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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce! Such a decadent and easy dessert.

Caramel sauce being poured over a ramekin of irish bread pudding.

What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions?

We love to head to our local parade (STL is known for their family parades on St. Patrick’s Day, it is SO fun), drink some green beer, and then head home for Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce.

Our dog Scout even joins the fun by wearing her favorite green sequined collar. That poor dog doesn’t stand a chance. It’s one of our favorite days!

Is there anything more comforting than bread pudding? Super simple while also being decadent, it’s the perfect way to indulge on date night, after a long week, or just celebrating everyday things.

This Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day! Oozing with flavors that make St. Patrick’s Day a favorite (WHISKEY!), warm, delicious, and SO EASY.

What’s not to love!

Overhead view of three ramekins of irish bread pudding. A small pitcher of whiskey caramel sauce is next to them.

Delicious Irish Bread Pudding

I just have such a thing for bread pudding. I’ve made it with chocolate (hot chocolate bread pudding to be exact!), and even made an apple pie bread pudding.

And of course there’s pumpkin bread pudding and croissant bread pudding.

But you can’t beat this Irish bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce version. It’s bursting with flavor and personality.

You can bake Irish bread pudding in a large casserole dish or in individual ramekins for guests. It’s the perfect dessert to make when entertaining because it’s thrown together in minutes.

Leave the bread pudding a bit to soak up all the goodness in the custard and then bake. Top with extra whiskey caramel sauce or whipped cream for an extra special treat. Don’t you just want to dive right in??

I love to soak the raisins beforehand in the whiskey for extra bursts of flavor throughout. If you’re not a raisin lover (hello, my husband!), I have also used chocolate chips.

Now THAT is decadent! Ooey, gooey, and oh so perfect. It’s a great way to finish off a meal of Irish lamb stew and soda bread.

Whiskey Caramel Sauce: The Perfect Finish

The whiskey caramel sauce is what really takes this Irish bread pudding recipe from delicious to amazingly decadent.

Unlike some bread pudding recipes that simply serve the sauce on top, some of the whiskey caramel sauce goes into the bread pudding custard.

That means the flavor of the sauce is in every single bite of this bread pudding.

Then you can serve even more of the remaining sauce on top as well! Double the whiskey caramel sauce for double the flavor.

You might even want to make extra Whiskey Caramel Sauce to drizzle on top of ice cream or over apple crumb pie. After all, who said that you could only enjoy it for St. Patrick’s Day?

Spoon in a ramekin of irish bread pudding topped with whiskey caramel sauce.

How to Make Irish Bread Pudding & Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Even though you have to make two things for this recipe – the caramel sauce and the bread pudding – don’t be intimidated. You can do this!

Ingredients you’ll need

The first step to making this recipe is making the whiskey caramel sauce. For that, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1/4 cup milk

You can use your favorite Irish whiskey for this recipe. If you don’t have a particular favorite or aren’t super familiar with Irish whiskeys, Jameson is a great option! 

Use the rest of the bottle to make some Irish old fashioneds or Irish coffees to go with your St. Patrick’s Day meal. 

For the bread pudding, you will need:

  • 10 cups cubed French bread (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or chocolate chips if you don’t like raisins)
  • 2/3 cup whiskey caramel sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 can evaporated milk, 12 ounces
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • cinnamon sugar to taste

This recipe makes a 9×13-inch pan or about six 6-ounce ramekins of bread pudding. So there’s plenty to feed a crowd or have leftovers if you are just feeding a few people!

I really like using French bread for this recipe. It soaks up the custard really well without getting too soggy. 

Feel free to soak the raisins in a bit of the Irish whiskey while you work on the caramel sauce for even more flavor. 

Making the whiskey caramel sauce

The most intimidating part of this recipe is making the caramel sauce, but I know you can do it.

Add the water and sugar to a saucepan and place it over medium-high heat. I suggest using a larger saucepan than you think you will need – it will give you more surface area to work with.

Stir until the sugar completely dissolves.

Now, set down the spoon and do not touch it again. Really! 

Unlike recipes like Salted Caramel Sauce that use some corn syrup as insurance against graininess, stirring this could turn it into a grainy mess.

Let the mixture simmer until it is golden. This usually takes around 17-20 minutes. 

Make sure the mixture is simmering (bubbling) the entire time. If it is not, turn up the heat a bit.

Keep a close eye on it because it will go from no color to golden to burnt quickly, but again: Do not touch it!

Once it is golden, remove the pan from the heat. Now grab a whisk and carefully whisk in the butter and cream cheese until all of the clumps are dissolved.

The mixture is super hot and can bubble up, so be careful!

Once the butter and cream cheese are worked in, whisk in the whiskey and milk. It’s probably going to bubble up again, so keep being careful. 

Once the sauce is smooth and combined, set it aside.

Making the Irish bread pudding

To make the bread pudding, combine the cream, sugar, vanilla, evaporated milk, eggs, and ⅔ cup of the whiskey sauce in a large bowl. Whisk well.

Add the cubed bread, stirring to make sure each piece of bread is covered in the custard mixture.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the bread soak up the custard. You can let the mixture soak for longer – up to overnight! – if you like.

When you’re ready to bake, pour the bread mixture into a greased 9×13-inch dish or divide it into about six 6-ounce ramekins.

Sprinkle the raisins or chocolate chips over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar as desired.

Bake the Irish bread pudding for about 35 minutes or until set. Serve it warm with more of the whiskey caramel sauce as you wish!

Three ramekins full of irish bread pudding topped with whiskey caramel sauce.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the best bread to use for this Irish bread pudding?

I prefer using french bread for this bread pudding. I think it’s the perfect happy-medium between a sandwich loaf and crusty sourdough. It soaks up the custard well but doesn’t turn super mushy.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes! The bread should soak up the custard for at least 30 minutes, but you could let it go for as long as overnight if you like. Then you can bake it the next day.

Reheat the caramel sauce for about 30-seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring well between intervals, until warmed through.

How should I store leftovers of this bread pudding?

Store leftovers of the bread pudding in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or warm several portions at a time in a low oven. Place the Irish bread pudding in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and place in the oven until just warmed through.

Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce was contributed by Becky of The Cookie Rookie.

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Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce

By: Jamie
4.36 from 88 ratings
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce! Such a decadent and delicious dessert.

Ingredients

For the whiskey caramel sauce:

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • cup water
  • ¼ cup butter cubed
  • 2 ounces cream cheese cubed
  • ¼ cup Irish whiskey
  • ¼ cup milk

For the bread pudding:

  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 can evaporated milk 12 ounces
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • cup whiskey caramel sauce
  • 10 cups cubed French bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • ½ cup raisins or chocolate chips if you don’t like raisins
  • cinnamon sugar to taste
  • Additional whiskey caramel sauce for serving

Instructions 

To make the whiskey caramel sauce:

  • Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a larger saucepan than you think you will need for more surface area on the bottom. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Stop stirring and allow to simmer until mixture is golden (about 17 minutes). The mixture should be bubbling the entire time. Keep a close eye on it; the sauce will go from no color to golden to burnt very quickly. DO NOT STIR!
  • Remove from heat.
  • Carefully add butter and cream cheese, whisking constantly until all clumps are dissolved. CAUTION! Mixture will be very hot and can bubble up during this time.
  • Stir in whiskey and milk. Mixture will bubble a bit at this step as well. Set aside.

To make the bread pudding:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • If using a 9×13-inch casserole dish, spray with nonstick spray, or spray six 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray.
  • Combine cream, sugar, vanilla extract, evaporated milk, eggs, and 2/3 cup whiskey caramel sauce in a large bowl. Stir well with a whisk.
  • Add bread cubes, using a spatula to push down and make sure each piece of bread is coated.
  • Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to soak up all the goodness.
  • Pour bread mixture into the prepared baking dish or ramekins.
  • Sprinkle top with raisins or chocolate chips and cinnamon-sugar as desired.
  • Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until set.
  • Serve warm with more whiskey caramel sauce as desired.

Notes

If you’d like, you can soak the raisins in some more of the Irish whiskey while you work on the caramel sauce to add even more flavor.
If you prefer, you can stir the raisins or chocolate chips into the bread pudding mixture instead of sprinkling them on top.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 753kcal, Carbohydrates: 119g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 102mg, Sodium: 539mg, Potassium: 382mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 83g, Vitamin A: 796IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 255mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

4.36 from 88 votes (87 ratings without comment)

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28 Comments

  1. Holly says:

    I am making this tomorrow for a work potluck! wondering how long this will be okay to sit before baking. I was going to put it all together around 6 in the morning and most likely bake it around 11:30 do you think that will be fine?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Holly – I’d assemble it, cover, and then refrigerate until it’s ready to bake. It’ll be just fine! I’ve done that many times with bread pudding recipes. Hope this helps!
      Jamie

  2. Julie says:

    If I wanted to leave out the whiskey, what would you substitute (or could I just leave it out)? Doesn’t look like the alcohol cooks out.

    Thanks.

  3. Laura says:

    I had a hard time making the sauce. My first batch never turned golden and that was because I took the word “simmer” to mean low heat. It cooked for 30 min. w/o turning colors so I just finally added the other ingredients before I had nothing left. Sadly, this mixture separated in the clear container I put it in and looked gross. Since I had time and a little extra whiskey, I tried again and left the heat on medium high which also was a mistake at it quickly went from golden to burnt at the 10 min. mark. The burning happened in my hot pan off the stove as I was adding the other ingredients. I took both sauces with me to the potluck and the one that separated was the favorite after giving a stir before use although it looked white and the dark caramel colored one looked nicer but had a burnt taste. :(

    1. Jamie says:

      So sorry you had trouble with the sauce, Laura. Thanks for sharing your feedback –
      Jamie

  4. Brittany says:

    which Irish whiskey brand is the best in this recipe?

    1. Jamie says:

      Whichever brand you like best will work! Happy baking –
      Jamie

    2. Irishgirl says:

      @Brittany, I have an affinity to stick with Irish whiskey especially when making an Irish dessert. I love Jameson’s. It’s smooth and flavorful. Bushmills is also wonderful.

  5. Danielle says:

    Super easy and LOTS of rave reviews!!!

    1. Jamie says:

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Danielle!
      -Jamie

  6. Tom Schmitt says:

    After my uncle retired, he started filling in our family tree. This was how he discovered our ancestors came to this country, from Ireland, in 1742. Since learning this, I have taken my love for a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal to the next level. I now make my own corned beef, horseradish, soda bread, and all of the sides. Everything except the perfect dessert. My uncle also learned that these early settlers played a prominent role fighting George Washington’s Federal troops in the Whiskey Rebellion on Western Pennsylvania. I think I now have the PERFECT dessert for this meal. Thank You!

    One quick question. What size ramekin do you recommend?

    1. Jamie says:

      This is such a great story, Tom! I really hope you love the bread pudding as much as we do! I believe the ramekins used for the photos were about 4 inches in width and about 3 inches in height. I hope this helps. Thanks so much for stopping by.
      -Jamie

  7. Jason M Malone says:

    I made this for a St. Patrick’s Day themed dinner party and it turned out great! Thanks for the tip about substituting in chocolate chips for raisins as I had a few guests who don’t like raisins. I followed the recipe exactly with only two substitutions, I used a braided cardamom loaf in lieu of plain Italian bread and cinnamon and I buttered the ramekins instead of using a cooking spray. It was delicious! What I really liked (other than the taste) was the ability to make this ahead of time. A few hours before the guests arrived I made everything and individually portioned out the bread pudding into each ramekin on a baking tray and stuck it in the frig with the extra caramel sauce in a pitcher. Then, when it was time for dessert, I just pulled them out, topped them to each guest’s preference (chocolate chips vs. raisins or both!), and pushed it in the oven. Then I heated up the sauce in the microwave in the serving pitcher and voila, dessert was served!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you and your guests enjoyed the bread pudding, Jason! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback!
      -Jamie

  8. Beth says:

    This looks and sounds amazing. I am going to make this for a special treat tomorrow!

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Beth! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!
      -Jamie

  9. Linda says:

    I love, love, love this recipe! I mean who wouldn’t love a custardy bread pudding that’s got double that delicious whisky caramel sauce? Believe me, this would get scarfed up in our house faster than you could say St. Patrick’s Day! And I’m saving some of that sauce for my ice cream (see, I can take a good suggestion when I hear one). :-)

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!
      -Jamie

  10. Natalie says:

    Oh my goodness I NEED this right now! Looks amazing!

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Natalie! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!
      -Jamie