Baked French Toast
This decadent baked brioche french toast casserole is great for a big breakfast get-together, a brunch party, or a Saturday morning with the family. It is filled and topped with a perfectly spiced streusel complemented by a light dusting of powdered sugar.
I would describe the flavor of the casserole as cinnamon roll meets french toast baked up in a single easy-to-make dish. If you are a lover of breakfast foods, this recipe is for YOU!
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What Is In French Toast Casserole?
Baked french toast or french toast casserole is a simple and fun take on classic french toast. This sweet breakfast casserole is made with similar ingredients to french toast including bread, eggs, milk or cream, and cinnamon. Some baked french toast recipes include additional spices, sugar, fruit, nuts, and even chocolate.
Instead of cooking individual french toast slices on a griddle, french toast casserole is made by combining all the ingredients and baking them in the oven, hence, the name “baked” french toast. This brioche french toast casserole will save you time and energy since it’s quick to prep and requires minimal effort to cook.
How to Make Overnight French Toast Casserole
This brioche french toast bake needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before baking for the best flavor and texture. To make your mornings even easier, you can assemble the casserole the night before and let it chill overnight.
Make sure you cover the casserole well before refrigerating it to keep it from drying out. It will last for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before baking. For overnight french toast casserole, you need to add 5-10 minutes to the bake time before uncovering it.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This recipe is extremely easy to assemble and tastes like heaven! Here are a few more things to love about this baked brioche french toast casserole.
- You can customize it with a variety of add-ins and/or toppings
- It’s a great make-ahead dish
- The prep is super quick and easy
- It’s a crowd favorite - who doesn’t like cinnamon??
What is Brioche Bread?
Brioche bread is a soft and rich type of french bread that has a slightly sweet flavor. It contains a higher egg and butter content than other breads, giving it a tender, fluffy texture.
Some types of brioche have added sugar and/or flavorings to give the bread a sweet flavor. The flaky crust and texture give the bread a pastry-like quality. Variations of brioche bread are vast, including chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, and more.
Brioche bread - You’ll need a relatively large loaf of brioche bread for this recipe, the thicker the better. This recipe can be made with store-bought, fresh from a bakery, or even homemade brioche bread. If needed you can substitute the brioche for another soft bread like challah.
Eggs - You can’t have french toast without eggs! The eggs help bind all of the other ingredients together and allow the casserole to firm up when it’s baked.
Half-and-half - The half-and-half contributes a richer flavor to the french toast bake than milk does. If you don't have any half-and-half on hand, you can make it at home by combining equal parts whole milk and light cream. To make half-and-half with heavy cream, combine ¾ cup of whole milk with ¼ cup of heavy cream (makes 1 cup).
Granulated sugar - The granulated sugar provides additional sweetness and compliments the spiced flavor. Additionally, it caramelizes when baked for a slightly crisp golden brown exterior.
Brown sugar - The brown sugar plays a role in both the french toast custard and the streusel. It adds sweetness as well as a rich molasses flavor to the baked french toast.
Pure vanilla extract - The deep vanilla flavor compliments the spices and enhances the flavor of this french toast casserole.
Ground cinnamon - This delicious spice blends together with the other ingredients in the custard to create a rich, warm flavor.
Ground nutmeg - Nothing pairs better with cinnamon than nutmeg! This spice adds another pop of flavor to this brioche french toast bake.
All-purpose flour - Either all-purpose flour or finely ground whole wheat flour work well in this recipe. Other flours may work but they have not been tested.
Salt - The addition of salt is key to accentuating the other flavors in any recipe. Salt will also bring out more of the sweetness in the spiced streusel topping/filling.
Salted butter - I prefer to use salted butter in this recipe because it adds more flavor but you can substitute unsalted butter if desired.
How To Make This Recipe
Prepare the Ingredients
Before getting started, set out the cold ingredients (except the butter) to warm up while you prepare the other ingredients. This is key for a smooth, evenly mixed custard because warm ingredients combine better than cold ones do.
First, cut the cold butter into cubes and place it in the freezer until you are ready to add it to the streusel. You want it to be as cold as possible to ensure you get the perfect crumbly texture. If the butter is too warm, the streusel may turn into a sticky paste rather than a crumble.
Next, cut the loaf of brioche bread into 2-inch cubes – a serrated knife works best for this. Place the bread pieces in a large bowl and set it aside.
Make the Custard
The next step is to make the custard which can be done in one of three ways. The fastest way is in the blender. Simply combine all of the custard ingredients and blend until the mixture is smooth. The other options are to use an electric mixer or to simply whisk it by hand.
Pour the custard over the chunks of bread in the bowl. Gently mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until all of the bread pieces are evenly coated with custard. Set it aside.
Make the Streusel
For the streusel, I highly recommend making it in a food processor. Simply add all of the dry ingredients to the food processor. Then, take your butter cubes out of the freezer and immediately add them to the food processor as well.
Use the pulse setting to evenly cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Repeatedly pulse the ingredients until a crumbly texture is achieved. Don’t worry if there are a few larger chunks still in the mixture.
Using the pulse option allows for more control over the processing and can prevent overmixing. If you don't have a food processor, you can combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or a fork.
Assemble, Chill, & Bake
Prepare a medium baking dish (9x9-inch to 9x13-inch) by lightly spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. Add half of the bread chunks to the bottom of the dish, spreading them evenly. Then, sprinkle half of the streusel over the top.
Next, add the remainder of the bread pieces to the dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the streusel over the top of the casserole. Cover the dish with foil and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Finally, preheat the oven to 350°F and place an oven rack in the center position. Place the covered dish in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top of the casserole is light golden brown.
Note: If you’re making overnight french toast casserole, bake it for 60-65 minutes before removing the foil. Then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes once the foil is removed.
Remove the brioche french toast bake from the oven and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cooled with desired toppings such as fresh fruit, syrup, whipped cream, chocolate chips, etc.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Freeze the butter. It’s important for the butter to be as cold as possible for a perfect crumbly streusel. Be sure to prep the butter by cutting it into cubes and putting it in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (10-20 minutes). If the butter is too warm, it will turn into a paste instead of a crumble.
- Bring cold ingredients to room temperature for the custard. This allows the ingredients to mix together more evenly and easily resulting in a smoother custard.
- Use the pulse setting on the food processor. When making the streusel, I recommend only using the pulse option to avoid over-incorporating the butter. When this happens, the texture turns pasty rather than crumbly.
- Chill the casserole. It’s necessary to chill the brioche french toast casserole for at least 30 minutes before baking it. This allows time for the bread to absorb the custard for a better texture and flavor.
- Cover the casserole with foil. You’ll want to cover the top of the casserole with foil before putting it in the oven to allow the center to cook and keep the top from drying out. Remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking to allow the top of the casserole to brown and the streusel topping to properly caramelize.
How To Store Leftovers
Store leftovers well-covered or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat it in the casserole dish, place it in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until warm. Individual slices can be reheated in the microwave.
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What Should I Serve With French Toast Casserole?
The options are endless! If you're feeding a larger crowd, serve up this baked brioche french toast casserole with some of our other breakfast or brunch favorites, like our summer fruit platter, whipped cream fruit salad, or crepes with strawberries and cream.
Additional Topping Ideas
The cinnamon streusel on this baked french toast casserole is incredible and pairs well with tons of additional toppings. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Powdered sugar
- Chocolate chips
- Chocolate drizzle
- Powdered sugar glaze
- Whipped Cream
Baked Brioche French Toast CasseroleJanuary 31, 2023
- 1 loaf brioche bread large
FOR THE CUSTARD
- 6 eggs room temperature
- 2 cups half-and-half room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
FOR THE STREUSEL
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 tablespoon salted butter cold, cubed
PREP THE INGREDIENTS
- First, bring the eggs and half-and-half to room temperature. Then, cut butter into cubes and place it in the freezer until you are ready to add it to the streusel. You want the butter to be as cold as possible.
- Cut the brioche into 2-inch cubes with a serrated knife. Place bread pieces in a large bowl and set aside.
MAKE THE CUSTARD
- Combined all of the custard ingredients and mix until smooth using a blender, electric mixer, or whisk. Pour the custard over the bread chunks in the bowl. Gently mix with a spoon or spatula until the bread pieces are evenly coated with custard. Set it aside.
MAKE THE STREUSEL
- Add all of the dry ingredients to the food processor. Then, remove the butter cubes from the freezer and immediately add them in as well. Use the pulse setting to evenly cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Repeatedly pulse until a crumbly texture is achieved.
- If you don't have a food processor, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or a fork.
ASSEMBLE, CHILL, & BAKE
- Lightly spray a medium baking dish (9x9-inch to 9x13-inch) with non-stick cooking spray. Add half of the bread chunks to the bottom of the dish, spreading them evenly. Sprinkle half of the streusel over the top.
- Add remainder of the bread pieces and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the rest of the streusel over the top of the casserole. Cover the dish with foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and place an oven rack in the center position. Place the covered dish in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top of the casserole is light golden brown.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cooled with desired toppings.
- Bring the eggs and half-and-half to room temperature before making the custard to ensure a smooth and even texture.
- Place the butter in the freezer while prepping the other ingredients. The butter needs to be as cold as possible when making the streusel.
- Use the pulse setting on the food processor to avoid overmixing the streusel.
- Chill the casserole for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before baking.
- If you’re making an overnight french toast casserole, bake it for 60-65 minutes before removing the foil. Then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes once the foil is removed.