Chewy, soft, and crispy with a healthy dose of gooey cheese this Savory Bread Pudding is what true comfort food tastes like!
Fresh herbs, swiss cheese and nutty Gruyere flavor this easy savory bread pudding that everyone loves. With my step by step photos and TIPS you can make the BEST savory bread pudding EVERY time!
Table of contents
Herb and Cheese Savory Bread Pudding Recipe
This is the make-ahead side dish that goes with almost everything. I often serve this easy savory bread pudding at Thanksgiving alongside roasted turkey. It also goes great with an Eye of Round Roast, roasted pork or chicken. Served with a side of bacon, sausage or sliced ham, this vegetarian savory bread pudding makes everyone happy – including the cook!
What is a savory pudding?
A savory pudding is just a “savory” version of bread pudding – cubed bread that’s soaked in an egg custard and flavored with either sweet or savory ingredients. Sometimes called stratas, these dishes are mainstays in the “make-ahead” brunch and casserole category!
Savory Bread Pudding Ingredients – Each is Important!
For such a simple dish, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your ingredients for this recipe. You will need:
- BREAD – Texture is what we’re looking for here. A french baguette or crusty sourdough are good choices. Homemade or store-bought bread both work – just make sure the bread has some body. Tender, flimsy bread results in a soggy texture which isn’t what you want!
- EGGS – for moisture, flavor and structure. Choose large eggs for this recipe.
- HALF AND HALF – I’ve made this recipe with whole milk, cream and half and half. After testing the recipe several times, half and half was the clear winner. The whole milk version resulted in a drier texture and the all cream version was too heavy and rich.
- CHEESE– You have some choices here. In testing, a mix of strong and mild flavored cheeses had the best overall flavor. I used Gruyere and Swiss, but you could substitute Parmesan and mozzarella, or White cheddar and either mozzarella or swiss.
- FRESH HERBS: You have choices here as well. Fresh chives pair really well with eggs and like traditional stuffing, fresh sage adds a fragrant savory note. Other good choices include fresh Italian parsley and fresh thyme.
- DRIED HERBS: To round out the flavors, I added Herbs de Provence but Italian seasoning works very well. If you don’t have that, 1 teaspoon each of basil, thyme and oregano is a good substitute.
- SHALLOTS: milder and sweeter than onions, their flavor complements both the cheese and the eggs.
- DRY WHITE WINE: alcohol works to amplify flavors! You can easily leave it out of the recipe if you don’t imbibe!
How to Make Bread Pudding with Cheese!
- Cut up the Bread: Cut the bread into roughly even pieces for better texture. TIP: Day old or slightly stale bread is ideal for this recipe since it absorbs more of the egg and half and half mixture. This is what keeps the pudding from being soggy. For fresh bread, put the cut pieces on a sheet pan and dry them out in a 200- degree oven for about 20 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Saute the shallots: Saute the shallots in the butter or medium heat until they are soft and translucent. Add the wine (if using!) and reduce until only about 2 Tablespoons of liquid remains. Let the shallots cool while you make the custard.
- Add the eggs and half and half to a large bowl and whisk.
- Season with salt and white pepper. TIP: White pepper isn’t as pungent as black pepper with a more complex flavor. If you don’t have white pepper, you can substitute black pepper.
- Add the shallots, herbs and cheese and stir to combine.
- Add in the bread cubes and mix thoroughly.
- Butter a large baking dish and pour in the bread and custard mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for an hour or up to a day. TIP: If refrigerating overnight, remove the mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to bake the bread pudding.
- Remove the foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven.
Can you freeze savory bread pudding?
- Yes you can! Wrap the casserole well in plastic wrap and then in a layer of aluminum foil. Label and store in the freezer for 2 – 3 months.
- To defrost, place in the refrigerator overnight. Unwrap the casserole and reheat in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes until the casserole is heated through.
- TIP: To get that crispy top back, run under the broiler for a few seconds to crisp up the top!
Other Side Dishes you don’t want to miss!
- Parmesan Risotto – this one’s made in the Instant pot – all the creaminess without all the stirring!
- Rice Pilaf with Orzo – another classic side dish that goes with everything!
- Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Cranberries – SO good, I could eat this all by itself (and just between us, I have!)
If you enjoyed this recipe, I would LOVE for you to give it a 5-star rating! Cheers! Nancy
Savory Bread Pudding with Herbs and Cheese
- 1 lb. baguette or sourdough bread
- ¼ cup butter, unsalted
- 2 shallots, sliced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 6 large eggs
- 2 ¼ cups half and half
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 ¼ cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 ¼ cups swiss cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup fresh chives, minced
- ¼ cup fresh sage, minced
- Cut the bread into 1 ½ inch cubes. If your bread is very fresh, put the cubes on a sheet pan and place in a 200-degree oven while you prep the other ingredients.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the shallots. Saute the shallots until they are soft and translucent.
- Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Boil the wine mixture until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, add the eggs and half and half and whisk. Add the herbs, cheese, shallot mixture and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add the bread and stir until thoroughly coated with the custard.
- Grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole and pour the bread and custard mixture in.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
- Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Uncover the bread pudding and place in the oven.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
- BREAD: You want a bread with some structure so a baguette, artisanal loaf or crusty sourdough are all ideal. Soft breads like white sandwich bread or Italian bread won’t cut it – you’re bread pudding will be soggy! Day old or slightly stale bread is ideal for this recipe since it absorbs more of the egg and half and half mixture. This helps keep the pudding from being soggy.
- CHEESE: You have some choices here. In testing, a mix of strong and mild flavored cheeses had the best overall flavor. I used Gruyere and Swiss, but you could substitute Parmesan and mozzarella, or White cheddar and either mozzarella or swiss.
- HERBS: I used fresh herbs since they provide a fresher flavor and a prettier color. But if you don’t have them you can substitute 3Tablespoons of dried herbs for the fresh herbs. TIP: If your herbs are older than 6 months, toss them and buy new ones since dried herbs lose their potency over time.
- Seasoning:White pepper isn’t as pungent as black pepper with a more complex flavor. If you don’t have white pepper, you can substitute black pepper.
- Baking dishes: The pudding turns out best in a glass or ceramic baking dish. I used a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, but you can bake the pudding in a smaller casserole dish. If baking in a smaller casserole dish, you may need to increase the baking time. I would set the timer for 30 minutes and check and then adjust accordingly.
- Storage: You can assemble this bread pudding up to a day in advance and store in the refrigerator.
- After cooking: the bread pudding can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days after baking.
- Re heating: Re heat the bread pudding in a 350 degree oven. Cover the bread pudding with foil and then run under the broiler for a minute to crisp the top if desired.
- Freezing: Wrap the bread pudding in plastic wrap and in a layer of foil, label and freeze for up to 2 – 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat as instructed above.