Delicious Cranberry Cream Cheese Baked French Toast

Easy Cranberry bread pudding/french toast with rich sweet cream cheese. Perfect for the holidays!

Cranberry bread pudding

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. 

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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?

easy bread pudding recipe

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.

cranberry bread pudding

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 Bread Pudding

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread Pudding

April Boller Wright
Cranberries and rich sweet cream cheese smothered in a custardy creamy bread pudding. It's a perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert! 
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 5

Ingredients
  

  • 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.

Cranberries

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp butter (dice 2 tbsp of the reserved butter) only add 1 tbsp and reserve 2 tablespoons

Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream cheese mixture

  • 6 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Cranberries

  • 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. 

Notes

Use a 9X13 pan if you want. You should be able to fit 12 slices of bread (stacked on top of each other)  in the pan and it should look like this --> HERE. So six slices side by side in the pan then another 6 on top of that. 
  • To make in a 9X13 pan using a regular sandwich or loaf bread only: 1/2 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1/3 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: 1/2 cup water, 2 cups cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1.5 tablespoons of butter and vanilla extract.
  • Cream cheese mixture: 8 oz of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, one egg and a bit more vanilla extract. Follow the same recipe steps.
Overnight bread pudding:
  •  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.
Make it Same Day:
  • Bake uncovered for 40-55 minutes, until puffed and golden brown
Like this? Leave a comment below!Let us know how it was!

You may also like: 

The Best Stove-top French Toast

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast

Buttery Crispy Edges Sour Cream Pancakes 

Easy Dutch Baby Puff Pancakes 

cranberry bread pudding. It's a perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert!

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38 Comments

  1. What a delicious post…I need to make more fun breakfasts like this!5 stars

  2. Cranberry French toast sounds like exactly how I want to start my day on Christmas Day. So delicious and comforting.5 stars

  3. What a great Christmas morning breakfast idea! Love the cream cheese in this!5 stars

  4. This is amazing! I love that you didn’t even have to cut the bread, it actually looks very beautiful with whole slices. And the combination of cream cheese and cranberries sounds really great. Such a perfect holiday breakfast!5 stars

  5. From the looks your cranberry bread pudding reminds me of a homemade cherry clafoutis and I do like this dessert. A bowl full of this would be welcome anytime, right now I wished it was my dessert after dinner. I should make more bread puddings in 2018!5 stars

  6. Alisa Infanti says:

    You had me a bread pudding! This recipes looks divine. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Totally drooling here, such a pretty pudding bejeweled with those cranberries🙂5 stars

  8. My husband LOVES bread pudding, so this is perfect! Plus now that we eat gluten free bread, it’s perfect for recipes like this since it’s already pretty dry, so it doesn’t have to wait to get stale (since I am the type of person who will set bread out to dry and then forget about it for 3 weeks, haha).

    1. Haha. I never knew that about gluten free bread. Very interesting. If he loves bread pudding then he will be happy to have this. Thank you Samantha!

    1. I think I can eat this all year around too. Just too good not to! Thank you Gloria.

  9. This is such a perfect Christmas morning treat for my boys! It looks so festive! I’m definitely saving this one!5 stars

  10. Good gawd, I need this in my life. You’ve taken ALL of my favorite holiday things and put them into this! Bookmarking and sharing this beauty. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I said the same thing (good gawd) when I first tried it. Thank you Traci!

  11. That looks gorgeous … and delicious! You have got a great imagination and this recipes turned out so well.5 stars

    1. Thank you Ginny! It’s tastes just as good as it looks.

  12. It’s a dessert and a breakfast dish! Either way its beautiful! Love all the colors and thank you for all the recipe notes. Super helpful!

    1. Yup. Its’ perfect for any time of the day! Thank you Ben.

  13. I’m not usually a fan of bread pudding but I think the addition of tart cranberries and cream cheese would be perfect. I can’t wait to try it.