Get a head start on Christmas morning or a lazy Sunday with this scrumptious overnight French toast casserole recipe. Crunchy on top with a rich, custard-like bottom, it’s a real crowd-pleaser!
The holidays are coming up and that means get-togethers with family and friends. One of my favorite things to make for a brunch or breakfast gathering is this overnight French toast bake. It’s easy to put together, feeds a crowd, and everyone always loves it!
Plus, it’s perfect for those days when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen in the morning. Give this recipe a try – I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Just prep everything the night before, and add the topping and pop it in the oven the next morning. You’ll get to relax and enjoy time with your family while it bakes instead of standing over a stovetop or griddle making individual slices of French toast.
It’s perfect for any holiday or lazy weekend at home.
French toast aficionados will also love this Blueberry French Toast Casserole. Of course, you can’t go wrong with Classic Brioche French Toast when you want it in its traditional form. For the fall, our favorite variation is these easy Pumpkin French Toast Sticks.
But for now, let’s get to this easy overnight casserole.
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- French Bread — Cut into 1-inch cubes. You can also use sourdough, challah, or brioche bread.
- Eggs — Eggs serve as the base for the creamy custard that soaks into the bread.
- Milk — Whole milk is best for richer flavor.
- Heavy Cream — This also adds richness and decadence to the custard. You could also use half and half here.
- Granulated Sugar — To sweeten up the custard that you’ll pour over the bread.
- Brown Sugar — Light brown sugar is added to the custard and the topping for extra sweetness. Brown sugar has a deeper flavor than white sugar because of the added molasses.
- Vanilla Extract — Pure vanilla extract overs the best flavor, but imitation works in a pinch if that’s what you have on hand.
- Cinnamon — You’ll need ground cinnamon for both the custard and the topping.
- Salt — A little salt in sweet casseroles actually helps bring out the other flavors. It doesn’t make it salty at all.
- Butter — I used unsalted butter. This is used to make the buttery cinnamon sugar topping.
- Powdered Sugar — Add some to a sifter to sprinkle powdered sugar all over the French toast bake for extra sweetness. Bonus: it looks like snow, which is perfect for the holidays!
- Maple Syrup — I prefer pure maple syrup, but pancake syrup is yummy, too. Drizzle some on for a deliciously sweet breakfast treat. You can substitute another syrup if you prefer, such as blueberry syrup.
Equipment You’ll Need for Baked French Toast Casserole
You only need basic kitchen tools to prepare this easy overnight French toast casserole:
- Measuring cups and spoons (dry and liquid measures)
- 9×13 casserole dish
- Mixing bowls
- Wooden or silicone spoons or spatulas
- Aluminum foil
- Knife and Cutting board
- Sifter (for dusting powdered sugar on top)
How to Make Overnight French Toast Casserole
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Cube your bread. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, and place the cubed bread in the casserole dish. Set it aside for now.
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, heavy cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk the ingredients until they’re well combined. Some of the cinnamon may float on top of the custard, but that’s fine.
Step 3: Pour the custard over the cubed bread. Using a large spoon, press the bread into the custard so it starts to soak it up. Cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Step 4: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and let it sit on the counter while the oven preheats.
Step 5: In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until smooth. Drizzle this all over the top of the casserole.
Step 6: Cover the dish with tin foil and bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 7: Let the French toast bake cool for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup (or your favorite toppings).
There are so many fun and yummy ways to top this decadent French toast casserole:
- powdered sugar
- whipped cream
- fresh berries
- apple pie filling
- caramel or vanilla sauce
- ice cream
- toasted nuts
If you’re looking for foods to pair it with, bacon and eggs are a favorite around here.
Storage and Freezing
Refrigerator: Store leftover French toast casserole in the fridge for up to 3 days. Wrap the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container to preserve freshness.
Freezer: Cut casserole into individual servings, wrap each serving in cling wrap, and store in a freezer safe bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as directed below.
Reheat: Warm individual servings in the microwave, heating in 30-60 second increments or place the casserole dish covered in foil in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Make it in the crockpot. If you’re having this for brunch instead of breakfast, the slow cooker is a great way to cook it and keep it warm until you’re ready. Assemble the ingredients in the crockpot the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Add the topping the next morning, and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.
- Use a sturdy bread. The type doesn’t matter much as long as it’s thick, crusty, and on the dryer side. There’s no need to buy sliced bread; you’ll be chopping it into cubes yourself.
- Cool it completely before storing. Let the casserole come to room temperature before wrapping it tightly and storing it in the fridge.
- Make it the same day. Don’t want to wait around until tomorrow to enjoy the flavor of French toast? Pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to soak (6 is better), add the topping, bake, and enjoy.
Additions and Variations
Sprinkle in savory touches. Crumble some cooked bacon or sausage over the top to mix in some savory flavors with the sweet.
Add nutmeg. If you’re making this breakfast casserole for the holidays, add some freshly grated nutmeg to the custard for a little more holiday flavor. Gingerbread spice or apple pie spice would make a wonderful substitute for the cinnamon as well.
Make it nutty. Add some chopped pecans or walnuts to the crumbly topping to make it extra crunchy.
Serve with fresh fruit. Instead of more sugar on top, serve this casserole with fresh berries and a drizzle of syrup or a dollop of whipped cream.
I prefer a nice crusty French bread, but sourdough, brioche, or challah breads work beautifully, too.
There are a few reasons why your casserole might be soggy. First, if you used bread that’s fresh rather than dry or stale, the bread will have some moisture of its own and therefore won’t soak up as much as the custard.
Another reason may be that you didn’t soak the bread long enough for the liquid to absorb. I recommend soaking it for at least 6 hours, but overnight (8 hours or so) is even better.
Stale bread is better for French toast because it soaks up more of the liquid mixture, resulting in a richer and more flavorful dish. Fresh bread will become too soggy and fall apart when dipped in the egg mixture.
The easiest way to dry bread quickly for French toast is to cube the bread and spread it out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Then, bake it in the oven at 275°F for 10-20 minutes, or until the cubes are dry.
That depends on how rich you like it! I prefer a richer custard, so this recipe calls for both whole milk and heavy cream. You can use all milk or all half and half, if you prefer. Using all heavy cream would be too rich.
More Hearty Breakfast Recipes
- Biscuits and Gravy Casserole – A Southern-style breakfast that sticks to your ribs!
- Farmer’s Breakfast Casserole – The perfect combination of eggs, ham, hash browns, and cheese. It’ll really fill you up.
- Cookies and Cream Cinnamon Rolls – These homemade brioche cinnamon rolls are filled with cream cheese and OREO pieces to really satisfy your sweet tooth.
- 3-Ingredient Sausage Squares – An easy recipe that’s perfect for breakfast, brunch, or for taking along in your lunchbox.
- Sheet Pan Breakfast Pizza – Kids love this recipe that can be easily adapted according to the meats and veggies you have on hand.
Overnight French Toast Casserole
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For the French Toast
- 16 ounces crusty French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 large eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Topping
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- powdered sugar, for serving
- maple syrup, for serving
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Place the cubed bread into the baking dish, and set aside.
- Place the eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Some of the cinnamon may float on top, but that's okay.
- Pour the custard over the bread cubes. Take a large spoon and press the bread into the custard so it starts to soak it up. Cover the dish and place it in the fridge to soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until smooth. Drizzle this mixture all over the top of the casserole.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup. Feel free to add more of your favorite toppings, too.
- Crusty French bread is perfect for this recipe, but feel free to use brioche, challah, sourdough, white bread, or Texas toast. Just make sure the amount of bread is the same, that it's cubed the same way, and that it's dry.
- You can use all milk or half and half in place of the heavy cream. However, the heavy cream adds more richness.
- Add freshly grated nutmeg to the custard for a festive holiday twist.
- Other topping ideas: whipped cream, fresh berries, apple pie filling, caramel sauce, warm vanilla sauce, preserves, ice cream, or toasted nuts.
- Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by a third party and intended to serve as an estimate only. The accuracy of nutritional information is not guaranteed.
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