Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

A holiday favorite, this make-ahead breakfast casserole brimming with sausage and sharp cheddar is perfect for feeding a crowd.

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!

What you’ll need to make sausage and cheddar bread pudding

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. This is much easier than trying to squeeze the meat out.

How to make it

Begin by cutting the crusts off the bread.

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!

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Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding

A holiday favorite, this make-ahead breakfast casserole brimming with sausage and sharp cheddar is perfect for feeding a crowd.

Servings: 6 to 8
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 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°F. Bake for about one hour, uncovered, 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

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 669
  • Fat: 44 g
  • Saturated fat: 20 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 32 g
  • Sodium: 1098 mg
  • Cholesterol: 251 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I’ve made this recipe a few times now and it’s quickly become my family’s go-to holiday or special event breakfast. So simple, so easy to prep, and so flavorful. Only changes I make are occasionally reducing the amount of sausage and replacing what I took out with bacon, or sometimes I’ll add sauteed red and green bell peppers. But it is truly perfect as is.

    • — Scott Wallace on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another success story, Jenn! Thank you, thank you! This made a beautiful and delicious cornerstone to our, socially distanced, Christmas Eve brunch with my mum. It certainly was a bonus, too, in that the dish could be prepared the afternoon before, and then simply popped in a hot oven. Thank you for recipes that allow us to cook and share with joy!

    • — Karen Smith on January 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • As a recovering vegetarian, I don’t even like Italian sausage but I loved this recipe. Made it for Christmas brunch. Will make it again and won’t change a thing. Used spicy Italian sausage. The kids all had seconds and I’m pretty sure it’s going into the rotation for the next time we’re all together.

    • — Barbara Armstrong on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • I would like to make this for Christmas morning, but there’s only 2 of us. How much should I reduce ingredients by to make it in an 8×8 pan. Thanks

    • — Ellen on December 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, I’d cut the recipe in half. Happy holidays!

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks for such a speedy reply!! Have a great holiday season!E

        • — Ellen on December 24, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, any chance unseasoned white bread stuffing cubes could be used in place of the bread called for in this recipe? If so, how many ounces should be used? I have a full bag left from Thanksgiving and am trying to use it up. Thank you for your help with this question!

    • — Staci H. on December 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Staci, I think that should work (and you’ll need 16 ounces). Please LMK how it turns out with stuffing cubes!

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Family really enjoyed breakfast casserole. My son was asking if we could add shredded or diced potatoes? I was thinking a half bag. If possible would we have to increase the eggs and half n half?
    Or should we just cook potatoes on the stove top and serve on the side?
    Thanks again for all the wonderful dishes.
    Scott

    • — Scott on December 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • I haven’t tried it, but I think it should work to add some potatoes. For the amount you want to use, I’d add another egg and an additional 1/4 cup half and half (and I’d use a full teaspoon of salt). Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • I absolutely loved all of your recipes. What are your thoughts on freezing this dish?

    • — Sasha on November 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sasha, I haven’t tried freezing this dish, and not certain how well it would freeze with the eggs and dairy. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2020
      • Reply
    • Yes, it freezes well. I prepare the recipe, including adding the egg mixture, wrap in foil and freeze. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to recipe. This dish has made a lovely gift when delivered in an aluminum pan for a family to bake up the following morning. It’s always a hit! Thank you Jen.

      • — Jill on December 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I use many of your recipes and have your cookbook – seriously in love with everything I have made, as is my family! A quick question – if I omit the cheese and add savory fresh herbs, could I use this as the main “stuffing” dish for the turkey? I like a bread pudding consistency instead of dry, so I think it would work but wanted your professional opinion:) Thank you!

    • — Alison Gilkey on November 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! I do think you could get away with what you’re suggesting here. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • can you make this with sourdough?

    • — sherene on September 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 24, 2020
      • Reply
    • This looks delicious! I’d like to make this and the spinach/cheese strata at the same time. Do you have a suggestion for baking time and temperature?

      • — Alice on November 8, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Alice, I’d bake them both at 325°. The bread pudding will just take a few minutes longer. I’d start with at least 5 additional minutes. Hope you enjoy both!

        • — Jenn on November 9, 2020
        • Reply
  • I am hesitant to review the recipe because I did not cook it exactly as written. I used the recipe more as a template. I had a loaf of Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread that I had made that was languishing in the freezer. I cut it up, crust and all. Because of the rather tough crust on my bread, I increased the liquid by 2 more eggs and one more cup of milk. I was a an ounce shy on the cheddar, so I made up the difference with Asiago. It turned out great! This is a very forgiving recipe. Within limits, you can tinker with the flavors, the breads, and the cheeses. Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding will make a great breakfast dish for weekends when we have house guests!

    • — bbstx on June 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this with a loaf of white gluten free bread from Trader Joes, and just to make it a little easier on myself, I did not cut the crusts off. I simply cubed the bread. I also made a smaller batch of this with no meat for my vegetarian daughter, but added red chili peppers for the spice that I feel like you would miss by not using spicy sausage. Both were outstanding!!

    • — Jennifer Brown on May 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Is this bread pudding freezable? Thanks!

    • — Jami on May 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jami, I haven’t tried freezing this dish, and not certain how well it would freeze with the eggs and dairy. You can, however, prepare it a few days ahead, refrigerate, and bake before serving.

      • — Jenn on May 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • We made this recipe last night with a few changes as we like more flavor than just the ingredients listed. We used french bread (didn’t cut off the crusts), added chopped bell pepper and sliced baby portabello mushrooms and sauteed along with the onions. Also added about 7oz chopped green chilies, rosemary, thyme and granulated garlic, whole milk (instead of half and half), and mexican blend cheese. We didn’t wait to cook…just mixed all and put in 9×13 dish and cooked. It turned out great! Used to live in New Orleans and Lafayette, LA ( now live in Colorado) and have made lots of different bread puddings over the last 30 years. You may put in the refrigerator prior to cooking for convenience, but really not necessary. 4 stars for original but with our additions would give a 5 star….have to rate the original. We like a bit more flavor and the chilies were added due to our new cuisine here in Colorado were we roast green chilies and peel skins off, then put in freezer for use in recipes like chili rellenos and chicken tortilla casserole, etc.

    • — Missy on May 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have been making these egg casseroles for years. This one is, by far, the best! I made it for our Mother’s Day brunch. My family voted this to be their new favorite. Thanks for recipes I know I can count on! And ~ Happy Mother’s Day!!

    • — Andie R. on May 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!

    This looks delicious! I was wondering if I could sub potatoes for some of the bread?? Would cook time change at all?
    Thank you!!

    • — Rebecca on April 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • If they were cooked, diced potatoes, I think it would work with no modifications.

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Dear Jen,
    I have the recipe sitting in the fridge now for tomorrow. I don’t need to wait to give it 5 stars, I already know it will be amazing.

    But that’s not why I’m writing. I just needed to write to say that if you made a recipe app, I’d be the first to download it (says anyone who knows who you are), and it would make a killing.

    Xo,
    Bri

    • — Bri on March 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • 😊

      • — Jenn on March 11, 2020
      • Reply
    • I’ll strongly second this. A OUAC recipe app would be killer. I’d pay a one-time purchase up to $5 for the convenience of not having to print out your amazing recipes from my laptop to take to the kitchen while cooking. The interface has to be quick and easy though.

      Seriously think about it Jenn!

      • — Duffy Atkinson on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
      • Good to know! I will add it to my list of potential enhancements to the blog. Keep in mind though that my website is mobile-friendly which makes it very easy to view/use regardless of what device you’re viewing it on.

        • — Jenn on May 11, 2020
        • Reply
  • I had some crusty rosemary garlic bread and a little whole wheat sandwich bread that I needed to use up so I did a search on savory bread pudding. Although I usually try to follow a recipe the first time I make it, I did the search with the intent of using up the ingredients that I had on hand. I didn’t measure the bread as I wanted to use it all up, I had spicy italian sausage and extra sharp cheddar cheese. I did 1 1/2 the amount of egg/half-n-half mixture because the crusty bread was so much more dense than a regular sandwich bread. Also, my pan was a little deeper so I baked it until a knife came out clean.

    This recipe is a great basic recipe that accepts all kinds of tweaks and substitutions. I will have to try it as written, but anyone wondering if you can use different ingredients, the answer is yes. Thank you for the recipe!

    • — Lyndze on January 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can I bake this in a disposable baking pan for easy travel?

    • — Gail on December 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2019
      • Reply
      • Could you use different bread? How much bread is used?

        • — Carrie on December 12, 2019
        • Reply
        • Sure, Carrie. And I’ve never measured the bread, but I suspect it should about be 10 – 12 cups. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on December 12, 2019
          • Reply
  • Do you have to use fresh grated cheese or does the shredded prepackaged work? Thanks!

    • — Jen on December 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Jen, I prefer freshly grated cheese because packaged cheeses contain additives to keep the cheese from getting clumpy. That said, you’ll still get a good finished dish if you use pre-grated cheese. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2019
      • Reply
      • This was AMAZING! I got so many compliments. I did use the prepackaged shredded cheese and it turned out great! Definitely a keeper! Thanks so much!!

        • — Jen on December 15, 2019
        • Reply
      • Most grocery stores will shred cheeses from the deli counter for you. No work for you and none of that additive-laced pre-shredded junk!

        • — Lynn in the Desert on February 28, 2020
        • Reply
        • Thanks for the tip, Lynn!

          • — Jenn on February 28, 2020
          • Reply
  • This was excellent. Whole family loved it!! So easy to make.
    I did add extra bread that needed to be used up, plus extra Gouda cheese and red pepper flakes and it was really good! Definitely making this again.

    • — Barb on December 8, 2019
    • Reply
  • Any reason why this couldn’t be made with gluten free bread?

    • — Bethany on December 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Bethany, It’s perfectly fine to make this with gluten-free bread – enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    This recipe sounds wonderful. Do you think this could be “Christmasified” by omitting the cheese and adding stuffing spices – sage, thyme, rosemary? I’d love to try doing this but not if the recipe won’t work with the changes.

    • — Pamela on November 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Pamela, what you’re describing sounds a lot like one of my stuffing recipes. Check this out and see if it fits the bill.

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2019
      • Reply

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