Overnight French Toast Casserole delivers the classic flavor of French Toast without the work! Prep this casserole the night before and bake it in the morning, for a rich, sweet, hands-off breakfast that everyone will rave about!
With flavors of classic french toast, this casserole is the EASY way to prepare french toast and is perfect for a crowd! I recommend pairing it with Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole and a Christmas Fruit Salad for the perfect holiday brunch.
Overnight French Toast Casserole, is one of my staple recipes for entertaining guests for breakfast or brunch.
Not only because this French Toast Bake is absolutely delicious, but also because it is so easy to make. In fact, it is almost embarrassing how easy it is! But we all need easy recipes, especially when we are preparing food for a crowd or a holiday breakfast.
This recipe for Overnight French Toast Casserole only takes 15 minutes of hands-on prep and because it is made the night before, it is as simple as popping the casserole into the oven in the morning, and breakfast is done! Talk about easy!
But just because it is easy to make, does not mean this breakfast casserole sacrifices anything in terms of flavor. Filled with warm spices and rich maple syrup, this french toast bake is perfectly sweet and bakes up fluffy in the center and a bit crispy on the edges. It has all the delicious flavors of classic french toast--just without the work!
Only crumbs remain EVERY SINGLE TIME I serve it and people beg me for the recipe–that is how you know it is a winner!
Notes on Ingredients
- Bread: Stale or day-old bread is best so that it can absorb the custard. Use any type of bread you like such as sourdough bread, whole wheat bread, french bread, Italian bread, challah, or cinnamon raisin bread. Keep in mind that using challah bread will result in a richer casserole, as the bread itself is quite sweet and eggy.
- Maple Syrup: Instead of using brown sugar or granulated sugar, I opt to use maple syrup to sweeten this french toast casserole. It adds warmth and flavor to the recipe, along with sweetening it.
- Half and Half: Half and half will make a rich, creamy custard. In place of half and half, feel free to use heavy cream or milk. Even non-dairy milk works.
- Vanilla Glaze: While totally optional, a simple combination of powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk makes a deliciously sweet glaze that finishes off the french toast casserole perfectly.
How to Make French Toast Casserole
French Toast Casserole is best when given time for the bread to soak up the delicious custard, hence why overnight preparation is best. If you skip the step of letting your bread sit in the custard overnight, the casserole will not be as fluffy. Plus, if you are like me, mornings are always hectic or I am not at my sharpest until that cup of coffee hits--so preparing the night before not only makes this casserole easier to make, it makes it turn out better!
Step One: Prepare the Bread
Ideally, any bread you choose to use needs to be stale or dried out to absorb the custard. If your bread is not fully dried out, you may end up with a soggy casserole, therefore it is crucial to dry out your bread properly before soaking the bread in the egg custard.
- Cube the bread into 1-inch cubes.
- Lay the cubed bread onto baking sheets and allow it to sit out at room temperature for 8-12 hours before preparing the French Toast Casserole to dry out the bread.
- Alternatively, you can pop your bread into a 300-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, to speed up the process of drying out the bread.
Step Two: Prepare the Casserole
- Grease a 9x13 pan with butter and then place the dried-out cubes into the pan in an even layer.
- For the egg custard, mix together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the custard over the pan and gently push down the bread cubes into the custard to fully submerge. That will help ensure that the bread really absorbs the casserole.
- At this point, cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Step Three: Bake
- In the morning, remove the casserole from the refrigerator while the oven is preheating. This will help to take the chill off your casserole and prevent your casserole dish from cracking due to extreme temperature changes.
- Once the oven has preheated, remove the plastic wrap from the French Toast Casserole and cover it with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes covered. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake until just golden and the custard is set.
Step Four: Prepare Glaze
While the casserole is baking in the morning, if desired, whip up a simple vanilla glaze to serve over top of the french toast casserole instead of maple syrup.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine milk, vanilla extract, and salt until well combined.
- Add in sifted powdered sugar and whisk until smooth, adding in 1 tablespoon more powdered sugar at a time if needed to thicken. You want the glaze to drip off the whisk in a ribbon.
- Drizzle the glaze over the warm french toast casserole and serve.
Leftover French Toast Casserole can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 1 minute per serving. Or place the casserole, covered with foil, in a 325-degree F oven for 30 minutes until warmed through.
Recipe Tips & Modifications
- Prevent a Soggy Casserole: Chances are if your casserole is soggy, you did not use enough bread or your bread was too fresh (soft) to absorb the egg custard. To prevent this from happening, use dried-out bread. In the morning, be sure that most of the custard has been absorbed by the bread before baking. If you have more than ½ cup of liquid not absorbed by the bread, you may want to drain off a bit of that custard before baking.
- Dairy-Free French Toast Casserole: To make Dairy-Free French Toast Casserole, use almond milk or coconut milk in place of cow's milk. I personally have tried both with delicious results. Coconut milk will produce a richer custard, but it does have notes of coconut in the final product. Also, be sure to use coconut oil or a non-dairy butter substitute for greasing the pan.
- Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole: You can make Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole by simply using your favorite gluten-free bread.
More Favorite Brunch Recipes
If you tried this Overnight French Toast Casserole, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Easy Overnight French Toast Casserole
For the French Toast Casserole
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 16 ounces bread cut into 1-inch cubes (this is about 8-10 loosely packed cups)
- 2 cups half and half or milk or cream
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vanilla Glaze (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- Cube the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread the bread cubes out onto a large sheet pan and allow the bread to dry out at room temperature for 4-12 hours. If time does not permit, dry the bread quickly in a 300-degree F oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Grease a 9x13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter and place the cubed, dried-out bread inside the casserole dish in an even layer.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Pour this mixture over the cubed bread, lightly tapping the bread down to be fully submerged in the custard.
- Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator while and allow it to come to room temperature as the oven preheats.
- Once the oven has preheated, remove the plastic wrap and cover the baking dish with foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for additional 15 minutes.
- Serve warm with glaze and/or additional maple syrup.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine milk, salt, and vanilla. Add in the powdered sugar and whisk until thin glaze forms. Add in more milk 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed to thin it out. Serve with the French Toast Casserole.
This post was originally published in March 2018 but has been updated in December 2019 with new tips and pictures. The recipe remains the same.
Just made this yummy recipe today. I love french toast and this sounded so much quicker come morning rush time. It turned out beautifully and tasted great. Definitely will make it again (many times I’m sure).
Thank you Kristen.
What an awful experience making this on Christmas morning. I followed the directions perfectly and no matter how long I cooked it it was runny and disgusting looking. I had to throw the whole thing away!
I hate hearing this Kelsy! It sounds like your bread may have been too soft to absorb the custard. Was it day old bread? Did you dry it out overnight or in the oven first? If so, unless you used less bread than the recipe called for, this should work perfectly.
This is wonderful! My family enjoyed this for Christmas brunch today. We did it dairy free with almond milk and vegan butter and it turned out perfect.Thank you for a great recipe.
I am so glad you enjoyed Gina! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
Can you leave this for more than 8 hours overnight? Is 12 hours too much time to let it sit? Thanks!
12 hours is perfectly fine. Up to 24 is safe 😊
Thank you! Im excited to try this tomorrow morning.
This will be my third year making this delicious recipe for Christmas morning - my family loves it!! I use the maple syrup / banana maple syrup instead of the sugar glaze. A big hit!
Thank you Kristen!!
YAY! I love hearing that this recipe has become a Christmas tradition at your house! Merry Christmas!
I'm looking forward to making this for Christmas morning breakfast this year! Can I add frozen blueberries? If so, do you think it would be best to add the night before, with egg mixture, or wait until morning and add them just before baking?
Hi Sherry! I would sprinkle on top of the french toast casserole right before baking. If added the night before, the blueberries would thaw into the custard it would get watery. I hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Can I use gluten free bread for this recipe? Thanks!