Meatless Monday Challenge

Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding

on April 1, 2022
last updated June 5, 2024
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This Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding comes together quickly to add sweetness, flavor, and moisture to bread pudding and any other dessert!
pouring vanilla sauce onto peice of bread pudding

Want to add moisture and flavor to your bread pudding? This Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding is the perfect addition to your classic bread pudding, and truly, any dessert that needs some extra moisture!

It’s easy to make, easy to adapt to make dairy-free, and customizable to tailor to your desired consistency.

Serve it over this Bread Pudding, or make a completely vegan dessert by opting for the dairy-free version and serving it over this Vegan Bread Pudding!

piece of bread pudding on a plate smothered in vanilla sauce

Rooted in my commitment to sustainability, I’m always trying to keep the issue of food waste front of mind. And when avoiding food waste tastes this delicious, I think it’s something we can all easily get behind.

Green tip: Bread is one of the most wasted food products in the U.S. because of our tendency to throw it out as soon as it’s stale. Reduce your contribution to food waste by re-vamping your stale bread by whipping up some bread pudding and pouring this Vanilla Sauce on top!

Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding Ingredients

Here’s everything you need:

  • Heavy cream. Or coconut cream.
  • Milk. Or coconut milk.
  • Sugar. Granulated sugar works best.
  • Cornstarch. To thicken.
  • Vanilla Extract. For flavor.
ingredients for vanilla sauce - heavy cream, cornstarch, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, milk

Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding Tips and Tricks

Dissolve the Sugar First

First, add your milk, cream, and granulated sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar over the heat.

Continue to heat and stir until there are no more grainy-sugar crystals and you have a smooth sauce.

adding granulated sugar to vanilla sauce

Make Sure There Are No Lumps

Next, it’s time to add your cornstarch. We are using cornstarch here as a thickening agent.

It’s important to whisk and combine so there are no lumps of cornstarch left behind.

Continue to heat and stir until there are no visible lumps.

adding cornstarch to vanilla sauce

Allow it to Thicken

Cornstarch will start to thicken your sauce once the temperature reaches around 295°F. The longer you heat it, the thicker it will get.

For a thinner sauce, heat and stir until you get a glue-like consistency. If you’re looking for a thicker sauce, continue to heat until the sauce resembles a thick batter—almost like a pancake batter.

Once your sauce thickens, whisk in your vanilla extract. Assess the consistency, and heat a little bit more if you want it thicker.

adding vanilla extract to vanilla sauce

Allow It To Cool

Transfer your sauce to a bowl or pitcher to cool.

As it cools, it sets.

pouring vanilla sauce from hot pan into a bowl to cool

Should You Have Leftovers

This sauce is delicious on pretty much every dessert you can think of! And the best part—it’ll last up to 4 weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

You can also opt to freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer to your refrigerator and allow to defrost overnight.

vanilla sauce in creamer pitcher with slice of bread pudding behind it

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you moisten bread pudding?

The easiest way to moisten bread pudding is to add a sauce once it is out of the oven.

This Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding adds both moisture and flavor to any bread pudding.

Do you serve bread pudding hot or cold?

Bread pudding can be served hot out of the oven, warm, or even cold leftover.

My favorite way to serve bread pudding is warm, smothered in this vanilla sauce.

What is the best sauce for a simple dessert?

Vanilla sauce is a versatile sauce that can accompany any dessert. It will add sweetness, subtle notes of vanilla, and most importantly moisture.

Pour it over bread pudding, loaf cake, brownies, or even cookies!

Want to sharpen your kitchen skills?

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Why You Should Make this Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding

  • It’s versatile. Yes, I designed this Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding. But let me tell you, this liquid gold is delicious on much, much more!
  • It’s easy. Just heat and stir! Easy peasy!
  • It’s customizable. Whether you want it thin for bread pudding or thicker to pour over brownies, this recipe can be made just to your taste.

If you’re loving this Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding and want a base recipe to make this sauce shine, try pouring it over this Bread Pudding. Or for a dairy-free option, try this Vegan Bread Pudding! And to check out other bread pudding sauce flavors, check out this Brandy Sauce for Bread Pudding.

pouring vanilla sauce onto peice of bread pudding

Quick 15-Minute Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding

4.9 from 37 votes
Marley Goldin
This Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding comes together quickly to add sweetness, flavor, and moisture to bread pudding and any other dessert!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • ¼ cup milk (cows or coconut)
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or coconut cream)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Over medium heat, add milk, cream, and sugar to a large saucepan. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add your cornstarch and whisk until there are no visible lumps. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until your sauce thickens (cornstarch will start to thicken sauce once it reaches 295°F).
  • Add your vanilla extract and stir to combine. Assess the consistency. To thicken, continue to heat. If you are happy with the thickness, remove it from heat.
  • Transfer sauce to a small bowl or pitcher to cool. Enjoy over bread pudding, brownies, loaf cake, and more!

Pro Tips

  • For a thinner sauce, heat and stir until the consistency resembles glue before moving on to step 3.
  • For a thicker sauce, continue to heat until the sauce resembles pancake batter.
Course Sauces and Dressings
Cuisine American
Diet Vegan
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Bread Pudding Sauce, Easy, One-Bowl, Quick, Vanilla Sauce, Vegan Dessert
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I very much hope you enjoyed this recipe!

If you did, please give it a star rating, which will help other people just like you find and enjoy the recipe too 😊

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18 thoughts on “Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding”

    1. Hi Nicci!

      Absolutely! I usually reheat mine in a saucepan over low heat, whisking frequently, but you can also do so in the microwave, covered, in 30-second intervals stirring in between. If it seems too thick, just add a little bit of extra milk as you heat until you are happy with the consistency. 🙂

    1. Me over here smothering it all over everything So glad you loved it! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your feedback!

  1. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious. We used it to go with a 100-year-old (or more) grandmother’s recipe for bread pudding. Only change I made was taking a couple tablespoons from step 1 into a small dish with the cornstarch to dissolve it. Then, poured that into the saucepan. Thus, no lumps. We’re saving this to make again.

    1. I’m so glad you loved it! There’s truly nothing better than grandmas family recipes. Genius to make a slurry for the cornstarch! 🙂

    1. Hi there! So sorry for the confusion! 1/2 cup granulated sugar is correct! Thank you so much for pointing that out- I will update the ingredient photo today when I get to my desk 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    This is DELICIOUS!! We used it for a fresh blackberry bread pudding we made last night and everyone raved about them both. This vanilla cream sauce is like the kind I get at a local restaurant (Kneaders) and I couldn’t be happier about that! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    1. I’m soooo glad you enjoyed!! This stuff is dangerous to have around– I pour it over everything! You’ve officially inspired me to try it over blackberry bread pudding next 🙂

4.92 from 37 votes (30 ratings without comment)

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