Is Ree Drummond’s Lemon Bread Pudding Recipe As Easy As It Looks? Yes!

The Pioneer Woman's bread pudding recipe adds lemon and lightness—but keeps all the feel of comfort food.

Ree Drummond says she came up with her recipe for lemon bread pudding because of her husband’s love of lemon meringue pie and custard-y desserts. It was a “no-brainer” to put the two together!

The Pioneer Woman is right—and it’s a perfect combo. Ree’s comfort food dessert perfectly combines a light citrus burst with the satisfying coziness of bread pudding.

Ree Drummond’s Lemon Bread Pudding Recipe


For the Bread Pudding

  • 1 loaf of eggy bread, such as challah or brioche
  • Softened butter for greasing the baking dish
  • 2 cups of half-and-half
  • 4 large eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup of sugar

For the Bourbon Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup of heavy cream, very cold
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of bourbon

The Bake

First, I cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread them out on a baking sheet to dry out overnight. (Here’s the best baking sheet for the job.) If you’re in a hurry or are answering an urgent bread pudding craving, you can put the cubes bread into a 350° F oven for about 15 minutes. You’re shooting for lightly toasted, not browned.

Then all I needed to do was whisk together the half-and-half, eggs and lemon zest and juice. Once it was well mixed, I whisked in the sugar until it dissolved.

I greased a 9-by-13-inch baking dish—Ree suggested butter but I used Pam. Then I just spread the cubes into the pan and poured the liquid over the bread. (It’s not in the instructions, but I used a big spatula to squish all the cubes into the liquid. Squish! Squash!)

In the recipe, Ree suggests letting the bread soak up the liquid while the oven preheats to 325° F, but in her show, she confesses to popping it right in an already-heated oven without a soaking period.

I baked the soaked bread for 50-55 minutes until the top was beautiful and golden brown.

The Whipped Cream

While it rested (for at least 15 minutes) I whipped up some bourbon whipping cream. This step, Ree says, takes the dessert “from good to great”—which may be the understatement of the year. Let’s just say, you might want to make a double batch of the whipped cream and save some for your coffee! And your corn flakes, chicken nuggets and salad. Seriously, you’ll want to put this on everything.

You just need a cup of very cold heavy cream and two tablespoons each of bourbon and sugar. Mix it all at high speed until stiff, about four minutes. Heaven!

The Outcome

The recipe was blissfully simple. The most time-consuming step was zesting the lemons, which isn’t so bad when you have a Microplane.

Now that you’re dreaming about bread pudding (I know you are!), you can try one of these classic recipes after you’ve finished Ree’s. Be sure to pair them with real whipped cream, too.

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Cathryn Jakicic
Cathy Jakicic has written about everything from business and bacteria to beads and baking in her career —but she greatly prefers the last two. She is a baker and a crafter and loves to try new recipes for both.