This Overnight French Toast Casserole is so easy and is sure to be the crowd favorite at brunch. The best part? You’ll prep everything the night before, so in the morning, all you have to do is bake.
I have a confession to make… I used to not like French toast. Yep, you read that right. HOWEVER, after I developed my Strawberry Nutella Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole recipe, I realized I might actually like it. I mean, how could you not. Look at that recipe title. 😉
I am delighted to be coming at you with another French toast casserole. And it’s SO GOOD!
Bonus: this is an overnight casserole, which means, you’ll prep everything the night before to let the bread soak up the delicious sweet custard mixture, then all that’s left to do in the morning is bake!
Less cooking in the morning? Sold!
There are two parts to today’s recipe: the french toast casserole and the crumble topping. Both made with every day ingredients that you probably have on hand already!
French Toast Casserole
- Eggs – helps to bind the casserole together and gives that slightly eggy taste and texture found in french toast.
- Half & Half – soaks into the bread making it ultra soft and creamy. It’s richer than milk, but lighter than cream, so it’s the best of both worlds!
- Brown Sugar – I used dark brown sugar because I prefer the molasses-y flavor it provides but feel free to use light brown sugar as well.
- Vanilla Extract – provides a depth of flavor.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg – add spice, flavor, and warmth.
- Salt – cuts the sweetness in the rest of the recipe.
- French Baguette – the best bread for French toast casserole. Use slightly stale bread so that it’s drier and doesn’t get too soggy.
- Old Fashioned Oats and All-Purpose Flour – held together by the butter, these two ingredients form the base of the crumble. The oats add heartiness and chew, while the flour gives it that classic crumbly texture.
- Pecans – add some much needed crunch to an otherwise soft and chewy dish.
- Brown Sugar and Cinnamon – gives the crumble sweetness and warmth.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda – give a little lift to make sure the topping isn’t too dense.
- Salt – cuts the sweetness of the crumble.
- Unsalted Butter – binds all the crumble ingredients together.
- Maple Syrup – What’s French toast without maple syrup? If you use just one topping, I highly recommend this one. It adds sweetness and moisture to the dish.
- Strawberries – adds a freshness and tartness to the otherwise very sweet dish.
- Whipped Cream – adds a light and creamy sweetness to top your casserole off perfectly.
The crumble topping is what makes my french toast casserole special! It adds a little more sweetness and provides a nice crunch to the soft, chewy base.
How to make
This recipe takes just 15 minutes of prep time! Remember: you’re prepping the casserole the night before, so there’s very little to do the morning of.
- Whisk together eggs, half and half, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
- Gently fold in your cubed baguette.
- Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish, cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Mix together your crumble ingredients in a bowl until well-combined.
- Sprinkle over casserole evenly.
- Bake for 40 minutes, serve with toppings, and enjoy!
Take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven is pre-heating (which usually takes about 10 minutes). This lets the casserole and the casserole dish warm up a bit before heading into a hot oven.
What bread to use
A crusty French baguette is the best bread for french toast casserole, because the mild flavor and hearty, slightly dry, yet chewy texture holds up well to the wet ingredients.
You can also use sourdough. Some people prefer this for the sour flavor, which helps to balance out the sweetness from the other ingredients. Others have had success with brioche or challah, but be sure they’re not too soft.
Whatever you use, make sure it’s high quality bread from your grocery store bakery or favorite local bakery that is slightly stale.
Fresh bread, or loaf bread (like white sandwich bread), is too moist for french toast casserole and you’ll end up with a soggy mess.
How long to soak your bread
If using 1 day old, slightly stale french baguette, soak the bread for a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably 8 hours.
My favorite way to make this french toast casserole is to assemble it the night before, then let it soak in the fridge overnight before baking. This allows the bread to really soak up the egg/milk mixture resulting in a more flavorful and softer casserole. Soaking for less time may result in drier bread and a soupier filling, because the bread hasn’t had time to soak up the additional liquid.
If your bread isn’t stale or you’re using a less dry/hearty bread, you may need less time to avoid a soggy casserole.
How long to bake
Bake french toast casserole at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. The casserole should bake until the bread chunks have gotten slightly puffy and turned a light golden-brown color. The mixture should no longer be jiggly.
If your french toast casserole is still jiggly, but the topping is getting too brown, cover the casserole with tin foil and continue baking until the casserole has set. Start with an additional 5-10 minutes and add more time as needed.
Why is my french toast casserole soggy?
There are a few possible explanations as to why you ended up with a soggy casserole:
- Your bread to egg-mixture ratio was off. Make sure you’re adding the right amounts of egg (we’re using LARGE eggs, not small, medium, or jumbo) and half & half. If there’s too much egg-mixture, it won’t cook and it will leave the bread wet and soggy.
- You didn’t use the right bread. The French baguette that I used for this recipe does really well in soaking up the egg-mixture perfectly. If the bread you used is too soft or thin, it won’t be able to hold its shape under the weight of the liquids.
- Your bread was too fresh. Yep, you heard that right. Bread that is a little bit stale tends to work better for french toast casserole because it’s drier and therefore can soak up more of the liquid.
- You cut your bread chunks too small. I cube my baguette into 1-inch chunks. If the pieces are too small, they’ll get soggy much faster because there’s not enough bread in each piece to properly soak the liquid.
- You didn’t cook it long enough. If your french toast casserole is still jiggly, but the topping is getting too brown, cover the casserole with tin foil and continue baking until the casserole has set. Start with an additional 5-10 minutes and add more time as needed.
This casserole is definitely hearty enough to be served alone, but if you’re looking to serve this with other brunch items, here are some of my favorites:
How to store
This casserole is best served immediately, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I don’t recommend saving it longer than that because it will become soggy.
To reheat, pop it in the microwave to warm or in the oven to re-crisp until heated through!
Can i freeze?
Yes! Leftovers can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Let the casserole thaw in the refrigerator before reheating to enjoy again!
French Toast Casserole
Equipment for this recipe
French Toast Casserole
- 8 large eggs
- 3 cups half and half
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 (12-16 oz) baguette cubed into 1-inch chunks (be sure your bread is at least 1 day old)
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup pecans roughly chopped
- 2 cups dark brown sugar packed
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted
- maple syrup optional, but highly recommended
- strawberries sliced, optional
- whipped cream optional
French Toast Casserole
- Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a very large bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Gently fold in the cubed baguette.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking dish, cover with foil, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Take casserole out of the fridge while the oven is preheating and remove the foil.
- Mix together oats, flour, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and butter in a large bowl until well-combined.
- Sprinkle casserole evenly with the crumble.
- Bake for 40 minutes in preheated oven, uncovered, until puffed and lightly golden.
- Serve with toppings and enjoy!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.