There are many donut bread pudding recipes online, but after trying most of them I perfected the recipe that I’m going to share with you in this article. It will show you how to make one of the best comfort desserts in under an hour.
The best part about it – you’re going to use leftover donuts that have gone stale. Instead of throwing them away, you can use stale donuts to create something that will most likely become your go-to dessert!
Bread Pudding 101
Bread pudding isn’t your usual pudding. It doesn’t resemble custard or mousse in texture and doesn’t require cornstarch or gelatin to set. However, just like your usual pudding, bread pudding is a great dessert that’s easy to prepare. So what is it exactly?
What Is Bread Pudding?
It’s traditionally made of stale bread that’s soaked in dairy, cream, or half-and-half, and combined with other ingredients, almost always with eggs and fat of your choice, be it butter, oil, or shortening. That’s where recipes branch out into limitless possibilities.
You can add basically anything you want, including various nuts like hazelnuts or walnuts, dried or fresh fruits like raspberries or raisins, spices like cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg, and anything else your heart desires, like syrup or honey.
The base mixture consisting of stale bread soaked in milk and fat is like a canvas that’s ready to accept anything that will come from the chef’s creativity.
First Bread Pudding Recipes
While this dish originated in the 13th century, its recipe was published for the first time just in the 18th century. In the English cookbook called “The Compleat Housewife” you can find two recipes for bread pudding.
One requires lining the baking dish with puff pastry and filling it with layers of penny bun pieces, slices of butter, raisins, and dried currants. When the baking dish is full, it was to be poured over with a mixture of cream with spices and orange blossom water.
As that was done, all that was left to do was to bake it in the oven. The other bread pudding recipe in the book was essentially the same, but more simplistic, as it didn’t require raisins and dried currants, and only called for normal cream instead of spiced.
Bread Pudding Variations
Bread pudding is not just a dessert. It can also be savory, serving as a main dish. Just like its dessert counterpart, savory bread pudding has endless variations, and you can add nearly any ingredient to it.
Because of such versatility, bread pudding dishes are made all around the world. For example in Brazil, it’s called “pudim de pão” and has a more cakey texture. In Hungary, it’s called “máglyarakás”, and is served with meringue on the top. In Germany, it’s made with rye bread and is called “Schwarzbrotpudding”.
Well, you got the point, but today we’re going to use donuts, so it’s time to ask…
Why Use Donuts?
As the first recorded recipe calls for penny buns, and the dish itself is called bread pudding, why would you want to use donuts? Well, we aren’t going to use just donuts, we’re going to use stale donuts, and that’s the main reason for making it a donut bread pudding.
Maybe you had a birthday party or some other occasion and ordered one too many boxes of donuts to satisfy the sweet tooth of your guests. Now you have a half dozen of perfectly fine donuts from your favorite donut shop, and they’re slowly going stale hour by hour.
Now, instead of throwing them away, you can make bread pudding! And let’s be clear, even if you don’t have stale donuts lying around your house, it’s perfectly fine to intentionally stale some (we will tell you how later) for this recipe.
Everyone in the world could agree that donuts simply taste better than bread, so why use the latter when making an indulgent dessert, when you can use the former and make the end result that much better?
What Donuts Can You Use For Bread Pudding?
You can use nearly any kind of stale donut you have lying around. Most people prefer the good ol’ Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, and those work wonders for our recipe. However, you can nearly every donut type from donut holes to cake donuts.
What’s not recommended is using jelly donuts or donuts that have any kind of filling containing gelatin. Such fillings don’t mesh well with the recipe and ruin the wonderful texture that donut bread pudding has.
However, if stale jelly donuts are all you have, don’t shy away from squeezing out the jelly filling and using the donuts. The minuscule amount of filing that will be left in the donut won’t influence the texture of your pudding much.
Now is the time to see what exact ingredients you’re going to need to make donut bread pudding!
Ingredients For Donut Bread Pudding
Here’s the ingredient list with suggested alternatives if you don’t currently have a specific ingredient:
- 1 Cup of Stale Donuts
- 5 Large Eggs
- 5 Half and Half (You Can Use Heavy Cream Diluted With Water 3:2 Ratio)
- ½ Cup of Butter (You Can Use Ghee, Shortening, or Margarine)
- Sugar According To Taste (Usually Anything From 1 to 3 Tbsp.)
- ½ Tsp. Salt
- Optional – Any Nuts or Dried Fruits (We Recommend Dried Raspberries)
It will make 8 to 11 servings of donut bread pudding.
How To Make Donut Bread Pudding Step by Step
1. Cut The Stale Donuts Into Small Cubes
Regardless of whether your donuts are fresh or stale, start cutting them up into slightly smaller than bite-sized pieces. If your donuts are stale, move to the next step.
However, if you’re using fresh donuts, dry them out first. Preheat the oven to about 300° and lay your donut pieces on a baking sheet and let them dry for 20 minutes.
2. Prepare The Custard Mixture
Into a large bowl combine eggs, your fat, and dairy of choice, sugar, and salt. Make sure you whisk it thoroughly until you don’t see any lumps and start seeing froth forming. It’s a tedious task, so I recommend using a blender or food processor to save time and energy.
3. Soak The Donuts
Now slowly introduce cut-up donuts into the custard and soak them up by folding the mixture from the bottom of the bowl over the donuts. Repeat such mixing a few times and leave it to sit for about 5 minutes.
Return to the bowl and repeat the mixing process a few times, making sure that every inch of the donut surface is not only covered with custard but also soaked in it. Leave the bowl for 5 minutes again and once returned mix it for the final time and leave it alone for the final 5 minutes.
4. Bake The Donut Bread Pudding
Grease up your baking dish, a 2-quart one is almost perfect for the recipe. You can either use a stick of butter, an oil sprayer, or any other type and method of guaranteeing that the pudding won’t stick to the dish.
Now, pour the soaked donut mixture from the bowl into your dish and bake it at 325° for 50 minutes. After 40 minutes pass, check up on the pudding to see if it’s not burning, as some ovens are hotter than others.
Keep checking up on it every 5 minutes until its surface gets golden-brown and is slightly bubbling on the edges.
Serving Donut Bread Pudding
Following this recipe, you should get perfectly moist and sufficiently sweet pudding that doesn’t require any additional sauces or icings. However, my family enjoys pouring over some vanilla or raspberry sauce on top, or even drenching it in maple syrup!
Personally, stale donut bread pudding is one of the best comfort desserts. It’s filling, it’s sweet, but not overwhelming, everything you’d want to cheer yourself up on a weekend after a long week of work.
Can You Refrigerate Donut Bread Pudding?
Yes! While I enjoy donut bread pudding the most while it’s still warm, it’s perfectly fine to refrigerate it in an airtight container for a day or two without losing much flavor or texture.
Because it contains relatively a lot of fats and sugars, the pudding won’t spoil for up to a week. That said, from personal experience, I can say that you won’t have to worry much about having donut bread pudding leftovers. Once you have the first bite, it’s difficult to stop!
How To Make Fresh Donuts Stale?
If you don’t have stale donuts but want to try out this recipe, you can intentionally make your donuts stale. We already shared that you can lightly bake donut pieces in the oven, but I found out that it’s better to stale them in advance.
Simply take your donuts out of their packaging and leave them uncovered on your kitchen counter overnight. In the morning, the donuts will be stale enough to soak up the custard mixture and make a great donut bread pudding.
Can You Make Savory Donut Bread Pudding?
Unfortunately, most donuts contain too much sugar for them to work in a savory pudding. If you want to try out a savory version of a bread pudding, you’ll have to rely on the old-school stale bread.