One of my favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas side dishes, this Savory Bread Pudding Recipe is like stuffing, but better.
This recipe post was originally published on December 20, 2019. It was updated on October 16, 2020 with new recipe tips and photos.
This Savory Bread Stuffing Recipe is the perfect recipe to round out your Christmas dinner menu. With a savory custard, gruyere cheese, roasted butternut squash, mushrooms, and more, it's like a classic stuffing recipe, but more cheesy, rich, and flavorful.
Make sure to use brioche or challah bread, as their richer flavor steps up the recipe to a whole new level.
This Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms was inspired by my good friend and fellow food lover, Jess.
Jess and I have been best friends since 2007. She's been with me through all my stages: my fraught (let's not talk about it) early twenties stage, the period when I had short hair and everyone thought-we-were-girlfriends-stage, and every other funny, stressful, ridiculous, or amazing stage since.
And as much as we can talk about any and everything (the sign of a true saint to be able to do that with me), I was usually the one that was more obsessed with food. Talking about it all the time, always wanting to cook it, dragging us out to new restaurants as soon as I hear about them, and the list goes on. See, I told you she's a saint.
Then, Jess started working at a cooking school.
Before you know it, I wasn't alone in my beloved food tunnel vision. We'd talk about it more and more, post about it, and make it one of the key activities of our time together.
And so, on her last trip here, while driving to DGT Tacos for lunch we started talking about savory bread puddings. Her boss had just made one for a TV show cooking segment. She couldn't say enough about it -- kabocha squash, mushrooms, gruyere cheese, and the works studded that beautiful baked bread beauty.
Instantly, my wheels started turning. I had heard about sweet bread puddings, but never a savory. Sweet ones can almost be too much for me anyways so I tend to stay away. This savory thing, though...
And so I started brainstorming how I would make my own. Kabocha squash is great, but butternut squash is more accessible. Also, the umami in the roasted mushrooms seemed to be a crucial component in the flavor profile and so I knew I'd also work some mushrooms into the bread pudding.
Finally, I started tinkering around with cooking times, bread toasting, seasoning, and liquid to bread ratios, and I landed on this perfect Savory Bread Pudding Recipe with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms.
It's rich, has the perfect crunchy-yet-tender experience when served hot, is a vehicle for delicious carbs and healthy veggies, and has to be one of the top holiday dishes I'm excited about this year.
So, whether you already are or aren't a savory bread pudding convert, I recommend you try this recipe too. And then, when you catch the fever, share it with a friend. It will only help your friendship grow. I promise. 🙂
This Savory Bread Pudding Recipe Is...
- Not as heavy as other bread puddings
- The perfect holiday side dish
- Like stuffing, but better
- Full of savory umami
- Ready to feed a crowd
See? I wasn't messing when I said it's the perfect holiday side. I'd even go as far as to say it's one of my best holiday side dishes. If you like stuffing, chances are you'll love this savory bread pudding recipe. Start a delicious new tradition on your holiday table today!
Is savory bread pudding the same as strata?
Yes, technically bread pudding and strata are the same thing. Both dishes are savory bread casseroles; or toasted bread, eggs, milk or cream mixture, and cheese. They just go by different names, which I don't mind using interchangeably around here (after all, it's about the food we're eating, not what we call it, amiright?).
Some strata have meat products in them -- a common ingredient is ham -- but this strata recipe is a vegetable-based vegetarian strata. If you'd like to add meat I offer suggestions below, but in the meantime, all of my vegetarian buddies can rejoice: we have a delicious meat-free holiday side dish we can enjoy this year!
We'll make this vegetarian bread pudding with the following ingredients:
- Challah or brioche bread
- Butternut squash
- Cremini mushrooms
- Heavy or whipping cream
- Dried garlic & rosemary
- Gruyere cheese
- Green onions
Bread -- brioche or challah are enriched breads (meaning they are made with eggs, butter, and/or milk), so we'll want to substitute with other similarly enriched breads like potato bread or Hawaiian sweet rolls.
Cheese -- this recipe is the best with Gruyere cheese, but you can substitute in Havarti, fontina, or Swiss cheese in a pinch!
Mushrooms -- white mushrooms can be substituted in place of the cremini mushrooms. You can also substitute in diced portabello mushrooms.
Cream -- you can use half & half in place of the cream, but it won't be as rich as if you used heavy whipping cream.
What bread is best for this savory pudding?
The best bread for this savory pudding is Challah or brioche -- two enriched breads that are full of flavor. Their rich flavors go add depth to the savory flavors in this recipe while keeping the recipe vegetarian.
What is savory bread pudding?
Savory bread pudding is like a richer stuffing recipe. Like stuffing, we start with dried out bread cubes and bake it. Unlike stuffing, however, we will toss the cubes with a savory egg custard and fold in gruyere cheese before baking it. Because of the custard and cheese, the dish is more substantial is more complex in flavor than a typical stuffing recipe.
Savory bread pudding is perfect served at a holiday meal like Christmas or Thanksgiving, though it could also be served as part of a brunch spread. Get creative with how you serve it and enjoy this versatile and delicious side dish!
How do you make savory bread pudding?
Here's how to make this vegetable strata, or bread pudding:
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the break 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 and turning golden brown.
- Cool the cubes on a cooling rack. Add the oil and butternut squash to another large cookie sheet pan and toss the vegetables in the oil until they're evenly covered. Season the veggies with salt and pepper and then roast for 8 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms to the butternut squash and roast another 12-13 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through and tender.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 2.5-quart baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, remaining salt, eggs, and garlic powder in until combined. Rub the dried rosemary in the palms of your hand and whisk that into the egg mixture as well.
- Gently stir in the cooled roasted vegetables, green onions, 1 ¼ cup Gruyere cheese, and black pepper into the egg mixture.
- Add the bread cubes to the bowl 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.
- Pour the bread and egg mixture into your baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere cheese. Bake the strata for 30-32 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean.
- Let the pudding rest for a minute or two and then serve hot. Enjoy!
Can you make bread pudding ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this bread pudding 2-24 hours ahead of time. Just whip up your pudding up to 24 hours ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator before baking.
What do you serve this vegetarian bread pudding with and where do you serve it?
You can serve this savory pudding for the following meals:
- Sunday supper
- Weekend brunch
I like to serve it along side the following dishes, depending on the meal I'm serving it for:
- Sliced ham
- Roasted turkey
- Blistered Green Beans or air-fried green beans
- Sour cream mashed potato casserole
- Leg of lamb
- Beef wellington
- Large green salad
- Carrot souffle
- Sliced fresh fruit
- Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chenin Blanc
Can you serve this savory bread recipe for breakfast?
Yes, as you see in my notes above, you can serve this for breakfast. If you're not a vegetarian and want to serve this as your main breakfast or brunch dish, see my notes below on potential mix-ins.
What tools do you need to make this recipe?
You will need the following tools 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
What else can you mix into this pudding?
If you want to make your strata recipe more hearty and aren't worried about keeping this recipe vegetarian, here are some of my favorite ingredients to mix into this recipe:
- Cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage
- Cooked and crumbled bacon pieces
- Cubed ham
Fold in 1-1.5 cups of any of these ingredients along with the bread cubes and continue with the rest of the recipe as directed.
Can you freeze savory bread pudding?
Yes, you can freeze cooked savory bread pudding. Freeze it in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. When reheating, defrost it in the fridge for one day and then reheat it (uncovered) in the oven at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the stuffing is heated through.
Note: this recipe does not freeze well unbaked, or raw, as the dairy product and egg consistency will likely be disturbed by the freezing and thawing process.
Other reader-favorite Christmas and holiday side dishes you might like:
- Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potato Casserole
- Healthy Deviled Eggs
- Honey Glazed Turmeric Carrots
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes Without Butter
- Holiday Kale Salad
- Carrot Souffle
- Healthy Sweet Potato Souffle
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This Savory Bread Pudding Recipe yields a rich and flavorful bread pudding with butternut squash, cremini mushrooms, and gruyere cheese. Serve it for brunch or as a side with holiday dinners.
For best flavor, use challah or brioche bread. If you don't have or can't find cremini mushrooms, you can use sliced white mushrooms, but I do recommend cremini if you can find them.
- 16 oz. challah or brioche bread or rolls, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups (or 1 lb) butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 ½ cups (or 8 oz) cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced into ⅛ pieces vertically
- 1 ¾ cups 2% milk
- ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (or about 10-12 cracks)
- 1 ¾ cups grated gruyere cheese
- 3 large or 4 medium-sized green onions, white and green parts sliced into ⅛ inch pieces (or about ¾ cup sliced green onions)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add bread cubes to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes, or until the cubes are dried out and turning golden brown.
- Cool the bread cubes on a cooling rack. Add oil to another large, rimmed baking sheet. Add butternut squash and oil and toss until the squash is covered with oiled evenly. Salt the squash with ½ teaspoon of the salt and add the veggies to the oven.
- Roast the squash for 8 minutes. Add the cremini mushrooms to the squash and stir until combined. Roast the veggies together for the next 12-13 minutes, or until the squash is tender and starting to brown around the edges.
- Move the veggies to a cooling rack and let cool for 3-5 minutes.
- Butter or spray a 2.5-quart baking dish and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, remaining salt, garlic, and eggs until the eggs are worked in and the mixture is slightly frothy.
- Rub the rosemary gently between the palms of your hands for 5-10 seconds and add that to the egg mixture as well.
- Next, add the roasted veggies, green onions, 1 ¼ cup Gruyere cheese, and black pepper to the egg mixture and gently stir with a rubber spatula until mixed in.
- Add the bread cubes to the bowl and fold in gently -- being careful not to break up the cubes -- until the cubes are just covered by the liquid and evenly incorporated into the veggies and cheese, but no further or the bread will get mushy.
- Pour the bread mixture into the greased pan and sprinkle with the rest of the gruyere cheese.
- Bake for 30-32 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean.
- Let the pudding rest for a minute or two and then serve hot!
1. This pudding keeps covered in a fridge for 2-3 days. You can keep it another day or two longer in the fridge and still have it be safe to eat, but the texture will be best when it's fresher.
2. Make sure not to overmix your bread crumbs into the egg and veggie mixture. The damper they get, the more they will break down and get mushy.
3. You can freeze leftover savory bread pudding in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Just defrost and then reheat at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
Amount Per Serving Calories 375Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 149mgSodium 693mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 17g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dieticians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.