Subtly sweet, ooey, gooey, and bursting with crunchy pecans, this vegan bread pudding is super easy to make and even easier to eat! Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an amazing dessert that you’d never guess was egg and dairy-free.
Have you ever heard the song “Baby I’ma Want You” by Bread? I’d never heard it before either, until one day I was riding in the car with my husband and it came on the radio. “This is Bread,” he announced. “Baby Im’a Want You.”
“That’s how I feel about bread too!” was my response.
I love bread. The food, I mean. The song was okay I guess. I can’t remember. I got to thinking about bread (the food), so I kind of zoned out while the song was playing.
The universe heard my plea, because baby, Im’a got a freezer full of bread. I keep making bread and then find that my small household can’t quite finish off a loaf before it starts to get old.
It’s okay though, because there are plenty of delicious ways to use bread that’s over the hill. Ribbolita is my new favorite savory way to use up old bread. And this vegan bread pudding is my new favorite sweet way!
Use Old Bread
Old bread is actually preferable when you’re making something like bread pudding. Why? Because when it’s a bit stale it’s better at keeping some texture when it’s soaked in your gooey bread pudding base.
But you can still use fresh loaf if you’re really craving some bread pudding but didn’t think ahead to grab a loaf yesterday. Just break it into pieces according to the recipe and place them in the oven at a low temperature to dry out for a few minutes.
How to Make Vegan Bread Pudding
Conventional bread pudding is heavy on eggs and dairy, so it seems like it’d be a tough dish to veganize, but it’s not! I used a mix of full-fat coconut milk and almond milk in place of the dairy. Feel free to substitute your favorite non-dairy milk for the almond milk, but I recommend sticking with the coconut milk if you can, as it adds some awesome richness to your pudding base.
And in place of eggs? There are so many ways to replace eggs in vegan baking, but for this recipe I used good old cornstarch! Cornstarch thickens and pudding-ifys your base, just like eggs would in conventional bread pudding.
Start by heating your coconut milk, along with some maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and a bit of salt. While those ingredients heat up, mix some additional non-dairy milk with cornstarch. Make sure the milk is cold! Otherwise, it won’t mix well and you’ll end up with a bunch of cornstarch lumps in your pudding.
Once the mixture on the stove starts to simmer, add the cornstarch mixture. Let it continue to simmer for a minute or two — it should thicken up pretty quickly.
Arrange your old bread pieces in a baking dish and pour your coconut milk mixture over them. Distribute the mixture with a spatula if you need to. Let that sit for a few minutes while you make your topping.
Stir some pecans, melted vegan butter, brown sugar and salt together, then pour the mixture over your bread pudding.
Pop it in the oven and bake until thick and bubbly.
You can serve your bread pudding while it’s still warm, in which case it’ll be a delicious, sloppy, gooey mess, or let it cool off and set. Either way, I highly recommend topping it with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.
FAQ & Tips for Making Awesome Vegan Bread Pudding
- Can this be made gluten-free? I’m guessing it would be fine with gluten-free bread, but honestly, I don’t have much experience with the stuff, so no promises.
- This bread pudding is meant to be subtly sweet. If you like a super sweet pudding, feel free to use extra maple syrup. And if you’re not sure, taste test the coconut milk mixture after it’s cooked, and then add extra sweetener to taste.
- It’s super important that your non-dairy milk be cold when you mix it with the cornstarch. Cool it down with some ice cubes if needed!
- Feel free to substitute your favorite nuts for the pecans.
- On that note, feel free to play with the flavors. Try adding or swapping out the spices and flavorings. Nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, almond extract, and orange zest would all be nice.
Maple Pecan Vegan Bread Pudding
Subtly sweet, ooey, gooey, and bursting with crunchy pecans, this vegan bread pudding is super easy to make and even easier to eat! Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an amazing dessert that you'd never guess was egg and dairy-free.
- 1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 1/4 cups unflavored non-dairy milk, chilled
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted
- 5 cups torn (2-inch pieces) day-old bread
Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly oil a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
Arrange the bread pieces in the baking dish.
Whisk the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together into a medium saucepan.
Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer.
While the coconut milk mixture heats up, stir the chilled non-dairy milk and cornstarch together in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves completely.
Once the coconut milk mixture comes to a simmer, whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
Bring the mixture back up to a simmer and allow it to cook, whisking frequently, until it thickens up to about the consistency of pudding, 1-2 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture over the bread pieces. Distribute the mixture with a spatula, if needed.
Stir the pecans, brown sugar, butter and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt together in a small bowl.
Spread the pecan mixture over the bread mixture.
Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 45 minutes.
Remove the pudding from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes and serve warm, or allow it to cool and set completely before serving.