Overnight French Toast Casserole is a simple breakfast recipe for a crowd that everyone loves! This easy french toast casserole features a maple custard and light vanilla glaze and can even be made gluten and/or dairy-free.
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 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.
Not only is it absolutely delicious but it is also easy to make! In fact, it only takes 15 minutes of hands-on prep, and then in the morning, breakfast is as easy as popping this casserole into the oven to bake.
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!
- Bread: Traditionally Challah Bread or Brioche Bread is the choice for French Toast Casserole. However, I recommend a more basic loaf of bread, such as French bread, Italian bread, or whole wheat bread. Because both Challah and Brioche are very sweet and eggy on their own, there is not much contrast to the sweet custard, which can make the french toast casserole a bit too sweet.
- Egg Custard: A custard is key to a good french toast recipe and this one is made simply with eggs, spices, and sweetened with maple syrup.
- Vanilla Glaze: Made with powdered sugar and milk, a simple glaze finishes off this casserole with the perfect sweet touch.
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--so it is important to take the time to dry out your bread.
- Cube the bread into 1-inch cubes.
- Layout the cubed bread onto baking sheets for 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
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt for french toast custard.
- Grease a 9x13 pan with butter and then lay out the bread cubes in the pan.
- Pour the custard over the pan and gently push down the bread cubes into the custard to fully submerge.
- 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.
- Remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and bake until just golden and 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 casserole covered with foil in a 325-degree oven for 30 minutes until warmed through.
You can also freeze French Toast Casserole after baking for up to 3 months after baking if desired. If you are freezing the full casserole, be sure to bake in a freezer-safe container, such as a foil baking dish, and let the casserole cool fully before freezing. You also want to wrap well in plastic wrap and foil to prevent freezer burn.
Recipe Tips and FAQS
- 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!
- Save leftover scraps of bread or stale bread. Cube and place in a freezer-safe bag and then use that bread to make this delicious Overnight French Toast Casserole using the scraps of bread. Just be sure to thaw fully and dry out the bread as the recipe directs.
- Instead of serving with a vanilla glaze, dust with powdered sugar or top with maple syrup.
What if my casserole is soggy?
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. And if after the casserole has set overnight in the fridge, be sure that most of the custard is absorbed before baking. If you have more than ½ cup liquid not absorbed by the bread, you may want to drain off a bit of that custard before baking.
Does this have to be made the night before?
I do not recommend preparing French Toast Casserole right before you intend to bake it because the bread will not have time to absorb the egg custard. However, if you find yourself in a bind, make the casserole as directed. After pouring custard over bread, use your hands to push the bread down, fully submerging in custard. Let sit for 15 minutes, push the bread down again, and then bake as for 35 minutes instead of 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Can you make Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole?
Yes! You can make Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole by following my instructions exactly, except for swapping out the bread for your favorite thick gluten-free bread.
Can you make Dairy-Free French Toast Casserole?
Absolutely! 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. I highly recommend canned coconut milk for Dairy-Free French Toast is rich and decadent, but it does have notes of coconut in the final product. Also be sure to use coconut oil or a non-dairy butter substitute, instead of greasing the pan with butter.
More Favorite Brunch Recipes
- Asparagus Frittata
- Quiche Lorraine
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- Green Chile Egg Casserole
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 (French Bread, Italian Bread, Whole Wheat Bread) cut into 1 inch cubes (this is about 8-10 loosely packed cups)
- 2 cups milk (or 1 cups milk and 1 cup half and half)
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly 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 up bread into 1 inch cubes. If time permits, spread the bread out on baking sheets and let dry out for several hours. If time does not permit, dry bread out in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Grease a 9x13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
- Place cubed bread in the prepared casserole dish.
- Mix together eggs, maple syrup, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Pour custard over bread, lightly tapping bread down to be fully sumberged in the custard.
- Cover casserole with plastic wrap and refridgerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- To Bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 15 minutes. Serve warm with glaze and/or additional maple syrup.
- Store leftover casserole in air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Whisk together milk, salt and vanilla. Add in powdered sugar and whisk until thin glaze forms. Add in more milk 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed to thin out.
- Drizzle over cooked French Toast Casserole and serve.
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.