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Savory Leek Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Thyme – a delicious vegetarian side dish, perfect for the holiday table or special dinners. 
Savory Leek Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Thyme - a delicious side dish, perfect for the holiday table. #leek #leekrecipes #breadpudding #side #sidedish #thanksgiving |
The cold outside makes me want to hunker in and bake… and this Savory Leek Bread Pudding Recipe is like a warm cozy blanket on frigid days like these, so comforting and warm.  We often think of bread pudding as sweet, something to have for dessert, but turned savory, it’s a hearty flavorful sidedish, pairing well with almost any main.
Now I won’t lie to you, this is a rich, decadent thing of beauty, a once-a-year kind of recipe. It’s pretty caloric, but still, I love it.
It’s perfect for special gatherings or the holiday table – or serve it as we do at home- as a simple, hearty vegetarian main, along with a big helping of salad.
I often think of this as a grown-up alternative to mac and cheese. Pure comfort food.
Savory Leek Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Thyme |
What I love about this recipe, is you can make it in one large baking pan, or divide it into individual portions using separate ramekins or small baking dishes ( like we do in catering) for a beautiful presentation.
The wonderful thing about this is how amazing your whole house will smell when this is in the oven.
The caramelized leeks give this the BEST flvor!

The flavor of a leek is more subtle and sweet than an onion. Like onions, scallions and garlic, leeks too are an allium and belong to the Amaryllidaceae family -a family of blooming bulbs related to the lovely Amaryllis. Their Latin name is Allium Porrum.
Have you ever really looked at a leek?  For some reason, they are especially beautiful to me right now with their range of colors and symmetry and layers.

Generally,  you’ll want to use the lighter parts of the leek because that is where the flavor is.
The darker parts are great for stock or this beautiful emerald LEEK OIL -no need to waste any part!

As you will discover, between the layers, there may be flecks of dirt. Sometimes even clumps.

An easy way to remove the dirt is to soak the sliced leeks in a bowl of tepid water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the dirt will fall to the bottom. Remove them with tongs or with your hands careful not to stir up the dirt that falls to the bottom.

Blot dry. Saute the wet leeks in a dry (non-oiled) heavy-bottomed pan for 5 mins on Medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Once they begin to soften, add salt and butter and cover… stirring every 10 minutes or so until they are very tender …this will take some patience.  About 30 minutes.

In the meantime,  cut up a loaf of French bread into 1-inch cubes and toast in the oven on a sheet pan for 15- 20 mins until brown and dry.

Here is quick way to cut bread. Stack it up before slicing. Toast until dried out.

Once the bread cubes are in the oven, make the egg mixture.
Crack eggs in a medium-sized bowl.

Whisk well and add milk or half and half …..and whisk some more.  You may be tempted to use all half and half, or heavy cream.  I’ve done this, and it was WAY too rich for me, but do as you please.

Add salt, thyme, chives, fresh nutmeg and white pepper.

Grate some gruyere or gouda.

By now your leeks should be deliciously tender …

Place your toasted bread in a large bowl and add the leeks.

Grease your baking dishes. You could do this in one large deep 9 x 13 baking dish or in small individual-sized ramekins as well.

Layer cheese and bread leak mixture. Pour enough custard over the top while gently pressing down the bread so it soaks in the custard. Let sit 10 minutes and pour the remaining custard allowing some of the bread cubes to protrude.

Top with the remaining cheese, and a sprinkling of salt.

Savory Leek Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Thyme |
Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Savory Leek Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Thyme |
When it comes out it will be beautifully puffed and golden. Your home will smell heavenly. 
Serve the Savory Leek Bread Pudding as a delicious, vegetarian side dish or as the main course with a BIG salad.

More recipes you may like:

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Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries and Pecans

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Savory Leek and Kale Galette

Leek Oil

Savory Leek Bread

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Savory Leek Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Thyme - a delicious side dish, perfect for the holiday table. #leek #leekrecipes #breadpudding #side #sidedish #thanksgiving |

Savory Leek Bread Pudding


Savory Leek Bread Pudding- a comforting vegetarian side dish perfect for specia dinners or the holiday table. (Adapted from Thomas Keller’s recipe- but a little lighter!)


Units Scale
  • 3 cups leeks (about 3-4 leeks depending on size)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 12 cups bread cubes ( about one large french bread loaf)
  • 1 Tablespoon chives or scallions
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere, gouda, or comte or Emmentaler cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut leeks into 1/2 inch rounds using only white and light green parts and place in a bowl of lukewarm water to remove dirt. Mix several times and let any dirt settle to the bottom. Rinsing in water also helps soften the leeks when sauteing.
  3. Set a skillet on med-high heat. Strain the leeks and addd them to the un-oiled pan. Season with salt and stir for 5 minutes. As leeks begin to soften, lower the heat to med-low. Stir in the butter and olive oil and cover the pan, stirring every 10 minutes for 20-30 mins, until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and toast on a sheet pan for 20 mins until golden and dry. You may need to mix or turn mid-way so they are evenly browned. Transfer to large bowl.
  5. Grate 1 ½  cups of cheese. Set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl whisk 4 eggs. Add milk and half and half. (Don’t be tempted to use all half and half, it will turn out very rich)  Whisk. Add salt, thyme, chives, a pinch of fresh nutmeg and white pepper.  Whisk.
  7. Add your now tender buttery leaks to the toasted bread and toss well.
  8. Assemble: Grease a 9x 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle the bottom with ½ cup cheese. Spread 1/2 of the leek and bread mixture in the pan and sprinkle with ½ cup more of the cheese. Add the rest of leek mixture to the pan. Mix the custard once more and carefully pour enough of it to cover the bread mixture, gently pressing on the cubes of bread allowing it to soak in. Let sit 10 mins.
  9. Then add remaining custard, allowing some of the bread cubes to protrude. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  10. Bake in the middle of the oven until nicely puffed and lightly browned  about  1 1/2 hours.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 365
  • Sugar: 9.8 g
  • Sodium: 635.3 mg
  • Fat: 19.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.5 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 19.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 121.2 mg

Keywords: savory bread pudding, leek bread pudding, thomas keller's bread pudding recipe, savory leek bread pudding, bread pudding recipes, vegetarian side dishes

Savory Leek Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Thyme |


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  1. Beautiful! We are making this for thirty.
    How many servings is this and how large of a pan should I use?
    Are there any issues if doubling/tripling recipe? Would it be better to use
    more than one pan?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Pam, if serving it as a side dish with lots of other sides, I would triple the recipe and make it in a full-size, shallow, hotel pan – I think you could get 30 small portions. If you want a bigger portion, you could quadruple, and bake in a deeper hotel pan (make it thicker) or use an extra 9x 13 pan with the shallow hotel pan. Does that make sense?

  2. Hi there, this sounds fantastic but just wondering if you have tried it with plant based milk? Do you think it would work?

  3. To properly clean leeks, slice lengthwise and then cut into semi-circles, not circular slices. This will help release all of the dirt when soaking. This recipe is identical to Thomas Keller’s (amount of herbs have been increased, 1/2 & 1/2 was subbed for cream) and. and both call for too few eggs and too much time in the oven. For best results, use 6 eggs, 3 cups milk and 2 cups cream. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove foil and finish until top is golden brown and temp reaches 160F. 10-15 minutes longer.

  4. This recipe looks fabulous 🙂 this may be a daft question but can i ask what half and half is please? many thanks Dawn

    1. I’m sorry, Dawn….I’m chuckling a bit right now! Are you from the UK? So… “half and half” is what we generally put in coffee. Half milk, half cream. You don’t want to use full cream for this, it will be way too rich. You could go with whole milk though. Hope this helps. 🙂

      1. I love that I made you chuckle… yes I am from the UK 🙂 and will definitely be making this recipe, thank you for your help Sylvia 🙂

    1. That’s a good question…truthfully, I’m not sure. I’ve never frozen it. If you do try it be sure to let me know how it turns out.

  5. This recipe is beautiful, and I know it’ll definitely be something I make soon. I just came across your site via TheKitchn – so glad they featured your recipe. I’m an ex-caterer and this recipe is just the type of comfort I’d make at home too, :).

  6. This looks really delicious. I’m looking for options for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas…I love sauteed leaks so this pairing with bread pudding looks enticing.

Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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