Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel, this baked cream cheese french toast casserole feeds a crowd. For anyone who enjoys basic french toast, this indulgent overnight casserole is even easier and you can prep it ahead of time.
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. It’s perfect for Christmas brunch or any ordinary Saturday morning– no big celebration required to enjoy a large helping!
Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole Video
This French Toast Casserole Is:
- The ultimate breakfast comfort food
- Totally decadent and indulgent
- Stuffed with sweet cream cheese
- Topped with a crumb cake-like streusel
- Perfect for anyone who loves lots of texture and flavor in each bite
- A delicious Christmas/holiday/special breakfast recipe
- Easy to prepare and feeds a crowd
- A great make-ahead brunch option
Three Layers to Love
This isn’t your ordinary, bland, soggy breakfast casserole. Rather, there are three glorious texture-packed layers. Everything we love about classic french toast and baked together in 1 pan.
- French Toast Bread: Pour a fabulously rich custard sauce made from eggs, whole milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon over thick pieces of bread. Use whole milk for the richest taste and texture. The bread soaks this up– just like when we make regular french toast. The soaking time is longer, so everything gets extra flavorful.
- Cream Cheese: To make this casserole extra special, add cream cheese. Combine cream cheese with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla to make a sweet filling. Make sure you use block style cream cheese, the kind sold in individually wrapped bricks. We’ll add dollops of the cream cheese mixture to the casserole to create cream cheese stuffed french toast. It doesn’t get much better for breakfast!
- Streusel Topping: Immediately prior to baking, sprinkle the casserole with a cinnamon streusel topping. The streusel is, without a doubt, the best part. Made from equal parts brown sugar and flour, a dose of cinnamon, and cold butter. While optional, I don’t recommend leaving it out!
How to Make Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole
- Grease a 9×13-inch or similar size casserole pan.
- Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread half of the cubes into the prepared baking pan.
- Make the cream cheese filling. Drop random spoonfuls of this cream cheese mixture on top of the bread.
- Layer the remaining bread cubes on top of cream cheese.
- Make the egg custard mixture. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla together. Pour this over the bread.
- Refrigerate overnight. Overnight is best, but if you’re tight on time 3-4 hours works.
- Make the cinnamon streusel topping. Optional, but highly recommended! Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
- Bake as instructed below.
Success Tips for French Toast Casserole
These success tips also apply to pumpkin French toast casserole, an extra flavorful and seasonal twist on today’s recipe.
- Quality Bread. Bread is the main ingredient in any baked french toast casserole, so don’t skimp here. Flimsy sliced bread won’t do you any favors and the casserole usually ends up tasting flat and soggy. 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.
- Stale Bread. When you have the quality bread you need, let it sit out for a few hours to get a little stale. Like my herbed sausage and apple stuffing or everything bagel breakfast casserole, french toast casserole is best when the bread is somewhat stale. I always pick up a loaf of challah at my regular grocery store (in the bakery aisle), slice it, then let it sit out all day on the counter. Then you’re ready to prep the baked french toast casserole that evening.
- Overnight is Best. Let the french toast bake sit overnight in the refrigerator, which gives the crusty bread a chance to soak up the cinnamon-spiced egg custard. You can leave the prepared french toast casserole in the refrigerator anywhere from 3-4 hours to overnight. I find the longer the bread soaks, the tastier the casserole. So, go to sleep. It will be amazing.
This easy recipe for baked cream cheese french toast casserole hits the spot in the morning and you can prepare it the night before!
- 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread, sourdough bread, or challah*
- 8 ounces (224g) brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar (don’t leave it out, trust me)
- 3 teaspoons (15ml) pure 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
- 1/3 cup (69g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (41g) 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
- Grease a 9×13 inch 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
- Prepare the crumb topping: Whisk the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold cubed butter with a pastry blender or two forks. Sprinkle the topping over the soaked bread.
- Bake uncovered 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.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare the crumb topping 1-2 days 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. You can freeze the prepared casserole with the crumb topping or add it on right before baking– fresh streusel always gives the dish a little more texture. You can also freeze the leftover baked and cooled casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat to your liking in the microwave or cover and bake in a 300°F (149°C) until warm throughout, at least 20 minutes.
- Bread: Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for french toast casseroles. I prefer challah bread. Slice and cut 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.
- Cream Cheese: 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.
- Half Recipe: This recipe can easily be halved in an 8 or 9-inch baking pan. The bake time will be slightly shorter, around 30-35 minutes.
Keywords: overnight french toast casserole, french toast casserole