What to do with leftover hamburger buns—not for the birds!


We don’t eat hamburgers very often, and certainly never at a fast food restaurant! 

However, last week I got some local, grass-fed hamburger meat in my Produce Box. The weather was perfect for a cook out, so I decided to make hamburgers for my husband and myself. I picked up some whole wheat hamburger buns, and we had our own little outdoor cookout!

The next problem was trying to decide what to do with the remaining buns. Luckily, I already had an idea!

It occurred to me that my cookbook needed a recipe for Bread Pudding, which fits in perfectly with the theme of easy and inexpensive dishes for the young adult just learning how to cook for him or herself. But alas, I had another problem! I’ve never made bread pudding. I don’t remember my mother or grandmother ever making bread pudding either. In fact, I think I’ve only had it once or twice in my life.

After doing some research, I came up with this lightened-up version. You can make it richer by using cream instead of half and half. I chose to use a higher egg to milk ratio than some recipes, and I cut down on the sugar substantially. The hamburger buns were perfect for this recipe.

I mixed it all up and poured it into my square baking dish (which is the only baking dish we’re recommending as part of our bare bones approach of stocking a kitchen).


It puffed up nicely and made the whole house smell scrumptious!


My husband and I gave it a thumbs up! This version is a very straightforward one. Feel free to pour some cream or bourbon on top to dress it up, or eat it with some vanilla ice cream. We had it with a little half and half. 


I might try a few variations, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s wonderful just the way it is. Give it a try, especially if you have some bread that’s getting a little dry.

BREAD PUDDING (with variations) ©FoodFitnessFaith

           “This is one of the cheapest and easiest desserts you can make, plus, the variations are limitless. You can use any type of bread, including gluten-free and even quick breads like banana bread. I’ve cut down on the sugar and cream, trying to make it rich-tasting but not quite as high in calories as some recipes. Try to use whole grain bread for a little extra nutrition.” ~ Bobbi

*** Easy! (but does take a little extra time)

$$$ Cheap!

Prep Time: 15 minutes to dry out bread in oven + 15 minutes to assemble + 30 or more minutes to soak + 1 hour to cook

Tools: baking sheet, large saucepan, medium bowl, 8”x8” (2 Qt.) baking dish


4 whole wheat hamburger buns (or about 6 cups bread pieces)

2 cup whole milk (I used part whole milk and part almond milk)

1 cup half and half (or cream if you want it to be richer)

2 Tbsp. melted butter

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. cardamom

¼ tsp. nutmeg + more sprinkled on top

1 Tbsp. vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup chopped pecans

Optional: ¼ cup bourbon or rum

Optional garnish: powdered sugar or cream


Preheat oven to about 200°F if drying out the bread in the oven.

1. Cut or tear bread into bite-size pieces. Spread out on baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through, just to dry out the bread but not to toast it. (Leave out this step if bread is already dried out. Or, leave bread out on counter overnight to dry.) Turn off oven until ready to bake the pudding.

2. Heat milk, half and half, butter, sugar and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat, until butter has melted and milk has a few bubbles coming up, but is not fully boiling. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly (about 5 minutes) stirring occasionally.

4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or whisk.

5. Slowly pour the eggs into the milk mixture, beating as you do (so the eggs won’t cook).

6. Sir in raisins and pecans.

7. Add bread and stir well.

8. Spray oil or rub butter into an 8”x8” (2 Qt.) baking dish. Pour mixture into the dish and make sure the raisins and nuts are evenly spread out. With the back of a wooden spoon, pat down the mixture. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer. (You can also complete up to this point the night before or in the morning then cook at dinnertime.)

9. Preheat oven to 325°F. When hot, bake pudding covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for another 30 minutes, until pudding is set around edges but still a little soft in the center.

10. Let stand and cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Can dust with powdered sugar or drizzle cream, half and half, bourbon or rum on top.

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™