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Overnight French Toast Casserole

Layered with cinnamon, blueberries, and a cheesecake-inspired filling, this French toast casserole is a delightful brunch treat.

This casserole carries with it a heap of family nostalgia. On the morning of my wedding, my mom prepared this overnight French toast casserole so that the bridesmaids and I could have something to eat while we did our hair in my childhood home. Per the copious notes my mom wrote on this recipe card, my aunt also made this recipe for my cousin’s baby shower, just prior to the birth of my goddaughter. It is truly a recipe that has walked with my family through many happy events, and even the smell can bring back the warm fuzzy feelings associated with these memories.

Jump to Recipe

My favorite part of this French toast casserole is its filling and topping. It’s not just your basic “eggy bread”, as the British call our “French” breakfast treat. Blueberries and a cheesecake-esque mixture are layered between cubes of French bread, and the entire dish is graced with a praline pecan topping. I’ve lowered the sugar levels from my mom’s original recipe, but don’t be fooled – this is definitely still in the “dessert for breakfast” category of dishes.

This casserole is perfect for brunch gatherings – especially when you don’t have the time or energy to prepare it the day-of. The entire dish can be prepared the night before and left to rest in the refrigerator. Once you preheat the oven the next morning, this casserole can go from fridge to table in less than an hour – just enough time to wake up with a nice, big cup of coffee.

If you’re looking for a savory addition to your brunch menu, my friend Sara over at Cooking with Fudge has an excellent recipe for a mushroom, asparagus, and tomato frittata. As her recipe leans more toward the “healthy” side of the spectrum, it would be a great option for your brunch guests who are trying to make wiser choices with their meals.

What do you need for this casserole? Start with a loaf of soft, white bread. In the pictures below, I used a loaf of leftover sourdough sandwich bread; the light crumb and mild flavor let the flavors of the French toast shine. While I wouldn’t recommend a bread that was supremely seedy (like Ezekiel bread) or flavorful (like a tomato bread), any other basic bread should work well.

Other things you’ll need for this casserole include cream cheese, berries (I like blueberries), powdered sugar, brown sugar, cream cheese, vanilla bean paste, milk and half-and-half, cinnamon, nutmeg, and seven – yes, seven – eggs. For the praline topping, you’ll need pecans, butter, and maple syrup, plus additional brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

A pan of overnight French toast casserole sits on a white surface. One slice has been cut out from the pan. The pecan-laden strudel topping is evident; you can just barely see some blueberries and cream cheese peeking out from within the casserole.

How to make overnight French toast casserole

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish and cut your loaf of bread into cubes, each roughly 1-2 inches in diameter. Arrange half of the bread cubes in the bottom of your prepared baking dish and set aside.

Place your cream cheese, vanilla bean paste, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until completely combined. Place dollops of this cream cheese mixture evenly across the surface of your bread. Sprinkle blueberries across the bread cubes in a similar fashion. (I like to press the blueberries into the dollops of cream cheese, so they don’t all fall to the bottom of the baking dish.) Cover with remaining bread cubes and set aside. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, half-and-half, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Continue stirring until all ingredients are completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Pour this mixture over your bread cube mixture, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. This allows the bread to absorb the egg mixture.

While your casserole is resting, prepare your praline topping. Using a pastry blender or an electric mixer, combine butter, brown sugar, pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Once your casserole has rested, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spread the praline topping evenly over the surface of the casserole.

Bake for 45 minutes. Once the casserole has baked, allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Whether you’re baking this casserole for Easter, Mother’s Day, or just an average Saturday, it’s sure to bring smiles to the faces of those with whom you share it. Feel free to share those smiles and tag @WhiskAverseBaking on social media, or leave a message in the comments below.

Overnight French Toast Casserole

Layered with cinnamon, blueberries, and a cheesecake-inspired filling, this French toast casserole is an awesome brunch treat.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Resting time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients
  

Casserole

  • 1 loaf soft white bread French, brioche, or sourdough
  • 8 oz. cream cheese room temperature
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • ¾ cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon nutmeg

Praline topping

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish.
  • Cut bread into cubes, each roughly 1-2 inches in diameter. Arrange half of the cubes in the bottom of your prepared baking dish.
  • Place cream cheese, vanilla bean paste, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until completely combined. Place dollops of this cream cheese mixture evenly across the surface of your bread. Sprinkle blueberries across bread cubes in a similar fashion. Cover with remaining bread cubes and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, half-and-half, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Continue stirring until all ingredients are completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Pour mixture over bread, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. This allows the bread to absorb the egg mixture.
  • While your casserole is resting, prepare your praline topping. Using a pastry blender or an electric mixer, combine butter, brown sugar, pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • Once your casserole has rested, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spread the praline topping evenly over the surface of the casserole.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Once the casserole has baked, allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Keyword breakfast, breakfast casserole, brunch, casserole, french toast

3 comments on “Overnight French Toast Casserole

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