Cheese pudding is like a savory bread pudding, with soft white bread and shredded sharp cheddar baked in an eggy custard. This is a great easy side dish for a cookout or barbecue. You only need a few basic ingredients and about 10 minutes prep time!
One day I was perusing an old book I found in my mom's house - The Art of Southern Cooking, by Mildred Evans Warren. First published in 1967, this delightful cookbook has all sorts of fascinating recipes (including a large assortment of gelatin salads, of course!).
I came across a recipe for cheese pudding, and I was intrigued! I've never heard of a recipe like this before - basically like a bread pudding, but cheese flavored rather than sweet. And of course, I was also attracted to the easy prep and small number of ingredients.
So I tried making it and it is wonderful! The sharp cheddar flavor is very pronounced, which I really like, and the texture is soft and tender. I adapted the original recipe to put my own spin on it (including some cayenne, because cayenne and cheddar are a great match in my opinion!). This cheese pudding recipe definitely qualifies as a comfort food and would make a wonderful side dish for a potluck, barbecue, or Sunday dinner.
Here's what you'll need to make this easy Cheese Pudding recipe:
- Soft white sandwich bread: try to find sandwich bread that's tender and soft, but has some density to it (so, not overly airy).
- Whole milk: I've only made this with whole milk and it came out perfect, nice and creamy. I didn't try using 2% or skim milk because I was worried it wouldn't give that creamy texture we are going for (too watery perhaps?).
- Worcestershire sauce
- Cayenne pepper: To my taste, ¼ teaspoon is just enough to give a hint of heat in the background without being actually "spicy." But, spice preference is very individual, so if you don't like spice, you can use just a pinch. Or, leave it out altogether.
- Kosher salt
- Finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Serving and reheating instructions
In the original directions from the Art of Southern Cooking book, Ms. Evans Warren explains that this cheese pudding "will wait" to be served. And she was so right - in fact, I would say waiting is actually necessary!
I found that if you try to cut into the pudding right after it comes out of the oven, it will seem almost watery at the bottom, despite the overall pudding being set. That's ok, you just need to let the cheese pudding cool down for about 15 minutes before serving. After this cool down period, the pudding will set up more and the taste and texture will really be enhanced.
What's more, this cheese pudding reheats well and tastes even better the next day, in my opinion! It becomes a little more firm and tastes even cheesier. I like to store the leftovers in the original casserole dish (just cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap). Then, reheat in a 350 degree oven, covered with aluminum foil, for 15 - 20 minutes or until heated through. (To avoid thermal shock which could damage some types of ceramic or glass dishes, let the casserole dish warm up to room temp first before placing in the preheated oven.) You can remove the cover for the last few minutes if you want to crisp up the top.
(Alternatively, you can just heat up individual portions in the microwave. This also tastes delicious and will give you near-instant gratification!)
- The recipe calls for finely shredded cheese. Finely shredding the cheese (as opposed to a coarse shred) helps the cheese blend into the rest of the ingredients better.
- When I have the time, I prefer to do the shredding myself for a recipe like this, where the cheese is front and center. Pre-shredded cheese has additives that keep the shreds from sticking together. This can also prevent the cheese from melting as smoothly. However, if you're extra short on time, pre-shredded cheese is ok. It will still taste good!
- When adding the pudding ingredients to the casserole dish, don't forget to spread the bread chunks out evenly before baking. This way, you will be sure that the bread will absorb all the milk and egg mixture evenly.
If you’ve tried this recipe for Cheese Pudding, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments down below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious recipes from Nibble and Dine!Print
An easy side dish that only takes 10 minutes to prep. Like a soft bread pudding, but savory, with lots of sharp cheddar flavor!
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste (optional)
- 8 oz. (by weight) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 7 slices soft white sandwich bread
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Grease a 2 quart shallow casserole dish, set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl. With a whisk, beat the eggs until they are slightly frothy.
- Add in the milk, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt and cayenne. Whisk until combined.
- Tear the bread into chunks, about 1 inch in size. Add the bread chunks and finely shredded cheese into the egg and milk mixture. Gently stir with a large spoon, breaking up any large clumps of cheese, until combined and the bread is fully soaked in the liquid.
- Pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish. Spread the bread chunks evenly throughout the dish and smooth down the top if needed.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the pudding is set and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. (Pudding should not be completely firm - it should have a slight jiggle still!)
- Let the pudding stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from The Art of Southern Cooking, by Mildred Evans Warren (1969).
Keywords: cheese pudding, cheese and bread pudding, sides, easy sides, easy side dish