This Savory Bread Pudding Recipe features challah or brioche, roasted butternut squash and mushrooms, and shredded gruyere cheese. It is melty, cheesy, custardy, rich, and makes for an incredible side dish. It's like stuffing, but so much better!
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This recipe post was originally published on December 20, 2019. It was updated on Sept 27, 2023 with new recipe tips and photos.
Table of contents
What is savory bread pudding?
Savory bread pudding is a baked casserole-like recipe that is made by baking stale or baked bread cubes in a egg and milk mixture. Unlike sweet bread puddings, savory puddings are made without sugar and feature vegetables and cheese instead of fruit or chocolate. They are served for side dishes or can even be make for great brunch recipes.
Savory bread pudding is perfect served at a holiday meal like Christmas or Thanksgiving, though it could also be served as part of a breakfast or brunch spread.
Why You'll Love Savory Bread Pudding
- Rich & Cheesy: Made with gruyere cheese, milk, and heavy cream, this recipe is 100% comfort food!
- Versatile: Whether you serve it as a dinner side or as a savory Christmas breakfast, this recipe is sure to delight!
- Great for Prepping Ahead: Save on last-minute dinner prep by making the pudding 2-24 hours ahead of time. Prepare the recipe as directed and store covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator until baking.
We'll make this vegetarian bread pudding with the following ingredients:
- Challah or Brioche Bread: The best bread for this savory pudding is Challah or brioche -- two enriched breads that are full of flavor. Their rich flavors add depth to the savory flavors in this recipe while keeping the recipe vegetarian.
- Butternut Squash: Opt for a squash with smooth skin that is a deep tan color. Peel, seed, and cube the butternut squash before seasoning and roasting.
- Cremini Mushrooms: Sliced into ⅛-inch thick pieces.
- Milk: I recommend 2% milk, but whole milk or 1% also work.
- Heavy Cream: Also known as heavy whipping cream. For a lighter take on this recipe, you can use half & half.
- Eggs: Bind the vegetarian savory bread pudding together and contribute a rich custard texture.
- Garlic Powders: Season the recipe to perfection and adds sweet and nutty undertones.
- Rosemary: Choose fresh rosemary if possible. Fresh herbs take this recipe to the next level!
- Gruyere Cheese: Shredded. The cheese will be divided between the custard and the pudding topping, so be sure to divide it accordingly before making the recipe.
- Green Onions: Adds a light pepper and bite to finish off the recipe.
How to Make Savory Bread Pudding
Here's how to make this vegetable strata, or bread pudding:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Add the bread cubes to a large rimmed baking sheet and toast the cubes in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the cubes are dried out a light golden brown.
Step 3: Cool the cubes on a cooling rack. Add the oil and butternut squash to another large sheet pan and toss the vegetables in the olive oil until they're evenly covered. Season the veggies with salt and pepper and then roast for 8 minutes.
Step 4: Add the mushrooms to the butternut squash and roast another 12-13 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through and tender. Remove the vegetables from the oven to cool for 3-5 minutes.
Step 5: Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 2.5-quart baking casserole dish.
Step 6: In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, remaining salt, eggs, and garlic powder until combined. Rub the dried rosemary in the palms of your hand and whisk that into the egg mixture as well.
Step 7: Gently stir in the cooled roasted vegetables, green onions, 1 ¼ cups Gruyere cheese, and black pepper into the egg mixture.
Step 8: Add the bread cubes to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and gently fold them in until they're covered with the egg and the vegetables are distributed evenly, but do not over-mix or the mixture will get mushy.
Step 9: Pour the egg and bread mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake the strata for 30-32 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean.
Step 10: Let the pudding rest for a minute or two and then serve hot. Enjoy!
- Cube the bread into similar-sized pieces, or to about 1-inch cubes. This will help it to roast evenly and quickly.
- Don't overmix the egg and bread mixture. Furthermore, carefully mix the ingredients together. As the bread absorbs the egg and milk it will get delicate and will be prone to breaking down and getting mushy.
- Add Protein: Brown up ½ pound of sweet Italian sausage or breakfast sausage or 6 slices of thick-cut bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat before stirring into the bread and egg custard mixture and baking. Delicious!
- Change Up the Cheese: Add different rich flavor notes to the vegetarian bread pudding by using swiss cheese, parmesan cheese, or even sharp cheddar cheese in place of gruyere.
- Switch Up the Vegetables: Kabocha or honeynut squash make fantastic substitutions for butternut squash; cubed portobello or shitake mushrooms can substitute for cremini. Or have fun experimenting with different combinations altogether, such as carrots, kale, and sweet caramelized onions or sweet potatoes and leeks.
- Try Different Breads: Challah or brioche are perfect for the easy savory bread pudding because of their richness, but you can easily use a loaf of French bread, Italian bread, or even sourdough bread for a lighter take on this recipe.
- Storage: Store leftover bread pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: Cool the pudding to room temperature before moving to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 4 hours - overnight, or until thawed through.
- Reheating: Warm the leftovers in the microwave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- Rimmed cookie sheet
- Large mixing bowl
- Vegetable peeler
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Rubber or silicone spatula
- 2.5-quart baking dish
- Dry measuring spoons & cups
- Wet measuring cup
More Perfect Side Dish Recipes
- Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potato Casserole
- Healthy Deviled Eggs
- Honey Glazed Turmeric Carrots
- Holiday Kale Salad
- Healthy Sweet Potato Souffle
- Mashed Potatoes without Milk
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!