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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. You can also add mixed berries like we do in our berries & cream French toast.

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 or croissant bread. French toast made with challah or croissant 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 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Sara, We are actually testing a version of this! If you want to experiment on your own, you can start by replacing some of the eggs with one cup of pumpkin and adding some pumpkin pie spice. Let us know if you try anything.

  1. Would you have any advice on doubling / multiplying this recipe and cooking in a full sized catering pan (about 13″x21″)?

    1. Hi Blair, You can certainly double this recipe but we’ve never tried to bake it in pan that large. If you try it you may need to cover the edges of the pan part way through the bake time so that the edges don’t over bake before the center is finished. Let us know if you try it!

  2. I love this recipe as is, super yummy! That being said, I just bought some pumpkin brioche and pumpkin cream cheese from Trader Joe’s….think that would be good for a fall twist? I’m scared to ruin it! I love the original!

  3. I’ve grated a little orange zest and added a glug of Grand Marnier into the cream cheese mixture and that gave it an added boost of yumminess! I also use maple butter instead of regular butter for the streusel topping and OMG deliciousness! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this and how many more times it’s been requested–THANK YOU!

  4. Any tips for making this w/o egg? Just found out my son is allergic. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kate, we haven’t tested this recipe with egg substitutes, so can’t give any advice. Let us know if you try any! Here are all of our egg free baking recipes if you are interested in browsing there.

  5. Hi! I made the casserole last night (Friday) but now will not need it until Sunday. Can I leave it in the fridge and bake it tomorrow am? Or will it have to go in the freezer?

    1. Hi Ashley, If it’s longer than overnight we recommend either freezing it until you are ready to bake, or go ahead and bake it now and then just re-heat it on Sunday morning.

    1. Hi Tamara! We haven’t tested our baked French toast casserole recipes with croissants, so we can’t offer much advice. Let us know if you give it a try!

  6. Is it possible to use not the brick cream cheese? It is not available here but I still want to use it!!!

    1. Hi Kate! In the U.S. block cream cheese is very different than the tubs and is the only cream cheese that will be sturdy enough in this French toast casserole. We have been told by readers outside the U.S. that cream cheese in a tub is different from ours and can work, but we have not tested it. Please let us know if you try!

  7. I am planning to try this this weekend. I have been looking for an overnight cranberry French toast recipe to serve at a Christmas brunch to slice things up a bit from my usual plain French toast casserole. I tried adding fresh cranberries to the basic overnight French toast I normally make but it turned out too tart. I liked the idea of seeing beautiful whole cranberries in thecasserole but my plan is to try adding some cranberry-cherry pie filling I found at the grocery store with the cream cheese in this one unless someone has had good success just adding fresh or frozen cranberries. My thinking is I either need to make my own cranberry jam filling or use store bought pie filling like I found to keep it from becoming too tart, but maybe with the cream cheese in this recipe it would taste ok with plain whole cranberries? I will probably add some Orange zest as well when I do this. Has anyone experimented with cranberries or poor filling with the cream cheese?

    1. Brandi, for other recipes, I’ve used dried cranberries, soaked in water, juice or rum to plump them up. They’ll add the sweetness needed and if you soak only half way, some may burst while others stay whole. Good luck!

  8. Could this be made in a crockpot? If so, how long would you cook it?

  9. Hi Sally,
    Going to make the cream cheese casserole for our teacher s brunch .
    Can you bake 2 cream cheese casseroles at the same time? Thank you so much

    1. As long as your oven is big enough it shouldn’t be a problem. We recommend rotating the pans halfway through for more even baking.

  10. Thinking of adding apple chunks to this. Do you think the apples will cook well enough or should I precook them?

    1. Hi Lana, That would be delicious. You can slice the apples and layer them in – no need to precook them. Enjoy!

  11. Hi Sally! I need to make this recipe and bake immediately, it’s for a breakfast at Ronald McDonald house and everything has to be prepared onsite.

    Any suggestions for this? Lower temperature? Softer bread?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jessicas, if absolutely needed you could skip the rest/soaking time. (But even just 10-15 minutes would be good!) I wouldn’t change anything in the recipe.

  12. I don’t love a really custardy texture. Could I cut back on the number of eggs and still have it come out okay?

    1. Hi Rebecca, Thank you for trying this recipe. Make sure you are using a quality bread and that you let it get a little stale so it can really soak up all of the custard. But you can certainly try cutting back on the egg mixture a bit, or even adding slightly more bread to the mixture so there is more of it to soak up the liquid.

    1. Hi Emily, You can see the note on cream cheese in the “Notes” section directly below the recipe instructions.

  13. I’m planning to make this tonight for Christmas breakfast. I was thinking about replacing some of the milk with eggnog and adding toasted pecans. Do you think I need to change the liquid ratio because of the eggnog? Also we live in the south now and can’t find good crusty bread. Do you recommend drying it in the oven first?

    1. Hi Roseann, If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to let the bread sit/get a little stale, you can spread the cubes in a single layer on baking sheet and bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes first. We haven’t tested this with eggnog but it should work just fine to use some in place of some of the milk. Enjoy!

  14. This is an amazing dish. Now a breakfast favorite for when my older kids come over for brunch. We have one who eats gluten free and so now I make this with gluten free Hawaiian bread and modify the topping to use almond flour and oats instead of regular flour for the crumble – no one can tell it’s gluten free and it’s still amazing!

  15. Made this for Christmas morning with challah bread and my family agreed this was the best French toast casserole! This will be a keeper for breakfast at family gatherings.

  16. This recipe was amazingly delicious. It was a huge success for Christmas brunch and I plan to use it going forward. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  17. Sally, I have been baking for years and have totally enjoyed your recipes in the last several months. I have a quick question about this wonderful French toast… I used challah bread (as you suggested)… as well as the Philadelphia cream cheese, whole milk… I like using quality ingredients. It was absolutely fabulous ! My husband and I are making this for our pastors and staff. I will be making 8 pans of this marvelous French toast. If I put two pans in our double ovens at a time, can I bake it on confection oven instead of conventional? Thank you so very much for all you do for the baking lovers.

    1. Hi Helen, we’re so thrilled to hear that you love this recipe! We always recommend conventional settings for baking (not convection/fan). The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection/fan settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake.

      1. Thank you so much…Convention it is! I have double ovens & will use a friend’s double ovens across the street for the other 4 pans!
        PS your apple crisp & your apple crumble muffins are also a Huge hit.

  18. I made this today for a brunch, and it was fabulous. I made the recipe as listed with one addition: I used two blocks of cream cheese. My philosophy is that there’s no such thing as too much cream cheese! Thanks for sharing this recipe…It’s a definite keeper.

  19. This was so tasty! I made this on Christmas eve, well prepared it, and cooked it Christmas morning. My family all loved it. That’s pratty rare with our 4 kids. I’m making it again this Sunday (breakfast for dinner) and adding toasted pecans into the streusel topping. Thanks for the great recipe.

  20. This is a great dish, curious if I’m not sure how to but is there a virtual cookbook storage for the things I try and want to keep in rotation?

    1. Hi Nicole, We are happy you enjoyed the recipe! This is something we may implement in the future! For now, if you use Pinterest, you can easily pin your favorites to your Pinterest boards.

  21. Sally, I made 8 pans (1 at a time) of this baked cream cheese French bread for a large group of people…using challah bread. It was a huge hit for a Valentine’s brunch. Many people wanted the recipe and I sent yours onto them. I add chopped pecans for no other reason, except I like them. Thank you so very much for your recipes.

  22. I made this for the first time tonight. It had great flavor and the top was nice and crunchy but the bottom was really soggy.
    Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Heather, Thank you for trying this recipe! Were you using a high quality bread that sat out for a few hours to get a little stale? These two things should help prevent sogginess.

    1. Hi Michael, absolutely — reheat in the microwave until warmed.

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