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!

french toast bake in glass pan

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.

Recipe Video

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 arranged in glass pan

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.
pouring mixture of ingredients over french toast

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 in glass pan with egg mixture
closer picture of french toast and mixture in glass pan

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.

french toast bake in glass pan

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.

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

french toast bake close up

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French Toast Bake

Baked French Toast Recipe + Video

Donna Elick
Our Baked French Toast Recipe makes a scrumptious casserole with the texture of bread pudding. Prep it ahead, then bake it in the morning!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Chill Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 50 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 8

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 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

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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!

Video

Donna’s Notes

How to prevent soggy French toast – We have been enjoying this recipe for 10 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.
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.
Praline topping – In the original recipe, the praline topping included corn syrup. It really doesn’t need it, so it has been removed from the ingredient list.
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.
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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 682cal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 260mg | Sodium: 471mg | Sugar: 35g | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 3mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published June 2011, updated and republished December 2020

french toast bake

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63 Comments

  1. 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

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

  3. 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
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  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

    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!

  7. 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!

    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!

    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.

    2. 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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