Baked French Toast Casserole
Easy, no fuss baked french toast casserole with cinnamon-sugar topping. A favorite make ahead breakfast that you can make ahead and refrigerate overnight or bake now.
French toast is one of my favorite weekend breakfasts. With this easy french toast casserole recipe, you can have french toast for breakfast without all of the work of flipping slices of french toast at the stove.
I love this baked french toast recipe because it feels like I’m eating dessert for breakfast, even when I make this with healthier ingredients. As this french toast casserole bakes, the cinnamon-sugar top caramelizes and gets slightly crispy, while the inside of the french toast casserole stays soft. The bread is soaked in a custard that’s flavored with cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Everyone at the table will be asking for seconds!
This baked french toast casserole is quick and simple to make. You can prep this make ahead breakfast casserole the night before and refrigerate it overnight. This overnight french toast bake is perfect for holiday breakfasts and brunches because it can be completely assembled the day before. The best part is how amazing your kitchen will smell as your breakfast bakes in the oven!
If you don’t want to prep this baked french toast the night before, you can assemble and bake it right away. I recommend letting the casserole sit for 20-30 minutes before baking so that the custard can soak into the bread. The bread won’t absorb as much of the custard as it would overnight, but it will still be delicious.
What kind of bread is best for an overnight baked french toast casserole? There are quite a few options when it comes to the best bread for french toast. I like to use a loaf of crusty whole grain french bread, both for nutrition and flavor. You can also use crusty white french bread, challah, brioche or ciabatta. I do not recommend using sandwich bread or other thin sliced bread.
It is best to use day old bread that has dried out a little. You will cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and lay it in a 13×9-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread so it is in a mostly even layer. It does not need to be perfect.
Next you’ll make the custard that will soak into the bread and make it almost creamy and so flavorful. I like to mix the custard in a large batter bowl for easy pouring. Whisk together eggs, milk, pure maple syrup (or brown sugar), cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour the custard over the bread in the baking dish, doing your best to pour it evenly over all of the bread cubes.
Finally, you will make the buttery cinnamon-sugar topping for your french toast casserole. To do this, combine melted butter, brown sugar (or pure maple syrup) and cinnamon. Pour the topping evenly over the top of the casserole.
Cover the casserole and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to one day before baking.
How to make a healthier overnight french toast casserole
French toast casserole is a special occasion breakfast that usually isn’t very healthy. I like to make my baked french toast a little bit healthier with these easy ingredient swaps:
- Use whole wheat french bread instead of a white bread.
- Use pure maple syrup instead of brown sugar. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sweetener. Overall we aren’t adding too much sugar to this recipe, only 3 tablespoons in the full casserole.
- I use real butter and whole milk in this recipe and like the richness that they provide. These are real food ingredients and I believe they have a place in a healthy diet.
Tips for making baked french toast casserole
- You can save extra french bread in your freezer and use it to make french toast casserole. Whenever you are left with part of a loaf of french bread, cut it into 1-inch cubes and store the bread cubes in a gallon-size zip-top bag in your freezer. When the bag is full, use the bread in this recipe. You do not need to thaw the bread cubes.
- You can assemble this casserole the night before, refrigerate, and bake it in the morning. If you want to bake your casserole right away let the custard soak into the bread for 20-30 minutes before baking.
- Leftover baked french toast casserole reheats well. Reheat in the microwave or on low heat in a 350 degree oven, covered, until warm.
- Serve your baked french toast with pure maple syrup and other toppings as desired. I enjoy this with pecans and fresh berries or sliced banana.
More favorite breakfast casserole recipes:
- Overnight Cranberry Orange French Toast Casserole
- Easy Breakfast Casserole with Hash Browns
- Potato, Spinach and Cheese Egg Casserole
- Slow Cooker Ham, Cheese and Veggie Frittata
Baked French Toast Casserole
- 1 loaf day old French bread whole wheat, brioche, challah, or ciabatta, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 eggs
- 2 ¼ cups milk
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar or pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place the bread cubes in an even layer in the dish.
- In a large batter bowl (or bowl), whisk together the eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread in the dish.
- In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, maple syrup or brown sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle over the casserole.
- At this point, you can refrigerate the casserole overnight (covered) and bake in the morning, or let it rest for 20-30 minutes (in the refrigerator) and then bake right away.
- When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the top is lightly browned. Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup, as desired.
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