Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding

5 stars based on 12 votes

savory-sausage-and-cheddar-bread-pudding

Bread pudding is usually sweet, but it can be made savory too. This version, brimming with sweet pork sausage and sharp cheddar, is deeply flavored with a crisp, golden crust and tender, creamy interior. I love it for entertaining because it can be made ahead of time and feeds a crowd.

The recipe was given to me by one of my oldest and closest friends, Kelly Santoro. She got it from her friend Corey, who got it from his mother, who in turn got it from an old spiral-bound fundraising cookbook. Such is the path of a good recipe!

As you can see, I use plain ol’ white sandwich bread — there’s no need for anything fancy here. As for the sausage, some grocers sell sausage meat in bulk or out of the casings (as shown above). This makes life easier but if you can’t find it, just remove the casings. The best way is to cut the casings with kitchen shears and peel them away from the meat (see below). This is much easier than trying to squeeze the meat out.

Begin by cutting the crusts off the bread.

Then, cut the bread into 1-inch cubes.

Brown the sausage in a large pan.

As the sausage cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small clumps.

Transfer the browned sausage to a large bowl, then cook the onions in the same pan until they’re soft and translucent.

Grate your cheddar. I think it’s easiest to do it in the food processor but you can use a hand-held grater as well.

Combine the bread, sausage, onions, cheddar and fresh parsley in a large bowl.

Then transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish.

Make the custard by whisking together the eggs, salt, pepper and half-and-half.

Then pour the custard evenly over the bread mixture.

Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve, bake in a 350-degree oven for about an hour, until puffed, golden and crisp on top.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding

Servings: 6
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound sweet or spicy pork sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 loaf (18 slices) white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm, crusts removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2-1/2 cups (a little over 1/2 pound) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • Scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. In a large sauté pan (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the sausage and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break the meat into small clumps, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large mixing bowl, leaving the fat in the pan.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the onions to the pan along with 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the onions, stirring constantly, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the onions to the mixing bowl with the sausage, along with the bread cubes, grated cheese and parsley. Toss well, then spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread mixture. Cover tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about one hour, until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.
  7. Note: The cook time is based on cooking the bread pudding directly out of the refrigerator. If it's left to sit out at room temperature before baking, check for doneness after 45 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 6

Reviews & Comments

  • Jen, I’m going to make this for Christmas. For 8 people, is there any reason I couldn’t add 50% more of everything, still in the 9×13 dish?

    Thanks so much for your blog. I love your recipes and have shared them and your site with many.

    - Mary on December 19, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Mary, I’m not sure it would fit; you could try and if it’s too small, just bake the extra in a smaller baking dish.

      - Jenn on December 19, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this over the Thanksgiving holiday (along with a few other recipes) and it was the favorite. It really is a cross between a casserole and a pudding. Leftovers can be saved and reheated in the microwave. This recipe is really delicious and worth keeping.

    - Tari Parmely on December 18, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this the night before Thanksgiving to pop in the oven for breakfast since we were having a later dinner. It was delicious! I love make-ahead breakfasts for holiday mornings!

    - Erin on December 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was delicious. Prepared it up to baking last night, put it in the oven this morning & now my 3 teenaged boys are enjoying it before heading off to school. Thanks, Jen, for another easy, but delicious recipe. I’ve made 5 recipes from here since “finding” you in October. I’ll be adding a couple more this weekend when I make 2 cookie recipes from this site. (Sugar & Thumbprints.)

    - Loretta on December 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this casserole for a “breakfast for dinner” themed wedding for 180 people. Even done on a large scale it was absolutely delicious. Everyone enjoyed it.

    - Sheila on December 5, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for Thanksgiving lunch
    (instead of traditional stuffing) and everyone LOVED it! I used whole wheat bread instead of white, and turned out fine. My Mom requested I make this instead of stuffing next year. Love all your recipes, Jenn!!!

    - Jackie on November 27, 2014 Reply
  • Can this be frozen after baked ? Trying to get ahead for Thanksgiving,,,,time is limited for me

    - Diane on November 7, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Diane, I haven’t tried freezing this dish, and probably wouldn’t recommend it with all the eggs and dairy. However, you can prepare it a few days ahead and bake before serving.

      - Jenn on November 7, 2014 Reply
    • Thank you !!

      - Diane on November 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is yummy and easy. I serve it with a sauce made with warm cream of mushroom soup thinned with milk and a splash of sherry (optional) — makes it a bit more elegant for a special brunch.

    - Sunny Day on October 25, 2014 Reply
  • Do you think I could use breakfast sausage and wheat bread for this dish and get the same tasty results? I’m considering making it for a ladies brunch this weekend.

    - Danielle W. on October 14, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Danielle, I do think that would work. Please let me know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on October 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great easy recipe for a busy family. My family loved it. Like that you can prepare in advance.

    - Nelson Bermas on August 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Simple, basic ingredients and a great make ahead dish for breakfast or brunch. Very tasty and serving it this weekend when we have a group of friends for “brunch” Thank you again for saving the day. If I don’t have any ideas as to what to make, I turn to your blog first, and usually come up with a solution. Time-saver you are.

    - Karen T on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Don’t tell my mom, but this rivals her sausage souffle recipe.

    One time I found that I had too much bread, and the next I had too much custard! So make sure you have enough of each on hand so you get a nice balance.

    - Sam M. on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I used bulk breakfast sausage rather than Italian and gruyere instead of cheddar. I also carmalized the onions. The longer it sits in the fridge, the better. Overnite is best. There were no leftovers.

    - brian on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Just ran across this when trying to use up some leftovers from my daughters 2nd birthday party. I just bought the sausage but used a mix of wheat and white bread and cheese slices. I’m sure it’s not as great as it would be with cheddar, but it used up the leftovers (so no waste) and it’s still delicious. Next time, I’m adding red bell peppers – oh and I threw in some Tony’s and garlic to make it more of a dinner meal.

    - Carolyn on July 1, 2014 Reply
  • Jennifer, when you state parsley, do you mean the Italian flat leap variety?
    Thank you!

    - Jill on June 12, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jill, Either type of parsley will work fine but I do use Italian flat leaf.

      - Jenn on June 13, 2014 Reply
  • what’s half & half

    - jean on June 9, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jean, It’s a combination of whole milk and heavy cream.

      - Jenn on June 9, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This looks really interesting – perfect winter food! If you just get plain sausage meat you could add your own herbs and spices…..the possibilities are endless. Can’t wait to experiment!

    - Anni on June 9, 2014 Reply
  • What happens if I bake it right away w/o letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours?

    - nik on May 26, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Nik, It will still work fine.

      - Jenn on May 27, 2014 Reply
  • YUM – Have made this several times and it’s great to bring for brunch or a potluck supper (who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?).

    This is a great springboard recipe that lends itself to a variety of tweaks! Try throwing in some veggies (great way to sneak them into a kids diet). I’ve used a combination of sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, roasted red pepper, sautéed kale, either fresh spinach (no need to bother sautéing the fresh spinach) or a box of frozen (squeezed dry).

    I’ve also switched around the cheeses and instead of cheddar, have with substituted mozzarella, fontina or provolone (or a combo).

    I’ve made it for vegetarian friends who don’t eat pork and used the Morningstar Farms Crumble stuff — while not as tasty as sausage, it worked.

    If you’re watching calories, you can use Turkey Sausage and Egg Beaters and instead of the 2 full cups of half and half, use 1 1/4 cups of half and half and 3/4 of a cup of chicken broth (not quite as creamy but it was certainly doable).

    Also, you can use whole wheat bread and best yet, if you’ve got stale bread in the house, eureka, you’ve found a great use for it other than making breadcrumbs.

    - Judy on March 29, 2014 Reply
  • I’m a busy nursing student and don’t make time to indulge in “kitchen therapy” much these days. I made this using day old local sourdough and I’m in heaven! Thanks for making the time to share your creativity.

    - TSims on March 28, 2014 Reply
  • Woke wanting to experiment so bread pudding was the choice and this is exactly what I had in mind, will be trying all kinds of variations and subscribing! Thanks and the picture are very helpful!!

    - William on February 26, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jen! I’ve never subscribed to a cooking blog before! I’m happy I did with yours….you can cook girl!
    Anyway, I just want you to know that savory bread puddings are usually refered to as “Stratas” or “Breakfast Casseroles”. Also, I found a “Strata” recipe that uses Jewish “Challah”, or egg bread and thought that the use of egg bread would enhance the recipe. What do you think?

    - Heather Lampman on January 23, 2014 Reply
    • Thank you, Heather. Glad you are enjoying the recipes! You could absolutely use challah for any strata or bread pudding. This one’s so rich, it’s not really necessary but it certainly wouldn’t hurt :)

      - Jenn on January 23, 2014 Reply
  • Made this tonight and it was amazing!! My husband went bonkers over it. Thanks for a great recipe!

    - Maggie on January 7, 2014 Reply
  • Looks delish, will definitely serve this up for the holidays!

    - Debra on December 21, 2013 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    What do you recommend as a substitute for the pork sausage? We don’t eat pork, but will eat anything else.
    Oh, and I just have to say, I love your website and regular emails for meal ideas. The photos are so beautiful and instructive with the captions. Almost every new recipe I’ve tried in the last few years are from you! Thank you!!

    - Patricia Svilik on December 18, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Patricia, Turkey or chicken sausage would both work well (Italian-style) but you could really use anything you like. And I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes…thank you for letting me know!

      - Jenn on December 18, 2013 Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic just as it is! I made it for a pot luck brunch brunch in May and people are still talking about it!

    - Nicole on October 22, 2013 Reply
  • I love this recipe. It is delish and can be made the night before for a breakfast. I have even modified it to be in the crock pot as well. I like to add jalapenos.

    - Rachel on October 22, 2013 Reply
  • Hi, simply love looking at the pics and so can’t wait to try them. Quick question, what is half -and-half and I’m from Malaysia. Wonder if I can get it here..Thx

    - Sue on October 14, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Sue, Half and half is a mixture of milk and heavy cream — like a light cream.

      - Jenn on October 14, 2013 Reply
  • OMG. I copied this recipe. I love bread pudding but this is in another catagory. Sounds wonderful. I haven’t cooked in awhile but I will have to try this. Thank you for pinning this one!

    - Juli on August 26, 2013 Reply
  • Sounds great but pork, eggs, white bread and cheese. Sooo UNhealthy!

    - Pearla on June 6, 2013 Reply
    • not unhealthy – we need protein in the morning – calcium from the cheese – and eggs that are good for you! It doesn’t mean you have to eat this every morning!

      - Kathy Paulus on June 6, 2013 Reply
  • Love the fact that you can assemble the day before….was a huge hit with my ” dog show ” friends…..next time, I would add diced red peppers and use white cheddar with a pinch of nutmeg. So many ways to adapt and perfect for weekends at the cottage

    - Lori on May 7, 2013 Reply
  • This sounds so good!!! Can’t wait to try it pared down a little for my smaller family :) I am thinking apple would be good in this too.

    - Stephanie on April 26, 2013 Reply
  • Made this dish for our April Home Owner’s Association Coffee with Neighbors. It was a hit! thanks so much for the recipe…easy and delish!

    - Pat on April 23, 2013 Reply
  • Do you need to bring it up to room temp before sticking it in the oven?

    Can’t wait to make this for my family!

    - CookinCanuck on April 21, 2013 Reply
    • The cook time is based on cooking the bread pudding directly out of the refrigerator. If it’s left to sit out at room temperature before baking, check for doneness after 45 minutes.

      - Jenn on April 21, 2013 Reply
  • I made this recipe last week, only I used Jones breakfast sausage. It was absolutely delicious! Since it’s just my husband and me, I used my Foodsaver to freeze what was leftover in individual sized portions, so we can have some any time we want.

    - Paula on April 19, 2013 Reply
  • Looks delish. How many servings?

    - Pe on March 31, 2013 Reply
    • Serves 6…thanks for catching that!

      - Jenn on March 31, 2013 Reply
  • Oh yum, this looks and sounds so delicious – like perfect comfort food!

    - Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen on March 31, 2013 Reply
  • Love your receipes!! Have made a few of them with great sucess!! The sauage bread pudding looks amazing, it goes on my to make list.

    - Lorraine Hasenberg on March 29, 2013 Reply
  • Our homeowners association holds a monthly coffee for our residents….this looks like an ideal dish to serve. Can’t wait to try it.

    - Patricia Brady on March 29, 2013 Reply
  • I’m new to the “bread pudding world” and this one looks just perfect!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • Can you use fake sausage with this recipe?

    - paul on March 28, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Paul, I’m not familiar with fake sausage (is it made with veggies?), but if you’ve used it successfully in other dishes it would probably work fine here. This dish is very forgiving!

      - Jenn on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • I’m not usually a huge bread pudding fan but this looks delicious. Definitely going to try it.

    - JJ on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • Thank you for all the great recipes!!

    - Carolyn on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with Liz!! Some of my favorite go-to recipes come from your site…please keep them coming~! : )

    - Kellie Choi on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • I am definitely making this for my grandmother next time I go visit. This is right up her alley. Thanks for sharing!

    - Danielle on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • Oh my gosh this looks wonderful! Pinning!

    - BusyWorkingMama on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • I just want to say I love the way you describe your recipes. It is so easy to follow with the pictures and despriptions. Thank you.

    - Liz on March 28, 2013 Reply
    • You’re welcome, Liz. So nice to hear!

      - Jenn on March 28, 2013 Reply

Add a Review or Question

Hungry for More?

Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter — where I share new recipes and seasonal menus for every occasion.

Your email address will never be used for any other purpose.
Curious? See a sample newsletter.