Deliciously Easy French Toast Casserole

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How to make a deliciously easy French toast casserole, a make ahead recipe that's perfect for a crowd and makes a quick breakfast on busy mornings.

Sometimes on weekends, and especially on holidays and birthdays, we'll make blueberry buttermilk pancakes or our favorite recipe for cinnamon French toast.

slice of French toast casserole on white plate with maple syrup and fork

A French toast casserole is a win win for those special times when we don't necessarily feel like going to all the work of making actual French toast.

A good French toast bake pairs really well with eggs and bacon, or better yet, eggs and sausage. It adds a little sweet treat to breakfast time.

While you can make this overnight French toast without the topping, it won't be nearly as good. The topping is super quick to mix up, and you can just crumble it right onto the casserole before baking.

My family loves a deliciously easy breakfast casserole, don't you? Especially when it involves maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Want a more hands off approach to this recipe? Make Crock Pot French toast casserole instead! And my kids' absolute favorites are brioche French toast casserole and blueberry French toast casserole.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my cooking tips, important cooking info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the delicious recipe for French toast casserole – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card with a longer how to video.

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

  • Sandwich bread – You can use your favorite bread, and we'll talk more about that below.
  • Pecans
  • Large eggs
  • Milk
  • Real maple syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Salted butter
  • Light brown sugar

Remember, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

9″x13″ Baking Dish

Mixing Bowl or Liquid Measuring Cup and Whisk

Pastry Blender

Reusable Food Wraps – for covering and chilling.

Aluminum Foil – for baking.

WHAT BREAD SHOULD I USE TO MAKE AN OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE?

You can use sourdough, Texas toast, challah bread, French bread, Kings Hawaiian Rolls or Bread, brioche, cinnamon swirl bread, crescent rolls, or really any other type of fresh baked bread.

I used a regular loaf of plain old butter bread. Butter bread is a type of sandwich bread (or white bread) you can find at just about any store.

baked French toast casserole in white baking dish, baked and ready to serve

This recipe is simple, so you can hopefully either use what you already have or easily find what you need while you're at the store.

TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE AN EASY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

This is a fairly simple overnight French toast recipe. There are really only 3 steps (4 if you count the topping) to getting this casserole ready to go in the oven.

  1. First cube the bread and place it in a greased 9×13 baking dish, along with the pecans. You can layer the bread cubes and pecans so everything's blended well in the dish.
making French toast bake with cubed sandwich bread and pecans in white baking dish
  1. Then whisk together the eggs, milk, real maple syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
whisking eggs, milk, and spices in large measuring cup while making an overnight French toast casserole
  1. Then pour the egg mixture over the bread and pecans. Make sure all the bread is good and soaked.
bread cubes, layered with pecans, soaked with French toast egg mixture in white baking dish
  1. Cover and chill in the fridge for a good 4 to 6 hours or more. Overnight is best.
  2. Before baking, mix up your topping and just crumble it on as best you can. It's a really moist mixture, so it's more like clumps of cinnamon brown sugar. Then just bake.
adding a brown sugar cinnamon topping to French toast casserole in white baking dish before baking

And that's it! It's easy peasy to make.

CAN I LEAVE OUT THE PECANS? OR USE SOMETHING ELSE?

I get it. Not everyone's a fan of nuts. You can totally leave out the pecans altogether.

OR you can add a different kind of nut like walnuts, black walnuts, or almonds.

baked French toast casserole with brown sugar cinnamon topping in white baking dish

DO I REALLY HAVE TO CHILL THE CASSEROLE OVERNIGHT?

While it's best if you do, you don't have to. But let me just say, that the flavors will be at their best after chilling for at least a few hours.

If you're in a hurry, didn't have time to plan ahead, and need to make it now, that's ok. Just mix it up, make sure the bread is moistened well with the egg mixture, add the topping, and bake it.

sliced cinnamon French toast bake in white baking dish

CAN I MAKE THIS FRENCH TOAST BAKE GLUTEN-FREE?

Yes, you can. Just substitute your favorite gluten-free bread in place of the regular sandwich bread included in the ingredients.

WAYS TO GET CREATIVE WITH THIS RECIPE

Readers have given us a lot of creative ideas for ways to really switch up this recipe and add your own touch to this sweet breakfast casserole.

  • Try baking it in a bundt pan, inverting it after baking, to make it even prettier.
  • Top with a powdered sugar glaze instead of, or in addition to, the brown sugar topping.
  • Add raisins or dried cranberries when you add the bread and pecans.
  • Add fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
  • Use almond milk, or other non-dairy milk, instead of whole milk.
  • Speaking of milk, use eggnog in place of milk, especially around the holidays.
  • Try adding bacon… Because everything's better with bacon!
slice of easy French toast casserole on white plate with fork and maple syrup, white baking dish with easy sweet breakfast casserole

CAN I FREEZE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE?

You can freeze a French toast bake. While I recommend covering it well and freezing it after it's already been baked, you can also freeze it before baking (though I'd add the topping later before actually baking it).

Keep in mind it'll keep longer in the freezer if it's already been cooked.

Just be sure you have plenty of time for it to thaw and re-heat when taking it out of the freezer. Allow time for it to thaw in the fridge; then cook or re-heat.

slice of cinnamon French toast casserole on white plate with maple syrup and fork

MORE FRENCH TOAST RECIPES FOR YOU TO ENJOY

April J. Harris has a delicious recipe for blueberry bread and butter pudding. And cook up a batch of make ahead stuffed French toast with Mommy Hates Cooking.

Check out all our breakfast recipes for more easy breakfast ideas.

forked bite and full slice of gooey French toast bake on white plate

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

If you love this overnight French toast recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

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Yield: 12

Deliciously Easy French Toast Casserole

slice of French toast casserole on white plate with maple syrup and fork

How to make a deliciously easy French toast casserole, a make ahead recipe that's perfect for a crowd and makes a quick breakfast on busy mornings.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Chill Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Casserole:

  • 20 ounces sandwich bread*, cubed
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, sliced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish.
  2. Cube the bread into small 1-inch cubes, and layer with the pecans in your baking dish.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, real maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and pecans in the baking dish.
  5. Cover and chill for a good 4 to 6 hours or overnight.*
  6. When you're ready to bake the casserole, remove it from the fridge, and pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Meanwhile, using a pastry blender, mix the sliced butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a small mixing bowl.
  8. Crumble or clump the topping over the entire casserole.
  9. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake at 350°F for about 25 to 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake it for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Once it's thoroughly cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it cool for just a few minutes.
  11. Then slice and serve with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Notes

*20 ounces is about 22 slices of the butter bread (or white bread) that I use.

*Be sure to use real maple syrup. Table syrup will likely change the recipe.

*DO I REALLY HAVE TO CHILL THE CASSEROLE OVERNIGHT?

While it's best if you do, you don't have to. But let me just say, that the flavors will be at their best after chilling for at least a few hours. If you're in a hurry, didn't have time to plan ahead, and need to make it now, that's ok. Just mix it up, make sure the bread is moistened well with the egg mixture, add the topping, and bake it.

CAN I LEAVE OUT THE PECANS? OR USE SOMETHING ELSE?

You can totally leave out the pecans altogether, or you can add a different kind of nut like walnuts, black walnuts, or almonds.

CAN I MAKE THIS FRENCH TOAST BAKE GLUTEN-FREE?

Yes, you can. Just substitute your favorite gluten-free bread in place of the regular sandwich bread included in the ingredients.

WAYS TO GET CREATIVE WITH THIS RECIPE

Readers have given us a lot of creative ideas for ways to really switch up this recipe and add your own touch to this sweet breakfast casserole.

  • Try baking it in a bundt pan, inverting it after baking, to make it even prettier.
  • Top with a powdered sugar glaze instead of, or in addition to, the brown sugar topping.
  • Add raisins or dried cranberries when you add the bread and pecans.
  • Add fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
  • Use almond milk, or other non-dairy milk, instead of whole milk.
  • Speaking of milk, use eggnog in place of milk, especially around the holidays.
  • Try adding bacon… Because everything's better with bacon!

CAN I FREEZE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE?

You can freeze a French toast bake. While I recommend covering it well and freezing it after it's already been baked, you can also freeze it before baking (though I'd add the topping later before actually baking it). Keep in mind it'll keep longer in the freezer if it's already been cooked. Just be sure you have plenty of time for it to thaw and re-heat when taking it out of the freezer. Allow time for it to thaw in the fridge; then cook or re-heat.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

12 servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Saturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 527mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 10g

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108 thoughts on “Deliciously Easy French Toast Casserole”

  1. I would like to try baking this in a Bundt pan and inverting it after for presentation. Have you tried this? Should I sprinkle the crumb topping into the pan first so that it comes out on top?

    Reply
  2. Love this for serving to a larger group instead of cooking 2 pieces at a time! I used day old French bread and really liked the slightly chewy crust. Great recipe just as it is, but I can also see lots of options for add-ins in the future, as well! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Do you think this will work if baked in a chafing dish pan and then transported to the office for a breakfast meeting – added to the chafer once at work to keep hot?

    Reply
  4. My family loves French toast so my thought was that they would love this French toast casserole. We were having a big family weekend, plans were to make 4 Christmas morning wife savers for 33 people. I decided that I would try one of these to see if we should make 2 of them instead and I am so glad I made a trial casserole the week before. I made it, served it for breakfast to my husband and adult kids. Everyone hated it and it went in the garbage. My husband eats anything; his comment was “It is like vomit in your mouth!” It was a texture thing for all of us, too mushy and spongy for my family. I even tried to fry it which didn’t make it any better. Instead I made the Christmas morning wife savers and Fireman’s sausage breakfast casserole. It was a huge hit!

    Reply
  5. I made this French Toast casserole this morning for family and everyone absolutely loved it. I followed the recipe to the T. I used a loaf of Texas toast and left the egg and milk mixture overnight with the pecans. I will definitely be making this recipe again for family gatherings.

    Reply
  6. I just tried it with Kings Hawaiian Bread. Really great. We have always used Kings Hawaiian for French Toast. Don’t need anything with it except maybe a little butter.

    Reply
  7. This sounds so good, I would call it Cinnamon Bun bread pudding since
    that is what it looks like when baked. Can’t wait to try it, thank you so
    much for sharing.
    K

    Reply
  8. Sounds like an awesome recipe. What do you think of adding chopped apple to it instead of the nuts, that my family doesn’t like. Also, I was thinking of raisin bread instead of the plain white bread. What do you think?

    Reply
  9. Grrr this looked so delicious and I was in such a hurry to make it that a chopped up all the bread and realized after that I didn’t have real maple syrup. I only have table syrup (and living in Germany, all the stores are closed on Sundays), do you think honey is a good alternate to use?

    Reply
    • Tiffany, I’m not sure… I’ve never tried making it with honey. Real maple syrup adds that maple flavor, though, so I’m erring on the side of caution and saying no… It wouldn’t give it the same flavor.

      Reply
  10. Your French Toast Casserole looks delicious, Mel. I love warming breakfast casseroles, especially this time of year. Thank you for mentioning my Blueberry French Toast Casserole, I appreciate it! Pinning and sharing!

    Reply
    • Michelle, you can either microwave individual servings ’til warm. Or you can place the entire casserole in the oven, probably between 325 to 350° F, and possibly covered with foil so it doesn’t brown too much. But just heat ’til warmed through.

      Reply
    • Hi Denise, yes, you can freeze it. While I recommend covering it well and freezing it after it’s already been baked, you can also freeze it before baking (though I’d add the topping later before actually baking it).

      Reply
  11. I work in an elementary school in thre ESE dept. We’r are having our ESE Christmas breakfast this morning. My mom and I did your recipe last night. I actually just took it out if the oven. I can’t wait to try it. Hurry up 7am.
    It looks and smells delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Julie, I would try baking it a little longer. Oven times can vary, depending on a lot of factors. It will be a little soft, but shouldn’t be overly soft. I’ll sometimes check it with a meat thermometer too, just to make sure it’s come to the recommended temp for eggs.

      Reply
  12. Hi Mel, I have folks coming over for Breakfast on Christmas Morning and plan on having this as one of the casseroles. I’m only doing two but, these not only sounded great but the looks were wonderful. After watching your video, it will be hard to wait until then.

    Thanks for posting it so that we may enjoy.

    Toom

    Reply
  13. This sounds like a perfect brunch item for a crowd. What do you think of using brioche bread for this recipe? I use brioche bread to make typical French toast.

    Reply
  14. I went to where you said to go to print this recipe, but it wouldn’t print, it just sat there. so I wrote it down, but I would have really liked to have it printed, my hand writing is not very good.

    Reply
  15. I swapped out the pecans for blueberries. The time took a lot more than the time suggested – had to put it on convection for another 20 mins afterward uncovered to get it to cook.

    Reply
  16. I had leftover snowflake rolls I wanted to use up…. so I cut those up and used leftover eggnog in place of milk….also didn’t have maple syrup so I used honey..got alittle more creative and added chunks of cream cheese!! Absolutely delicious ? thanks for the inspiration

    Reply
  17. Just wow. Had a brunch over at my house this morning. Made this and everyone just loved it. Very little left. This recipe is a keeper for sure. Definately going to be making this again for a big crowd.

    Reply
  18. OMGosh, this recipe is Amazing! I used crescents and fresh raspberries, made it the night before and baked it in the morning. Huge hit with our adult children and grandchildren ❤️ It’s a keeper!

    Reply
  19. Not sure what I did wrong. The inside was still pretty mushy when I took it out, put it in extra 5 mins and still don’t feel like it was cooked all the way through (did not have spongey texture, but rather soggy). Any suggestions? I used a metal pan and followed the recipe exactly how you have it!

    Reply
  20. I came across this recipe as I was trying to find something to do with my remaining day old loaf of just regular wheat sandwich bread, so it wouldn’t go to waste. I had a half a loaf left, so I halved the recipe (except the topping, of course! YUM.) & was out of nutmeg + did not have any nuts on hand. Regardless, it turned out DELICIOUS!!! The whole family loved it; even my super picky 3 year old asked for seconds! That NEVER happens! Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe. Can’t wait to make it again!

    Reply
  21. I was wondering if I could make it without the maple syrup. That’s not something I have, but thought instead of replacing it with table syrup to just skip it and offer table syrup when it’s served. Thoughts?

    Reply
  22. I just put this in the fridge for the morning. I ended up adding 2 additional eggs (10 total), as the 8 just didn’t seem like enough. Much of the bread was not covered at all. I also used Lactaid milk which is all I had on hand. I hope it turns out ok and not soggy. I will have to let you know..

    Reply
  23. I’ve made this twice now, exactly as written except I use twice the amount of pecans as we (or at least I) love pecans! This is delicious and a special treat.

    Reply
  24. This was wonderful! I used 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 cup of milk because that’s what I had. Fun fact: those little bottles of Cracker Barrel syrup are exactly 1/4 cup. Perfect! This was so nice to not have to worry about breakfast. Just woke up and popped in the oven for 35min covered and 20 min uncovered.
    Thank for a delicious recipe.

    Reply

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