French Toast Casserole
French Toast Casserole: soft in the middle, crispy on the edges, with hints of maple, cinnamon, & vanilla. Make this easy recipe the night before!
Good morning my friend!
How was your Memorial Day weekend? Did you enjoy?
Ours was fun but BUSY! We had a BIG party on Sunday with lots of people. It was so great to have all of our friends together in one place. The prep and cleanup took us most of the weekend, and by Monday afternoon I was toast, lol.
And now today I am back with a new recipe I think you are going to love. I made this a couple of weeks ago when my younger son had 4 of his friends sleep over. I love when my kids have friends over but I don’t always love having to make them a big, elaborate breakfast. So on this particular Saturday morning, I was looking for an easy shortcut where I wouldn’t have to stand over the stove all morning long!
And that is how French toast casserole was born.
WHAT IS FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE?
Confession time: as much as I love to bake for my boys, I cringe when they ask me to make French toast or pancakes on a weekend morning.
I don’t know what my problem is! I feel like it’s something I should really enjoy doing, but I just don’t. Standing in front of the stove, spatula in hand, flipping and flipping just does not seem fun.
I’d much rather push a dish into the oven, and then pull it back out a little while later, piping hot, puffy, and smelling delicious.
That’s why I’m so glad to be sharing this French toast bake with you today. It’s all the same ingredients and flavors of the French toast you already know and love, baked to soft-in-the-middle, crispy-around-the-edges perfection.
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
To make this recipe, you’ll first need a baking dish. Here is a link to the one I used: Emile Henry Ruffled Rectangular Baker. It’s got a 1 3/4-quart capacity. I’m sure you could get away with a 9×13-inch pan too- preferably a heavier one made of glass or ceramic.
Just a few basic pantry staples here:
- Maple Syrup
You know, all the stuff you run out to buy when you hear there’s a snowstorm coming, lol!
WHAT KIND OF BREAD TO USE FOR FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
You can use whatever kind of bread you happen to keep on hand. I used a simple soft white loaf, but you could also use a whole wheat sandwich bread, a nice challah, or even croissants would be fantastic!
Cut the sliced bread on the diagonal, so it fits nicely in the baking dish.
I like to arrange it with the corners sticking up, so the tips get crispy-crunchy as they bake.
Next, mix up the custard. It’s just eggs, milk, and cream, mixed with a little maple syrup for sweetness, and a hint of warm cinnamon and vanilla.
Whisk everything together, then pour it over the bread.
If you don’t have cream, you can substitute half & half, or just use all milk. This recipe is really forgiving!
- Grate in the zest of an orange
- Swirl in a little berry jam
- Add a splash of your favorite liqueur
- Sprinkle in some chocolate chips
Once you’ve got it assembled, just give it a little time to soak, and then bake it up!
DOES FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE HAVE TO SIT OVERNIGHT?
If you’re hosting a breakfast or brunch, and need to feed a crowd, this baked French toast is a great way to take the pressure off! Just make it the night before, cover it tightly, pop it into the fridge, and it can be baked off the next morning.
If it goes straight from the fridge to the oven, it may need a slightly longer bake, or if you allow it to come to room temperature first, it could need a little less time.
But you don’t have to let it sit overnight. This dish comes out just perfect with as little as a 20-minute soak.
If you plan on making it any more than an hour or so ahead of time, it’s probably best to keep it refrigerated, since it does contain eggs and dairy.
HOW TO SERVE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
This French toast bake is already sweetened to perfection, but I do like to give it a little dusting of powdered sugar, just to make it pretty.
A handful of fresh berries makes a really nice garnish too. And I love to serve it alongside some crispy bacon or a few breakfast sausages. That sweet/savory contrast is definitely my jam.
You can also drizzle it with a little syrup or honey, to make it extra sweet!
HOW TO REHEAT FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
If you have any leftovers, just keep them tightly covered and pop them into the fridge.
This overnight French toast casserole can be reheated in the microwave, or in a warm oven (170 degrees F), covered, until heated through.
CAN FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE BE FROZEN?
You can definitely freeze this dish! I would recommend freezing it already baked- I’m not sure that the uncooked dairy and eggs would hold up so well through the freeze/thaw process.
Just cover your casserole tightly with foil and stash it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw it and reheat according to the directions above.
And it might be a nice idea to prep it in a foil pan, so that your nice baking dish isn’t tied up in the freezer for weeks or months!
Next time you’ve got a hungry crowd wanting breakfast, and you’re feeling lazy, give this French toast casserole a try!
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French Toast Casserole
- Lightly mist a 1 3/4-quart baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Cut the bread in half on the diagonal, and arrange the slices in the prepared dish.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla together, and pour the custard over the bread.
- Allow the custard to soak into the bread for 20 minutes to overnight (if making ahead, cover the dish tightly and keep refrigerated).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through and set.
- If desired, garnish with fresh berries and dust with powdered sugar before serving.