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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding, with an easy dairy-free option, is healthy-yet-indulgent comfort food. This recipe is Keto, Paleo, Low Carb, Gluten-free and GAPS diet-friendly. Bread pudding makes a great dessert, but it also makes a great breakfast, brunch item, snack or lunch box addition.
This autumnal recipe is hard to resist. You’ll love the creamy, sweet flavor — and the high-protein content that actually makes this treat healthy. And for the Low Carb version, this recipe only has 3 grams net carbs per big serving.
We made this recipe regularly at our Paleo café. Whenever there were leftovers, my husband told me, very adamantly, how good the recipe was. I know you’ll love it too.
Ingredients in Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
- canned pumpkin or you can use leftover winter squash, such as dense butternut or kabocha varieties
- cream cheese — or coconut cream, for Paleo, GAPS and dairy-free needs
- a loaf of Coconut Bread (recipe here and also linked to below) — this recipe has just 4 ingredients and takes only 10 minutes to mix up
- liquid sweetener of choice for Low Carb (such as allulose, erythritol etc), or honey for Paleo, GF and GAPS
- heavy cream — or more coconut cream for Paleo, GF, GAPS and dairy-free
- butter — seriously every great bread pudding is made with butter! For dairy-free or GAPS needs: coconut oil; or ghee may be used
- vanilla extract and autumnal spices — cinnamon, ginger, cloves and optional ones like allspice and nutmeg if you really love these fall flavors and don’t mind measuring a few extras
What bread does Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding use
I link to a classic Coconut Bread recipe below, which is perfect in this recipe.
Use that recipe, or you may sub in another favorite loaf if you prefer (including one that doesn’t need to be homemade).
The Coconut Bread recipe is nice because it mixes up in 10 minutes or less, super fast.
How to make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
The prep time for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding is only 15 minutes — if you have your bread loaf already made. You can make or buy your bread loaf ahead of time, so this recipe assembles quickly.
However, I’m making this recipe right now (the Coconut Bread is in the oven as I type), and it really is a fun, mellow little project even if you make both the loaf and the pudding on the same day. Because the loaf only takes 10 minutes to mix, the whole process requires only 25 minutes active time.
Another thought: Part of what makes bread puddings so great is they’re a way to use up leftover bread, and they’re fast to make. So yeah, use up old bread if you have it!
What’s not included in the cooking and prep time, though, is how long it takes for the Bread Pudding to cool. Bread Pudding should be served cooled, room temperature or chilled if you want it to hold together. I’ve made the mistake myself of trying to serve this treat too soon out of the oven, and although it’s wonderful and fun warm (in a different way), it does fall apart warm. So I recommend allowing at least 3 hours of cooling time before serving.
Variation: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding — Sprinkle chocolate chips over the bread cubes before pouring the pumpkin custard into the baking dish and baking. This version is good cold or warm.
More on timing: If you want to serve this for dessert in the evening, it is best to start making it in the morning, especially if you’re going to make the Coconut Bread Loaf first.
As said, this truly also makes a great breakfast, so you can also make it the day before, chill it overnight, then serve it for breakfast or brunch. Once it’s been chilled, you can warm it again, and it will then hold together. So serve chilled or warm.
How to warm Bread Pudding
I think it’s best to warm individual chilled pieces of bread pudding.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut chilled or room temperature Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding into 6 equal pieces (or smaller if preferred). Place them on a cookie sheet, just slightly spaced from each other.
- Warm for about 20 minutes, until heated through to the center of each piece.
- Garnish with a variety of fun options: whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, a drizzle of pure maple syrup or favorite liquid low carb sweetener, fresh fruit such as raspberries, chocolate chips or sprinkles of cinnamon. This recipe is also utterly delicious by itself and doesn’t need any toppings.
What makes this recipe GAPS-friendly
This recipe contains no baking soda. So it’s great for those on diets who need to protect the pH of their stomachs by avoiding that leavening agent.
If you avoid dairy, you’ll see the dairy-free options below in the recipe itself. Just a couple of easy variations.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Pudding (Keto | Low Carb | Paleo | GF | GAPS)
- 9x9" baking dish or similar
- blender or hand mixer + bowl
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin or 2 cups leftover winter squash, such as butternut or kabocha varieties
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature; for Paleo, GAPS & dairy-free: substitute 1 cup high-fat coconut milk for cream cheese
- 1 loaf Coconut Bread (click on link for recipe) OR your favorite gluten or grain-free loaf (about 1 pound or 4 cups of cubes)
- 1/2 cup liquid sweetener of choice: room temperature — maple syrup for Paleo, local raw honey for GAPS OR low carb sweetener for Low Carb and Keto
- 1/2 cup butter , melted and cooled slightly; or for GAPS: use ghee; dairy-free: use coconut oil
- 1/2 cup heavy cream room temperature; or for Paleo/GAPS: use coconut cream or fully fermented sour cream
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 1-1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract optional
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and ginger each
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves, allspice and nutmeg each (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9" by 9" casserole dish with coconut oil or butter. (If you wish to un-mold the entire bread pudding in one piece, you can also line the dish with one strip of parchment paper to make it easy to lift out the chilled pudding. See photo of whole pudding in dish.) Set aside.
- Slice your loaf of bread into 3/4" slices. Cube the slices so you have about 4 cups worth of 3/4" cubes.
- Place the remaining ingredients into a blender, excluding the heavy cream: pumpkin, cream cheese, sweetener of choice, melted fat, eggs and vanilla. Purée until the ingredients are well mixed and any solid winter squash is smooth, about 25 seconds.
- Finally add the heavy cream (or coconut cream) and blend again briefly, about 10 seconds.
- Scatter your bread cubes evenly over the surface of the casserole dish.
- Pour the blender contents evenly over the bread cubes, using a spoon to dunk any cubes that float a bit.
- Bake about 40 minutes, or until the outer 3" are set and the center is just slightly jiggly still.
- Cool completely or chill. Serve with lightly sweetened sour cream or whipped cream. To serve warm, place individual servings in 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes. (Or serve fresh and warm from the oven after its initial baking, but it will fall apart a bit.)