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 French toast casserole as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

double image, top image with slice of French toast casserole on white plate with fork, middle text that says French Toast Casserole from AdventuresofMel.com, and bottom image of fork with bite of French toast bake on white plate

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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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116 thoughts on “Deliciously Easy French Toast Casserole”

  1. Thanks for the great, tasty recipe! My mom always makes something similar for Christmas Day Brunch but she kind of “makes it up” as she goes. This was a lifesaver because we are staying home this year due to Covid but wanted to keep it similar for the kids. A couple of things I did were to put pineapple rings in the bottom of the greased pan and then the recipe as written but using cinnamon swirl bread instead. When it was done baking I inverted it to serve and see the pineapple.

    Reply
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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

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