If you love cinnamon rolls, you are going to really love this recipe for Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding! It's an easy recipe to follow, but it does take some time, so make sure to plan ahead to allow enough time.
This bread pudding combines all the wonderful flavors of cinnamon rolls with a rich custard that is baked at a low temperature until fully set. It's great served warm, room temperature, and some people (me) even like it cold. I'd say the best temperature to serve it is slightly warm, though. It's great for breakfast, a brunch, or as dessert! Serve it alongside some homemade vanilla ice cream and you will have one the best desserts ever!
This recipe is perfect for leftover cinnamon rolls, or you can make them fresh. Make sure to read the section below for Tips on Making Bread Pudding if you are using freshly made cinnamon rolls. I have a delicious recipe for Homemade Cinnamon Rolls or you can take a shortcut, like I did, and buy a can of cinnamon rolls!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, absolutely. Making a large batch of cinnamon roll bread pudding is a great way to serve a crowd for brunch. Simply double all of the ingredients except the icing and you should have plenty for a double batch.
You will need a larger baking dish, but the depth should be about the same so the cooking time will be the same.
Yes, it freezes well. If you want to freeze individual slices, let them cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap. Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze. I recommend using within 3 months for the best quality.
If you want to make an entire pan and freeze it to serve at a later date, then I recommend letting it cool completely and pressing plastic wrap on the top of the bread pudding and then secure to the sides like you do when you refrigerate the mixture overnight. This will reduce the amount of air that gets to it and will keep it fresher. Then wrap the entire pan in aluminum foil and freeze. It is best used within 3 months.
Gentle, moist heat will work best. You can use the microwave for short 30-second bursts until it is heated through, but I recommend placing the bread pudding in a covered container and steaming it for the best results.
You can also cover and warm in an oven with a water bath.
Ingredients & Substitutions
I used a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, 8 of the regular size in this recipe, but you can use the Grands that come 5 to a can and that will work fine in this recipe. When baking the cinnamon rolls, follow the package directions on the can, but add a few minutes so they are just a little overdone.
You can also make and bake cinnamon rolls from scratch, if you prefer; however, you will want to cook them a little longer than usual so they dry up more. Here is a link to my cinnamon roll recipe. Homemade Cinnamon Rolls in the Ninja Foodi
Stale cinnamon rolls work perfectly in this recipe!
If you don't have cinnamon rolls, any stale bread will work just fine. Use about 3-4 cups broken into pieces.
This recipe uses half and half, heavy cream, ½ cup brown sugar, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in the custard. You can use whole milk instead of the half and half OR use 1¼ cups of heavy cream and ¼ cup water.
If you can't have eggs, you can substitute 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, but you will have to heat the milk, cream, sugar, and salt to a simmer to activate the cornstarch, and then add in the vanilla extract and let cool.
You can use a sugar substitute for the brown sugar or use white sugar.
Sometimes I like to switch out the vanilla extract for orange extract and it's delicious with the warm flavors of cinnamon. Change it out in your icing, too!
Brown Sugar & Butter Topping
The ingredients needed to make this are; brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. This is completely optional, but oh so good! It adds that something special!
You can absolutely use the icing that comes in the can of cinnamon rolls, but I like to make my own cream cheese icing. You can also skip the icing.
The ingredients needed to make the icing are; cream cheese, cream, powdered sugar, vanilla (or orange) extract.
Tips For Making Bread Pudding
Use Dry Bread or Cinnamon Rolls
Day-old cinnamon rolls work great for this recipe, but you can also make them fresh and just overcook them by 3-5 minutes. What I suggest is when you have leftover cinnamon rolls that are a day or two old, throw them in a bag in the freezer and add to them each time you have leftovers. When you have 8 cinnamon rolls make cinnamon roll bread pudding!
Cook on a Low Temperature and use a Water Bath
Most fails when it comes to making any type of bread pudding is due overheating the custard which cooks the eggs and results in a grainy and unpleasant texture. Using a low temperature and a water bath helps protects the custard from the direct heat of the oven and allows it to cook slower and more evenly.
There is no exact cook time when making bread pudding because it all depends on how much custard your baked cinnamon rolls absorbed, the temperature of the ingredients, the temperature of the water in the water bath. This recipe has taken me anywhere from 60 minutes to bake up to 90 minutes. Same exact pan, same ingredients, and same oven. The important thing is don't rush it and don't be tempted to increase the temperature. The higher heat can cause the eggs to cook and will make your bread pudding have a funny texture.
It's easy to make bread pudding, but it's not quick. Make sure to plan accordingly and allow enough time for the rolls to absorb the custard (at least 4 hours, but 8 is better) and enough time for the bread pudding to bake and cool, which is about 2 hours. I recommend baking the cinnamon rolls and making up the custard the day before, then the next morning baking your bread pudding about 3 hours before you want to serve it, so you know you have enough time.
Use a thermometer. It isn't always intuitive to use a thermometer when baking, but it is the most accurate way to know how your baked goods are coming along. You want to aim for a temperature of between 160℉/71℃ to 170℉/76℃, this is where the custard will be set, but it's not hot enough to curdle the custard and cook the eggs. I accidentally let mine get up to around 180F/82℃ and, while it was perfectly fine to eat, I could see that there was a tiny layer at the bottom of custard that was just starting to overcook.
How to Make Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding
Bake the cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet and make sure to overbake them a bit so they are dryer than you would want if you were to eat them right away. Place the cinnamon rolls on a cooling rack to cool, then break them up.
In a large bowl, combine the cream, half and half, brown sugar, cinnamon, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk until incorporated.
To avoid clumpy cinnamon, mix the cinnamon with a few tablespoons of heavy cream before adding to the mixture. This creates a paste that makes it easier to blend together. You can also use a blender to make the custard, but don't add the heavy cream until everything else is blended, and then just pulse blend to combine. This way you won't accidentally whip the cream.
Place the cinnamon roll pieces in your casserole dish or baking dish. You can see I used the same baking pan to mix my custard so I'm adding the rolls to the custard instead of pouring the custard over the rolls. Either way is fine.
I used a 2.75-quart baking dish and it worked out fine. You can use something larger or smaller, but you will need to adjust your baking time based on the depth of the bread pudding.
Pour the custard mixture over the broken cinnamon rolls and press the cinnamon rolls down so the custard is covering them. Use plastic wrap to help keep the rolls from floating by having the plastic wrap touch the cinnamon roll mixture and then secure the wrap to the sides. You could also use aluminum foil if you don't have plastic wrap.
Place the baking dish in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably at least 8 hours.
Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you plan on baking it. This will allow it to cook faster. Remove the plastic wrap and make sure most of the custard has been absorbed by the cinnamon rolls. It's completely normal to have some custard that is not absorbed, but if the rolls are swimming in the custard, then you probably want to pour some off. Cover with foil, especially if baking in a convection oven.
I don't bother preheating the oven because it's easier to set up the water bath with it cool. Set your baking dish with the cinnamon roll/custard mixture into a shallow pan. Ideally the sides of the pan will be higher than the mixture is in the baking dish so you can fill it about ½-¾ way up the depth of the bread pudding. However, I used a sheet pan that only when up about ¼ of the way and it worked fine.
Remove your cream cheese from the refrigerator if you plan on making your own cream cheese icing.
Place the pan with the baking dish into the oven on the middle rack (level 3 in the Ninja Foodi XL oven). Pour water into the pan as high as you can go or add enough water to so the baking dish is covered in water up to ¾ of bread pudding mixture. Set the function to bake and the temperature to 325℉/160℃ and the time for 90 minutes.
Check the bread pudding after 45 minutes with a thermometer if you have one. Once it reaches about 145°F, it's ready to be uncovered to finish baking and that's when the brown sugar & butter mixture goes on. If you don't have have a thermometer, then gently press down on the edges of the baking dish and, if you see custard come to the top, it needs to bake longer.
Once it reaches 145°F/63℃, remove the pan and the water bath from the oven (you can also just remove the baking dish and leave the pan of water in the oven, but don't turn the oven off and keep the baking dish in the water bath. Melt ¼ cup of butter and mix it with ¼ cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Spoon over the top leaving some of the bread exposed. Leave uncovered and place the baking dish in the water bath back into the oven and bake until the internal temperature reads about 170℉/77℃.
Remove the baking dish and set it on a cooling rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. If you aren't planning on icing it, you can serve it now. If you want to put icing on the top, let it cool at least 30-45 minutes or the icing will melt. You can put it in the refrigerator to cool faster if you want.
Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature and add to a medium-size mixing bowl. Add in the cream, ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt, and blend using an electric hand mixer on low. When combined and lump-free, add in 1-2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar. I use the powdered sugar to thicken the icing and provide a little sweetness, so you can add as little or as much as want to get the taste and consistency you like.
When the bread pudding is cool enough (if it's too hot, the icing will just melt), put your icing in a baggie and cut the end off. Make whatever design you like on top. You can get really fancy here by using a piping bag with a tip, but you can see I kept it simple. It looks like a first grader decorated it, but you know what... it's the taste that matters!
If you want a thinner sauce, add cream and stir until it reaches the desired thickness.
You can serve the cinnamon roll bread pudding slightly warm or at room temperature. If you ask me, it's even great cold! Slice small squares of the bread pudding and serve with the extra sauce.
How to Make Bread Pudding in the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper
Preparing the bread pudding is exactly the same no matter how you want to bake it, but I recommend using the Ninja All Purpose Pan or another round pan that is relatively non-stick. If you only have an aluminum pan like the Fat Daddio 8" pan, that is fine, but line the bottom with parchment.
When you are ready to bake your bread pudding, put the rack in the low position and place the pan of bread pudding, securely covered in foil or a silicone lid, on the rack. Lower it into the Foodi. Pour in water to the side of the pan until it comes about halfway up the pan.
Close the crisping lid and turn the heat on 325°F/160℉. Check the temperature after 45 minutes. If it is below 145℉/63℃, then continue to bake until it reaches that temp. If it is up to around 145℉/63℃, then put the brown sugar topping on and leave uncovered. Continue to bake at 325℉/160℃ until the internal temperature is around 170℉/76℃.
Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding Recipe
- 1 can cinnamon rolls 8 regular size rolls
- ¾ cup half and half or whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon fine grind sea salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- ¼ cup salted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- Bake the cinnamon rolls as instructed on the package (recipe if making homemade), but bake them about 5 minutes longer. I usually bake them for the stated time and then flip them over and bake another 5 minutes.
- After baking, cool the cinnamon rolls and break into pieces.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the half and half or whole milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs. Whisk until incorporated.
- Mix the cinnamon with the cream and add to the mixture. Whisk until blended. Mixing the cinnamon with the cream prevents the cinnamon from clumping.
- A blender works great for making the custard, too. Simply add all the ingredients except the heavy cream and blend until combined. Add the cream and pulse until incorporated.
Assembling the Bread Pudding
- Place the broken cinnamon rolls into a 2.5-3 quart baking dish and pour the custard over top. Gently press down so the rolls are sumberged.
- Press plastic wrap onto the top of the custard and then secure the sides. This will hold the rolls under the custard during refrigeration.
- Refrigerate for 8 hours or ovenight.
Baking the Bread Pudding
- Remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil or a silicone cover.
- Place the baking dish into another larger dish or a sheet tray. Place both into the oven on the middle rack. Pour water into the second baking dish or tray to create a water bath. Ideally, the water will come ¾ up the sides of the bread pudding, but with a sheet tray that I used it only came up about ¼ and it worked fine.
- Bake at 325℉ until the internal temperature reaches about 145℉/63℃. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1:30 minutes. If you are skipping the cinnamon sugar topping, then continue to bake until the internal temperature reaches 170℉/76℃.
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- Melt the ¼ cup butter and mix in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spoon over the top of the bread pudding, leaving areas of the bread exposed.
- Return the pan to the water bath and continue to bake another 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 170℉/76℃. NOTE: Many recipes say to take it out at 160℉/71℃, but I found this was a little underdone for me.
- Remove the baking pan from the water bath and let cool on a cooling rack.
Cream Cheese Icing
- Using an electric hand mixer, mix together the cream cheese and cream in a medium size mixing bowl until all the lumps are gone. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar and mix. You can add more powdered sugar if you want your icing thicker.
- When the bread pudding has cooled, spread the icing over the top or use a piping bag/plastic bag with the tip cut off to make a decoration.
- You will have plenty of leftover icing if you drizzle it on with a piping bag, so to make a sauce to serve alongside your bread pudding add a few tablespoons of cream and stir into the icing until it's the desired consistency.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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