Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Bread that is a little bit dry will hold up better in the casserole and provide more structure, which is why breakfast casseroles tend to call for "day old" bread. If your bread is fresh or soft, after you cube it, spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in a 200°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Italian pork sausage
  • 10 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 5 cups cubed day old bread (we recommend rustic French or Italian loaf), cut into 3/4-inch to 1 inch-wide cubes
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2 cup peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes (optional)

Method

1 Brown the sausage: Heat a skillet on medium. Break up the sausage into chunks and cook, working in batches if need be, until cooked on all sides. As you cook the sausage, you can break up the larger chunks into smaller crumbles (which are easier to distribute evenly over the casserole).

When lightly browned, remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess fat.

Cooking Sausage for breakfast casserole browning sausage for breakfast casserole

2 In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper.

whisking the liquid ingredients together

3 Assemble the casserole: Place the cubed bread in a well-buttered 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and mushrooms, if using. Top with the browned crumbled sausage, distributing it evenly. Pour the egg milk mixture evenly over the bread and cheese.

layered sausage, cheese, and other breakfast casserole ingredients breakfast casserole topped with sausage

4 Cover and chill, if making ahead: At this point, the casserole can be covered and chilled in the fridge until ready to bake and serve, up to overnight.

If baking immediately, let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before putting in the oven (to give the bread a chance to absorb the milk-egg mixture.

5 Bake the casserole: When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake uncovered for about one hour. Tent with foil if the top begins to brown too quickly.

6 Serve: Let the casserole cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

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Comments

  • Kris Hodges

    This was good but I wish I’d used breakfast sausage instead of Italian sausage. I didn’t use the optional mushrooms or tomatoes . I prefer breakfast casseroles with bread rather than potatoes even though I’m a real potato lover. May the mushrooms and tomatoes would give it more flavor.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Pam Green

    Holiday staple in my family for 30 + years. Jones’ bulk pork sausage works very well in this recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • clayton

    All I can say is my family LOVED it.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Robin W

    I took this breakfast casserole (only added Jimmy Dean sausage) and it was a definite crowd pleaser at our work potluck breakfast today. I used shredded sharp cheddar with Philadelphia Cream Cheese- 1.5 packages- I think that gave it an extra zing.

  • Adri

    Can you make this recipe in a bundt pan?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Adri! Emma here, managing editor. You’d need to increase the cooking time to make sure the middle is cooked through, but I think it should work ok! Start checking it after an hour by inserting a toothpick in the middle; when it emerges clean with no raw egg, it’s ready! (though be careful not to confuse the raw egg with gooey cheese!). Also, if you were planning to unmold this from the bundt pan, I’m not sure how well that will work. I’d recommend serving it straight from the bundt pan. You could possibly try lining the pan with foil before baking so that you can easily unmold and remove the foil? Good luck!

  • Felishia Hoffecker

    Would this casserole work well if it were frozen after being assembled? Has anyone tried that yet?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Felishia! Emma here, managing editor. We haven’t tested out freezing this casserole unbaked. My gut instinct is that it would work better if frozen AFTER baking. Good luck!

  • Mary Kapfhammer

    PLease tell me can this be doubled. If so how long and what temp to bake?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi Mary! Emma here, managing editor. You could definitely double this recipe and bake in two separate 9×13 baking dishes. Cooking time would be the same. I’m not sure if you could double and bake in one dish — my fear is that the dish would overflow. If you try it, place a baking sheet under the baking dish to catch any drips. Start checking it after 1 1/2 hours and continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (no raw egg; though be careful not to confuse raw egg with gooey cheese!) Enjoy!

  • Emily

    Has anyone ever done this with wheat bread ? Is it just as good ?

    • Stacey

      Yes, Emily…any bread is great. I almost used a multi grain that the bakery had day old but their country white was only $1 so that won!

  • Marisa

    My husband LOVES this stuff, (only we don’t add the veggies or onion powder because he would disown me!, lol) nor do I add the mustard but I do add garlic powder and oregano! And instead of sandwich bread I use crescent rolls that have been cooked and cubed! Holy cow it’s good! It gives it almost a sweet savory taste!

  • Helen

    I made this just before Xmas. I didn’t have access to spicy Italian sausage so I used Clonakilty black pudding. I’m Irish! I crumbled it over the dish. My god…it was so tasty.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Don Ugent

    We prepared this the night before Christmas, subbing bacon for the sausage and refrigerated it over night. Baked it about an hour before our gusts arrived. It was fabulous and lots of compliments. Will make it regular for Christmas brunch.

  • Karl Lembke

    Ever since finding the basic recipe (called “French Toast Casserole”), I’ve been cooking variations as my whimsy strikes.
    For the breakfast potluck at work on Christmas Eve, I made a “Ham And Cheese On Rye” casserole.
    The bread was equal parts Jewish rye and dark rye.
    I soaked that in the egg-milk mixture (with a tablespoon and a half of grainy mustard) overnight and folded in a pound of diced ham and a pound of diced smoked Gouda cheese.
    Baked at 350° in a casserole pan for 45 miuntes, wrapped it up in foil, and took it to the potluck.
    Brought back an empty casserole dish.
    The rye flavor was pronounced and gave the dish character. The mustard was a note in the background, and was just right. Both the ham and cheese came through nicely and didn’t overwhelm.
    I will be making this again, and may try making a Reuben casserole in the near future.

  • Wendy lucier

    Made this today and it was amazing! We have some leftovers. Can we freeze them or just put in fridge? Thanks!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Wendy, I think you could freeze or refrigerate this for leftovers.

  • Gwyn Walton

    I made this tonight and it was very tasty. Hubby really liked it. Instead of using a oblong casserole dish I baked it in the 4 quart stainless steel saute pan that I cooked the sausage in (I added some fresh chopped onion to the sausage when cooking it). I drained the fat but didn’t wipe the pan out and it was enough to coat the pan with oil. (It did however, need 15 – 20 minutes longer with the one pot dish). I did add 2 freshly copped Roma tomatoes and a cup of sliced mushrooms. Thank you Elise!

  • Tracy

    I have a similar recipe from a B&B my Moms friend owned in Ocean Grove Nj ! The key to this dish, I think, Is mixing it all, bread and cheese too, with an electric mixer, kitchen aid . I did it both ways, and the mixer just improves the taste !! This recipe is a winner, My Christmas morning tradition !!

  • Sue Santoro

    We’re trying to reduce carb and trying not to use potatoes or bread. Is there some other carb friendly veggie or something to use instead?

  • pam

    this sounds so easy & yummy. (can i use gluten free bread & add chopped olives?)

    cheers :-)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Pam, I haven’t tried making this with gluten-free bread, but it should work. Also, chopped olives would be a great addition!

  • Ginny

    Is there a nondairy version? My husband can tolerate Swiss, but not even half that amount of milk. Would almond milk give a reasonable result? No nut allergies in the family, thank goodness

    • Kris

      Ginny, if your husband is lactose intolerant there is lactose-free milk that is delicious. I use it in all my cooking where milk is included and it works great.

  • Jan Huston

    My sister-in-law swears by this recipe. I’m going to make this for Easter Breakfast at church. I will follow advice and use less milk (heavy cream sounded like a good substitute), as I worry about it being soggy in the middle. Also, would prefer to use hash browns (frozen, I presume) as suggested, but wonder how much?

  • Bernadette

    This is a great Breakfast for Christmas morning. I added three more ingredients, I put Aspargus ( cut into bite size pieces. And I use Leeks and scallions instead of onions. Oregano is good also. And I do not put tomatoes in it. Everyone loves it. And yes must use less milk.

  • davie g

    this is fantastic made it in 5 mins cooked for 50 min added a little chili sauces forgot the mustard stuck it on the bar for customers they loved it well done. its going on my brunch menu

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jenny

    My casserole turned out great. I haven’t eaten any of it yet but the top browned nicely and it smells delicious. I added some extra veggies to make it healthier and so far doesn’t look like there’s any problems with it. Great recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Beth

    I love, love, love this casserole! I too use Bob Evans sausage, extra sharp cabot cheese, and I top my portion with maple syrup! sinfully delicious! I can’t save it for Christmas though. Have it at least once a month during the winter.

  • Foodiebia

    Delicious recipe! I made it this year to feed 6 people on Christmas morning. It was a huge hit.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Nanci

    Thank you for the recipe Elise! This is now staple for Easter Brunch in our house!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Karen Suddath

    Lighteded it up and my family liked it even more; 2% cheese, skim milk and turkey sausage.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • SHELBY

    Another winner on this website. Served for a brunch at our home and the casserole came out PERFECT. Looked exactly like the photo. Now that I know the recipe I can make it really quick with other ingredients like chiles and different kinds of vegetables. Thanks again Elise for making me into the gourmet cook I aspire to be.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jasmine

    I enjoyed making this dish! It was very easy and fun to make! I will share this with all my close family and friends! I would suggest trying it with other meats such as ham or turkey sausage. The turkey sausage works great!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Monica Pileggi

    I made this for a December brunch and it was a hit! I did add the optional mushrooms. Delicious!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Sharon

    This recipe was delicious, thank you! I made it with ciabatta bread, chicken maple sausage, and garlic powder (instead of onion). Plus some chopped green onions. Came out beautifully and everyone was wowed.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Christine

    I had an unexpected visit from a relative (for breakfast) and turned to this delicious breakfast casserole – I followed everything exactly and added tomatoes which added beautiful colour – a great dish (second helpings were asked for!!) thanks for saving the day Elise!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • ha3rvey

    I made this to take to work for breakfast one Friday. It was awesome! I subbed turkey breakfast sausage, but that was the only change I made.

    Great recipe. I’ll definitely be making this one again.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Amy

    This is our traditional Christmas morning breakfast! I add some green onions for flavor and color.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Raquel

    I made this for christmas brunch and it was DELICIOUS! Rave reviews from the family. I used a rosemary olive oil loaf of bread and premium sausage and very sharp cheddar. It came out beautifully. For us, not too salty…YUM.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Sally

    My mom makes this every year for Christmas morning! She makes it ahead of time, so she just puts it in the over while we’re opening presents. It tastes even better the next day, just heat it up in the microwave.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Nellie

    This was great except for one small bit – WAY too much milk.

    I found similar recipes online that called for half the amount of milk so I will do that next time.

    I cooked it longer than the recommended time and it still wasn’t done which I assume was due to the milk issue. Otherwise, it was a hit!

  • Elana

    I made this for my 6 year old son’s Veteran’s Day Breakfast that they hold annually at his school. This year he is bringing both of his grandpas, one from the Coast Guard and one from the Airforce. I am so proud to serve this dish to honor our men and women in uniform! (By the way, I added green onions and alot more cheese! Mmm! The eggs came from our own hens!)

  • Katy

    Have made the same recipe before, but instead of bread, used Hash Browns (either the shredded potatoes or the cubed ones). However you make it, it’s absolutely yummy, especially with hot sauce or salsa.

  • Shannon

    I was looking for a way to use up random buns, dinner rolls and bread. Trimmed bottoms and tops from the buns and used Lil Smokies sausages cut into thirds instead of the bulk pork sausage. Very good.

  • Karly

    This casserole spilled all over the dish onto the bottom of the oven. There is either too much milk called for or you need a bigger dish. It won’t be done in an hour.

  • Leigh Ann

    Left overs make great breakfast burritos as well.

  • Paula O'Neill

    I make this every year on Christmas morning for my family. Instead of cubed bread, I use shredded hash browns. My kids & grandkids fightover the leftovers to take home. It’s simply delicious. I have made a couple extra dishes using bacon, green pepper & onion, spinach, & asparagus which also makes it so good you just can’t get away from the table. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

  • Pamg

    This has been a holiday breakfast tradition in my family for many years. Always used Jones bulk pork sausage.

  • Ashton

    I love this recipe!! It tastes soooo good in the morning. Cucumbers add a refreshing taste and great color to this dish! Me and my friend made this together and we used turkey sausage:) (careful it’s really spicey)

  • Andrea

    I made this for an early morning get together yesterday and it was quite a hit. Since I’m a vegetarian, I substituted the sausage with crumbled veggie sausage patties, and no one was any wiser. I cut the recipe and used an 8″x8″ dish rather than a 9″x13″ dish, but I should have made the full recipe since it was gone in a flash!

  • Trudie

    I added red pepper flakes, 2 scallions, 1 tsp. herbes de provence, 2 tsp. parsley, thought it needed a bit of a kick.

    It all depends on the sausage you are using. Some sausage is spicier than others. ~Elise

  • Jeanine

    Made this for Christmas breakfast on the spur of the moment–it was a little moist in the middle, possibly because I didn’t have time to dry out the bread, but everyone liked it. Thanks!

  • Margaret

    This recipe looks delicious. Definitely will be served at Christmas brunch.
    But just wondering if you can make well ahead of time and freeze?

    According to a commenter on another breakfast casserole recipe on this site, yes you can make ahead and freeze. Personally I’ve haven’t done so, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. ~Elise

  • Kate

    My family also has a version of this but with Italian croutons instead of bread and then crispy bacon sprinkled on top for the last ten minutes instead of the sausage. It’s a family brunch staple and since I have two laying hens in my urban backyard, I’m always in charge of the egg dish!

  • Gloriana

    Very nice. I sauteed onions with the sausage and used just a pinch of onion powder. Yummy! Making it the night before made Sunday Brunch a cinch. I plan to experiment with gruyere, prosciutto and mushrooms next time. Thanks for yet another lovely recipe that makes me look like a pro!

  • Jessica

    My mom makes this all the time and especially at Christmas. Half of the people in her sunday school class claim to only come so that they can have some of hers. We call it Sausage Strata and we use seasoned croutons instead of bread. It’s simpler and we think that it tastes better that way. This dish is très yummy!!!

  • REC

    To Lydia…. you mention using grits in place of bread…..could you post your recipe as I am just not sure I follow this…. Grits I think would make a perfect side with this… but I could eat a whole pot of grits my self…

  • Matt

    We refer to this recipe by no name other then Christmas breakfast and have it every year. Instead of Sausage we use strips of bacon. When this finishes cooking the bacon is deliciously crispy.

  • Jamie

    This casserole is one of our favorite Christmas traditions. We make it the night before and put it in the oven on Christmas morning when everyone is too excited about Santa’s visit to think about breakfast. We make ours with cornbread.

  • Betsy

    We like it with nice lean breakfast sausage. Each to his own, it’s a great adaptable recipe.

  • Chris

    We make this recipe with Oscar Mayer “Little Smokies” sausages. Excellent for breakfast and there are never any leftovers. Mmmmmm…..

  • krista

    I have made this several times. The first time I used ham and it was very salty, the next time I tried it I used low sodium ham.

  • Terri

    This has also been one of my family’s Christmas favorites. My mom always made it since years ago and now I am making it for my family and have since passed the wonderful recipe on to friends. A couple things we put in it are light cream (you can also use half and half), and a teaspoon of worchestershire, it adds a great flavor.

  • Abby

    We had breakfast casserole on Christmas morning, but being from the South, ours had grits, not bread!

  • Linda

    Hi Elise,

    Thanks for posting another yummy great recipe.
    What kind of white bread did you use in this recipe?

    I would like to share with you my tried and true recipe for Italian freezer sausage. It is easy to make and less salty than sausage you can buy.

    Linda

    For ever 2 pounds of fresh ground pork
    Add the Following
    1 tsp black peppercorns
    2 tsp of kosher salt
    2 tsp of dried basil
    1/4 tsp of dried garlic, I use the gradules.
    1 1/2 tsp of freshly ground anise seed.
    dash of ground allspice or 4 freshly ground allspice seeds.
    dash of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes if you want a little heat.

    I use a small oster blender container or you can use a spice grinder. Add allspice seeds, black pepper,anise seed and the salt and grind medium finely. Then add the basil, garlic and blend a few seconds to combine.

    Add the above to the ground pork and mix with your hands or with a wooden spoon in a big bowl.
    I do not use castings. Instead I use sandwich bags dividing the sausage into 1/2 pound portions squeezing out as much as I can of the air in the bag then freeze it. I make pizza every Friday. The sausage never lasts this long at my house but this sausage will keep for 3 months in the freezer compartment of the fridge.

  • Sally W.

    This might be good with hashbrowns or diced potatoes in it too.

  • liz

    I make this with Bob Evans hot sausage and leave out all the other seasonings for my book club every year. I also make these little white bread rollup things with cinnamon and sugar. We call it a Winter Wonder(bread) Land.

  • Jane O'Connor

    I’ve made this using just the pork sausage for a breakfast serving 20 people. With fruit, juice and/or coffee, it makes a filling meal to start the day. Everyone loves it.

  • Paul Shipman

    Elise, any thoughts on preparing ahead and freezing, minus the mushrooms and tomatoes? Seems like everything else would work. This sounds like a great item to have at the ready. I’m not much of a freezer person, but trying to get into that habit.

  • Greg B

    Try it with the maple flavored sausage from Jimmy Dean! My wife makes it that way and it tastes and smells great!!

    • Kathleen

      I’ve been making this casserole since it was published by Jimmy Dean years ago and have used the maple sausage too. Somewhere along the line I forgot about the dry mustard so I’m glad Elise posted it.

  • barbara

    We have been making this for Christmas breakfast for as long as I can remember and I’m 53 yrs. old! We make it with low salt diced ham instead of sausauge. Mmmmmm so good!

  • J.R.

    Yum! A staple at our house every Christmas morning.

    This year I spruced it up a bit with some jalapenos and then roasted some red pepper and threw that in there. Delicious!

  • Lisa

    This is a classic with my family. My mom prepares it the night before and pops it in the oven in the morning, and her guests get a hot breakfast. I like the idea of a veggie version–mushrooms and tomatoes, as suggested, and maybe some chopped zucchini and onions, too, in place of the sausage? Yum!

  • Elaine

    Easy to make and delicious. Next time I will omit the sausage and serve it separately, as it made the casserole too salty. Served with croissants and a fresh fruit salad. Yummy.

  • Bea Wright

    Add a mexican flare by adding a small can of diced mild green chile peppers