Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

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

146 comments

  1. Hi Sally! Your notes mention freezing it in the make ahead portion… Does it have to be frozen, or can I prepare the casserole the night before and store it in the fridge then bake first thing in morning?

    • I’m not Sally (obv) but I wanted to help out. You can do both, actually! You can make it the night before, put it in the fridge, and bake the following morning. Or you can put in the freezer up to two months for a make-ahead breakfast.  

  2. Merry Christmas, Sally!! I realize it’s 11:50 pm on Christmas Eve (I’m last minute like that)…. However, I was wondering if this is to be baked covered or uncovered. Hope you and your family are having a fabulous holiday season!! TIA!

  3. I prepared this and have it in the fridge waiting to be baked Christmas morning! My family and I can’t wait to try it. Merry Christmas, Sally!

  4. This. was. phenomenal. I made it for Christmas breakfast, and it was perfect! Multiple people asked me for the recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I made this for Christmas morning and it was the best overnight french toast I ever made! Thank you for the recipe! Will be making again!

  6. This was absolutely the best overnight French toast casserole I’ve ever served my family!  I made one slight adjustment, only because we leave for Christmas Eve celebrations at 2pm and don’t get home until midnight. I was worried about preparing it before I left (would it be okay soaking that long?) and knew I’d be too tired to put it together/wait for cream cheese to soften when we got home. After softening and blending the cream cheese in the mixer I added the egg mixture (sugar & cream). I refrigerated it so it was ready to pour over the bread cubes, literally a two minute process, when I got home.  We put warmed maple syrup over it. Simply the best, Sally!  Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe. Blessings for a happy new year!!

    • Sounds incredible, Chelle! And to be honest– it would be fine left that long. I actually made this again last week for a friend and my plans changed last minute so it was in the fridge soaking for 24 hours. Still awesome, I heard!

  7. That’s good to know for next time. The challah bread made such a huge difference.  I offered to make breakfast the next day and everyone insisted on the leftovers!  Score! 🙂

  8. YUMMMMMM!!!  I made this recipe for Christmas breakfast.  I sprinkled frozen wild blueberries over the cream cheese layer, so I added 2 layers of frozen blueberries.  I also changed up the milk [1/4 cup heavy cream; 1 cup fat free half and half; and 1 cup milk] just because I had it in the fridge.  My husband had 2 big helpings for breakfast, and told me to keep this recipe.  This was a HIT!!! 

  9. Hi Sally, would love to make this for a special friend of mine who I get to see once a year, but alas she is a coeliac. Any recommendations regarding gluten free bread?!!

  10. Hi Sally, I just made your baked cream cheese french roast casserole. After allowing the casserole to sit in the refrigerator overnight I actually added a second 8 oz brick styled package of cream cheese using your same technique except I added one tablespoon of bourbon.

    I also added one cup of blueberries into the casserole. Lastly, I added only a few spoonfuls of a crushed mixture of graham crackers and ginger snap cookies to the streusel topping [leftover from a sweet potato bars crust I had made previously]. The casserole was truly amazing both in taste and texture; in fact it was the best french toast I had ever tasted. I had a homemade raspberry and blackberry pancake syrup just sitting around (haha) so I poured a little on my serving of the casserole; along with maple syrup. The casserole was so delicious that I plan on sharing a few leftovers with my family.

  11. I forgot to mention that I followed your suggestion Sally, by using Half and Half cream in lieu of whole milk; the casserole was yummy.

  12. I’m trying to print your recipe out but the icon seems to have disappeared…did you change your website? I usually print your recipes out ahead of time…just curious.

  13. Sally, what a hit! Made this last night for this morning’s breakfast club at work and I went upstairs to see if there were any leftovers after a couple hours and I was getting compliments and thumbs up from co-workers. They loved it! So easy and finally a French toast casserole that stays true to the cooking time in the morning. So many times I’ve made a casserole and been late to work because it takes longer than stated. I used a loaf of Kings Hawaiian bread because of the additional sweetness. It resembled a challah loaf and can be found near the deli in most grocery stores. Delish! I will definitely make this again, thanks for the rave reviews among co-workers. : )

  14. You’re an angel. I’m one person. I just read the instruction that it could be halved. If I divide it up can I freeze the rest in freezer containers?

  15. Great recipe! My husband enjoyed it too and he doesn’t really like breakfast foods. Thanks for creating and sharing this yummy recipe! 

  16. Sounds delicious but after reading the process sounds like a variation of a bread pudding. I can’t wait to try!

  17. I made this for my son yesterday and he loved it! I loved it too and we plan to put it in the ‘keeper’ file to use in the future when hosting team breakfasts for his swim team. Those boys can eat a lot of food, so I need some great recipes that are easy to make in large quantities. I’ll need to search your site for more options because everything I’ve made from you has been great! Thanks for this easy and tasty option!

  18. Oh my goodness! I made this for my husband and I yesterday and it was absolutely delicious! I made it in advance, froze it, thawed it a day later and it turned out perfect. Thanks Sally for another great recipe! Yum! 

  19. Hi, I’m planning on making this but have a question before I begin. Is this like a bread pudding? Texture-wise. Thanks, Sally! I absolutely love your blog.

  20. How would this taste with apples? Or adding strawberries?  

  21. I made this for a Fathers Day Brunch I hosted this weekend and it was a hit!!! Thanks for always sharing such great recipes!

  22. If made ahead and frozen, what is best way to heat back up for serving? Thaw to room temp then heat short time covered with foil in high heat oven?

  23. I wonder if it could be put together before baking, and frozen? Thaw it, and them put the topping on and bake?

  24. Hi Sally, thanks for this delicious-looking recipe. I’m so excited to make it for my book club this weekend! I already know it’s going to be a huge hit.

    I have a couple of questions though. Do you cover it at all while baking? I know the directions don’t say to, but then I could have sworn a comment talked about it covered. Also, I plan to make it cranberry orange by throwing in some orange extract and grated orange rind into the egg mixture. For cranberries, do you think craisins would work or give it a weird texture? I’m afraid to use fresh cranberries for a couple of reasons, mostly due to the water and bitterness. I appreciate your guidance.

    • I do not cover this casserole until maybe the last couple minutes in case it begins to look over-browned on top. I don’t think the dried cranberries would be a weird texture at all! The cranberry orange flavor sounds absolutely incredible.

      • Great, thanks! I’m going to do an orange-infused maple syrup too. ( Can you tell I love orange?) One other thing – I’m also making an egg and bacon casserole tor the same meal that cooks at the same temp, but do you think the cooking times would need to be increased since there will be 2 dishes in there?

      • I would increase the baking time, yes. Not sure exactly by how much but just keep your eye on both.

  25. Wondering if this could be made up and frozen for a week or two ?

  26. Hi! Thanks for your recipe. It looks very nice. I’m doing a shower brunch, do you think this recipe would work baked in a muffin tin? I would have individual servings for a buffet. Just wondering your thoughts…. Thanks in advance!

    • Yes yes yes! Would be so good as individuals. I’m unsure of the exact bake time, but 350°F and maaaaybe 25-ish minutes.

  27. Can this be premade and frozen for use within a couple days?

  28. I would need to double this recipe for an upcoming event. Would I double it exactly or do you have a different ration suggestion? And should I adjust baking time? Thank you! I plan on baking it in a foil pan. 

    • It’s an easy double– double it exactly. The bake time will be a little longer, though I’m unsure of the exact time.

  29. OMG!  Another winner. I needed a breakfast dish to feed the family this weekend and made a couple of loaves of Challah (I have an awesome recipe that I mix up in the bread machine on the dough cycle, then braid and bake in the oven), thinking ‘everyone loves French Toast’. Yeah, standing over a griddle making French Toast for 8 people, just how I wanted to spend my morning. Then I found this recipe.  I owe you big time!  I made as written using the Challah I made and served with a variety of toppings (sliced bananas, blueberries, diced peaches, powdered sugar, and, of course, syrup and honey).  Everyone loved it! I probably should have made two! This one is a keeper for those family holiday breakfasts!!!!!!  Bookmarked, printed and added to my recipe binder.  BTW I also made a bunch of different types of muffins using your master muffin mix. Those were great for the kids to snack on and also a huge hit. And the homemade yogurt topped with your vanilla almond granola ….  You pretty much ruled this weekend as far as my menu planning

  30. Hi – when you say bread you’ve left sitting on the counter – I often have fresh bread that has been left till it’s not so fresh anymore -oops! How old can the bread be for this? Thanks in advance!

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