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

  • Can you use baguette instead of sandwich bread? If so, how much would work? Thanks!

    • — Tanyia on November 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Tanyia, Sure a baguette will work. And I’ve never measured the bread, but I suspect it should about be 10 cups. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is my favorite breakfast recipe for a group and I’ll be making it again this weekend. So easy to assemble ahead of time and so delicious. Thanks!

    • — Donna on November 13, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe several times over the past 2 years or so and it’s easily a favorite. I’ve always made it for group gatherings and it has gotten nothing but rave reviews. The first time that I made this recipe, I prepared it exactly as written. It was delicious, but a family member commented that he thought using a fresh, crusty bread would take it to the next level. Since that time I have always used fresh baguette instead of the sandwich bread and agree that it makes this bread pudding even more delicious! I use 4 heaping cups of roughly 1-inch slices of baguette. The last time that I cooked this I caramelized the onions and will definitely be doing that going forward. Jen, this is a phenomenal recipe and I love how easy it is to make simple substitutions to suit each individual’s preferences.

    • — Lindsey on October 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • As a raging fan of your recipes, I hesitate to admit that I went a bit off the rails last night. In my defense…it was late and I had a work event the next morning. I combined this recipe with your spinach and cheese strata to yummy results.
    Used this recipe basically with spicy pork sausage browned w/o oil then removed to paper towel to drain & then added to a big bowl per directions. Wiped same pan a bit & added a T. olive oil & 1 T. butter and cooked 1 diced onion for 3-4 minutes before adding 2 minced garlic cloves & about a cup+ of fresh spinach (chiffonaded?) for another 2-3 min. till well wilted. Added a bit of salt & pepper & added to bowl with sausage. Added cubed Italian loaf of bread (with crusts), cheese and parsley to bowl & tossed to mix. Put into prepared pan & then poured over (whisked) 6 eggs, suggested half and half, 2 t. Dijon and s&p. Didn’t look like enough liquid so I freaked a bit & whisked an additional egg with another cup of half & half & poured over the mix before wrapping & leaving in fridge over night.
    Added another 3/4 C. of cheese over top before baking per directions in the morning. *Used a glass pan (if that makes a difference here) but bread pudding/casserole browned just past golden at about 45 min. & I (chickened out &) removed from oven at 50 min. A pinch over-browned but not bad & perfectly cooked inside.
    Had to bring to work & didn’t serve it for about 1 1/2 hrs. (easily reheated in microwave) so it’s ok standing for a bit if you can’t serve right away. Would love to tell you about how ‘seconds’ reheated/tasted later in the day but… there weren’t any! Seconds (+) happened right then. 🙂
    *Could easily customize this recipe w/ sauteed diced poblanos, red peppers, mushrooms, shard/ kale, etc. Such great, forgiving recipes! BTW- Love your book!! <3

    • — Califcooker on October 16, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad your version of this was a hit (and that you like the cookbook)!! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 16, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is a very good recipe that was readily adapted to a vegetarian version. I was moved to try it by having some home-baked sourdough (about 500 g) that needed to be used up; I hadn’t had a savory bread pudding in years, and had never personally made one. Instead of the indicated sausage, I used one cup of sausage-style TSP, one cup of hot water, 2 tsp hot Italian sausage seasoning and 1 cup of leftover vegetable stew. It was quickly gobbled up by my family, and I have seldom seen my terrier more attentive (g).

    • — Dale Hammerschmidt
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I wondered if the sausage you specify (sweet or spicy) is Italian sausage? I could not find a sweet or spicy sausage without Italian or other types of seasoning. I’m making your recipe for this Sunday brunch.

    • Hi Sharon, Yes, it’s Italian. Enjoy!

  • Should this be baked covered or uncovered?

    • Hi Callie, it’s baked uncovered. Sorry for the confusion!

      • Omg, I cooked this morning and my family couldn’t wait! I’m going to have to transfer to smaller pan because they took out a big section and now my pan has about 1/4 missing. They wanted more…I should have made two. It’s delicious!!!!

  • I am making this for Easter brunch potluck tomorrow. My family is more bacon fans than sausage though…I cooked up a 20 ounce package of thick cut bacon, removed most of the bacon drippings, and left some behind to sauté onions in. Using large, disposable pan and fit perfectly. Can’t wait to pop in the oven and serve tomorrow. Thanks for recipe!!

  • Jenn, this was a disaster for me. Made half the recipe exactly as written, but used sour dough bread (had some left over from grilled cheese sandwiches and wanted to use it up. Used an eight inch square pan as others have done. The egg and cream mixture was a baked layer in the bottom of the pan, hardly any liquid was absorbed by the bread which was dry and crusty on top. Looked beautiful, but didn’t work for me. Why?

    • Sorry to hear you had a problem with this, Carol! Did you let it sit in the refrigerator for at least a few hours after assembling it?

      • overnight

        • Hmmm… I’ve never heard of anyone experiencing that problem with this if they’ve let the mixture sit. It is possible that the bread wasn’t spread evenly along the bottom of the baking dish? If so that could cause the liquid to pool and not get fully absorbed.

    • “I made this recipe EXACTLY as written, but actually that’s a lie, I didn’t, and it was terrible! One star”

      For my first review I felt I had to cancel out this one. I made it for the first time yesterday and did it exactly as written, not changing the quantity or the ingredients. All 3 of us who ate it thought it was delicious. Tbh, it felt very unhealthy pouring in that much half and half, given all the butter, cheese, and pork sausage already in the recipe. I wasn’t thinking about this fact while eating. In the future, for the sake of my cardiovascular health, I will try 2 cups of milk instead of half-and-half. If it turns out well then this will be a regular dish for us.

  • I made the recipe exactly as written, and served it to my co-workers at a potluck breakfast to celebrate a birthday. It was a huge hit. Even though I transported it about 20 minutes from my hot oven to the office, it stayed piping hot and delicious. The only downside was that its gorgeous puffiness deflated before we could dig in, but the flavor and texture were wonderful nonetheless. I will definitely be making this again, for my unhappy family who did not get to sample it! Another winner, Jenn!

  • I’m planning to make this, but being from New Orleans, we use a lot French Bread (Po Boy loaf). I have a loaf that has dried out. What quantity of bread crumbs would be equivalent to the Pepperidge Farms loaf that’s used in the recipe?

    • Hi Carol, I’ve never measured the bread, but I suspect it should about be 10 – 12 cups. Hope you enjoy!

  • Made it the day before for Christmas morning brunch. It was fabulous!

  • Jenn! Thank you for making my holiday season! For a full week I needed to have prepared food for our family and I was able to make ahead and/or freeze many of my dishes. I knew once the family arrived, my grand parenting our three little ones would occupy my time. I made this Savory brunch main the night before Christmas and we enjoyed it with fresh fruit. Weeks ahead I made the Almond-Blueberry Granola bars to take as healthy snacks for our skiing crowd. I did the same with the Spinach Penne Pasta with Fontina dish and served it with meatballs and marinara. The Big Italian Salad was perfect with it and I made the dressing one week ahead. I did the same for the Black Bean, Corn, Edamame Salad and even assembled the ingredients ahead so it only needed to be dressed. The Pumpkin Bread was also frozen ahead for mid-morning nosh. Jenn is my go-to. Her recipes are always my starting point for menu planning. Many thanks to you!

  • I made this for Christmas brunch. Was a hit! Everyone loved it. thanks again for another keeper.
    Merry Christmas!

  • I made this for guests I invited to watch an early morning sports game and it was perfect! I made the night before and put in the oven at half-time. Dish was perfect, delicious and ready right when game ended. Everyone loved it and I got to enjoy the game too! Made no changes to it.

  • I mistakenly bought wheat bread. Will this work?

    • Hi Julie, As long as you like the taste of wheat bread, it should be fine. 🙂

  • Hi Jen!
    I love this recipe! I want to make it ahead of time for the weekend. Would it stay good for an extra day or two in the fridge before baking?
    Thanks!!

    • Yes, it’s good for up to 2 days before baking. Enjoy!

      • Thanks so much!!

  • This is a definite 5-star recipe! I made it for brunch and we all loved it! Served with a nice cinnamon streusel cake and bloody Mary’s…yummy!

    • — Filomena Stillwagon
    • Reply
  • hi! Any idea how many ounces in the loaf of bread you used? Or which white bread it was? Pepperidge farm has several varieties, all diff oz! I’m using a bunch of scraps.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Cassy, I believe the loaf I’ve used is 16 ounces. And the bag says Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich Bread. Hope that helps!

  • I’ve made this twice for my friends and coworkers. It is a HIT. I use sourdough bread, spicy sausage, and pepperjack cheese to give it an extra kick. I love this dish and will continue making it!

  • Hi Jenn!
    I made this yummy, scrumptious breakfast casserole for a brunch I hosted last weekend. Everyone loved it and went back for seconds! I loved the parsley and onions in it. I used the Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread as you recommended and cut off the crusts; but I did use both heel ends of the bread in it and loved the crunchy and velvety texture. I served it along with pancakes, vanilla yogurt topped with fresh fruit, bacon and breakfast potatoes. (We had a big crowd!). I am already craving Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding so I will have to make it again very soon because it was SO good! I cannot wait to make it for my kids’ teacher appreciation breakfasts that pop up throughout the school year! This is a total winner and my very first recipe of yours that I have tried. I will be making many more of your delicious-looking and mouth-watering recipes, Jenn!! Thank you for making my family brunch such a success!!!

  • Such a good, quick and easy recipe! I made some changes by using brioche bread and a mix of turkey and chicken sausage. It quickly became a new favorite of ours. Thanks for the recipe!

  • This was absolutely delicious!! I made it for a brunch we had today and it was so convenient to put it together last night and throw it in the oven this morning. Everyone really liked it! I baked it in a smaller dish, it turned out great still, but I’ll be buying the right size serving dish for next time because everything was smushed together instead of a little airy. I served this with Jenn’s recipe for homemade applesauce, which paired really well with the flavors and was also amazing!! I made the applesauce the night before as well, I will definitely be using this menu again 🙂

  • I’m planning I make a 1/2 recipe and would be using a smaller baking dish, would I still need to cook for an hour?

    • Hi Marina, I’d start checking around 45 minutes. Enjoy!

      • That’s how long I cooked it for and it worked great.

  • Hello, Instead of ground pork, could another lean meat be used? If so what could be the options? Thanks!

    • Hi Parita, Both turkey and chicken sausage would both work well here. Hope you enjoy!

  • My question: If I wanted to refrigerate the sausage cheddar pudding overnight, could I add the cubed bread pieces in the morning to avoid becoming mush before cooking?

    Yumm,
    Helen

    • — Helen Phillips
    • Reply
    • Sure, Helen – that’s fine.

  • Hi Jen,

    Can you substitute the sausage for any other kind of meat?

    • Hi D, The sausage adds a lot of flavor here – you could try chicken or turkey sausage as an alternative.

  • We made this for Christmas Eve Breakfast. It was great! We doubled the recipe expecting to have a pan leftover but it was so good, we didn’t have much left at all. Very easy to make. We have several family members that are eating low carb, so we used a low carb bread and it worked perfectly!

  • Jenn – I love all your recipes – you are ,my go to website and I have sent all of my friends your way!! We have celiac disease, do you think I could sub out the bread for frozen hash browns? Or some sort of potatoes? Thanks!!

    • Hi Sue, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! I do think this recipe could work with frozen hash browns. I’d love to know how it turns out if you try it.

  • Would this be as good without the onions? I have someone that is allergic to them.

    • Hi Delores, the onions do add a nice flavor but it will still be good without them. You may want to consider replacing the onions with diced fennel bulb. If you saute it, it loses its anise flavor and becomes mellow but slightly sweet.

  • My hubby loves breakfast and I love bread pudding. What a wonderful food marriage this recipe is for us! The only thing I change is for my man. He also love more heat in his food so I changed to pepper cheese and a dash of cayenne. Yummy. Thanks for the delish recipes!!

  • If I were to have a sauce on the side, what would you recommend ?

    • Hi Reggie, I think this is great as is and doesn’t need a sauce on the side (and I honestly wouldn’t know what to suggest as a sauce here)– sorry if that’s not quite the answer you were looking for! 🙂

  • This looks delicious. I’m having friends for a pre-Christmas brunch, what do you suggest I serve with it?

    • Hi Carla, I’d serve this with bagels with this smoked salmon spread, along with a fruit salad and either some muffins or banana bread.

  • Hi,

    what’s the total weight of the bread used please?

    Thanks,
    Lara

    • Hi Lara, I believe the loaf I buy is 16 ounces. Enjoy!

  • Thinking about making this for thanksgiving. Was wanting to use either a mirepoix or the holy trinity instead of just onion. Also because I love to amp up flavors for the season I am tempted to add some nutmeg to this dish. Am I overkilling it too much? Looks like an excellent recipe as is so I don’t want to ruin it with too many flavors but hoping you or others can chime in with suggestions, thank you.

    • Hi Lisa, I think both of those additions will work well. Just go easy on the nutmeg – a pinch will do. Please come back and let me know how it turns out.

  • Hi, this looks and sounds so scrummy! How much Bacon would you recommend to use in place of the sausage, for a variation please?

    • Hi LMD, I honestly think this would be best with sausage. That said, if you choose to use bacon, I’d suggest about 8 ounces. Hope that helps!

  • Yum! This is a wonderful dish and it comes out looking beautiful!
    I added fresh thyme, rosemary and garlic to the onions, as well as a tablespoon of chopped green chiles. I also used a loaf of Trader Joes brioche bread, but not the end pieces. Everyone loved it. I served it with green chili sauce. It served 5 people, 3 of whom came back for seconds. I would have liked more spice, so I will try adding sliced green chilies and pepper jack cheese. This is a wonderful recipe!

  • Do you think this would work as well if I swapped out half of the half-n-half for whole milk?

    • Hi Allison, I think that’d be just fine. Please lmk how it turns out!

  • If this recipe were to be made in a crock pot, what would be the suggested cooking time?

  • YES! I made this for brunch and it was a hit (and so easy). I used half a loaf of potato bread and made up the difference with a few potato rolls we had- worked well.
    Don’t stress yourself with complicated brunch preparations. Make this!

  • Brought this to an office function and it was a hit! Even though I inadvertently cooked the meat and onions in 2T butter (I just didn’t add the fat/butter to the mixture) it was delicious. I did use cooking spray to my glass baking dish and it did not stick at all.

    Can’t wait to make this again.

  • How far in advance can I make this do you think? Is letting it sit for 2 overnights before cooking it going to work or is that too long?

    • Same question about your overnight French toast casserole too! We’re going to be away for a weekend at a lake house and I wanted to do some make ahead items!

      • Yep – same!

        • Hi Jenn!

          I want to make this for my family but there is some aversion to heavy cream. Would unsweetened oat milk be an okay substitute?

          • — Tiffany on June 18, 2021
          • Reply
          • Hi Tiffany, Would they be open to the half and half or whole milk? I’d recommend those options over oat milk.

            • — Jenn on June 21, 2021
    • I think that’d be okay, Erin. This is one of those recipes that’s hard to mess up!

  • This was part of Easter brunch and was a hit. My daughter and her boyfriend took over half back home with them,

  • Thia was easy and fabulous! I made it on a Saturday night, and baked it for Sunday brunch – no leftovers. Just delicious. Thank you!

  • Hi Jenn! Your Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding is AMAZING!!! I was having a brunch the day after my son’s wedding for all the out of town guests. I received nothing but complements from the moment the guests walked into our home (smelling the wonderful aroma given off as it baked) to actually eating every last morsel that I had make. I actually made an entire extra casserole just to be safe and they ate that too! Keep these phenomenal recipes coming as I looked forward to creating them too!!!

  • Hi Jenn,

    I am a happy 73 years of age and cooking-baking has been one of the ‘loves of my life.’ So, I have been using a broad range of recipes for over 50 years. Your recipes are extraordinary in every respect and are, without a doubt, some of the FINEST I have ever used. So far I would rank every one I’ve used ‘five-star!’ THANK YOU.

  • Hi Jennifer!
    Happy Easter! I’m making your sausage cheddar pudding for brunch tomorrow. Wondered if the loaf of bread is 1# or 2# size? I bought a TJ Superlative white loaf, but it’s not the same size and weighs 20oz. Should I use 16oz. to be more accurate? Thank you!

    • — Sharon Inahara
    • Reply
    • I think you’d be fine with the 20 oz. loaf, but if you’re more comfortable, just use 16 oz. worth. Happy Easter.

  • This may seem like a really dumb question but your instructions state to put mixture in refrigerator overnight and then bake at 350 next day. How long should I take out from refrigerator before putting it in oven? Don’t I need it to get to room temperature before going in oven to avoid it from cracking? I want to make this and want to make sure I do it right.

    • You can bake it straight from the fridge, Nancy. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Can this be made the night before?

    • Yes, it reheats nicely!

  • I made this casserole for Christmas Morning for my parents. They loved it. Because it was my first attempt, I followed the recipe exactly. We are not breakfast casserole people, but I convinced them to try it, and it was a hit!
    Thank you!

    • — Doreen Sanders
    • Reply

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