This bread pudding recipe replaces sweet ingredients for all things savory. Whip up a tray on a cold winter night or add it to the wealth of Thanksgiving sides (yes, we’re giving you permission to skip traditional stuffing this year).
Made up of torn bread and baked with eggs and dairy to form a custard, bread pudding is the ultimate comfort food. But who says bread pudding has to always be sweet? This savory spin boasts earthy mushrooms and sharp cheese, baked in a gooey egg custard.
Whether you’re serving it as a holiday side or a dinner party centerpiece, this hearty vegetarian version is the ideal dish for cold winter nights. We’re not saying you have to scrap the stuffing this Thanksgiving, but after trying this mushroom and cheese bread pudding, you just might want to.
Related Reading: 18 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pie
Mix it Up: Fillings
The real benefit of this recipe is that you can get creative with the fillings. Use the recipe proportions as a guideline to experiment.
Gruyère adds a salty nuttiness that pairs perfectly with earthy mushrooms, but you can also use another melty cheese like cheddar or fontina for a more subtle flavor.
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Heavy cream makes this dish incredibly decadent (in a good way!), but you can swap it for whole milk, half & half, or even vegetable stock for a more health-conscious option.
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Challah’s airy texture is ideal for soaking up the custard (essentially a whisking of eggs and cream), but brioche and sourdough (with the crust removed), can also be substituted. No matter what bread you go with, though, make sure to let the bread pudding rest for 30 minutes: This allows the flavors to marinate within the bread and really get that thick, pudding-like texture.
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Challah and Brioche?
A Note on Mushrooms
Chanterelle! Shiitake! Cremini! Enoki! Oyster! Choose your favorites, because this recipe works with any type of mushroom, although a mix adds a nice texture and flavor contrast. If you don’t have access to an abundance of mushrooms, sticking with just cremini or shiitake will work just fine.
When you’re making the mushrooms, keep one thing in mind: The number one cooking rule of salting early and often doesn’t apply here. Mushrooms are naturally full of moisture, and salting too soon will draw out more moisture, leaving you with something more slimy than savory. Hold off on seasoning until they’re cooked down and most of the moisture has already evaporated.
Mushroom and Gruyère Bread Pudding Recipe
While the bread pudding does take some time to bake, the active time on this recipe is short. All you’ll need is a large mixing bowl, a whisk, and a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups mixed wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated gruyère
- ¼ cup chives, plus more for serving
- 6 cups challah, cubed
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter.
- In a large pan, add the butter over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, until the shallots begin to soften.
- Add the garlic and rosemary and stir for 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for 6-8 minutes, until cooked down. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve the mushroom mixture off the heat.
- In a large bowl, add the heavy cream, eggs, gruyère, and chives, making sure to season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine.
- Add the challah and reserved mushrooms and stir until fully incorporated. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and custard is baked through. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Top with chives.
Header image courtesy of Alexis deBoschnek