French Toast Casserole
Make your mornings special with this easy French Toast Casserole. It has everything you love about traditional French Toast, and is baked all in one pan!
When I was growing up, my older sisters did a lot of the cooking. They each had their own specialties, and my younger brother and I always looked forward to their meals.
One of our favorites is French Toast, and to this day my sister makes it better than anyone I know. Since we are separated by lots of land, I don’t get to scarf down her French Toast as much as I would like.
But I have found that no matter if you’re missing your family or simply just the food of your memories, sometimes the only solution is to head to the kitchen and get a little creative.
I’m telling you right now that this French Toast Casserole is so good, you may find yourself wanting it for not only breakfast, but also for your lunch, midday snack, dinner, and dessert as well!
You will make the bottom layer with brown sugar and melted butter, and it is just absolutely swoon-worthy!
Ingredients to make French Toast Casserole
- french bread
- brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- powdered sugar
How to Make French Toast Casserole – Step by Step
- You’ll start out with half a loaf of French Bread and then cut it into cubes. I am going to be a stickler for this one, because while you could substitute other breads, it really just won’t have that perfect flavor and texture. After you chop up the bread, then next melt some butter in a small sauce pan and stir in a cup of brown sugar. This is the bottom layer of your French Toast Casserole and it gives it an amazing caramelly flavor once it’s been baked.
- Next you’ll add in your bread cubes, then pour a mixture of eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla over the top.
- Pop it into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, and you are on your way to one of the most yummy breakfasts you’ll ever sink a fork in to! Really, I mean it!
Tips and Notes
Which bread is best for French Toast Casserole?
I prefer to use french bread, and it’s best if the bread is dry and not too soft. This allows it to soak up the yummy sauce from the casserole better and prevents the the french toast from becoming too soggy. If time allows, cut your french bread into cubes and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet over-night or for around 12 hours to help the bread dry out before baking.
You could also use sourdough, brioche, or Italian bread in this recipe, but like I said french bread is my favorite!
Can French Toast Casserole be Frozen?
Yes! Make the casserole in a freezer safe baking dish (such as a disposable aluminum foil pan) and bake as directed, then allow it to cool completely. Wrap in both plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to three months. Allow the casserole to defrost completely in the refrigerator for roughly 24 hours before baking. Reheat the casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Can this be Made Ahead of Time?
Yes, and that’s one reason why I love it for the holidays! It makes a great Christmas morning breakfast because you can prepare it in advance and pop it in the oven to bake while you open presents! Simply prepare as directed up until the final baking step. Cover the unbaked casserole with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed in the morning!
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Options
This recipe can be made with gluten free french bread, and can also be made dairy-free by substituting the butter and milk. You can replace the butter with either coconut oil or dairy free butter, and the milk with your favorite dairy free substitute like almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. All of these substitutions would be a 1:1 ratio.
More Delicious Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
French Toast Casserole
- ½ a loaf of French bread, (about 8 oz) cut into cubes
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, for topping
- powdered sugar for topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 13x9 inch baking pan and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted, stir in brown sugar until dissolved and mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread evenly.
- Add bread cubes to the pan, spreading over the top of the brown sugar/butter mixture.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Pour egg mixture over the top of bread cubes, insuring that all pieces of bread are saturated. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!
- Best Bread to Use: I prefer to use french bread for this recipe, and it's best if the bread is dry and not too soft. This allows it to soak up the yummy sauce from the casserole better and prevents the the french toast from becoming too soggy. If time allows, cut your french bread into cubes and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet over-night or for around 12 hours to help the bread dry out before baking. You could also use sourdough, brioche, or Italian bread in this recipe, but like I said french bread is my favorite!
- Freezer Option: This can be frozen by making the casserole in a freezer safe baking dish (such as a disposable aluminum foil pan) and bake as directed, then allow it to cool completely. Wrap in both plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to three months. Allow the casserole to defrost completely in the refrigerator for roughly 24 hours before baking. Reheat the casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Make Ahead Option: This recipe can be made in advance and makes a great holiday breakfast or a great option for busy mornings. Simply prepare as directed up until the final baking step. Cover the unbaked casserole with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed in the morning.
- Gluten Free and Dairy Free Options: This recipe can be made with gluten free french bread, and can also be made dairy-free by substituting the butter and milk. You can replace the butter with either coconut oil or dairy free butter, and the milk with your favorite dairy free substitute like almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. All of these substitutions would be a 1:1 ratio.
Instead of the glass baking dish, I made it in a large cast iron skillet and inverted it onto a large platter one it was done baking. The light caramelization was both nice to look at and extremely tasty without having to add any syrup. Will definitely make again. The crispy edges were an unexpected win!
Brilliant idea! I’m going to use that trick the next time I make this…Thanks!
Love this recipe! I add pecans and top with berries and think it is so, so delish!
Hi Ashlyn, thanks for the recipe if I double the bread to put in a big aluminum pan do I double the the liquid as well or just put a little extra? I ask because I’m having to fix this for about 30 folk and I wanna make sure it’s perfect!
Hi Bridget, if you’re doubling the bread I would go ahead and double the other ingredients as well. Hope that helps!
Can I use a glass 9 by 13? Or will that cause it to burn?
That’s perfectly fine!
Help! I made this for the first time at my daughter’s house in Colorado Springs (electric oven). I did not think to make Any adjustments for the altitude and it was FANTASTIC! I am trying to re-create it for my Dad’s 96th birthday party and have made it 3 more times at home (lower altitude and a gas oven). I have followed the recipe to the core! First time I froze the baked casserole because I wanted to make sure it would be good to do that for me driving 5 hours with it in a cooler to bake the next morning. After reheating it the next day it was AWESOME! But now I can’t re-create it!. The next try came out too soggy and the latest one this morning came out with hardened carmelizing on the bottom after cooling a bit. That didn’t happen before. I’m going crazy trying to re-create this wonderful treat! What should I do? I don’t want to “try” anything more because I am wasting food if I do. Maybe use half/half instead of milk and lower the temperature for my gas oven?
Very very good!!! Easy to make and family loved it!
Made this for family breakfast this morning! It was quick and delicious…the whole family loved it. Will definitely make this again!!
This is totally delicious! I’d add a pinch of salt next time as it is very sweet. My brown sugar bottom turned pretty hard. Suggestions for that?
Excellent and yet so easy! Wonderful taste! A new favorite here! Thank you for sharing!
This is close your eyes, deep sigh, deliciousness. From the first bite my family was in heaven…wanting to know why I had not made this before. The recipe is simple but the results are beyond amazing.
I made this today for a brunch & it was a hit!! Ended up passing the recipe on to family & friends. Super easy & delicious!
Ashlyn this was Absolutely divine!! I used brioche rolls that had been in the fridge for a few days. It was a huge hit. My 91 year old step mom who doesn’t eat much ate me under the table! I would suggest turning upside down on a plate to serve since there is a wonderful syrup in the bottom that will drip down the sides. Yum.
I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this, especially your step mom! And that is a fabulous tip, I love it!
Absolutely amazing. I cooked a pound of ground sausage and topped it with that. The sweet and savory mix was out of this world. Will definitely be making this again sometime.
I made this today with a loaf of vanilla creme brioche bread from Aldi. It was amazing! I did cube the bread last night and left it out to dry a bit. I will definitely save this one to make again!
Delicious! I used leftover mini blueberry English muffins that no one was eating. They managed to eat them once in this casserole. Thank you! I have some mini cinnamon raisin English muffins I’m going to use next.
I had extra brown sugar cinnamon bagels and cut them up. That was very very good.
I made this for friends for a bruncheon. It was a hit! I also felt there was too much liquid so I substituted half and half for milk and decreased the amount of dairy and it came out custard and delicious. I will use less sugar next time because my friends like maple syrup here in New England.
Best recipe I’ve tried. I added some ground ginger and chocolate chips – family favorite!
I just have a question…I accidentally baked it tonight AND sprinkled the powdered sugar on it already, BUT I have a pot luck tomorrow morning…i wish that I would have waited to cook it in the morning.
But I didn’t…ugh! What should I do now? Wait for it to cool…and put it in the fridge….then reheat it in the oven somehow tomorrow morning!? I need your amazing advice! 🙂
Hi Anna, in this case I would just reheat in the oven the next morning. Probably around 300 degrees for 20 minutes or so until warm. I hope everyone enjoyed it!
I also accidentally baked it tonight instead of in the morning……argh! When you reheated yours the next morning how did it turn out?
Ashlyn, I made this today for New Years Day breakfast. Everyone went back for seconds. What more needs to be said but OMG, it was to die for! Thanks so much for sharing!
This was delicious the first time I made it for a party. I used 3/4 of a loaf of French bread and a 13×9 cake pan. This second time, I used half a loaf and a 11×7 pan – it overflowed and was very soggy. Definitely use 3/4 loaf and a deep enough pan. Soooo good if you do it right.
I plan to make this for a group of 50 Teenagers. Can I back in aluminum foil pans? Or should I use Stainless Steel baking pans? I ask because of the clean up and because I would prefer to keep the portion sizes as the recipe reads.
Yes, I’ve made this in disposable pans many times!
This was such a hit at Christmas brunch, that I cut the recipe in half and made it again less than a week later. Also, I used Trader Joe’s Pugliese bread. An Italian bread that’s firm with a nice chew. Thank you for a great recipe.
This is absolutely scrumptious! I made it twice, for two different occasions, and it was a hit both times. I also made it gluten free both time, with Udi French bread, for my daughter, and it was great that way. The second time I included fruit, blueberries in one and cranberries in the other, as I had lots of fruit to use up. It was absolutely wonderful both ways. I made it the night before and baked it in the morning. The second time was for a smaller group and there was a little bit left over. I froze it and reheated it later. It was great then, too. Make this with any group in mind, and it will not disappoint. Absolutely fantastic!
We made this for the first time using a croissant loaf of bread, and the casserole was delicious! This recipe has earned a spot in our family recipe book.
This was so good! It was easy too.
I made 2 pans of this for my family Christmas morning,they all loved it including me! Absolutely fantastic delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing! Will 100% be making again