Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

A French toast bake is always easier than dipping and cooking individual slices of French toast. Not only is this casserole easier, it’s quite the treat! Today’s baked cream cheese french toast casserole is stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with a brown sugar crumble topping. It’s a wonderful recipe for a brunch or breakfast gathering because you can prep the casserole the night before.

The 1st review was from baker Kristen, who says “This. was. phenomenal. I made it for Christmas breakfast, and it was perfect! Multiple people asked me for the recipe! Thanks for sharing!”

french toast casserole with sweet cream cheese and crumb topping

Today’s cream cheese French toast casserole is one of my favorite all-in-one, always crowd-pleasing, homerun breakfast recipes. You don’t need an excuse to make it– the dish tastes just as lovely on an ordinary Saturday morning as it does for Christmas brunch. If you’re not into cream cheese, simply leave it out. You could skip the crumb topping, too. Some readers even layer in 1 cup of fresh blueberries for a blueberries & cream version.

As long as you stick with the bread & egg/milk layers, it’ll be a hit.


This Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole Is:

  • 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 convenient make-ahead brunch option

spooning a serving 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:

  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, especially if the bread is stale (see next section). The soaking time is longer than it is when making regular individual french toast, so everything gets fabulously flavorful.
  2. Cream Cheese: To make this casserole extra special, add cream cheese. Combine cream cheese with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract to make a sweet filling. Make sure you use block style cream cheese– the kind sold in individually wrapped bricks. We’ll layer spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture with the bread to create cream cheese stuffed french toast. It doesn’t get much better for breakfast!
  3. Crumb Topping: Immediately prior to baking, sprinkle the casserole with a brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping made from brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cold butter. While optional, I don’t recommend leaving it out because it adds a crisp-crumbly texture.

Success Tips for French Toast Casserole

These success tips also apply to pumpkin French toast casserole, a delicious seasonal twist on today’s recipe.

  1. 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. (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 whole wheat stuffing or everything bagel breakfast casserole, french toast casserole is best when the bread is somewhat stale.
  3. Overnight is Best. Assemble the bread/cream cheese/custard layers and then before baking it, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. This time 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 24 hours. I find the longer the bread soaks, the tastier the casserole. So, go to sleep. It will be amazing.

cubed bread

In Pictures: How to Make Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

The full printable recipe is below, but let me walk you through the process so you know what to expect when it’s your turn in the kitchen.

As pictured above, spread half of your stale bread cubes into a greased 9×13 inch or any 3-4 quart baking dish. Make the cream cheese filling and drop random spoonfuls on the bread layer:

cream cheese mixture in glass bowl and spooned onto bread cubes

Layer the remaining bread cubes on top of cream cheese. Make the egg custard mixture. For this you need eggs, whole milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. (Note that cinnamon floats to the top, so that’s why it looks like a lot of cinnamon!)

egg custard mixture

Pour this over the bread. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the casserole for at least 3-4 hours or overnight. Make the crumb topping and sprinkle over the casserole before baking.

cream cheese french toast casserole before baking

serving of French toast casserole on wood plate

Right before serving, drizzle the entire casserole with maple syrup or try a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. This is french toast done right! It’s like French toast, crumb cake, and cheesecake combined. Yes!!


What to Serve with Baked Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

The following suggestions can complete your brunch or breakfast meal, especially if you’re making this dish for Thanksgiving, Easter, mother’s day, father’s day, New Years Day, or any special morning.

See hundreds more breakfast recipes.

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spooning a serving 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 baked cream cheese french toast casserole is stuffed with sweet cream cheese and topped with a brown sugar crumble topping. It’s a wonderful recipe for a brunch or breakfast gathering because you can prep the casserole the night before.


Ingredients

  • 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread, sourdough bread, or challah*
  • 8 ounces (224g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar (do not leave out)
  • 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

Crumb 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: maple syrup and/or confectioners’ sugar for topping

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9×13 inch or any 3-4 quart oven-safe dish 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.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the room temperature 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. (I like to make sure some cream cheese is still exposed on top just for looks.) Set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours and up to 24 hours. Overnight is best.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
  5. 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 evenly over the soaked bread.
  6. Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top. I usually bake it for 45 minutes because I like it softer. Drizzle with optional maple syrup or dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.
  7. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prep the dish through step 3 up to 24 hours in advance. (See step 3.) You can also prepare the crumb topping 1-2 days in advance, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator. Sprinkle over the soaked bread immediately before baking. To freeze, prepare the recipe through step 3 and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then continue with step 4. You can freeze the prepared casserole with the crumb topping or add it on right before baking, but keep in mind that fresh crumb topping 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, and 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.
  2. Bread: Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for french toast casseroles. Slice and cut it into 1-inch cubes and let it sit out uncovered all day. You’ll have about 12 cups of cubed bread– a little more or less is fine.
  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 use and 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.
  5. Can I add berries? Some readers have added blueberries, blackberries, and/or raspberries sprinkled throughout the casserole. Feel free to scatter 1 cup of fresh berries over the spoonfuls of cream cheese before topping with the remaining bread cubes. I do not recommend frozen berries.

Keywords: overnight french toast casserole, cream cheese french toast casserole

baked cream cheese french toast casserole

122 Comments

  1. Made this recipe for Christmas morning for the first time two years ago. It has now become an annual tradition with my family putting on their request for it in October.
    I follow the recipe exactly and it always turns out delicious.

  2. Loved it! It was the hit of our holiday brunch. My tweaks: I did add two thinly sliced bananas on the cream cheese layer and sprinkled generously with chocolate chips. I would highly recommend that. Also I worried I didn’t have enough bread (used a whole challah) so I looked in my freezer and cut up and added whatever sweet breads I had. There was half a large danish; two muffins that had been there a month and I had a couple of not-fresh donuts on my counter, whatever I could find. I cut everything up into cubes and immersed in the custard. That was actually amazing. I used up stuff I’d probably never eat and in the custard, they all blended together to exquisiteness

  3. This was wonderful! Got nothing but great compliments. Made my place smell good, too.

  4. Oh, yum. My family loved it for Christmas morning brunch. I did make a bit more stuffing, using 12 oz cream cheese, 3 T. confectioner’s sugar, and about a half teaspoon vanilla mixed into the cream cheese and sugar, so a bit more decadent. Otherwise followed recipe faithfully. This is a keeper.

  5. Just had this at a friend’s house…OMG ! can you add fruit (blueberries) to this version as well?

    1. Hi Sue, You sure can add berries! I recommend about 1 cup (similar to my Blueberry French Toast Casserole).

  6. I have trouble getting mine to cook in the middle. What am I doing wrong. I’m a fairly decent bakers so this is driving me nuts!!

    1. Hi Stefanie! I recommend a few things– first, bake the casserole on a lower oven rack to prevent the edges from browning to quickly. Similarly, tent the casserole about halfway through bake time with aluminum foil to help it bake a little more evenly. Finally, you can try lowering the oven temperature and baking for longer so the casserole can cook a little more evenly. Hope all of this helps for next time.

  7. Looking forward to making this! Could I use buttermilk instead of whole milk?

    1. Absolutely! The casserole will have a tangier flavor.

  8. Angela Price Rubin says:

    Just made Cream cheese french toast casserole, made for baby’s brunch nothing was left. I would have to say it was a hit. I used challah.

  9. Made this for breakfast this morning. I absolutely loved it! Unfortunately, my husband did not. He thinks the whole thing is too sweet and didn’t like the texture. The texture reminded me of a custard my grandma used to make so I loved it!!! I’ll try the half recipe next time and just make it for myself! 🙂

  10. Amazingly yummy do ahead casserole! I used Montana Gold (a local bakery) cinnamon swirl bread and let it sit on the counter for several hours after cubing. I also added a mounded tablespoon of freshly grated orange zest, splitting it between the cream cheese and the custard mix. It was subtle, but people noted how good the orange flavor was.
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  11. Thanks for all the great recipe, Sally! You never disappoint!

    I would love it if you had an breakfast entree section when you search by category. There are so many yummy looking brunch recipe you publish, but I can’t easily scroll through them in one place. Having a section with all your french toast casseroles, egg bakes, etc. would be amazing!

  12. Timothea Sansing says:

    This was better then I expected! I already had a loaf of plain regular white bread. That was about to go bad and kinda stale already. So I just used that. I wanted to try it so bad. And it turned out really good. So I can only imagine how amazing it would be if I used a good quality bread. And even something with a little sweetness to it like Hawaiian bread or french bread. The only problem I had was getting the topping to crumble. It was more like a paste then crumbles. I had even put my butter in the freezer for about an hour before putting the topping together. I had to add alot more flour and a little bit more brown sugar. Just to get it to crumble. So I don’t think it ended up as sweet as it should have. Next time I think I’ll reduce the butter by like half at least. But when finished it was still really really good. My roommate that doesn’t even like french toast loved it. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    1. I have made this so many times because it is the most delicious amazingness ever! I do not include the streusel topping, and it is still absolutely perfection. I’ve made it with challah, gluten free bread, regular cream cheese, and dairy free. All variations are incredible!!!

  13. Tried this recipe for Mother’s Day breakfast this morning… amazing!!! Came together very quickly last night and streusal topping this morning was a snap. Mom and toddler approved!!!

  14. Made this for Mother’s Day breakfast. It was wonderful! Definitely will make again. Yes, challah bread is a must!!!!

  15. My son made this for Mothers Day using Hawaiian rolls and part half-n-half for the milk. It was stupendously good! We decided to add finely diced apple to the mix next time.

  16. Joan Rosenberg says:

    This was FANTASTIC!! I could not get challah so used french baguette. I serve Maple syrup on the side and it was perfect. This will be a Mothers’ Day brunch regular!!! Thanks Sally!!

  17. Followed recipe exactly and everyone raved about it. Served the leftovers cold. Those who tried it hot and cold couldn’t decide which they liked best!

  18. Oh Sally this is heaven. I’ve actually never tried this recipe until today and I’m not sure how I’ve survived countless holidays and Sunday mornings without it. New family favorite. It’s one of those recipes where I started scrolling through my phone after, knowing I would need to share the link with some friends. This recipe is meant to be shouted from the mountain tops lol honestly. That good.

  19. Eileen Elko says:

    I made this for Mothers day breakfast. I added pecans with the bread and on top. It was delicious. I froze half of it after I baked it since there is only 2 of us eating it. I have tried other recipes but didn’t like them. This is definitely the best I cant wait for the weekend to eat it again.

  20. What an outstanding recipe! I did what one person recommended and added 1 cup fresh blueberries on top after putting on the cream cheese dollops. It came out absolutely perfect! We put a tiny drizzle of maple syrup on our plate but that wasn’t even necessary. Thanks for the yummy breakfast!

  21. Has anyone tried this with a whole wheat loaf? I have one that’s been sitting in my kitchen for a week and would like to use it up for Breakfast

  22. This recipe is amazing! A friend has made it a few times for girlfriend brunches and my boyfriend and I finally made it ourselves for our Thanksgiving breakfast today. We have about half of the pan leftover – how do you recommend reheating? Thanks, in advance, for your suggestion!

  23. This was delicious. It was my first time making a French toast casserole. I added fresh cranberries on top of the cream cheese. I will definitely be making this again.

  24. This will be the 3rd Christmas morning I’ve made this & everyone is already looking forward to it. I follow the recipe exactly & it turns out perfect. Thank you for such an easy, delicious recipe!

  25. Amazing recipe that’s so easy to make even a cave man can do it lol . This is literally the first thing I’ve ever baked in my life . I made it just like you said , using french bread that I sliced up and left out for awhile and I let it set overnight in the fridge. I made a coffee simple syrup and put a few spoon fulls of that into some maple syrup and drizzled that on top . It’s a very sweet topping so just a little goes a long way . It really added the perfect sweetness with a delicious coffee flavored kick . Will definitely be making this again .

  26. Sharon Trimble says:

    One of the BEST breakfast casseroles I have ever made! I love the crispy top and the soft, silky bottom. Perfect combination and amazing flavor that isn’t too sweet. ❤️

  27. I have been going through all of your French toast casserole recipes and its hard to choose I want the cream cheese and blueberries. Could I add blueberries to this one? Would there be a difference in time to cook?

    1. Absolutely! The bake time will be the same, just add the blueberries.

      1. Hi Sally! I was wondering if I could use a little blueberry jam in place of fresh blueberries. Do you think it will be too sweet, or will ~3 tablespoons of jam be OK? Thanks! (I’ve had this bookmarked for a year– I’m really looking forward to finally making it!)

      2. Hi Kathryn, a few Tablespoons of jam would be wonderful with the spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture.

  28. Was incredible! My whole family was raving about it. Definitely will keep this recipe for brunches in the future. I used brioche bread and soaked it overnight. Amazing!!

  29. delores m kinsman says:

    This recipe sounds amazing. Can this recipe be made ahead and frozen before baking? If so, how long can it be frozen for and how long does it need to thaw before baking?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Delores, you bet! 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. We would freeze for up to 2 months, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

  30. Hi Sally I accidentally bought Brioche to make this recipe. Do you think I can still use it or should I run out and get another kind of bread, challah or sourdough?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, Brioche is delicious here! Enjoy!

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