This Baked French Toast with Maple Praline is an easy make-ahead overnight breakfast or brunch casserole.
Use either French bread or Challah in this french toast casserole recipe. The bread is simply sliced and placed into a casserole dish slightly overlapping, and then it’s covered in a fabulous, rich maple praline topping. It sits overnight in the refrigerator before baking the next morning. This is one of those breakfast casserole recipes that is really great for sharing with visiting relatives during holidays or special celebrations.
I tried this recipe for the first time many years ago when my friend Libbie served it at a holiday brunch. It had always been a favorite brunch casserole in Libbie’s house, and I was so happy I had a chance to try it because it’s really fabulous. The recipe originally came from Paula Deen. And now it’s a very popular french toast casserole recipe here on RecipeGirl!
What is praline?
Made popular in the Southern US, praline is generally known as a confection made of nuts, sugar and cream. In this recipe, praline is made into a buttery, sugary, spiced topping that is loaded with pecans.
Does this Baked French Toast recipe have to be made the night before?
This Baked French Toast with Maple Praline is meant to be prepared the night before. The thing that makes this breakfast casserole so great is that the bread has had a long time to soak up all of those great flavors. Letting the bread sit in the egg/milk mixture for many hours overnight gives that bread a chance to absorb all of the ingredients. So, yes… this baked french toast should definitely be made the night before. Plus, you’ll be really happy about that the next morning when all you have to do is put it in the oven!
What kind of casserole dish should be used for French Toast Casserole?
You can certainly use an ordinary pyrex 9×13-inch dish for making this recipe. Because I often make this one for company, I like to use a nicer ceramic 9×13-inch baking dish for making French toast casseroles. If you want one that is a pretty color (yellow, red, green or blue), I suggest buying one of these Emile Henry rectangular baking dishes. I have a couple of them, and have been very happy with their functionality and how easy they are to get clean. They’re more expensive, for sure, but I’ve had them for so long that the initial cost has been worth it!
When you serve up this Baked French Toast with Maple Praline, you’ll spoon a couple of slices of bread onto a plate. But the most important part is to spoon some of the sugary juices and pecans on top of the French toast. That’s the good part, so you don’t want to miss out!
If you have a thing for praline, you might also like my Praline Apple Pie! It’s ooey and gooey with sugary praline topping. And f you’re interested in making classic pralines, I suggest you follow my friend Elise’s recipe for How to Make Pecan Pralines.
If you’re looking for things to serve with this decadent Baked French Toast with Maple Praline, you might consider making my Very Vegetable Frittata or this Egg-Mushroom Kielbasa Bake. Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup, Baked Bacon and Basil-Lime Fruit Salad would be good choices too.
Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Praline
- 13 to 16 ounces French bread or Challah bread
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- dash of salt
- maple syrup, for topping
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE:
- Slice the French bread into twenty 1-inch slices. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9x13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine eggs, half & half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk until blended. Pour the mixture over the bread slices, making sure that all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
PREPARE THE MORNING OF:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the praline ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread the praline topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
Sounds fantastic. Do you bring it to room temperature in the morning before putting it in the oven? Worried about a cold ceramic baker going into a hot oven.
This is the best I’ve tasted. It puffed up, and was so light. My sisters loved it. It is not sweet at all. I put everything together the night before. Thank you…
I made this last year and it was wonderful. I was just wondering, does this dish store well?? Like if I make it on Christmas morning and if there is leftover, will it be okay the next morning?? Thanks 😉
Yes, leftovers should be good too!
This recipe was a HUGE hit and the challah was perfect. I made it for a work christmas breakfast and then christmas morning. Everyone loved it!!
Thanks again for recipe 😉
One more question…Can I use Challah instead of French Bread??
yes, challah would be delicious!
Thanks Lori and thanks for these awesome recipes….Happy holidays
I meant to type praline ;0)
Again any help would be greatly appreciated…I want to make this for my co-workers on christmas eve and won’t have a lot of time in the morning…
Can I make the parline topping the night before as well?? Also, is it okay to use unsalted butter??
Thanks for the advice 🙂
unsalted butter- sure, just add a little salt. I wouldn’t make the topping the night before as it’s likely to be a gloppy mess by morning- pecans softened, etc.
I have made this before and it gets raves every time! Excellent recipe!
This recipe is awesome. I make it every christmas morning and it’s another one that I often bring into the office for parties!