Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

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 certainly a revelation. This easy recipe hits the spot in the morning and you can prepare it the night before.

baked cream cheese french toast casserole

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

zoomed in image of baked cream cheese french toast casserole

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!

sliced bread

How to Make Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

  1. Grease a 9×13-inch or similar size casserole pan.
  2. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread half of the cubes into the prepared baking pan.
  3. Make the cream cheese filling. Drop random spoonfuls of this cream cheese mixture on top of the bread.
  4. Layer the remaining bread cubes on top of cream cheese.
  5. Make the egg custard mixture. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla together. Pour this over the bread.
  6. Refrigerate overnight. Overnight is best, but if you’re tight on time 3-4 hours works.
  7. Make the cinnamon streusel topping. Optional, but highly recommended! Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
  8. Bake until golden brown.

french toast casserole assembled in baking dish before baking

cream cheese french toast casserole before baking

Success Tips for French Toast Casserole

  1. Quality Bread. Bread is main ingredient in any baked french toast casserole, so don’t skimp here. Flimsy white 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.
  2. 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.

baked french toast casserole

Now this is french toast done right. Just look at that melted brown sugar streusel! It’s like French toast, crumb cake, and cheesecake combined. Yes!!

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zoomed in image of baked cream cheese french toast casserole

Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 9 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy recipe for baked cream cheese french toast casserole hits the spot in the morning and you can prepare it the night before!


Ingredients

  • 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

Streusel Topping

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  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 cold cubed butter with a pastry blender or two forks. Sprinkle the topping over the soaked bread.
  5. 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare the 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 streusel topping or add it on right before baking– fresh streusel always gives the dish a little more texture.
  2. Bread: Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for french toast casseroles. I prefer challah bread. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

96 Comments

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

  2. 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!

  3. Charlene in MI says:

    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!!! 

  4. 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. : )

  5. 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!

    1. Deb, have you tried my blueberry french toast casserole? Also makes a ton. And also my easy breakfast casserole for something savory too!

  6. Karen Barker says:

    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! 

  7. 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.

    1. Sort of– but firmer. If that helps!

  8. Vanessa Paige says:

    How would this taste with apples? Or adding strawberries?  

    1. Phenomenal. I’d slice either up and layer in.

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Carley Denton says:

    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!

  13. 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. 

  14. I’ve made this several times for my daughter who LOVES it! The Philly cream cheese blends perfectly with the cinnamon. Thanks. Love your recipes.

  15. Do you bake uncovered?

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

  16. Made this today, I say a breakfast item book is in need. Girl, you good! Your recipes never ever disappoint. This was a huge huge hit. I used brioche btw and barely left it to stale for more then 1-2 hours. Another quick tip.. microwave the cream cheese to speed up the room temp. process for like 12-15 seconds. Enjoy!! 

  17. Hi Sally
    Was thinking of adding raspberries and white chocolate chips – would all that work together? Should I still mix confectioners sugar into the cream cheese if I’m adding white chocolate?

    1. Hi Bixie! I would still use the confectioners’ sugar with the cream cheese. Raspberries and white chips sound AWESOME!

  18. I made this for a breakfast event at my work, and everyone loved it! I cannot say enough good things about your website. I constantly use your recipes and everything always turns out amazingly. You’re very good at what you do!

  19. This is one of those recipes I am sure is illegal. Recipes like this make you slap your mamma and bite the dog! Being YOU brought up challah bread I was hoping you had a recipe for a loaf of Challah that wasn’t terribly huge. Most, in fact, are really big. So Sally what have you got hidden in your bag of magic tricks? Your fans await. BK

  20. Can I double the recipe?

    1. Yes! Enjoy!

  21. Farah Rehman says:

    When you say “leave the bread on the counter” is that out of the packaging or in the package? If it’s out of the packaging do you cut it and leave it out?

    1. Hi Farah! I recommend leaving it out of the package so it’s exposed to air so that it gets a little stale 🙂 You can cut it into cubes or leave it as slices.

  22. I’d like to add peeled, cubed apple. How much should I add & at what point in preparing the recipe (which layer) do I add the cubed apple? Thank you❣

    1. Hi Teresa! I would add the chopped apple on top of the bread/cream cheese layer. Use 1 – 2 cups peeled chopped apple. Whichever makes a nice even layer.

  23. Many thanks for this ‘fool-proof’ recipe! I state ‘fool-proof’ due to the fact that I am hands-down one of the world’s worst cooks. I have tried other’s 5 Star recipes, have followed instructions to the letter, yet somehow turned the finished product into a tasteless affront to God and Man. This, however, turned out perfect, so good in fact that it may be the ONE dish I would confidently serve to others as my daughter LOVED it!

    Many thanks and Merry Christmas!
    Bob F
    Winthrop ME

  24. I was looking for a breakfast recipe to feed a crowd and this one seemed interesting. It was absolutely delicious, and I will not hesitate to make it again. I used dark brown sugar instead of the light since I prefer its sweeter flavor. This was the only adjustment I made since the recipe is perfect just the way it is. Thank you!

  25. Made this with chocolate hot cross buns last week. OMG soooooooo good! Any tips on sizing down to 3-4 serves or freezing as it’s too big for my family to eat before it goes bad

  26. love this recipe, made it for work for a breafast party and everyone loved it! i added blueberries onto the top and bake it accordingly and it came out great. excellent flavors. i also put in some almond extract along with the vanilla, because i love the almond taste
    thank you

  27. Laura Scheele Koelzer says:

    Made this morning for Father’s Day brunch. Huge hit. Will definitely keep this in my make ahead breakfast rotation.

  28. I made this for a holiday brunch and it was one of the best things I ever ate. Drooool

  29. What’s the best way to reheat this dish without cooking it again?

    1. The oven is the best place for reheating (keep covered) unless you’d like to reheat individual servings in the microwave.

  30. I made both the blueberry french toast and cream cheese french toast to freeze for a brunch that is in a week. The one thing that was perplexing to me was the streusel topping. It was not of the consistency to sprinkle; extremely moist. Looking at the small amount of flour, I can see why it is a more moist consistency than other streusel toppings I have made in the past. The picture you posted of the completed dishes on your website show a crumby topping. Please let me know if I need to add more flour to achieve the correct consistency. Both dishes look amazing but the topping has me a little concerned.

    1. Hi Denise, make sure your cubed butter is extremely cold. If not, it will create a paste. Don’t over-mix either, you want to stop when the mixture resembled crumbles. If it’s still too moist, you can add extra flour. I’ve never had to do that before with my crumble toppings though. Cold butter is key!

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