French Toast Casserole

This recipe for easy French Toast Casserole is a traditional overnight french toast casserole recipe given to me by my Mom. Recipes from Mom are the best, aren’t they? Click below to watch a short video showing you how to make French Toast Casserole, then scroll to the bottom of the post to print out the recipe and make it at home.

Easy French Toast Casserole

A big tradition in our family on holiday mornings is to make a big brunch.  I always put together a menu that is easy (no one wants to do a lot of work on a holiday morning, right?)  This Easy French Toast Casserole is perfect for Easter brunch.  We also make it often for Christmas morning.  And we’ve been known to enjoy it on Thanksgiving morning after a vigorous hike!

French Toast Casserole

What is French Toast Casserole?

This French Toast Casserole is an easy way to make French toast for the family all at once- and it’s perfect for holidays when you can make it the night before and just pop it into the oven the next morning.  It’s super easy to prepare, and it’s a no-fuss, not-fancy kind of special meal to share with family.

French Toast Casserole Recipe

This recipe comes from a well-worn recipe card that my Mom copied from my grandma back in the 70’s. Do you treasure things like this as much as I do?  I have a whole pile of recipe cards from my mom- many of which were copied from various family members.  I’m so thankful that my older family members cooked and baked so much- more memories to share!

What’s the difference between bread pudding and French Toast Casserole?

I’ve been told that this French Toast Casserole recipe looks awfully similar to bread pudding.  Well, to be truthful… French toast is a lot like bread pudding!  Bread pudding is bread that is baked with milk, sugar, spices and eggs.  It usually has raisins in it too.  Well, guess what?  French toast is made the same way– milk, eggs and spices with bread.  The difference is that French Toast Casserole is served at breakfast with warm maple syrup.  Bread pudding is served as dessert with some kind of sweet sauce.

Before I forget, I must recommend that you also check out my Pumpkin French Toast Casserole and my Eggnog French Toast Casserole.  Those are great choices for breakfast and brunch too!

How do you Make French Toast Casserole? This photo shows you the step by step process.

How do you make French Toast Casserole?

Add stale bread cubes to a pan, pour egg custard over the top, give it some soak time in the refrigerator, and then add butter/sugar/cinnamon sprinkles on top. It’s so easy… which makes it the perfect holiday breakfast casserole.

Easy French Toast Casserole

The best part about French Toast Casserole is that you can make it the night before!  After a good overnight soak, the casserole is baked until puffed and golden (about an hour).

Does French Toast Casserole Have to Sit Overnight?

It’s a good idea to give the French Toast Casserole a chance to soak really well before baking.  I recommend at least four hours in my recipe, but since it’s so easy to make the night before you want to serve it… you might as well let it have all of that extra soaking time too.  The bread cubes will be so tender and sweet soaking in all of that sweet custard!

Can I make this French Toast Casserole gluten-free?

Yes, you can make a Gluten Free French Toast Casserole.  My Mom is actually gluten-free now, so we can make her a gluten-free version! Use a sturdy gluten-free French Bread in place of regular French bread.  Give it about an hour soak time instead of letting it soak overnight.  Gluten-free bread doesn’t tend to keep its shape as well as gluten breads, so less soaking time is recommended.  Proceed as usual with the rest of the recipe.

Easy French Toast Casserole

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven. Isn’t it beautiful?  It comes out of the oven all puffy and pretty. It will settle and deflate a little while it cools.

Overnight French Toast Casserole

Warm slices are topped with warm maple syrup.  It’s such a comforting choice for everyone to enjoy for a breakfast or brunch for holidays or a special celebration.

Can French Toast Casserole be Re-Heated?

Yes.  I like to use my microwave for individual slices, but you can certainly re-heat in the oven too.

Can French Toast Casserole Be Frozen?

Yes!  You can choose to freeze it either before or after baking, using a freezer-safe casserole dish.  Although this recipe is super easy to make, freezing ahead might seem like a time saver for some people.

If you choose to freeze French Toast Casserole before baking, prepare it until you put the egg custard over the bread cubes.  Then place plastic wrap over and press down to adhere to the soaked bread.  Wrap in plastic wrap again.  Then wrap with foil and freeze (up to 1 month) before ready to make.  When ready to make, let the frozen French Toast Casserole defrost in your refrigerator for 24 hours.  Add the topping.  Then proceed with the regular baking instructions.

If you want to freeze French Toast Casserole after it’s already baked (or if you want to freeze leftovers), you can do so for a month or two.  Wrap the cooled French Toast Casserole well with plastic wrap, cover with foil and freeze. To serve, let it defrost in your refrigerator for 24 hours.  Then remove the plastic wrap, cover with foil and heat in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Looking for more breakfast ideas?  Here are a few recipes to try:

5 from 6 votes
Print

French Toast Casserole

This French Toast Casserole is the best recipe to serve on holiday mornings with family!  It's great for brunch too.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword french toast casserole, french toast casserole recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 289 kcal

Ingredients

CASSEROLE:

  • 10 to 12 ounces day-old (stale) French bread, cubed
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

TOPPING:

  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • warm maple syrup, for serving

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9x13-inch pan (or similar casserole dish) with nonstick spray. Sprinkle the bread cubes in the prepared pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic down against the bread cubes to submerge them in the egg mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking to let it warm up closer to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Remove the plastic wrap and discard. Sprinkle the butter pieces evenly over the casserole. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle that evenly over the top of the casserole.
  5. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. You'll see the casserole puff up considerably- it will settle down once you remove it from the oven and it begins to cool. Serve warm slices with warm maple syrup.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Maple syrup is not included in the nutritional information.
  • FREEZE AHEAD TIPS: 

    If you choose to freeze French Toast Casserole before baking, prepare it until you put the egg custard over the bread cubes.  Then place plastic wrap over and press down to adhere to the soaked bread.  Wrap in plastic wrap again.  Then wrap with foil and freeze (up to 1 month) before ready to make.  When ready to make, let the frozen French Toast Casserole defrost in your refrigerator for 24 hours.  Add the topping.  Then proceed with the regular baking instructions.

    If you want to freeze French Toast Casserole after it's already baked (or if you want to freeze leftovers), you can do so for a month or two.  Wrap the cooled French Toast Casserole well with plastic wrap, cover with foil and freeze. To serve, let it defrost in your refrigerator for 24 hours.  Then remove the plastic wrap, cover with foil and heat in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Nutrition Facts
French Toast Casserole
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 289 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 202mg 67%
Sodium 462mg 19%
Potassium 235mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 32g 11%
Sugars 13g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 10.1%
Calcium 14.9%
Iron 12.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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Comments

  • Laurel wrote:

    I make this for Christmas morning using Panettone instead of French bread. Delicious and a family favorite!

  • Jocelyn wrote:

    I love a warm french toast casserole drizzled with maple syrup!!! It’s such a comforting breakfast treat!

  • Jennifer Lehner wrote:

    I make this french toast casserole almost every weekend! My family LOVES it and it’s so easy to make!

  • Ashley F wrote:

    This is one of our all time favorite breakfasts for the holidays! Delicious!

  • Sommer wrote:

    Perfection! The best holiday breakfast! This recipe is such a great make-ahead.

  • Alli wrote:

    We looove French toast casserole. This looks to die for. I am making it over the holidays!

  • L Jody wrote:

    Wonder how browned breakfast sausage would work into this recipe?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Might be good!

  • Jenn@BoiledNoodle wrote:

    LOVE French toast casserole!!! Such a crowd pleaser and so easy!!

  • Rachael wrote:

    Can you make this  2 or 3 nights in advance? 

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’d say stick with making it the night before.

  • Megan wrote:

    I have someone who is lactose intolerant. Would I be able to replace the milk with lactaid?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not familiar at all with lactaid, so I have no idea!

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch wrote:

    I would actually love some of this right now with a hot cup of coffee! YUM!

  • Trish – Mom On Timeout wrote:

    We make a lot of French Toast casseroles over the winter! Definitely will be trying this!

  • Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious wrote:

    Love old recipe cards like that, and breakfast casseroles too.

  • Cathy Trochelman wrote:

    French Toast Casserole is such a perfect breakfast, especially around the holidays! And I love that this is an old family recipe 🙂

  • Michelle | A Latte Food wrote:

    I love seeing family recipes and how the amazing foods we grew up with can be passed on from generation to generation! This sounds incredible! French toast is a classic comfort food for me!

  • Dee wrote:

    I love family recipes like this, and this casserole sounds like it would be perfect for us. Love that it’s so easy, too! 🙂

  • Kelly wrote:

    Spending time with our family during Christmas and watching all the movies is our favorite! This french toast casseroles is just perfect when you have family staying over! Looks so good!

  • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet wrote:

    Great post, Lori, and that casserole looks positively scrumptious! I’d enjoy this any time of day!

  • Erin @ The Speckled Palate wrote:

    I’m a sucker for Christmas and holiday movies, and I especially love when they involve people being in the kitchen together! My family and I have always cooked together and make special dishes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’ve never had French Toast Casserole, though, which makes me want to try it!

  • Miranda wrote:

    I love making french toast casseroles when people are in town visiting! They are such a great and tasty way to feed a crowd!