Make Ahead French Toast Bake + Video
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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!
Make Ahead French Toast Bake
Overnight French toast casserole 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. Try this Air Fryer French Toast for a quick and easy breakfast.
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.
Be sure to watch the video for step by step instructions! It’s located in the recipe card, at the bottom of this post.
French Toast Casserole Recipe Tips
- 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.
- 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.
How 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.
Freezing Baked French Toast
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.
Dairy Free Option
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.
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Baked French Toast Recipe + Video
- 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 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
- 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Prepare a 9″x13″ baking dish by generously buttering the entire inside of the dish. Set the baking dish aside.
- Using a serrated bread knife, cut the French bread, on the bias, into slices approximately 1-inch thick. Arrange slices in the prepared baking dish in 2 rows, slightly overlapping the slices. Set dish aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add half & half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
- 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 casserole dish with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, set oven to 350°F to preheat. Meanwhile, prepare the praline topping by adding all ingredients to a medium mixing bowl, then stir to combine.
- Use a small scoop to portion the praline topping into 8 dollops evenly across the top of the casserole. Using a silicone spatula, spread topping evenly over the bread (like you are icing a cake).Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
- Serve warm drizzled with syrup and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published June 2011, updated and republished December 2020
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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!
I don't have light corn syrup will real maple syrup work in place of it?
Absolutely. You could even omit it. Honestly the topping would be fabulous without it.
Taste ok if you leave out the nuts? Kids dont like nuts
Can I make it without the topping
This is identical to Paula Deen's casserole recipe…and it is DIVINE.
What about oats (dry oatmeal) instead of nuts? Like a crisp topping.
That would be a great option.
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)
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.
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
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
This is the most decadent breakfast or brunch I have ever eaten. Thanks for the recipe
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
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!
Is this real mushy bread or is it crunchy?? I prefer crispy bread like if it was made on the stove top…..
do you have to refrigerate overnight or can you prepare and bake the same day?
Hi! What is half-and-half?
The topping asks for 2 sticks of butter? How much is 2 sticks?
That is 1 cup of butter. Enjoy Leslie!
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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.
Can I use cinnamon bread. Should I use less eggs
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.
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
I made this for Christmas breakfast. Substituted egg nog for the milk to give it more of a seasonal flavor. Very tasty.
Made this for a potluck today. Everyone loved it. It's a keeper!!
Do you havr to refridgerate overnight?
I make this once a year for Christmas morning. I bake off bacon & sausages the day before. Makes Christmas morning a breeze with 2 young kids. I asked my daughter if we wanted something different in 2021 & she said "absolutely not this is our Christmas morning tradition!"
I made this recipe last night for our supper. I actually made it around 1 pm, so it did not set overnight in the refrigerator as suggested in the recipe. It was refrigerated for about 4-5 hrs. But it was very good. It made a nice supper for my husband and myself and you don’t need syrup. Its sweet enough as it is. I will definitely make this again.
We are so happy you enjoyed it! Have a great day!
TSRI Team Member,
Made this last night and had it tonight, it was SO good. It is almost like having french toast bread pudding, which is awesome. I will be saving this recipe!