This warm Panettone Bread Pudding is super easy to assemble and tastes heavenly! Let it soak up the spiced custard and bake until nicely puffed up and golden. There is no more perfect holiday dessert than this!
Christmas morning is such a special time for family rituals and traditions. For the last few years, my family has been embracing a routine that involves opening gifts followed by a sweet Christmas breakfast. And the particular food we eat is Panettone Bread Pudding!
It is my kids’ favorite and they will make a big fuss if I ever try to introduce something different. The kids would have the panettone with chocolate milk, while the adults enjoy it with freshly brewed coffee.
What is Panettone Bread Pudding
A traditional bread pudding is made with cubed bread tossed in a custard (egg and milk mixture) and baked until golden. This Panettone Bread Pudding is made with panettone, the Italian sweet bread.
Speckled with candied dried fruit, citrus, and raisins, panettone has a distinctive towering round shape and a plush fluffy texture. It is a popular Christmas bread in Italy and also in the US. During the holiday season, you would see beautifully wrapped gift boxes of panettone bread that show up everywhere in the grocery stores. Pick one up today and make this bread pudding!
- Texture: A lush creamy middle and irresistible golden crisp top in one fabulous, crowd-pleasing dish.
- Flavor: You get this amazing flavor of custard, spice, and sweet fruits in every bite.
- Easy: This bread pudding is extremely easy and totally foolproof. If you’re one of those who get nervous about making dessert, give this recipe a try. Everyone will think you’re a great baker! It takes only 3 simple steps: cut panettone bread, make the custard, and combine the two, and bake!
- Prep ahead: You can assemble this bread pudding the night before and bake it the next day. Cook it in a pretty dish and it can go straight from the oven to the table.
Overview: How to Make Panettone Bread Pudding
The full printable/written recipe with step-by-step pictures is below.
- Make the custard mixture: Mix eggs, sugar, heavy cream, milk, and all the wonderful holiday spices for the holiday!
- Cut the panettone bread: Cut into 1-inch cubes.
- Assemble in the baking pan: Pour the custard mixture over the cubed panettone bread in the casserole dish and simply toss it all together.
- Rest overnight: For the best result, let the bread soak up the flavorful custard overnight. If you don’t prep it in advance, you can certainly bake it after 3-4 hours of soaking, but I encourage you to leave it overnight.
- Bake the bread pudding: The bread pudding takes about 45 minutes to bake. If you put the baking dish out of the fridge, it may take up to 60 minutes. While the oven is doing its work, you can set up the table and get everything else ready.
I love adding holiday spices to the bread pudding. Some of my favorite holiday spices are:
- Cinnamon – used in this recipe
- Ground clove – used in this recipe
- Mulling Spices
- Orange peel and zest – used in this recipe
- Star anise
With candied fruit peels already in the panettone, I keep the spices minimal so the flavor doesn’t get overpowering.
Tips on Making the Best Panettone Bread Pudding
- Use quality ingredients – This dish is simple, which means the taste of the ingredients (eggs, cream, the panettone) shines through.
- Beat the egg and sugar well – Before adding any liquid, make sure to beat the egg and sugar well. This will make the whisking so much easier and smoother when you add in the liquid later.
- Prep this the night before – It’s important to let the bread soak up all that delicious custard overnight, or a minimum of 4-6 hours.
- Prefer less sugar? My recommendation is ⅓ cup of sugar. Even with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar, it’s not overly sweet. If you prefer “healthier” bread pudding or plan to add whipped cream, etc, you may cut down to ¼ cup of sugar.
Serve this warm dessert as a finale of your holiday meal or make it for a special Christmas Day breakfast. The whole house smells so inviting that you will know why it makes such a treasure for the holiday. I hope it’s going to be your family favorite too!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Panettone Bread Pudding
- 1 panettone bread (1.1 lb, 500 g)
- ½ Tbsp unsalted butter (for greasing the casserole dish; cooking spray works, too, but we love butter!)
- 10 large eggs
- ⅓ cup sugar (you can reduce the sugar to ¼ cup (50 g) if you prefer it less sweet or plan to serve with sweet syrup/whipped cream. We like ⅓ cup of sugar and it‘s not overly sweet even with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar)
- 1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
- ½ cup whole milk
For the Seasonings
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground clove (optional)
- ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 tsp orange zest (from one orange; you can increase to 2 tsp if you like)
- confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
- fresh whipped cream (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make the Custard
- In a large bowl, whisk together 10 large eggs and ⅓ cup sugar. Tip: Make sure to beat the eggs well and let the sugar dissolve at this point; it gets harder to mix when more liquid is added.
- Add 1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream, ½ cup whole milk, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and ½ tsp almond extract.
- Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground clove, and ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
- Lastly, add 1 tsp orange zest and whisk all together. Set aside.
To Prepare the Bread Pudding
- Cut 1 panettone bread into 1-inch (2.5-cm) slices.
- Cut the slices into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes.
- For one 9 x 13-casserole dish, grease it with ½ Tbsp unsalted butter and place the cubed bread in the casserole.
- Pour the custard mixture evenly over the panettone. If the top of the bread pudding is not covered with the custard, you can gently press down or flip some piece to coat with the custard. Cover it with plastic and refrigerator for 4–6 hours or overnight (preferably).
To Bake the Bread Pudding
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). For a convection oven, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Transfer the casserole dish from the refrigerator to the preheated oven. Bake for 45–50 minutes, rotating halfway, until the bread pudding has set in the center, puffed up, and is golden brown.
- Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm with fresh whipped cream (optional). Enjoy!
- Place the leftover in an airtight container (or wrap it tightly in plastic) and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 11, 2020. It’s been republished in December 2021.