Easy Cranberry bread pudding/french toast with rich sweet cream cheese. Perfect for the holidays!
FYI, Read this entire post and the recipe notes for more bread pudding/french toast recipe ideas and tips!
You HAVE to make this cranberry baked french toast casserole. It's sweet and tart with cranberries and cream cheese.
I've always been a fan of easy bread pudding recipes so since the holidays are near, I thought I would make something sweet using fresh cranberries so I came up with this cranberry bread pudding with cream cheese. Also, check out my leftover cranberry sauce crumble bars.
I love bread pudding and baked french toast but I am always wondering what's the difference between the two? They both have the same ingredients like bread, eggs, and milk.
I was going to call this baked french toast like I did with my baked blueberry french toast recipe but then I changed it to bread pudding. I guess it can be called cranberry french toast too right?
Cranberry bread pudding or cranberry french toast, I love them both! You will fall in love at first bite of this bread pudding.
Seriously, I could eat the whole pan. My favorite part of this cranberry bread pudding is biting into the cranberries and the sweet cream cheese at the same time. Oh my goodness! I also love the slightly soft but tad craggy edges.
Second day leftovers taste even better! The other great thing I love about this recipe is that I didn't cut the bread into cubes (quick prep)! That's one less step you won't have to worry about.
The first time I made this cranberry bread pudding with cream cheese, I used fresh straight from the package cranberries (uncooked). I also didn't use cream cheese. The final result? Meh. It was just okay, nothing to rave about.
I personally didn't care for it. I felt like it was missing a lot of flavor. The cranberries were way too tart, not enough sugar and the cranberries tasted lonely. I wanted something else but I didn't want to add typical orange flavor. The cranberry bread pudding needed something creamy.
I decided to go with cream cheese because I knew it would complement the sweet and tart cranberries. I also cooked them almost the same way I cooked my cranberry sauce recipe, minus the orange flavor.
For the batter I used all basic ingredients: eggs, milk, vanilla extract.
Same for the cream cheese: an egg, sugar and vanilla extract and and a pinch of salt.
You could also make this cranberry bread pudding a day in advance. Do all the steps in the recipe but instead of baking it right away, cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until morning. For the rest of the recipe just scroll below.
Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
- 6 slices of white bread stale is best for this recipe. If it's not stale you can toast it just until it hardens up some. You can also use Texas toast.
- 1 ½ cup fresh cranberries
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp butter (dice 2 tbsp of the reserved butter) only add 1 tbsp and reserve 2 tablespoons
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream cheese mixture
- 6 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place all of the cranberry ingredients into a small saucepan (except for the vanilla extract, reserve the 2 tbsp of butter) pan over high heat and bring to a boil. The cranberries will began to burst. Cook uncovered and stirring frequently 5-8 or right until the sauce starts to thicken. Place in a bowl and set to the side. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
- Add all of the cream cheese ingredients to a medium bowl and with an electric mixture mix until combined.
Bread pudding prep
- Place slices of bread in a 10.5 x 7.5 baking pan side by side. Until the pan is full. Stack by placing another slice on top of each slice of bread.
- Add all of the milk mixture ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Mix well. With your hands, tear a hole into the top slices of bread. You will be adding the cream cheese mixture into the holes of the bread soon. Alternatively you can skip making holes in the bread and just add the cream cheese mixture all over the top of the bread (do this step after you add the milk mixture).
- Pour the milk mixture all over the bread. Press the bread gently into the milk. Wait about 10-15 minutes so the bread can absorb the milk. Drop spoonfuls of half of the cream cheese mixture into each teared hole. Reserve the rest of the cream cheese mixture. I was able to fit 8 slices of bread into my pan.***SEE NOTES***
- Add the cranberry sauce all over the top of the bread. Next, scatter butter all over. Cook until golden brown for about 35-40 minutes. Add the reserved cream cheese all over the top of the bread pudding 10 minute before the bread pudding is done.
- To make in a 9X13 pan using a regular sandwich or loaf bread only: ½ cup of milk, 2 eggs, ⅓ cup of sugar or a bit more if you like, 3 tablespoons of butter and a bit more vanilla extract. If using thicker slices of bread you will definitely need to add more ingredients.
- Cranberries: ½ cup water, 2 cups cranberries, ½ cup sugar, 1.5 tablespoons of butter and vanilla extract.
- Cream cheese mixture: 8 oz of cream cheese, ½ cup of sugar, one egg and a bit more vanilla extract. Follow the same recipe steps.
- Cover pan with tin foil and put it in the fridge overnight.
- Once you are ready to bake it in the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake uncovered for 40-55 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
- Bake uncovered for 40-55 minutes, until puffed and golden brown
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