Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

This sinfully rich dark chocolate bread pudding tastes like a pan of warm fudgy brownies. For the best taste and texture, use challah bread and real chocolate.

overhead image of dark chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel in a white baking dish

Offer me bread pudding and I’ll take a hard pass. The thought of soggy white bread swimming in a pool of cream sauce sounds like an epic waste of calories. But as I work to expand my baking repertoire this year, I decided to dive into this mysterious dessert. Like, what really is bread pudding? What are you? What are you not? What can you be? Why am I talking to you?

Pull up a chair and listen up. Bread pudding can be delicious. REALLY REALLY DELICIOUS. And this is coming from someone who said nope!!!! to this dessert only a few weeks ago. There’s all sorts of ways to bake bread pudding, but this chocolate bread pudding recipe– complete with buttery challah bread and real chocolate– is my favorite. My only regret is waiting so long to try it this way!

chocolate bread pudding serving on a silver plate

What Does Chocolate Bread Pudding Taste Like?

This chocolate bread pudding tastes like warm brownie squares, monkey bread, and French toast casserole all in one. It’s as fabulously rich as my flourless chocolate cake. Do I really need to continue? Pair this with rivers of salted caramel, pockets of melty chocolate chips, juicy raspberries and fresh whipped cream on top… and you basically have a mountain of chocolate covered calories. I mean a mountain of underrated delicious texture that totally deserves a chance in your kitchen too. Don’t waste another second dismissing bread pudding. This dark chocolate bread pudding is legit!

2 Parts to Chocolate Bread Pudding

  1. Dark chocolate custard sauce. Use real chocolate here. You can grab semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, or unsweetened chocolate. You’ll need two 4-ounce bars, 8 ounces total. I used unsweetened chocolate because I knew I wanted to top the bread pudding with salted caramel and sweetened whipped cream. This bread pudding is so rich that you don’t want it over-sweetened. Heat some cream and milk (or you can use half-and-half) then pour over the chocolate and mix it all together. You’ll have a very thinned out ganache. Let it cool down for a minute (so as not to cook the eggs), then add eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, + salt. All of this makes your super chocolate-y custard.
  2. Bread. Want to know the secret to absolutely awesome bread pudding? It’s the bread. Now I didn’t make the challah from scratch, but you definitely can. You can also use brioche (you can make your own with this dough if you’re up for it!) or any rich bread you love. For something a little less heavy, but equally decadent, use a baguette. Whichever bread you use, the secret is to let it sit out overnight to dry out. It will soak up more chocolate custard sauce that way.

3 images of chopped chocolate on a wood cutting board, adding hot cream to a bowl of chopped chocolate, and dark chocolate custard sauce in a glass bowl

Cubed challah bread on a wood cutting board

3 images of bread cubes mixed with chocolate sauce in a glass bowl, pouring remaining chocolate sauce onto mixture in a baking dish, and chocolate bread pudding before baking

Remember, stale bread is best. Mix the bread with half of the chocolate custard, then pour the remaining custard on top of it all. Why are you doing it this way? So there’s more pockets of warm chocolate custard!!

Helpful Tips for Chocolate Bread Pudding

  • For extra texture, I suggest an add-in or two. I highly recommend chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (pick up a third 4-ounce chocolate bar). These chunks of chocolate paired with the chocolate soaked bread is outstanding. I also like dried cherries, peanut butter chips, or chopped pecans. I can’t say this enough: I loved the chocolate chips between the soft chocolate-soaked bread. And I can’t say this enough either: this tastes like a pan of warm brownies. But better.
  • Let the bread pudding sit before baking so the bread can soak up some of the custard. Simply wait 5 minutes, preheat the oven, and by the time the oven’s ready… so is the bread pudding.

Top it Off!

Besides the texture and the whole “pan of warm brownies” element, what I love most about this dark chocolate bread pudding is its versatility. Do you have to add salted caramel? Of course not. Can you add chopped pecans and top with coffee ice cream? It’s encouraged. What about adding dried cherries or peanut butter chips? Go for it. As long as you follow this cream-milk-egg-chocolate ratio, you can really add anything you want.

I haven’t tried this bread pudding with the raspberries mixed into the unbaked bread pudding, but I’m eager to try. I just dotted a few on top for serving. I brought this over to my in-laws to taste since I’m not really a bread pudding connoisseur. They LOVED it.

overhead image of dark chocolate bread pudding in a white baking dish

There’s a few recipe notes, so make sure you read them before beginning. I PROMISE you’ll be a bread pudding fan after 1 bite. I certainly am! Does anyone have a traditional bread pudding recipe I should try? I’m still holding out hope!

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overhead image of dark chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel in a white baking dish

Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This sinfully rich dark chocolate bread pudding tastes like a pan of warm fudgy brownies. For the best taste and texture, use challah bread and real chocolate.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (600ml) whole milk*
  • two 4-ounce bars semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 loaf day-old challah bread, cut into 1 inch cubes*
  • 1 cup (190g) semi-sweet chocolate chips or 4 extra ounces chopped chocolate
  • optional add-ins: 1 cup of chopped pecans, dried cranberries/cherries, peanut butter chips, etc
  • optional toppings: salted caramel, fresh berries, homemade whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat, heat the heavy cream and whole milk in a medium saucepan until simmering. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Then stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Set aside for a few minutes to slightly cool down so as not to cook the eggs in the next step.
  2. Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a large bowl. Pour in the chocolate cream mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide this chocolate custard mixture in half. Add the bread cubes and chocolate chips to one half and stir to evenly coat.
  3. Grease a 9×13 inch (or similar size) baking pan. Spread the chocolate soaked bread evenly into the pan. Pour the remaining chocolate custard evenly over the top. If you have extra, dot a few chocolate chips on top too (this is for looks and extra chocolate taste). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so the bread has a chance to soak up some of the custard. This is crucial. You can also chill the unbaked bread pudding in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  5. Bake the bread pudding for 45-50 minutes* until the edges appear set. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. It will come out with a few moist crumbs, but won’t be overly wet. *I bake it covered for the first 20-25 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil for the remaining time so it can slightly crisp on the top and around the edges.
  6. Garnish with toppings and serve warm.
  7. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Serve leftovers warm, room temperature, or cold. We found that the bread pudding had a slight texture change when reheated. The custard was a little more solid and not deliciously soft. The bread pudding is best eaten right out of the oven.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the bread pudding through step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day before baking. You can also freeze the baked bread pudding for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the oven until warm throughout. See the last step in the recipe with notes on the taste/texture after reheating. I do not suggest freezing the unbaked pudding as the custard will separate when thawing/baking.
  2. Cream / Milk: I found the best combination of liquid to be 1 cup of heavy cream/heavy whipping cream with 2 and 1/2 cups of whole milk. Alternatively, you can use 3 and 1/2 cups of full-fat half-and-half. I do not suggest all whole milk or anything lower in fat. If you buy a pint of heavy cream, you can use the leftover 1 cup to make whipped cream to top the baked bread pudding. See step 6 in this strawberry shortcake recipe for how I usually make homemade whipped cream.
  3. Chocolate: Since you’re essentially making a thinned-out ganache, it’s best to use real chocolate. You can find the 4 ounce baking bars in the baking aisle. I like using Ghirardelli or Baker’s brand. You can use 8 ounces (heaping 1 and 1/3 cups) of quality chocolate chips instead, such as Ghirardelli brand. I tested this recipe with unsweetened chocolate as I knew I wanted to top it with salted caramel and sweetened whipped cream. It was extra dark and not overly sweetened; we loved it. You can use semi-sweet, bittersweet, or unsweetened chocolate. White chocolate will work as well, though I would reduce the granulated sugar to 1/4 cup.
  4. Bread: You need around 1 lb of bread, which is about 10 cups of cubes (give or take). I suggest a rich bread like challah or brioche. You can also use a baguette. I don’t suggest a heartier bread or sourdough bread as their flavors don’t pair well with sweet bread pudding. Whichever bread you use, slice and leave it out overnight so it’s stale and can really soak up the custard. Moist bread creates a soggy bread pudding.
  5. Individual Servings: You can bake the bread pudding in several individual ramekins. Adjust the baking time as needed.
  6. Adapted from King Arthur Flour and Food & Wine

37 Comments

  1. This looks amazing, Sally! I can’t wait to try it out! One question, though: could this be made with white chocolate bars? Or even half white half dark?

    There’s this restaurant near me that serves this amazing white chocolate bread pudding and I’ve never been able to make one that’s even close, so I’m hoping to have good results with your recipe. 

    1. Hi Emy! All white chocolate or half & half could definitely work. Keep in mind the sugar. White chocolate is very sweet, so if you use all white chocolate, I would reduce down to 1/4 cup.

  2. Hi Sally! 

    My chocolate custard was totally thin- completely liquid.

    Should the custard have thickened up? Any idea what might have gone wrong here and what it will do to the baked bread pudding?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Shawn! It should thicken up as it cools. Did you use heavy cream and pure chocolate?

  3. I made this today and it was wonderful! I dried my bread for a couple of days. I used a combo of dark and semi sweet chocolate. I froze some raspberry filled chocolates, chopped them, and mixed them in with the bread. I was a little nervous because I thought my chocolate custard didn’t look as thick as what was pictured but no worries. This recipe is a keeper ❤️

  4. Sharon Roodhuyzen says:

    Perfection once again thanks to Sally! Didn’t make the salted caramel sauce (I will next time) but I did make the sweetened whipped cream and added some fresh raspberries. I used challah bread and the texture was perfect as was the flavor of the semi sweet ghirardelli baking chocolate with a few extra chips thrown in for good measure. Was great warm but also terrific out of the fridge for breakfast!

  5. Awesome recipe Sally!..Such an awesome texture..This got hugely appreciated and was finished within minutes. Great recipes!

  6. Oh my sweet goodness. I am a huge fan of bread pudding so had to make this one. Just took it out of the oven. I could tell by the smell coming from the oven that it was going to be phenomenal. This is by far THE best bread pudding I’ve ever had, both the taste and texture! Chocolate goodness. Savored every last bite of it. Another amazing recipe. A keeper!

  7. This has become a staple in my home. Thanks Sally!!!!

  8. This looks amazing and wanted to make it for a family gathering today. I tried to make it twice, with both attempts ending in a very watery liquidy custard.

    I used heavy cream (whipping) and whole milk (3.5%). I also used 8 oz of semi sweet bakers chocolate. The first time I though maybe I left the chocolate milk/cream mixture to cool for too long. So I corrected this on the next round. The second time I also used 5 eggs instead of 4 since my eggs technically are large but look kinda small. What might have gone wrong?

    I’d still love to make this. I also notice that the custard in your photos is much darker than mine… seems like I’d need to add more chocolate to get that colour. Thanks for your recipes and time!

    1. Hi Lindsay! I’m worried you aren’t baking the bread pudding long enough. It shouldn’t taste watery at all. The custard should be quite thick especially with all that cream and egg.

      1. Hi, Sally

        Thanks for your reply! I’m actually talking about the custard before it gets baked. I can see in your photos yours is thick. Mine was completely watery both times I attempted it. Maybe I should thicken it with cornstarch?

      2. Rena Taliaferro says:

        I also had the same issue with the custard being watery and not thickening up (and I see a few others have had the same problem).

        I used Horizon Organic heavy cream, Hiland whole milk, and ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate bars. I used the exact measurements you gave.

        Here is where I believe the problem lies and what I had wished I had seen before I started the recipe. In your ingredients, you list semi-sweet chocolate; however, in your step by step demonstration with pictures you use unsweetened chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate has no sugar content while semi-sweet has 10-50% (unsure what ghirardelli’s is). From my understanding, this make these 2 different types of chocolate NOT interchangeable.

        I guarantee if I remake this with unsweeted chocolate that the chocolate custard will actually come out the way yours did in the picture.

        On a side note, this is the 1st time I have ever had an issue with one of your recipes other than have a little less or a little more batter than you said and that has never affected the taste. I am a huge fan and so grateful for the time you invest in sharing these amazing recipes with us for free! I have recommended your site to many people!

        Hopefully you will be able to fix this recipe so that it states to use unsweetened chocolate only.

  9. Can this recipe be used in any way to bake it in a microwave oven? The pics look so incredible that I’d love to prepare it myself.. But I only have a MW Oven at my disposal.

    1. I’m unsure of the results, sorry! I highly recommend an oven if you can get your hands on one. There are some nice recipes online for microwave bread pudding “mug” cakes if you search for it, though!

  10. I followed this recipe as written, using unsweetened chocolate and all half&half and it turned out perfect. I quartered the recipe, baking it in a loaf pan for 20 minutes. The combo of unsweetened chocolate with the semi-sweet chips was just the right amount of sweetness and chocolate. Would make again for sure!

  11. Ann Tilakawardane says:

    do you add the chopped pecans before or after baking?

    1. Hi Ann! Add the pecans in step 2 where I instruct to add the chocolate chips. 🙂

  12. My boyfriend baked this for me two years in a row for my birthday and it’s to die for. I love all of your recipes so much because they are so tried and true, so when he asked me to find a cake recipe for him I pointed him to your page ♡

    1. Happy birthday, Carrie! I’m so glad you enjoy this recipe enough to request it two years in a row!

  13. Perfect birthday breakfast Sally!!!! I baked it in a casserole dish, and anything baked in a casserole dish can count as breakfast, right?? SO DELICIOUS…..my family was very skeptic about it but were totally convinced after they smelt it baking in the oven and even more so after trying the first bite!! 😀 Thank you Sally!

  14. I plan to make this in ramekins for my Halloween party. How many would this serve? I have 10 people. I will review afterwards. Thanks!

  15. I bought a loaf of challah bread and decided I would make bread pudding for the first time. It’s so decadent and delicious! I used 8 oz. semi sweet chocolate but bittersweet for the chips and the combination is perfect! The custard will be thin , but it all gets absorbed as long as you give it time before baking. I chilled mine in the fridge overnight. Even my kids (who were skeptical about bread pudding), loved it!

  16. I think I used to much bread or let it get too stale. Was too bready and not enough custard!
    Made a ganache and poured over the next day, with the real whip cream!!! Now that was better!!
    Will probably try again, it was tasty

  17. Can you make this for an 8×8 baking pan?

    1. You can halve the recipe for an 8-inch square pan.

  18. Is there a max amount of time the bread can be left out? Can it get too stale?

    1. I wouldn’t leave it out for more than 2 full days. Wouldn’t want it to start going bad!

  19. Hi Sally! Love all your recipes! I’m halving the recipe for an 8 inch square pan. Should I keep the same baking time? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Meghna, The bake time will be less for a smaller pan but I’m unsure of the exact time. Keep an eye on it and bake until the edges appear set. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. It will come out with a few moist crumbs, but won’t be overly wet.

  20. Tried it and loved it! Tastes better chilled in my opinion

  21. I made this few times now since I fell
    I love with this recipe. I added fresh cranberries that I chopped and mixed them into the batter. It was incredible!
    I’ll make this again. I just bought two loaves of challah bread for This . I’m super excited!

  22. Can you be more specific about what size loaf (in ounces) you are using here? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ann, you need around 1 lb (or 16 oz.) of bread, which is about 10 cups of cubes (give or take). Hope this helps!

  23. Made this for Mother’s Day 2021. Outstanding!
    The tips helped make this successful. I used white bread, with crust, left over from another use. Followed the tip that the bread should be a bit stale, so I toasted the bread lightly.
    I prepared everything the night before and let it all sit refrigerated overnight, then baked it off in the morning, following the tip to do covered/uncovered. Huge hit! Thanks Sally!

  24. This is by far the greatest bread pudding I have ever made and I have made my fair share. Thanks so much!

  25. I just put it in the oven, I can’t wait, my liquid was also watery, hopefully this will thicken as it cooks.

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