French Toast Casserole

Breakfast and BrunchMake-ahead

Easy French toast casserole with crunchy cinnamon-sugar top. Bake right away, or make ahead and refrigerate overnight.

Photography Credit: Lisa Lin

With this French toast casserole, you skip the hassle of standing by the stove and pan-frying each individual slice of French toast.

Instead, you just throw everything into a dish and let the oven do the work! You can even assemble the casserole the night before and bake it the next morning.

You still get all the best parts of a slice of French toast, but with far less effort: soft and custardy middles, cinnamon-infused edges, plus an extra-crunchy toasted topping.

French Toast Casserole

For this French toast casserole, you are going to need a fairly large loaf of bread – enough to make about 10 cups once cubed. Use any good-quality loaf, like a French loaf, sourdough, ciabatta, or challah. I actually really liked the sourdough bread because the slight sour taste helped balance out the sweetness of everything else.

Leave the crusts on the bread since this adds some good, crunchy texture to the casserole!

French Toast Casserole

I also added some orange zest and dried cranberries to my version to brighten up the flavors. You can leave these out if you want, or add your own favorite dried fruits to the casserole!

By the way, those extra-crunchy top pieces are like cinnamon and sugar croutons. As I was testing this recipe, I kept picking them from the top and leaving the bottom for my husband. Shh…don’t tell anyone.

French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Chill time: overnight (optional)
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Make-ahead instructions: Assemble the casserole through Step 4, cover well, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, uncover, drizzle the casserole with the topping, and bake. Baking time will be slightly longer.

This casserole reheats well, though the chunks of bread on the top will gradually lose some crunch. The best way to reheat it is to bake it in the oven at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes to warm through and re-crisp the top.

Ingredients

For the casserole:

  • 1 large loaf good-quality French loaf, sourdough, ciabatta, or challah (enough to yield 10 cups of chunks of bread)
  • 1/2 cup (45g) chopped pecans
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • Zest from one medium orange (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Optional toppings for serving:

  • Dried cranberries
  • Powdered sugar
  • Maple syrup

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Place an oven rack in the center position.

2 Slice the bread into 1-inch slices and then cut them into 1-inch cubes. You can also tear the bread apart with your hands. Leave the crusts on.

French Toast Casserole

3 Layer the bread and pecans in a baking dish: Lightly grease a 2-quart (if you want thicker slices) or 3-quart baking dish (if you want thinner slices) with cooking spray or butter. Add enough bread cubes to cover the bottom. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of pecans on top. Continue layering the bread chunks and pecans.

French Toast Casserole

4 Prepare and add the custard: In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the milk, sugar, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and mix well. Pour the egg and milk mixture evenly over all the bread chunks. (I found it easier to pour the mixture into a large measuring cup with a spout first before pouring the mixture over the bread.)

At this point, the casserole can be baked right away, or covered and refrigerated overnight.

French Toast Casserole French Toast Casserole

5 Drizzle with topping: In another bowl, mix the melted butter with the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Using a spoon, drizzle the mixture evenly over all the bread chunks.

French Toast Casserole

6 Bake the casserole for 35 to 45 minutes. I baked mine for about 38 minutes. Leave the casserole in the oven longer if you want the chunks of bread on the top to be more brown and crunchier.

7 Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle dried cranberries and dust powdered sugar on top, if you like. Serve with maple syrup at the table.

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French Toast Casserole

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Lisa Lin

Lisa Lin is the writer and photographer behind Healthy Nibbles & Bits, where she shares simple, gluten-free recipes. She grew up in San Francisco and spent time living in China and Washington, D.C. before moving back to California. Her recipes are often inspired by her time in China and travel throughout Southeast Asia.

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35 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Mel

    Yum. Easy and soo good.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jo

    Made it with Pepperidge Farm cinnamon swirl. It was great!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • KIMBERLY

    I made this yesterday morning and OMG, I may never make individual french toast again. This was AMAZING! I upped he liquid to 2 cups and used half n half, also used 7 eggs instead of 5. I had soft artisan bread so I toasted fhe bread chunks on a cookie sheet first. I added a saueeze of maple syrup to the topping mix as well. House smelled amazing and both me and my boyfriend had seconds. This recipe is definiteky a keeper!

  • JoLynn Becker

    I made this with Lactaid, a lactose free milk, added 2tbsp melted butter to it before baking and 1 tbsp vanilla extract to the eggs & sugar & cinnamon mix. I did not stir it up to coat all the bread, 6 Texas toast slices I cut into 9 squares each. Added more sugar and cinnamon to the top before baking, too. Topping I added 1/4 cup maple syrup to brown sugar and cinnamon and melted butter. Easily the best French toast I’ve ever eaten. Superb.

  • Andrea

    When you say the inside is creamy, does it mean the bread is soggy? I love French toast and want to make this for Xmas, but I’m afraid to do it since we all like our French toast to be well done, no wet middles.

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