New Orleans Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
Happy Fat Tuesday. Today is Mardi Gras, and down in New Orleans there’s a little celebrating going on. The traditional sweet treat to celebrate Mardi Gras is the King Cake, a cake shaped like a wreath with a little plastic baby Jesus hidden inside.

I’ve got a different New Orleans treat for you to make if you’re going to be celebrating Mardi Gras in your neck of the woods. It’s Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. The bread pudding in this recipe is pretty basic, and you can use any day-old bread you have lying around. It’s the whiskey sauce that makes this a dish worth raving about.

Not something you’d make every day because it’s heavy on the sugar, this is a deliciously decadent recipe to pull out once a year at Mardi Gras. Organic it up as much as you can — eggs, cream and half-and-half, sugar, raisins. There are even some organic whiskeys on the market. I got the recipe from The Best of New Orleans cookbook that I picked up when I was there a few years ago.


Bread Pudding

  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • 16 slices day-old French bread, sliced ½ inch thick (or other day-old bread)
  • ½ cup raisins
Whiskey Sauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup whiskey
Time Estimates

Prep time: 20 min  

Cook time: 1 hr  

Total time: 1 hr 20 min  



  1. Grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, ¾ cup of sugar, half-and-half, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Arrange half of the bread in the prepared dish and evenly scatter half the raisins across the bread. Put the remainder of the bread and raisins on top of this.
  4. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread.
  5. Put a sheet of plastic wrap over the pudding and place a smaller pan over the plastic wrap. Weigh down the smaller pan with heavy cans so that all of the bread becomes covered in the egg mixture. Let soak for 15 minutes.
  6. While the bread is soaking, preheat the oven to 325°F.
  7. After 15 minutes of soaking, remove the weights, pan and plastic wrap and bake the pudding in the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar over the top and bake again for 35 to 40 minutes.
  9. The pudding will sink while it’s cooling.

Whiskey Sauce

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water and butter. Cook over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved and small bubbles form around the edges.
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg. Whisk in ¼ cup of the hot sugar mixture (this will temper the egg so it won’t scramble when added to the hot mixture).
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes until it thickens and steam begins to rise.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey.

Dish out the bread pudding and pour whiskey sauce over the individual dishes.


about 8 servings

My notes

  • Do not serve this whiskey sauce to children. Since the whiskey is added at the end, the alcohol does not have a chance to burn off.
  • If you have a basic bread pudding recipe that you already make, go ahead and make that one and just use the whiskey sauce from this recipe.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Seasonal recipe: New Orleans Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
Celebrate Mardi Gras and use up some day old bread at the same time.