Pear, Leek, and Cheddar Bread Pudding

This easy make-ahead savory bread pudding makes a GREAT Thanksgiving side dish!

I have made it a couple of years in a row on Thanksgiving, and it’s always popular for being just a little different and out of the box- but still really well suited as a holiday dinner side dish.

What I really love about this simple bread pudding is how well it does when it’s made ahead, and left to sit in the fridge before baking.

You know how some soups and sauces are even better the same day?

That’s the same idea behind this pear, leek and cheddar bread pudding! Letting it chill out in the fridge for a while makes the flavors come together even better than when you make it the day of.

And when it comes to the cheese you use in this savory bread pudding, let me tell you – the sharper the cheddar, the better the flavor.

I like using really sharp, blow-your-mouth-off cheese in this dish. Sharp cheddar really holds its own against the sweet flavor of pear and the chewy, crusty texture of the bread cubes.

Plus, I mean, we’re talking about cheese. I get all the heart-emoji over cheese, in any form.  So when it’s added to a Thanksgiving side dish, I’m a pretty happy bunny.

Thanksgiving side dishes can get a bad rap sometimes, I think.

In the balancing act of tradition with new-ness, sometimes side dishes can be either boring as all heck, overplayed, or just weird.

This pear leek and cheddar bread pudding is none of those things.

➡It hangs out really well with savory turkey, especially when said turkey has an herby crust.

➡It’s a perfect foil against creamy, crunchy green bean casserole (especially this one).

➡It’s a sweet-enough side that kids dig it.

And it actually holds up banging as a leftover. The next day when you’re throwing together that perf turkey sandwich, add a spoonful of this bread pudding on top.

You’ll be thankful you did (see what I did there?)

It’s time to change up the roster of your usual Thanksgiving side dish, guys. Try adding this sweet, savory, cheesy Pear, Leek and Cheddar Bread Pudding to your holiday table!

Pear, Leek, Cheddar, and Sausage Bread Pudding


Dry Goods

crusty white bread2-3 cups cubed, dried out
table salt1/2 teaspoon


leeks2 large, cleaned and sliced
pear2 large, cored and diced
garlic2 cloves, minced


shredded cheddar cheese1 cup
egg(s)4 large
whole milk1 cup


Italian sausage1 pound, casings removed


I love the balance of flavors in this unconventional savory bread pudding. You can use it as a replacement for tabletop stuffing on the Thanksgiving dinner table, but when you add crumbled sausage to it, It’s a really filling weeknight meal as well! Staying away from meat? Par-baked sweet potatoes or butternut squash will extra heft as well. Don’t have time to let your bread sit and dry out? Spread cubed bread on a sheet pan and bake at 250*F for about 15 minutes- that’ll do the trick. Use sandwich bread if that’s what is easiest, but I really love using a good quality artisan loaf here. I use slightly sweeter Bosc pears in this recipe, but pretty much any ripe pear will do. Make it from fresh:  Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F and grease a 9x13” baking dish. 
  2. If using, brown the sausage over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to break it up as it cooks, until it is crumbled into small pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the sausage if using, bread, leeks, diced pear and grated cheddar.
  4. Transfer the dry ingredients to the baking dish. 
  5. Combine the eggs, milk, minced garlic and salt. Whisk until the eggs are well beaten into the milk. 
  6. Pour the wet ingredients evenly over the dry ingredients. 
  7. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the egg and cream mixture has set and the top bread cubes have browned and crisped.  
  8. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Prep Plan

Prep It For Later:
1. Cube the bread and dry it out, either on the counter overnight, or in the oven as instructed.
2. Brown and crumble the sausage, if using.
3. Mince the leeks and garlic
4. Peel, core, and dice the pears
5. Grate the cheddar.
6. Combine the bread cubes, crumbled sausage, leeks, garlic, and cheddar in a large resealable bag or container. You may have to divide between 2 containers for space.

You’ll need:
1 resealable bag or container of cubed bread, crumbled sausage, minced leeks, minced garlic, diced pears, and grated cheddar.

Prepare from prepped:
1. Preheat the oven to 350*F and grease a 9x13” baking dish.
2. Spread the dry ingredients in the bottom of the pan.
3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt until the eggs are well beaten
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry.
5. Place the pan in the oven and bake 15-18 minutes, until the egg and cream mixture has set and the top breadcrumbs are browned and crisped.
6. Remove from the oven and serve warm.