Stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with streusel, homemade french toast casserole feeds a crowd. For anyone who enjoys basic french toast, this indulgent overnight casserole is certainly a revelation. This easy recipe hits the spot in the morning and you can prepare it the night before.
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!
French Toast Casserole Video Tutorial
This French Toast Casserole Is:
- The ultimate breakfast comfort food
- Totally decadent and indulgent
- Stuffed with sweet cream cheese
- Topped with a crumb cake streusel
- Perfect for anyone who loves lots of texture and flavor in each bite
- A delicious Christmas/holiday/anytime 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. There are three glorious layers– each packed with flavor, texture, and everything we love about classic french toast!
- French Toast Bread: Poured on top of the bread 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. The bread soaks this up– just like when making french toast, but for a much longer amount of time so it gets extra ooey gooey and flavorful.
- Cream Cheese: To make this casserole extra special, we add cream cheese. The cream cheese is combined with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla to make a sweet filling. Make sure you are using quality cream cheese that tastes good. I love full fat Philadelphia brand brick-style cream cheese for this dish. We’ll add dollops of this mixture to the casserole to create a cream cheese stuffed french toast situation. It doesn’t get much better.
- 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 Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole
- Prepare a 9×13-inch 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. The casserole takes about 45-55 minutes to bake, or until golden brown.
Success Tips for French Toast Casserole
- Quality Bread. 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.
- Stale Bread. When you have the bread you need, make sure you let it sit out for a few hours to get a little stale. Like herbed sausage and apple stuffing or everything bagel breakfast casserole, 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 and let it sit out for the day on the counter. Then I’m ready to prep the baked french toast casserole in the evening.
Overnight Is Best
Let the french toast bake sit overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the crusty bread 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 (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
- Grease a 9×13 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 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: 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.
- Bread: 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.
- 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 less, around 30-35 minutes.
Keywords: overnight french toast casserole, french toast casserole