Overnight French toast casserole is a delicious way to prepare breakfast the night before. You’ll love this make-ahead version of baked French toast, with no messy skillet or griddle to clean.
Why you’ll love it: I cannot ever get enough of this easy French toast casserole whenever I make it. The flavors are completely irresistible.
How long it takes: 20 minutes of prep, and about an hour in the oven.
Equipment you’ll need: a casserole dish, a saucepan, and a large bowl.
Easy Overnight French Toast Casserole
We love French toast at our house! Ben likes to make it for the kids in the morning, using whole wheat bread soaked in lots of milk and eggs. Nice and easy, and healthy, too. With a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and topped with fresh fruit, it’s a good alternative to the usual bowl of cereal.
Sometimes, though, you want a breakfast that’s a little special. Maybe you have guests coming, or it’s a holiday or birthday, or maybe you just crave a breakfast that’s a little decadent. Enter, overnight French toast casserole!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This wholesome French toast casserole is perfect for that special breakfast. Bonus: it smells so good while it’s baking! Perfect with a cup of coffee. Here are more reasons to love it:
- Flavorful. My French toast casserole is scented with cinnamon and nutmeg, with a crunchy, sweet buttery base and custardy bread pudding. This oven baked French toast is heavenly. Truly the best!
- Make-ahead. This recipe is made the night before with ingredients you probably have on hand, then baked in the morning, and served with a flourish. You’re going to wonder why you don’t make French toast in the oven more often!
- Company-worthy. French toast casserole is ideal when you have overnight guests. It feeds a crowd, and you won’t be standing over a hot griddle all morning, pining for a chance to sit down.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this overnight French toast casserole recipe. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full recipe amounts and details.
- Brown Sugar, Butter, and Cinnamon: You’ll combine and melt these three ingredients into a delicious, saucy base for your casserole.
- Bread: I like to use a loaf of French bread or challah to make this French toast casserole. See below.
- Eggs and Milk: You’ll whisk up a custard of eggs, milk, and vanilla to pour over your bread to create a “bread pudding”.
- Nutmeg: I add a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt to the eggs to enhance the flavors.
What’s the Best Bread to Use?
The best bread for French toast is slightly stale, or day old. Texas toast, French bread, and brioche are popular choices. Or, you can make a challah French toast casserole. Challah is a slightly sweet bread, rich with eggs, traditional to Jewish Sabbath day celebrations.
Whether you’re making a classic version or a French toast casserole, you want to buy an unsliced loaf preferably. This way you can cut the bread into nice sized cubes. But don’t worry if your bread is already sliced, it will be just fine!
How to Make French Toast Casserole
Ready to whip up a delicious French toast casserole to save for later? Here’s how to do it:
- Chop up the bread. Take your day-old bread loaf and chop it into bite-sized chunks.
- Make the sauce. Next, mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a saucepan. Cook until it’s nice and syrupy. Afterward, spread that yummy mixture into the bottom of a baking dish.
- Assemble. Then comes the bread pieces, followed by a mixture of eggs, milk, and vanilla. Nestle those bread chunks right down into the liquid so they soak up all the creamy goodness.
- Refrigerate. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil, stick the whole business in the fridge, and your work is finished!
- Bake. Fast forward, and in the morning, turn the oven on, uncover your casserole, and bake for around 55 minutes. It should be set in the middle and golden brown on top.
- Serve. Cut into squares, scooping out nice big pieces. Make sure you get the sticky caramel stuff from the bottom of the pan (it’s the best part). Enjoy with fresh fruit, or bacon, sausage, or ham. Coffee or orange juice is a must!
Tips for the Best French Toast Casserole
Here are some final tips for a dreamy overnight French toast bake:
- Dry, stale bread absorbs the egg mixture better. If your bread is really fresh, don’t despair! Cut (or tear) the loaf into large cubes (approximately 1 inch) and spread the pieces on a baking sheet. Let the bread dry out for an hour or so, or dry it in the oven briefly, for 10 minutes at 275ºF.
- Test for doneness with a butter knife. Just insert the knife near the center and see if it comes out clean. If milky liquid is clinging to the knife, bake it for another 5 minutes, and check it again.
- If your French toast casserole is still a bit soggy, this could be because there’s too much milk and not enough eggs in the custard. Try baking it a little longer. If needed, you can tent the casserole dish with foil to prevent the top from browning too quickly.
make this Recipe Your Own
- You can use a variety of different types of bread. Mix different kinds together if you’d like. Each type of bread will have unique characteristics.
- Adapt the spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Pumpkin pie spice would be a good substitute.
- You could add up to one cup of chopped walnuts or pecans to the bottom layer of butter and brown sugar.
- If you prefer French toast that is lower in calories, skip the bottom layer of sugar. Just make sure your pan is well-greased. I’d suggest sweetening the egg mixture with ¼ cup maple syrup instead.
- Wanting something a little different? Try these chai flavored French toast skewers! Air fryer French toast sticks are also popular with kids.
- Gluten-free alternative: Try my crustless quiche, with lots of flavor options.
Ways to Serve French Toast Casserole
We love sprinkling confectioners’ sugar over this French toast casserole after it’s baked. Of course, a drizzle of maple syrup is a must.
Wondering what to serve with this oven baked French toast? Round out your breakfast or brunch with proteins like homemade sausage patties and baked bacon (so easy, bake it at the same time as your casserole!).
We love more easy breakfast side dishes like these crispy roasted potatoes and air fryer sweet potato hash. For a healthy addition, try my fruit salad parfaits or a fresh citrus salad with mint, honey, and lime.
Storage and Reheating
I love that this oven baked French toast recipe is one you can make ahead; it’s a great meal prep idea. Here’s how to properly store it:
- Fridge: Make this casserole up to 24 hours in advance, refrigerated, covered well with plastic wrap or foil. Left over French toast reheats well although the top will probably be a little less crispy. I would microwave each piece briefly, in 30 second intervals. It heats up rather quickly.
- Freezer: This casserole is also great to freeze before it’s baked. Assemble the casserole as directed, and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, plus a layer of foil. Defrost the casserole in the fridge and then bake as directed.
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark will work)
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- 1 18 oz. loaf of french bread or challah, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 10-12 cups of cubed bread)
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups milk (2% or whole milk)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Grease or spray a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Cook until butter and sugar no longer separate, about 7 minutes. Pour into prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle bread cubes over brown sugar mixture in an even layer.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Pour egg mixture over bread, pressing down slightly if needed to saturate all the bread with the egg mixture.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap/cover and place cold pan in cold oven. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Bake for 55 minutes or until browned, bubbling, and no longer liquidy in the middle. A butter knife inserted near the center should come out clean, not coated with egg/milk mixture.
- Other types of bread can be substituted.
- Can be made up to 24 hours in advance before baking.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.