looks delicious! 


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoy this delicious Orange-Cranberry Bread Pudding!

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

Busy Monday

Orange Cranberry Bread Pudding

Orange Cranberry Bread Pudding

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

If you love a luscious bread pudding but you’re also crazy about the mergence of orange and cranberry, have I got a treat for you! This delicious bread pudding is a breeze to make and so tasty you’ll make it again and again.

Ingredients

  • Bread Pudding Ingredients
  • FOR THE PUDDING
  • 1 loaf Ciabatta (or French) bread, about 6 - 8 cups total (cubed, lightly toasted or dried out)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • The zest of one orange
  • The juice of one orange
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries (or other fruit of your choice)
  • FOR THE GLAZE
  • 2 cups orange juice (no pulp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Chop your bread into chunks. If it’s not already stale or dried out, lightly toast. I used my toaster oven but you can do this in your regular oven if you like.

    Place bread chunks in 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or other).

    In a large bowl combine milk, heavy cream, eggs, sugar and melted butter. Mix well. Note: If you want a drier finished product cut the milk/cream mixture to two cups: one cup each of milk and heavy cream.)

    Zest and juice one orange. Add to the liquid and stir.

    Pour milk mixture over the bread and mix well. Make sure each piece of bread is well coated.

    Fold in cranberries.

    Place dish in preheated oven and cook for 50 - 55 minutes or until set on top and golden in color.

    Make Your Sauce
    In a heavy saucepan combine orange juice and sugar. Come to a low boil.

    In a separate cup or small bowl combine cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water and stir until smooth.

    Add corn starch liquid to hot orange juice mixture.

    Using a whisk, stir well.

    Continue to simmer until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

    When your bread pudding comes out of the oven pour the sauce over it and allow to soak into the bread pudding.

    Serve warm. I prefer to use a bowl to serve since this is a soft dessert.

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Oh my! You had me and my hubby at bread pudding. Sounds & looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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