Butterscotch Bread Pudding (with really good gluten-free options)

By Ann Fulton

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Last fall, I mentioned that I was all set to share a recipe for butterscotch bread pudding when a thoughtful reader emailed me the recipe for her prized beet cake.  Like the chicken in milk recipe, the beet cake paired seemingly incompatible ingredients and beckoned me to bake it right away.

The cake was a hit in our house—even with my non-beet-loving kids.  I suspected at least a handful of readers would be as intrigued as I was, and the feedback on this spice-like cake was quite good.

I did, however, receive a few requests for the butterscotch bread pudding, and offered to email it to those readers.  One patient reader said she preferred to wait and be surprised when it appeared in her Sunday paper…but told me not to forget!

So here it is!  (I waited to post it here until it appeared in the newspaper.)  The ingredients in this family-favorite dessert vary somewhat from typical bread pudding.  Additionally, I have included a few notes at the end as to how I have successfully adapted this recipe for those whom bread pudding would typically be off-limits.

Butterscotch Bread Pudding (with really good gluten-free options)
Allowing the cold ingredients to come to room temperature prior to mixing will prevent the melted butter from re-hardening.

Yields 8-10 servings.
  • 1 (12-ounce) loaf day-old white bread, cubed or torn into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces (see notes for excellent gluten-free options)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can light coconut milk (see notes)
  • 2 cups milk (I use non-fat)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milks, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the brown sugar and butterscotch chips, and then fold in the bread. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until set. (We like crispy edges, so I bake on the longer side, covering loosely with foil once the top is sufficiently browned.) Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Covered tightly, leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Pepperidge Farm’s classic white bread is a great option. I have also used French bread. If the bread is very fresh, allow it to sit, uncovered, on the counter for several hours to dry out a bit. Twelve ounces of cubed bread twice fills my Pyrex quart-size measuring cup just past the 4-cup line.
  • For gluten-free bread pudding, I have used Schar’s and Udi’s gluten-free white bread with excellent results. These brands retain their texture better than many gluten-free breads, making them good options for casserole-type dishes. Most gluten-free breads can be found in the frozen section of your grocery store’s gluten-free aisle.
  • Canned coconut milk is a healthier option to cream and is easy to have on hand. It does not lend a “coconutty” flavor to this recipe. As an option, you may substitute light cream or experiment by using all whole or 2% milk.
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  1. Lori Nelson

    I need to reduce the sugar in this so I am going to try subbing the Splenda/Brown Sugar mix and also subbing sugar free Reece’s peanut butter cups instead of the butterscotch chips. Hoping for a good result. We absolutely LOVE all of the Schar bread products!!

  2. Gay

    Gluten Free eaters BEWARE: some butterscotch chips contain barley, therefore NOT gluten free!
    Read thd full list of ingredients because barley doesn’t seem to be listed as an allergen!

    1. Ann

      I have not, Billie, but based on similar recipes I have made, I wouldn’t hesitate to try this with the coconut milk, as directed, and almond milk in place of the dairy milk.

  3. Susan

    You did it again! I just tried (couldn’t wait for my dinner guests) the butterscotch bread pudding. Fantastic!!!

    1. Ann

      Thanks, Susan! (I say it’s always good to make sure the dessert is “okay” before company arrives!!)

  4. Janine

    Hi Ann
    I have just discovered your website. What a wonderful find for me.
    I love this butterscotch recipe,BUT, what are or where would I get butterscotch chips please.
    Regards Janine

    1. Ann

      Hi Janine,
      Thank you for your kind message and welcome! Butterscotch chips are just like chocolate chips, only butterscotch flavored. If they are not available where you live, you might try a chocolate chip or white chocolate version. Although if you are a particular fan of butterscotch, you could experiment with an equivalent amount of a butterscotch-flavored candy–something bar-like as opposed to a hard candy. I hope this is helpful!