Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding

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, not only because it’s delicious, but also 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

Print Recipe
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.
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  • Liz

    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.

    • Jenn

      You’re welcome, Liz. So nice to hear!

  • Oh my gosh this looks wonderful! Pinning!

  • Danielle

    I am definitely making this for my grandmother next time I go visit. This is right up her alley. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kellie Choi

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

  • Thank you for all the great recipes!!

  • JJ

    I’m not usually a huge bread pudding fan but this looks delicious. Definitely going to try it.

  • paul

    Can you use fake sausage with this recipe?

    • Jenn

      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!

  • I’m new to the “bread pudding world” and this one looks just perfect!

  • Patricia Brady

    Our homeowners association holds a monthly coffee for our residents….this looks like an ideal dish to serve. Can’t wait to try it.

  • Lorraine Hasenberg

    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.

  • Oh yum, this looks and sounds so delicious – like perfect comfort food!

  • Pe

    Looks delish. How many servings?

    • Jenn

      Serves 6…thanks for catching that!

  • Paula

    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.

  • CookinCanuck

    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!

    • Jenn

      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.

  • Pat

    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!

  • 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.

  • Lori

    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

  • Pearla

    Sounds great but pork, eggs, white bread and cheese. Sooo UNhealthy!

    • Kathy Paulus

      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!

  • Juli

    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!

  • Sue

    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

    • Jenn

      Hi Sue, Half and half is a mixture of milk and heavy cream — like a light cream.

  • 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.

  • Nicole

    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!

  • Patricia Svilik

    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!!

    • Jenn

      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!

  • Looks delish, will definitely serve this up for the holidays!

  • Made this tonight and it was amazing!! My husband went bonkers over it. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Heather Lampman

    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?

    • Jenn

      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 :)

  • William

    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!!

  • TSims

    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.

  • Judy

    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.

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