Overnight French Toast Casserole is an easy, make-ahead breakfast dish. Cubed bread and pecans are soaked in a cinnamon custard and baked in the oven.
There's nothing better than an easy, make-ahead breakfast. This overnight french toast casserole can be assembled the night before, then popped in the oven in the morning.
Like a french toast bread pudding, day-old bread cubes are soaked in a mixture of sugar, eggs, and milk, then baked in the oven until golden brown and crispy on top. Cinnamon, maple syrup, and pecans add flavor and crunch.
Serve this breakfast casserole for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter morning, or for a weekend breakfast for a crowd. Leftovers also freeze well!
Ingredients and substitutions
Pecans can be omitted if desired, but I enjoy the added crunch and flavor. Walnuts are another great option.
Milk can be any kind you have on hand - 2%, whole, almond milk, etc. Whatever your milk preference, it will work in this recipe.
Don't forget to lightly grease your 9x13 pan before adding your cubed bread.
What kind of bread should I use?
I used day-old whole wheat sourdough bread for this recipe. Any crusty bread will work best, because it soaks up the custard mixture while resting. A loaf of french bread would be another good option.
This recipe is a great way to use up old bread you may have on hand, and is actually preferred over fresh bread.
Using fresh bread can result in a soggy casserole due to the extra moisture. If you have fresh bread on hand: cube it, spread onto a baking sheet, and bake in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-30 minutes to dry out your bread slightly.
Resting your casserole overnight
Once your casserole is assembled, you'll want to cover with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight. I highly recommend allowing your casserole to rest overnight, so your bread has a chance to soak up the custard mixture.
If you don't have time to make your casserole the day before, I recommend allowing it to rest for at least an hour before baking.
Freezing and reheating
This casserole keeps well and leftovers can be reheated the next day. If reheating a cooked casserole, place in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for up to 30 minutes, or until warm. Individual portions can also be microwaved.
To freeze leftovers (or an entire baked casserole), allow your casserole to come to room temperature, then tightly seal with two layers of foil. You can also freeze individual portions for easy reheating later on.
Move frozen casserole from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before baking to allow to thaw. Then, follow reheating instructions for leftovers above.
Overnight French Toast Casserole
- 1 pound cubed crusty bread, day-old sourdough or French bread is best
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 8 large eggs
- 16 ounces milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Generously grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter. Add cubed bread and chopped pecans to dish in an even layer.
- In a large bowl, add eggs, milk, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour egg mixture slowly over cubed bread.
- Cover casserole with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, remove casserole from refrigerator to rest at room temperature.
- Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for another 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through in the middle. If needed, use a toothpick to test the center of your casserole - eggs should be set, not runny.
- Serve your casserole warm with maple syrup or powdered sugar on top.
- Using fresh bread can result in a soggy casserole due to the extra moisture. If you have fresh bread on hand: cube it, spread onto a baking sheet, and bake in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-30 minutes to dry out your bread slightly.
- To freeze leftovers, allow your casserole to come to room temperature, then tightly seal individual portions (or entire casserole) with two layers of foil.
- Move frozen casserole from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before reheating to allow to thaw.
- To reheat leftovers: place casserole in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for up to 30 minutes, or until warm. Individual portions can also be microwaved.