Pretzel bread pudding meets Nutella in this super easy breakfast or dessert recipe that everyone will love! The saltiness of the pretzels pairs wonderfully with the chocolaty, nutty flavor of the Nutella and the custard it’s baked in. This easy homemade bread pudding recipe is too good not to share, and you’ll enjoy it all fall and winter long.
Homemade bread pudding with soft pretzels
Wondering what to do with leftover pretzels? Enter pretzel bread pudding! I know what you’re thinking. A sweet bread pudding with soft pretzels? And Nutella? Yes! I know, soft pretzels are usually eaten savory, with mustard, cheese, and whatnot.
But when you stuff them with chocolate spread and soak them in custard sauce, you end up with an incredibly scrumptious bread pudding that has a crunchy outside and soft, cushiony interior. It’s the perfect comfort food!
This bread pudding recipe was first published in 2017. I’ve updated the recipe in July 2021 to add more helpful tips, new images, and step-by-step photos. The recipe itself is the same.
Why you’ll need to make this soft pretzel pudding recipe
Pretzel bread pudding is sweet for dessert but also delicious for breakfast or brunch. Nutella, eggs, and milk do a fabulous job transforming dry pretzels into a creamy and beautiful bread pudding. Here’re all the reasons why you want to make it:
- Super easy: This pretzel bread pudding recipe is as easy as it gets. You just slather the pretzels with Nutella, put everything into a dish, and then bake. Instant gourmet dessert!
- Customizable: Don’t like Nutella? You can swap it out for another nut butter, peanut butter, almond butter… whatever you want. Or add raisins, dried cranberries, and dates.
- Prevent food waste: I appreciate recipes that use up food that would’ve otherwise ended up in the bin. I made this dessert with a few days old soft pretzels I had lying around, and it turned out so good!
- Great for a crowd: Pretzel bread pudding is also easy to make a lot of, making it perfect for holidays and feeding a crowd. Bread pudding also travels well, and you can bring it to a family reunion or party.
Ingredients for pretzel pudding
The ingredients that make this simple bread pudding recipe so fantastic are:
- Soft pretzels: Use day-old or tow-day-old soft pretzels or pretzel buns. Fresh pretzels can turn mushy after being coated in the custard mixture. This one of the rare occasions where you want stale pretzels. I made my own, using this soft pretzel recipe.
- Nutella: Nutella is technically optional, but I think you absolutely need it. The creamy, sweet hazelnut chocolate spread takes this easy bread pudding recipe from excellent to beyond delicious. I used homemade chocolate nut spread, but store-bought is fine, too.
- Brown sugar provides sweetness and a subtle caramel note. I love dark brown sugar in this recipe, but light brown or Demerara sugar will work just as fine.
- Cornstarch is needed to set the custard filling.You can swap cornstarch for vanilla pudding mix or another pudding mix if you like to experiment with the flavor.
- Milk: We need milk for the custard base. You can either opt for full-fat milk or half-and-half. Sometimes I also add a splash of heavy cream for extra richness.
- Eggs give the custard filling structure and richness.
- Vanilla extract adds warmth and depth to the recipe. You can also add 1 tbsp rum, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or ground cinnamon for some seasonal variations.
You’ll also need a little melted butter or cooking spray to grease the baking dish. I also sprinkled my bread pudding with chopped almonds, but that’s totally optional.
How to make pretzel bread pudding
This pretzel bread pudding recipe requires just 15 minutes of hands-on prep work. It is as easy as tossing everything into a casserole dish and baking! Let me show you the easy steps for how to make soft pretzel casserole:
Step 1: Prep work
- Start by generously greasing a 2- to 3-quart baking dish with butter, oil, or cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4.
Step 2: Mix the custard.
- To make the custard, stir the brown sugar and cornstarch or vanilla pudding mix until no lumps are visible. Then add the milk or half-and-half, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
Step 3: Prep the pretzel
- Scratch off most of the salt from the pretzels. A little salt is fine and will even help to bring out the chocolate flavor.
- Slicing the pretzels in half and spread a thick layer of Nutella onto one side.
- Then sandwich the halves back together and cut the pretzels into smaller pieces.
Step 4: Assemble the bread pudding
- Toss the pieces into the prepared baking dish and pour the milk mixture over the pretzels.
Step 5: Bake
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top of the pudding is golden brown, and the custard has set, and you see no pooling in the center. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil if the pretzel tops brown too much during baking.
Step 6: Serve
- Spread a little extra Nutella across the top and optionally sprinkle with salt and chopped nuts.
- Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Tips for the best soft pretzel bread pudding
If this is your first time making bread pudding, my tips will help your batch come out perfect:
- Dry out fresh pretzels. To encourage fresh pretzels drying faster, slices them in half and place them on a baking sheet, exposed to air, to dry for a few hours.
- Use a glass or ceramic casserole dish as they bake more evenly than metal ones. My dish was 10 in x 8 in / 25 cm x 20 cm. If you don’t have this exact size, use something relatively close. If you use a bigger one, you’ll probably need to reduce your bake time. If you use a smaller one, you’ll likely need to increase the cooking time.
- Don’t overbake pretzel bread pudding. Be careful not to overbake the bread pudding, so the interior stays gooey and soft.
How to serve pretzel pudding
This chocolate pretzel pudding can be served in a number of delicious ways. Try these easy ideas that will make your dessert extra special!
- Vanilla sauce, salted caramel sauce, or rum sauce add the perfect finishing touch to your bread pudding dessert.
- Whipped cream: I also like to enjoy my bread pudding with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Vanilla ice cream is another tasty idea to dress up your homemade bread pudding.
- Fresh fruit and berries: A warm dessert like this also pairs well with fresh fruit and berries on the side.
How to store leftovers
While bread pudding tastes best served warm and fresh, you can keep leftovers in an airtight food container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To reheat before serving, microwave individual portions for 30 to 60 seconds, repeating until your bread pudding is warmed through.
Can you freeze pretzel bread pudding?
Yes, you can freeze this soft pretzel bread pudding recipe:
- Uncooked pretzel bread pudding: Wrap unbaked bread pudding in a piece of plastic wrap/clingfilm + aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat, bake from frozen and allow for some extra time in addition to the usual baking time.
- Baked pretzel pudding: Double wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight and then reheat, or warm directly from frozen.
Can I make pretzel bread pudding ahead of time?
Yes, you can assemble this dish the night before and bake it the next morning for an easy make-ahead breakfast recipe.