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.
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.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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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