Tuesday, December 15, 2020

French Toast Bake (Make Ahead Recipe) + Video

This French toast bake is perfectly sweet and has the texture of bread pudding. Make this recipe the night before and bake it in the morning!

Title text (shown in a casserole dish): French Toast Bake Make Ahead Recipe
Overnight baked French toast is not only easy to make, but the bread has hours and hours to soak up all of that delicious flavor.

It’s so good, you won’t even need to add maple syrup! This makes a great special occasion breakfast, but it’s just as good for a weekend brunch too.

Slow Cooker Overnight Breakfast Casserole is a savory alternative that saves you an extra step. Just toss all of the ingredients in the crock the night before and wake up to a delicious breakfast!

Use up any leftover biscuits as the base for my Overnight Cheesy Breakfast Casserole. It’s loaded with sausage, ham, and bell pepper for a balanced morning meal.

Or, use your slow cooker for meal prep by making Crockpot Make Ahead Ground Beef. You can use it right away, or portion it out and freeze for future recipes.

bread slices in clear casserole dish

French Toast Bake - Tips and Tricks

  • Too soggy? I’ve made adjustments to this dish over the years and found that using less milk creates a better texture. You may need to play with the amounts and reduce the liquid further depending on your preferences.
  • Cube the bread. For extra bread pudding texture, slice the loaf into large cubes instead. This way, they’ll be more submerged and will stick together when baked. Scoop into bowls so everyone can get as much or as little as they’d like!
  • No need to wait. While refrigerating overnight saves time in the morning, you can easily make the entire thing from start to finish if you’d like. Just keep in mind that the bread will be crispier since it won’t have all that time to absorb the liquid.
pouring custard mixture over bread slices

Ingredient Substitutions
  • French bread: Sourdough, baguettes, or your favorite gluten-free bread should all work just fine with this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract: If you love warm vanilla flavor, try vanilla bean paste or baker’s vanilla instead.
  • Half and half: This is a dairy product found in the US that’s made from equal parts whole milk and heavy cream. You can make your own mixture at home or even use all milk or all cream if you’d like.
  • Praline topping: For a lighter or allergy friendly option, leave this off the top and serve the baked dish with fresh berries or whipped cream instead.
french toast bake ready to refrigerate

What You’ll Need To Make Overnight Baked French Toast
  • 9x13 Baking Dish - This set is one of my favorites! The 9x13 is perfect for casseroles and the smaller size is awesome for making half a casserole recipe.
  • Mixing Bowls - I like a variety of mixing bowls and prep bowls and this set has them all.
  • Whisk - These have held up for over 10 years and are still as good as the day I bought them.
  • Bread Knife - I love a good bread knife! I’ve been using this one for a decade and it works great for slicing tomatoes too.
overnight baked French toast ready for topping

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

Cover tightly with plastic wrap or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerator. Use within 3 to 4 days for best results.

Heat individual portions in the microwave or pop the entire pan back in the oven until warmed through.

Can I freeze this baked French toast recipe?

We regularly freeze leftovers and they hold up beautifully. Divide into smaller containers with lids or freeze the entire pan for the holidays.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake uncovered at 350 for about 10 minutes.

french toast bake with praline topping

How can I make this dish dairy free?

Instead of butter, use margarine or plant-based baking sticks.

Then, replace the half and half and milk with canned full fat coconut milk. Shake it well first to combine the liquid with the cream.

Or, combine soy, cashew, or oat milk with dairy free heavy cream. Silk makes a small carton that has a very neutral flavor.

Enjoy!

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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closeup French toast bake


Baked French Toast Recipe Video

To see us make the recipe from start to finish, watch the video at the top of this post.


Yield: 999
Author: Donna Elick
Print
French Toast Bake (Make Ahead Recipe)

French Toast Bake (Make Ahead Recipe)

This French toast bake is perfectly sweet and has the texture of bread pudding. Make this recipe the night before and bake it in the morning!
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinInactive time: 8 HoursTotal time:  8H & 50 M

Ingredients

  • butter (for preparing baking dish)
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste if you want to really jazz it up)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Praline Topping
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 9"x13" baking dish by generously buttering the entire inside of the dish. Set the baking dish aside.
  2. Slice the French bread, on the bias approximately 1-inch thick. Arrange slices in your prepared baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. Set dish aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the bread slices, making sure they are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. I like to make sure all my slices are good and coated. Even dunking them in the mixture sometimes. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, prepare the praline topping by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Scoop out praline topping and make 8 dollops of topping. Then spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread (like you are icing a cake).
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
DONNA'S NOTES
  1. How to prevent soggy French toast - We have been enjoying this recipe for 6 years. I have made a few changes. There is less milk/cream than in the original recipe, as the bread is sometimes too moist for my taste.
  2. Substitute for half and half - Half and half is a dairy product found in the USA. You can substitute half cream and half milk for half-and-half. You can also use any combination of all cream to all milk as long as you are adding 1-1/2 cups total.
  3. Praline topping - In the original casserole recipe, the praline topping included corn syrup. It really doesn't need it, so it is no longer in the recipe.
  4. Serving suggestions - This french toast casserole is amazing served with fresh berries instead of the praline topping if you are looking to lighten it up.
  5. Freezing the casserole - The leftovers freeze VERY well! We eat about 1/4 of the pan. I freeze the leftovers in 3 containers, so when we want a special breakfast I just thaw it and pop it in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Perfect.


Title text (shown in a casserole dish): French Toast Bake Make Ahead Recipe

Originally published June 2011, updated and republished December 2020

https://amzn.to/2npi3zd

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62 comments:

  1. Sounds like breakfast turned out great. I love baked french toast.

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  2. This sounds like a VERY special breakfast
    Mary

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  3. Thanks Mary & Mary! It was special and my husband and daughter loved it. It truly makes me happy to feed people. Feeding my family something they love is doubly pleasing to me. <3

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  4. What a fantastic breakfast!

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  5. Donna, thank you for stopping by my blog and for becoming a follower! This French toast casserole sounds divine!

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  6. Sounds so delicious, Donna! Hope you had a fabulous Father's Day with your family. :)

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  7. Hai Dear

    This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog...Please check out my blog..It is for food lovers and person who love to cook..You could find so many recipes that you can easily try at home..I update this blog on a regular basis…So please follow me and motivate me..Thank you
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com

    Aarthi

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  8. I love french toast but this taking it to a whole new level!
    amazing!

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  9. Thank you Donna, for visiting my blog, and for becoming a follower! I've made something similar to this before, and it is delicious! I love oven french toast!

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  10. My husband loves french toast and I'm always looking for something different..Love it!

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  11. Cant wait to try this out with my family, we are all French Toast Lovers so should be a hit!!

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  12. Just made this......OH MY GOODNESS!!! It's like the BEST French toast. It reminds of a cinnamon bun, but EVEN BETTER!!!!! Thanks for sharing! Love, love, love this!

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  13. I made this for Christmas morning last year and the family loved it!

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  14. Rebekah ArmentroutOctober 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    I like the looks of the recipe, I am just wondering if you have any suggestions for a praline substitute? My little little girl has a nut allergy and cannot have any kind of tree nuts. I would love to make this without the praline topping but I don't want to mess up the recipe.

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    Replies
    1. You could leave out the nuts or completely omit the topping. This french toast casserole is perfect with fruit on top. Pie filling on top of served with fresh fruit. You could cook down some blueberries and add about 1/4 cup of sugar per pint and pour the blueberry sauce over top. There are so many possibilities. Let us know what you come up with!

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    2. What about oats (dry oatmeal)? Like a crisp topping.

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  15. we love it at the highrise i made it before cooked for 38 people

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  16. Made it last week and it was delicious!!!

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  17. I have made this dish for years, I use vanilla and cinnamon to enhance the flavor too, and of course top with real maple syrup!

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  18. Hello,
    What is half-half?
    Thanks

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  19. Hello,
    What is Half-half?
    thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nazek!

      Half and half is a dairy product found in the USA. It is literally made up of half cream and half milk. Feel free to substitute accordingly OR substitute all cream for a VERY rich casserole or substitute all milk for a less rich casserole. If substituting all milk reduce the recipe by 1/2 cup milk. Enjoy!

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  20. This is delish I made it and it was yummy.

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  21. I tried it.. It smells wonderful but came out soggy.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear that Shannon. You may have benefited from a longer cook time and perhaps a more absorbent bread. If not, cut the milk by 1/2 cup next time.

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    2. I just tried this as well, had the same soggy issue. It's been in the oven now for over an hour :(

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    3. I made this and had to cook it a little longer. Then let it set for about 10 min. and it firmed up.
      It was so very good.

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  22. My friend made it for my bf and I , it was sooo good !

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  23. Love this made it back to back

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  24. Just made this! Everyone loved it

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  25. I too have made it several times...just this morning as a matter of fact. Kids love it

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  26. Good morning. Tried this with my family this morning and my husband loved it. I didn't have half-half so I used 1.5 cups of whole cream, omitted the praline topping and added 1/4 tsp of apple pie spice. Thanks for posting ideas for other topping substitutes as my daughter doesn't care for nuts either. Thanks for sharing!

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  27. I don't have light corn syrup will real maple syrup work in place of it?

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely. You could even omit it. Honestly the topping would be fabulous without it.

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  28. Taste ok if you leave out the nuts? Kids dont like nuts

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  29. Can I make it without the topping

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  30. This is identical to Paula Deen's casserole recipe...and it is DIVINE.

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  31. What about oats (dry oatmeal) instead of nuts? Like a crisp topping.

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  32. I made this version this morning..and it smelled awesome, looked great too...and I also made another version that had been posted around Christmas time. Smelled great and looked great, my problem is the sogginess of it. Did I do something wrong? I even cooked it a tad longer like I did with the other version. Or is this the expected outcome of it ? Any suggestions please email me, I would greatly appreciate it. ellen lanko(fb)

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    Replies
    1. It does come out kind of like bread pudding. You can cut down on the liquid by about 1/2 cup to reduce the wetness of the casserole.

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  33. Hi Donna,, what can i use if i don't have corn syrup? im going to try this tomorrow,, it looks so yummy,, i just can't find the corn syrup :-( thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Donna! I would either use brown rice syrup or just leave it out. It is honestly plenty sweet without it. This is my 3 year old recipe. Someday I will update it, but these days I cut the liquid by half and leave out the corn syrup. I will make a note on the recipe. Enjoy and let us know how it goes. Thank you, Donna

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  34. This is the most decadent breakfast or brunch I have ever eaten. Thanks for the recipe

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  35. Hi there - I love reading your blog! Just a question about making this recipe. We have a cream tolerance issue in our family, so I need to cook without it. I was wondering if evaporated or sweetened condensed milk could be used in this recipe, or if I would make something so yummy really awful. Appreciate your thoughts, Rebecca

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    Replies
    1. So happy to meet you Rebecca, glad you love our site.

      The evaporated milk can replace the half and half/milk, replace cup for cup. Let us know how it goes. Enjoy!

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  36. Is this real mushy bread or is it crunchy?? I prefer crispy bread like if it was made on the stove top.....

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  37. do you have to refrigerate overnight or can you prepare and bake the same day?

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  38. Hi! What is half-and-half?
    Thanks!
    Nika

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  39. The topping asks for 2 sticks of butter? How much is 2 sticks?

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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. I used Almond extract in place of the vanilla and made only 1/2 recipe of the Praline Topping mixture and substituting quick oats in place of the nuts.
    Great recipe to make and serve when having out of town / over night guests.
    Thank You

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  42. Can I use cinnamon bread. Should I use less eggs

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  43. Why oh why do people not read previous comments/questions before asking the same questions over and over. I applaud Donna for so patiently and politely answering the same questions again and again. This recipe looks divine and I can't wait to try it.

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  44. Please some one help me, i made the strawberry banana cheesecake salad, i couldnt find the simply pure vanilla coffee creamer, so i used french vanilla creamer, now it taste to much like french vanilla, what can i use to reduce the taste of the french vanilla creamer

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  45. I made this for Christmas breakfast. Substituted egg nog for the milk to give it more of a seasonal flavor. Very tasty.

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  46. Made this for a potluck today. Everyone loved it. It's a keeper!!

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  47. Do you havr to refridgerate overnight?

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