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.

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

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

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

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!

How to make overnight french toast casserole

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.

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

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

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.

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

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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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 (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

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

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

189 Comments

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  1. So I want to make your blueberry french toast casserole and your make ahead breakfast casserole for the same brunch this weekend but they have different oven temps. Would you suggest making the breakfast casserole first and then reheating it after the french toast casserole is finished? I have never made a breakfast casserole!

    1. Yes, I’d make the breakfast egg casserole first then warming it back up in the oven for a few minutes after the french toast is finished.

  2. Hey there, great recipe, any suggestions on how to add some booze into this? I was thinking of adding a bourbon cream as part of the cream for the custard, or maybe just adding a little bourbon and grand marnier as a finisher. Thoughts?

    1. I’d add bourbon to the cream cheese mixture– sounds amazing. Let me know what you try.

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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!!

    1. 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!

  6. 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! 🙂

  7. 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!!! 

    1. Happy to hear it! Thanks Charlene!

  8. 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?!!

    1. Bixie, I like gluten free breads by Glutino or Rudi’s brands.

  9. 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.

    1. Oh my gosh! Your version sounds absolutely AMAZING!

  10. 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.

  11. 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. : )

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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! 

  15. 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!

  16. Vanessa Paige says:

    How would this taste with apples? Or adding strawberries?  

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

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

  18. 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?

    1. That’s exactly what I do. Cover it, bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes.

  19. Susan Melendez says:

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

    1. Sure can! See my make ahead tip in the recipe.

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

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

  21. 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!

    1. 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.

  22. 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. 

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

  23. 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

  24. Bec @ Cook Love Eat says:

    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!

    1. A couple days old is perfect.

  25. 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!

    1. You can leave out the cream cheese. The bake time should be the same.

  26. 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!

    1. Ellyn, about 1 whole day in the fridge is OK before baking. Will be delicious!

  27. 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

    1. 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 

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

    1. You are welcome, Dakota! I’m so happy that you both loved this recipe!!

  30. Liz DeFrancesco says:

    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

    1. I do it either way, but it gets a little more stale quicker if you slice it and leave it out. 🙂

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