Mom’s Old School Bread Pudding


As I continue to process the loss of my mother, I decided to re-post this recipe for one of her favorite desserts. Mom loved bread pudding, and this recipe was always the one she reached for.


Bread pudding is one of those desserts that are old school, classic and comforting. A dessert you remember your grandmother or mother making. Often the pudding was made from leftover stale pieces of bread and rolls saved in the freezer until they had enough for the recipe.

I remember my mother making this bread pudding all the time. She would get her 4 X 6 inch recipe card out of one of her cookbooks, and create a wonderfully moist and tender pudding that was always best hot, right out of the oven. My family would let it cool just enough so we did not burn ourselves, then proceed to eat large pieces, often with vanilla ice cream on the side.

I finally looked at her recipe card and saw that the date on it was 1963, the year I was born uh, many years ago. Next to the year were the letters LAUSD, which stand for the Los Angeles Unified School District. I couldn’t believe this delicious bread pudding was being made in the cafeterias of the LAUSD, so I asked where she had gotten the recipe. She told me that the recipe had been given to her by the manager of the school cafeteria because my mother was always raving about it! Obviously school lunches have changed, and not for the better. Just ask Jaime Oliver. . .

My Mother’s Bread Pudding Recipe Card, Side 1
My Mother’s Bread Pudding Recipe Card, Side 2

I am going to transcribe the directions exactly as written on the card. Who am I to mess with perfection?

Classic Bread Pudding


12 oz bread cubes (approximately 18 slices)

8 oz raisins, washed

1 lb eggs, slightly beaten

1 lb granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

8 oz butter or margarine

3 qt cups milk (Mom uses canned evaporated milk)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 TB grated lemon zest


  1. Use day old bread. Remove crusts from two sides of each slice. Cut into 1/2″ cubes. Put into a large size pan (Mom uses a large Pyrex casserole dish. Be sure your baking dish can fit into a larger pan, such as a large roasting pan, because it is baked in a water bath)
  2. Distribute raisins onto the bread cubes.
  3. Combine slightly beaten eggs, sugar and salt.
  4. Heat butter or margarine in milk until melted. Add gradually to (egg) mixture, stirring well.
  5. Stir in nutmeg and lemon zest. Pour over bread cubes.
  6. Set pudding into a pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.
  7. Stir twice during the first half hour of baking. (I didn’t remember my mother stirring during the first half hour, and she admitted she always forgot. The pudding always came out delicious regardless!) Pudding is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

There is a note scribbled on the top of the card to serve the pudding with lemon or nutmeg sauce. I would also suggest creme anglaise, whipped cream, chocolate-rum sauce or my old family favorite vanilla ice cream.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

5 thoughts on “Mom’s Old School Bread Pudding”

  1. This dessert seems absolutely delicious and comforting. I can practically taste it now. I often look to my own mother and grandmother’s 4×6 cards to recreate food memories for my own family (they are often the ones my children like best!). Thank you Cheryl for sharing this.

  2. Oh my goodness, a recipe card in Aunt Vera’s handwriting from the 1960s! Do you place it back in the recipe box or frame it? What nostalgia.

    Bread pudding has got to be the ultimate dessert comfort food. My mom had a great recipe for bread pudding too, the only problem is she never wrote it down, she just knew how to put the ingredients together in perfect proportions by sight. And even though Gary and I both watched her make it (more than once) we still havent replicated it to perfection. I’m definitely going to try Aunt Vera’s recipe with grattitude for the step by step directions.

  3. Cheryl,
    I don’t know what I love more, seeing the recipe cards themselves or knowing you transcribed them exactly.

    You’re right, school lunches sure have changed. I remember when my elementary school lunch changed to the new-fangled aluminum trays from the old reuseable ones.

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