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Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

4.5 stars based on 14 votes

bread pudding

Having worked in the restaurant business for many years, I can tell you that going out on Valentine’s Day is usually a bad idea. To maintain sanity in the kitchen, most restaurants offer a prix-fixe menu, which is more limited and more expensive than the regular menu. And with large tables broken down into lots of two-tops, the servers are all maxed out or “in the weeds,” as they say — and would really rather be home celebrating with their own Valentines. Finally, restaurants want to turn tables, so the food comes quickly and dinner feels rushed. Even if your server doesn’t drop the check while you’re still eating dessert, it’s hard to ignore the glare of impatient patrons eyeing your table from the bar! So, instead of going out and dealing with all that, I usually make a nice dinner at home and we celebrate with the kids. This year, this rich chocolate bread pudding in on the menu. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, it tastes like a grown-up brownie sundae.


You’ll need quite a bit of chocolate for this recipe: 10 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, as well as cocoa powder. That’s what gives the bread pudding such deep chocolate flavor. I also like to add a little bourbon, which doesn’t make it taste boozy like you might think, but rather just enhances the chocolate flavor. If you don’t have it, or don’t want to use it, you can use rum or brewed coffee instead.


Begin by chopping the chocolate. Set aside 2/3 of a cup, which you’ll use to sprinkle on top of the bread pudding before baking.


Bring the half and half, brown sugar, and cocoa powder to a boil in a medium saucepan. Off the heat, whisk in the chopped chocolate, bourbon and cinnamon.


In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.


Gradually pour the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. (Be careful not to add it too fast or you’ll risk scrambling the eggs!)


It will look like this.


Slice the bread, then cut into 1-inch cubes.


Add the bread cubes to the chocolate custard and let soak for at least 1.5 hours, or overnight.


Pour the soaked bread into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, then scatter the reserved chocolate over top. Using a spoon, poke some of the chocolate down into the pudding.


Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until slightly puffed and set in the center.


Let cool slightly. If serving family style, dust the whole pan with Confectioners’ sugar.


For an even prettier presentation, spoon or cut portions onto plates and then dust with Confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Note: This recipe makes a ton. If you want to halve the recipe, it works well in an 8-inch square baking dish.


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Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes, plus plus 1.5 hours to let the bread soak


For the Chocolate Bread Pudding

  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1-1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup Bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large (about 1.3 lb) challah, cut into 1-inch cubes

For Serving

  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)


For the Bread Pudding

  1. Chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks. Reserve 2/3 cup and set aside (you'll use this for sprinkling over the bread pudding before baking).
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the half and half, brown sugar and cocoa powder; bring to a boil. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining chocolate, bourbon and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and vanilla extract. Very gradually, pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to combine (pour slowly, especially at the beginning, or the hot chocolate mixture will scramble the eggs). Add the bread cubes to the custard; cover and let soak in the fridge for at least 1.5 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch glass baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the chocolate-soaked bread to the prepared baking dish, and spread the bread around evenly. Scatter the reserved 2/3 cup of chocolate over top, then use a spoon to push about half of the chocolate bits down into the pudding. Bake until slightly puffed and set in the center, 45-50 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes, then serve warm, dusted with confectioners' sugar and topped with vanilla ice cream.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Calories: 488
  • Fat: 23g
  • Saturated fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 59g
  • Sugar: 32g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Sodium: 275mg
  • Cholesterol: 179mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 1 stars

    I made this over the holiday. I really did not care for it, however, I may have used chocolate with too much cocoa. It was an expensive mistake and no one really ate it. I threw most of it away. I did print out another bread pudding from this website that I look forward to trying in the near future

    - Julie A Traver on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • So excited to try this but I am making this just for my family. Seems like it’s going to make too much for us. Would halving everything still turn out ok and just bake in a smaller pan?

    - Rebekah Sigmon on December 30, 2016 Reply
    • Yes it makes a ton! You can definitely halve everything and bake in an 8-inch pan.

      - Jenn on December 30, 2016 Reply
  • Love to make this but it sounds like a lot of bourbon, can I leave it out or substitute something non alcoholic

    - Patti on December 22, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Patti, It doesn’t really have a boozy taste in the end, but if you’d like to omit it you can substitute some strong coffee.

      - Jenn on December 22, 2016 Reply
  • So many lovely recipes but why don’t you include ingredient quantities?
    Looked at picture of chocolate bread pudding in an effort to establish what goes into it.

    - Karen Clarke on December 18, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Karen, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, you can click the “recipe” button right under the recipe title. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on December 18, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Living in a small town and deciding to make this for dessert at the last minute limited my choice of chocolate. We enjoyed it but the flavour would definitely be enhanced with a better quality chocolate. I served it with Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream for dessert with your beet and goat cheese salad and beef and potato stew to rave reviews.

    - Elizabeth on December 4, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jen, this looks so good! Could you make the whole recipe and bake in two separate pans, serving one and freezing the other for another day?

    - Cathy on November 17, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Cathy, unfortunately I don’t think this will freeze well (because of all the dairy). Sorry!

      - Jenn on November 17, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh my goodness. I recommend halving this recipe & serving 24. A full recipe was way too much for 12. Lots of leftovers for the next day. MUST be served with ice cream to avoid chocolate overdose even in the seasoned chocoholic. It is incredibly rich & moist.


    - MT on September 10, 2016 Reply
  • This sounds delicious, but I have a friend who avoids dairy. Would coconut cream work as a substitution for half and half?

    - D on February 26, 2016 Reply
    • D, It’s possible it might work with coconut milk but not coconut cream. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.

      - Jenn on February 27, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this on the weekend and it was amazing. It was so rich and chocolatey. The challah bread is not readily available, so I used regular white sliced bread instead. I would imagine that with the egg bread, it would be even richer. The best thing was that it was a large pudding so we had leftovers for the following couple of days. Warmed up in the microwave, it was just as good as the first day. By the way, we served it with Reese’s peanut butter ice cream which was even more amazing.

    - Lynda Sansome on February 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was absolutely fantastic!

    - Kathy Robinson on February 18, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this delicious dessert and it is delectable! I could not find challah bread so I used a loaf of Brioche french bread and the recipe turned out well. We added a little caramel sauce and served it warm with ice cream. Delish! I like it cold almost as much as I do warm.

    - Heidi on February 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this decadent dessert for Valentine’s Day. Oh my goodness!! Best bread pudding ever!! Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous recipe!!!

    - Toni on February 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Unbelievable! I made this for my husband for Valentine’s Day because we all know nothing says “love” like chocolate. . . and he absolutely loved it. He called it “a gastronomic explosion of chocolate deliciousness.” And it truly is. Very easy straightforward instructions even for the novice cook. This is definitely a keeper in my recipe file.

    - terri on February 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made your suggested Valentine’s Day meal and it was delectable. Cleanup today was easy because I made the stew last night as you suggested. I ended up making my own challah for the pudding. Thanks for the recipes and the menu.

    - Elizabeth on February 14, 2016 Reply
    • You’re welcome, Elizabeth! So glad it turned out well 🙂

      - Jenn on February 15, 2016 Reply
  • Can I use brioche for the bread? How many people will this serve?

    Thanks so much!

    - Marilyn Dolce Davis on February 14, 2016 Reply
    • Yes, Marilyn — brioche will work beautifully. Serves 12 easily.

      - Jenn on February 14, 2016 Reply
      • Thank you so much for getting back to me. It’s going in the oven soon! We have exactly 12 people, so I hope no one wants seconds. I can hardly wait to taste it.

        - Marilyn Dolce Davis on February 14, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this tonite for some friends. I only made one change. I substituted Hawaiian rolls for the challah. I did marinate it overnight. It was delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    - Terry on February 13, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn, I would like to make a gluten-free version of this recipe. What can I substitute flour for? Thanks in advance!

    - Natalie on February 13, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Natalie, Are you sure you’re asking about this recipe? There’s no flour in it (other than what’s in the bread) and it’d be hard to make it gluten-free.

      - Jenn on February 13, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Sorry for the mix-up! Yes, I was asking about a different recipe – beef stew with carrots and potatoes – but already found this question answered in the comments for that recipe. Thanks for the quick follow-up, Jenn.

        - Natalie on February 14, 2016 Reply
  • I want to make this for Valentine’s Day but I cannot find Challah bread. Is there another type of bread I could Substitute?

    - Elizabeth on February 13, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, Brioche would be a good substitute.

      - Jenn on February 13, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Nothing says, “I love you,” like homemade treats, right! This recipe is definitely an easy Valentine’s Day dessert for my kids. Yummy!

    - SkinnyMe on February 13, 2016 Reply
  • I would probably use panettone. Can’t wait to make it when I get home.

    - Elaine on February 11, 2016 Reply
  • can I make this without bourbon?

    - Patsy on February 11, 2016 Reply
    • Yes, Patsy, but I would replace it with rum or coffee.

      - Jenn on February 11, 2016 Reply
  • Woukd love to get a recipe for regular bread pudding ( not too many chocolate lovers in the family). Thank you !

    - Anita on February 11, 2016 Reply
  • We don’t half and half in this country. What can I use instead? Stupid country.
    Regards, Judy

    - Judy on February 11, 2016 Reply
    • Judy, You can use half milk, half heavy cream.

      - Jenn on February 11, 2016 Reply
      • Thank you very much but what quantities. Sorry to be a nuisance.

        - Judy on February 12, 2016 Reply
        • No problem! I would use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups heavy cream. Enjoy!

          - Jenn on February 12, 2016 Reply
  • What is the best way to keep the bread pudding and how do you recommend reheating it?

    - kate on February 11, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kate, I would refrigerate any leftovers and reheat in the oven at 325°F until warm.

      - Jenn on February 11, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I am so excited to get this recipe! Just one question though, can I use sourdough bread instead of challah? That’s just what I have on hand. Thank you!
    Happy Valentines!

    - Lu on February 11, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Lu, It will lend a different flavor but it should work. Please let me know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on February 11, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Hi Jen,

        I just made the bread pudding. We had friends over so I used Challah as your ur recipe stated. I didn’t want to take risk this time. Everybody loved it! I will give you feedback next time when I use sourdough. lol

        - Lu on February 14, 2016 Reply

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