Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

For anyone who enjoys basic french toast, this indulgent overnight baked cream cheese french toast casserole is certainly a revelation.

The BEST overnight french toast casserole I've ever had. Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel! Found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Happy weekending, friends! I know most of you are baking holiday cookies, candies, and treats this weekend but I want to share a Christmas morning recipe idea with you. Or, really, breakfast for any day. It doesn’t even have to be special.

You don’t need an excuse to make baked french toast casserole. Especially when it’s stuffed with cream cheese and dripping in maple syrup.

Can I get an amen? Just look at this eye candy.

The BEST overnight french toast casserole I've ever had. Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel! Found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ve been working on a few new breakfast recipes this past week and I’m thrilled to share this one with you. Not only is it the ultimate breakfast comfort food born to please even the pickiest eaters, french toast casserole is actually incredibly simple. And something you can prep at night to make the following morning a breeze.

The most important ingredient in any overnight french toast casserole is the bread. Don’t skimp here. Flimsy white sliced bread won’t do you any favors and the casserole usually ends up tasting soggy and lacking texture. Rather, go for a fancy beauty like challah bread. French toast made with challah bread tastes 4873% better than french toast made with any other bread. Trust me on that– I did the math.

When you have the bread you need, make sure you let it sit out for a few hours to get a little stale. Like stuffing, french toast casserole is BEST when the quality bread you’re using is somewhat stale. I always just buy a loaf of challah at my regular grocery store in the bakery aisle, then let it sit out for the day on the counter. Then I’m ready to prep the baked french toast casserole in the evening.

How to make overnight french toast casserole

To make this casserole extra special and, let’s face it, threaten our current pant size– I add cream cheese. Beat cream cheese with some confectioners’ sugar and a dash of vanilla, then add spoonfuls to the casserole: layer half of the bread chunks into your casserole dish, then random spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture, followed by the rest of the bread chunks. The reason I mix a little sugar and flavor with the cream cheese is because without it, the dish just had random savory non-melted chunks of cream cheese which were good (of course), but not very… pleasant.

If you know what I mean.

The BEST overnight french toast casserole I've ever had. Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel! Found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Poured on top of the bread and cream cheese mixture is a fabulously thick and rich custard sauce made from eggs, whole milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Use whole milk for the richest taste and texture. If you really want to elevate things on a whole other level, use half-and-half or cream. My mouth is watering and yoga pants are crying at the thought.

Now, it’s time to let things sit overnight in the refrigerator. This is when all the magic happens: when Santa comes down the chimney AND when the crusty bread soaks up the cinnamon spiced egg custard. You can leave the prepared french toast casserole in the refrigerator anywhere from overnight down to 3-4 hours. I find the longer the bread soaks, the tastier the casserole. So, go to sleep. It will be amazing.

The next morning, top the casserole with streusel. The streusel is, without a doubt, the best part. Made from equal parts brown sugar and flour, a dose of cinnamon, and cold cold cold butter. Emphasis on the cold!

The BEST overnight french toast casserole I've ever had. Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel! Found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Place the casserole into the oven and prepare to take in the heavenly scent of cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, cream cheese, and bread. Is there really a better combination on earth? Wait. Don’t answer that. I’m looking at you, chocolate peanut butter no-bakes.

The BEST overnight french toast casserole I've ever had. Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel! Found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

When the casserole is done, it’s time to dig into all those layers. Texture, flavor, mouthfuls of sweet cream cheese in between each and every crevice of bread. Now THIS is french toast done right. Just look at that melted brown sugar streusel!!

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Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

For anyone who enjoys basic french toast, this indulgent overnight baked cream cheese french toast casserole is certainly a revelation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread, sourdough bread, or challah1
  • 8 ounces (224g) brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature2
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners' sugar (don't leave it out, trust me)
  • 3 teaspoons (15ml) vanilla extract, divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (540ml) whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (133g) packed light brown sugar

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup (69g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (42g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • Optional: fresh fruit, maple syrup, and/or confectioners' sugar for topping

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. Slice then cut the bread into cubes, about 1 inch in size. Spread half of the cubes into the prepared baking pan. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the room temperature (not cold!) cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until combined. Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of the bread. Layer the remaining bread cubes on top of cream cheese. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator for 3 hours - overnight. Overnight is best.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
  4. Prepare the topping: Whisk the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cubed butter with a pastry blender or two forks. Sprinkle the topping over the soaked bread.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top. I usually bake it for 45 minutes because I like it softer. Serve immediately. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  6. Make ahead tip: Prepare the topping in advance, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator. Sprinkle over the soaked bread before baking. For freezing, prepare the recipe through step 4 (without preheating the oven) and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake as directed.

Recipe Notes:

This recipe can easily be halved in an 8 or 9-inch baking pan. The bake time will be slightly less, around 30-35 minutes.

  1. Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for french toast casseroles. I prefer challah bread. I slice it up and let it sit out all day. You'll wind up with about 12 cups of cubed bread. A little more or less is OK.
  2. Since the cream cheese is only mixed with a little sugar and vanilla, make sure you are using quality cream cheese that tastes good. I love full fat Philadelphia brand brick-style cream cheese for this dish.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

More make-ahead breakfast recipe inspiration:

Super easy make-ahead breakfast casserole

easy-breakfast-casserole

Melt-in-your-mouth overnight maple cinnamon rolls (TRY THESE.)

make-ahead-maple-cinnamon-rolls-2

Definitely try my classic overnight cinnamon rolls, too.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

And just like today’s recipe, my unbelievable blueberry french toast casserole.

Sally's Baking Addiction | Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole

The BEST overnight french toast casserole I've ever had. Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel! Found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

141 comments

  1. Planning on making this tomorrow but on your blog it has 1 8 oz of cream cheese and on Pinterest it has 2 8 oz of cream cheese – could you clarify amount? Thanks – looking forward to making it.

    • Pinterest’s amounts are generated through code and can be inaccurate. Best to go by the actual written out recipe! It’s (1) 8 ounces.

  2. I plan to make this for my 12 year old’s son’s slumber party. I will omit the cream cheese because some of these boys are picky eaters. Will this alter the cooking time?

    Thanks!

  3. Hi!  Going to make this for the holiday this week!  Question…when prepping the night before…how long can this be refrigerated before you bake it?  Is it ok to prep this the night before, and then not bake it until dinner the next night?  Thanks!

  4. Can you bake, freeze for a couple days, then reheat this recipe after it’s thawed in a fridge? I’m making today for a breakfast at a reunion Sunday. Wondering what’s best. 

  5. Hi Sally! I love your blog.. I always make french toast with cream cheese so this looks like a hit! I was wondering if the casserole has a more soggy texture or if it was more substantial, similar to french toast in a pan? Thanks 🙂 

    • If using day-old/crusty bread, the casserole won’t be soggy at all!

      • Great, thanks so much!! I have this and 3 of your other recipes saved to make over the Thanksgiving holiday and could not be more excited to try them out..Not to mention your Nutella chocolate chip cookies are my family’s favorite! 

  6. I love this recipe my favorite part was the topping. I had gone through a couple of these but I like this one the best. I’ve been making this particular one for about 6 months now and the only thing I do differently is I thin my cream cheese out a little with milk (about a 2-4 tablespoons.) and instead of having large spots of cream cheese I have a marble effect with an even flavor of cream cheese, when I gently toss the bread with the cream cheese before putting it into a pan. It looks beautiful when I cut a piece out. today my partner noticed I had a bunch of stuff to make this and its his birthday so he got all excited it is one of our favorite dishes. I have yet to try challah bread cause I can’t find it but I haven’t been to a bread store in awhile either. I usually just use the on sale French bread that’s older and already partially dried out because of that. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing

    • Hi Amanda,

      So you thin the cream cheese, and then toss the bread in it. And then pour the milk mixture over it all?

      Thanks!

      Bronwyn 

  7. can I use eggnog in this recipe ???

  8. Hi Sally! I currently have two trays of this in my fridge for my sister’s baby shower brunch tomorrow! Can’t wait to try it. Question – since I have two trays, can I cook them together at the same time? If so, should I increase the temp and/or cooking time? Thanks!

  9. Made this for breakfast on Saturday and there was so much flavor in that pan. So much goodness in fact that my husband said “You have to leave a comment for Sally.” We heated the leftovers up in the oven Sunday morning and it was just as delicious the next day. Thanks for creating delicious and simple made from scratch recipes.

  10. Hi Sally – just wondered if you leave the Challah bread out whole or do you slice it and then leave it out so all sides get a little stale?
    Thanks…Liz

  11. I’m going to try this with gluten free bread, since I am doing a gluten free Christmas (in-laws have Celiac)

  12. have you ever tried stuffing with Nutella instead of cream cheese? What do you think. I want to try both my sister does not like cream cheese so I wanted to make one with something else??

  13. I’m going to try this with croissants instead of bread, thinking it will still be amazing!

  14. Hi Sally! I am planning on making this for Christmas Day breakfast, but I won’t have time to put it all together tomorrow (Christmas Eve), so I was just wondering if it would be okay if I were to assemble it today, and refrigerate it today, AND tomorrow and then bake it Christmas Day morning? Or is that too much time in the fridge? Thank you! P.S. I have your crinkle cookies, perfect chocolate chips, and cake batters chilling now- sooo good!

  15. I am making this tonight for Christmas morning. I will be using a really good Panetone loaf I got in a gift basket.

  16. I made this last year for Christmas breakfast with Italian bread, and it was amazing! This year I work at a local bakery and I am fortunate enough to be able to take home fresh challah bread, so I’m super excited to make it again!

  17. I tried this today for Christmas brunch. They loved it. It is really good. I loved that I could prep the night before. 

  18. How long would leftovers of this be good for?? 

  19. Since my husband is deathly (literally) allergic to cinnamon… what do you think of adding pecans throughout the casserole, AND into the streusel and figuring out some other spice for the streusel? We really like coriander OR nutmeg OR ginger OR maybe more vanilla??

    • A little nutmeg and ginger would be fabulous! Adjust the spices based on what you like and can have in the household. Pecans would be a great addition too!

  20. Made this tonight for dinner. Delicious!! I divided it into two pans and froze one. I will appreciate that the next time I have no idea what to do for dinner. 

  21. Made this today for brunch (fell asleep last night so I didn’t get to do the overnight soak). It was delicious and everyone loved it.

  22. I made this for our Social Workers for Social Work month and it was a HUGE hit! OMG, so dadgum delicious! I think next time I am going to put cut up peaches in with the bread and chopped pecans in the struesel.

  23. Have you ever made this in a crock pot? Wondering if it would taste the same and how long to cook it for?

  24. This is seriously SO awesome! I used caramel apple cinnamon cream cheese and it is amazing. Thank you for the awesome recipe! 

  25. HI Sally,

    I am not in a position where I can get challah bread and i’ve got a little french bread left. could i use regular bread?

  26. This was amazing! I made it for Mother’s Day brunch, and everyone loved it. I sprinkled powdered sugar on top and drizzled it with syrup. The top was perfectly crusty while the rest was soft, and the cream cheese and streusel added to the already wonderful flavor. I had issues making the streusel (my Kerrygold butter was too soft straight out of the fridge, thus my first attempt at streusel ended up looking like creamed butter and sugar; I stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes, cut it into cubes, then put it in the freezer again and it worked perfectly), but otherwise I would definitely make this recipe again. 

  27. I plan on making this for my brother’s birthday but I was wondering; in your opinion, which of the three breads are best to use? Thank you!

  28. This is to DIE for, I added blueberries to it and used a crusty Vienna loaf, there were 3 of us and we went through it so fast.

  29.  Am I supposed to leave casserole covered while baking? 

    • I do not cover this casserole until maybe the last couple minutes in case it begins to look over-browned on top.

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