cranberry pecan chai bread pudding with creamy vanilla chai sauce
Sweet Recipes, Vintage Meets Modern Recipes

Homey Cranberry Pecan Chai Bread Pudding With Vanilla Chai Cream Sauce

Cooks in 45 Minutes Difficulty Medium 0 comments

This homey cranberry pecan bread pudding served right out of the oven with a luscious vanilla chai cream sauce is an ideal winter after-dinner dessert. It’s so easy any non-baker can feel like a pro! With tart frozen cranberries, pecan halves and chai spice it’s a perfect dessert for the holiday season.

It can seem a bit odd sounding if you’ve never heard of bread pudding before. I made a believer out of my partner, who now frequently requests this easy homemade dessert. 

Anytime you have bread left over in large amounts, you can think of bread pudding as a great way to use it up. It’s simple and can be made simply or as elaborate as you want. 

In this recipe, we add frozen cranberry and sweet pecan nuts to the stale Italian bread loaf for a large batch of homemade bread pudding. 

You’ll love how tasty it is and how you can reheat it for breakfast for the kids the next day. I have never heard a complaint about this delicious, comforting dessert. 

If you love homey desserts you will love this apple blackberry compote with mini cinnamon steamed dumplings.

cranberry pecan chai bread pudding with vanilla chai cream sauce

So what’s going into the cranberry pecan chai bread pudding and vanilla chai sauce?

We start with the basics, of course, the bread. As I said, you can use any stale bread. In this instance, I had a whole loaf of Italian bread that needed to be used.

Rip the bread up and add to your mixing bowl. Mix your large eggs with the cream or milk in a small bowl. Remember, the more sumptuous you want the bread pudding, the thicker your cream or milk should be.

I have even used condensed milk in it before. However, if you use condensed milk, reduce the sugar. 

So, add some white sugar to the egg-milk mixture. Stir it all well, and then add in the chai spice. You will then pour it over the entire bowl of bread. Of course, it will want to pool in the bottom of the bowl. So you will need to stir the bread around in the bowl until all the liquid has sopped up and all the bread is wet. 

You will add the frozen cranberries and pecans from here and mix well again. When you add this to the buttered nine by 13 baking dish, distribute the cranberries and pecans around as much as possible so every portion has some. 

As mentioned, you are baking this in a nine by thirteen that you must butter thoroughly. And when I say buttered, I mean generous. It not only prevents sticking but also adds to the flavor of the dessert. 

Lastly, before popping this homey dessert into the oven to bake, we melt salted butter (you can use unsalted) and drizzle it over the surface. The butter adds flavor and helps create that beautiful golden brown that makes it appealing. 

Bake your bread pudding in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the baked pudding from the oven and serve while warm. Although you can reheat it later if you wish, it’s best fresh from the oven.

The vanilla chai sauce is smooth, creamy, and deliciously sweetened with just enough sugar. Another reason this dessert is so popular is because it’s moderately sweet and not overbearing.

The sauce is a simple mixture of heated cream, egg, chai spice, and vanilla syrup. I used a simple syrup vanilla bean syrup from Torani. The sauce is a perfect storm when added to the bread pudding for dessert nirvana!

To make the sauce put your small saucepan on med-high heat and melt the butter. To the melted butter add the cornstarch, keep stirring! When combined add in the heavy cream and sugar. The sugar needs to dissolve and the mixture needs to thicken which is should do fairly quickly as it heats up. Be sure to keep stirring!

Remove the saucepan from the heat when it’s thickened. You can now add the chai spice and vanilla bean syrup. Serve the sauce hot over the bread pudding. Unused portions can be stored in the fridge for up to four days covered.

cranberry pecan chai bread pudding with vanilla chai cream sauce (2)


Stale Bread: The drier the bread, the more thirsty it is for the moisture of the egg mixture. Even Wonderbread can be used to make bread pudding; however, it is best made with a home bakery-style bread. 

Eggs: I use large-sized eggs all the time in my recipes. When added to the cream, the eggs form a basic custard while baking. Because it’s soaked into the bread, it leaves it moist inside and has a lovely light egg flavor.

Cream: This recipe uses 18% cream, aka half and half. You can use anything from 2% to sweetened condensed milk. Remember, though, that cream offers a more velvety texture and a silkier mouthful than regular milk. 

Sugar: Granulated white sugar added to the egg custard for the bread pudding isn’t needed in large amounts as the cream mixture readily picks up the sweetness. 

Chai Spice: This spice blends cinnamon, black tea, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. We used Watkins chai spice for this recipe, which has some added organic sugar. 

Vanilla Bean Syrup: We used Torani vanilla bean syrup instead of straight vanilla in this recipe. It brought a subtle vanilla flavor to the chai spiced sauce, making it a perfect pairing with the dessert.

cranberry pecan chai bread pudding with vanilla chai cream sauce (3)

Substitutions and Add-Ins for the Bread Pudding

Bread: The Italian bread loaf in this can be switched out with any dry, stale bread. Remember, though, breads like Wonderbread will make a wetter bread pudding due to the composition of the bread. 

Cream: Use any milk or cream to make the recipe; however, remember that the lower the milk fat percentage, the less custard-like the dessert will be. So, higher milk fat equals a better bread pudding. 

Sugar: Can be subbed with coconut sugar or brown sugar. Just remember that brown sugar contains molasses, which could change the bread pudding, making it chewier and dense.

Chai Spice: We used it because it offers the best flavor for wintertime baking. However, you can use a simpler cinnamon and nutmeg combination or just straight cinnamon. 

Vanilla Bean Syrup: Torani makes excellent flavored syrups that are generally used in beverages; however, having seen others use them in baking, I thought, why not give it a whirl in the vanilla sauce? No worries if you don’t have this particular syrup on hand; use straight vanilla in the sauce instead. 

Expert Tips and Serving Suggestions:

Tip number one: ensure that all your stale bread is wet. Any dry bits of bread will only dry out further in the oven. Which results in toast, lol. 

Tip number two: always ensure it is fully baked before removing it from the oven, or it will still be soggy. Soggy bread pudding is gross. 

Tip three: bread pudding is best straight from the oven while hot/warm. But a close second is reheated the next day.

As to serving it, of course, it goes great with our vanilla chai sauce. However, there are many other sauce combinations out there that warrant investigation, as this tasty treat can be enjoyed in many ways. 

A bowl of cold bread pudding with milk makes a tasty snack or breakfast food the next day. 

As always, be sure to leave a comment if you try one of our recipes! We love to hear from you. 

cranberry pecan chai bread pudding with creamy vanilla chai sauce (1)

Homey Cranberry Pecan Chai Bread Pudding With Vanilla Chai Cream Sauce

Amber Bondar
This cranberry pecan chai bread pudding is so delicious when served warm with vanilla chai cream sauce. The velvety smooth sauce is flavored with vanilla bean syrup and chai spice making an out of this world delicious flavor. Pour a generous amount of the golden baked bread pudding with whole frozen cranberries and pecan halves. You won't be disappointed!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 8


  • 1 9*13 Baking Dish
  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Small Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 Small Saucepan


The Bread Pudding

  • 8 Cups Torn Stale Bread
  • 4 Lrg Eggs
  • 2 Cups 18% Heavy Cream
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Chai Spice
  • 2 Cups Whole Frozen Cranberries
  • ½ Cup Pecan Halves
  • ½ Cup Melted Butter

Vanilla Chai Cream Sauce

  • Cups 35% Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lrg Egg
  • 1 Tsp Chai Spice
  • 2 Tbsp Vanilla Bean Syrup *Or 1 Tbsp Vanilla


Making the Bread Pudding

  • Rip the stale bread into smaller pieces and put in large mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl add eggs and cream. Whisk well.
  • Add to milk mixture the sugar and chai spice.
  • Pour the milk/egg mixture over the bread and stir the bread around.
  • Be sure that all the bread is wet and all the egg mixture has soaked into the bread.
  • Measure and add the cranberries and pecan halves.
  • Butter a nine by thirteen baking dish generously.
  • Add the bread pudding mixture.
  • Melt the butter and drizzle it over the top of the bread pudding.
  • Bake the dessert in a preheated 350℉ for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

Making the Vanilla Chai Sauce

  • Melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the cornstarch. Continually stir.
  • Add the heavy cream and sugar and heat until sugar is dissolved. This thickens relatively quickly so keep stirring to avoid scorching.
  • When mixture has thickened remove from direct heat and stir in chai spice and vanilla bean syrup. Sauce is ready to use right away. Store unused portions in the fridge.
Keyword bread pudding, chai, cranberry, easy dessert, pecans, vanilla, winter dessert

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