About This Baked French Toast Casserole Recipe
I am a big breakfast lover. I simply love breakfast recipes and could have them all day long, whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner time! I’m also a huge fan of the make-ahead breakfast casseroles, especially when I have guests over and don’t want to flip pancakes all morning.
Overnight breakfast casseroles are perfect for lazy mornings because all the work gets done the night before and you just need to pop it up in the oven the next morning for a scrumptious breakfast!
Baked French toast casserole is a lovely twist on the classic French toast recipe that is usually made with slices of bread dipped in an egg and milk mixture, then cooked to perfection in a skillet on the stove.
But with this recipe, you can enjoy an indulgent breakfast without all that work.
The bread is soaked in an egg custard flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and is topped with pecan praline loaded with nuts, butter, and brown sugar. Once baked, the casserole gets that perfectly caramelized top. And combined with the toasted pecans, it’s wonderfully crunchy while the inside remains soft and fluffy.
The best part is how amazingly delicious your kitchen will smell while it bakes. That warming aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg and the delicious flavors of vanilla, roasted pecans, and maple syrup — it’s just a marvelous way to start the day with a warm cup of coffee or tea!
What You Need for This Baked French Toast Casserole Recipe
- Bread: I like to use crusty French bread for this recipe, preferably a day old, that has dried out a little and has some crunch.
- Half-and-Half: It is a mixture of half whole milk and half cream, perfect for this recipe because it is richer than milk but still not too thick like cream.
- Milk: I like to use whole milk.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg: Give a wonderful combination of warm and spicy flavor with a subtle, pungent, and vaguely sweet aftertaste.
- Vanilla Extract: Just a few drops enhance all the flavors.
- Butter: I like to use unsalted butter so that I can control the salt quantity.
- Brown Sugar: I like to use brown sugar in this recipe because it adds a deep, caramel, or toffee-like flavor due to the molasses.
- Pecans: They have a unique and scrumptious sweet and buttery flavor and a mildly floral, foresty aroma.
- Corn Syrup: It is a viscous, sweet syrup made from the naturally occurring sugars in corn, and in this recipe, I like to use the light one that is transparent, vanilla-flavored, and milder in sweetness.
- Maple Syrup: Make sure to use real maple syrup with hints of caramel and vanilla.
- Bread: I like to use crispy French bread for this recipe, but you may also use ciabatta, challah, or brioche. I don’t recommend thinly sliced bread as it will turn mushy. The best is to use day-old bread that has dried out a little bit and is firmer.
- Half-and-Half: It can be substituted with equal parts of whole milk and heavy cream.
- Brown Sugar: You can use maple syrup instead.
- Pecans: I like to use pecans, but you can also use any other nuts you have, like walnuts or almonds.
- Corn Syrup: It can be substituted with maple syrup or honey.
Can I store the baked French toast casserole?
Yes. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, just reheat it in the microwave or in the oven until warm.
Can I freeze this casserole?
Yes! Once it is completely baked, let it cool, then store it in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to one month. When ready to serve, reheat it in the oven or microwave until warm.
Why is my bread soggy?
This French toast casserole should be soft at the bottom and crisp on top. If it’s too soggy, the bread used was probably too soft or too thin. Choose the correct bread, such as French bread, challah, or brioche, which is a day old.
Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
Make your mornings special with this easy homemade baked French toast casserole that has a soft custard-soaked center and a crisp praline topping.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings (using 23 x 33 cm / 9 x 13-inch baking dish)
How To Make Baked French Toast Casserole Step By Step
Slice the bread into slices of approximately 2.5cm/1-inch thickness each and arrange them in rows by overlapping them in a buttered baking dish.
Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, milk, half and half, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
Pour this mixture on top of the bread slices and make sure each slice is properly coated in it. Use foil to cover it up and keep it in the fridge overnight.
The following morning, preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉). Combine all the ingredients for the praline topping and mix well.
Spread the praline topping over the soaked bread and pop it in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until you see that warm golden brown color and the casserole is puffed. Drizzle maple syrup and serve while warm.
- Allowing the casserole to chill in the refrigerator overnight will make it more flavorful. But, if you want to bake it immediately, let the egg mixture soak into the bread for 20 to 30 minutes and then bake it.
- This baked French toast casserole goes wonderfully well with fresh fruits too, such as berries, kiwis, and bananas. You can even add chocolate chips or swirls of peanut butter.