Strawberry French Toast Casserole

Creamy, fresh, and custard-y Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole! Make it ahead the night before! Full recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Strawberry french toast casserole is another spring brunch recipe to consider! (25+ Easter recipe ideas are right this way.) We’re combining fresh strawberries with cream cheese, chunks of decadent challah bread, cinnamon, brown sugar, and heaps of homemade strawberry topping. This layered breakfast is creamy, soft, warm, crisp, comforting, and ready for any and all of your spring brunches. 🙂

Creamy, fresh, and custard-y Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole! Make it ahead the night before! Full recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

What I love most about french toast casseroles, and why I bake them so often, is the low maintenance factor. You’re not standing over the stove and cooking french toast for the whole family. You’re layering bread and egg in a pan and baking it. And, most notably, you’re doing most of the prep (which is minimal to begin with!) the night before. You can wake up groggy eyed and still half asleep to put breakfast in the oven. Or you can spend time with guests and family, Easter egg baskets, snuggled on the couch with your coffee, whatever! instead of working in the kitchen.

Soon enough, breakfast for a crowd will be ready. And BONUS: your kitchen will smell like you were baking all morning. How sneaky of you!

French toast casserole is easy and enjoyable. All things weekend brunch should be.

Creamy, fresh, and custard-y Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole! Make it ahead the night before! Full recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

My latest french toast casserole combines what I love about my blueberry french toast casserole and my cream cheese french toast casserole: lots of berries, lots of texture, and lots of cream. I skipped the streusel topping to make room for a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and homemade strawberry sauce topping. The strawberry topping, like the casserole itself, can be prepared ahead of time. It’s basically a homemade strawberry sauce you can use for anything from pound cake and angel food cake to ice cream and pudding parfaits. Last year I served it with small batch cheesecake. Strawberry sauce is quick, versatile, and brings a fresh factor to so many dishes. Try it.

Back to breakfast! This strawberries ‘n’ cream french toast casserole hits every delicious note on the texture scale:

  • custard-y on the bottom
  • pockets of creaminess
  • juicy strawberries
  • crisp on top
  • not soggy. I repeat: not soggy!

Assemble the casserole the night before. To assemble, layer chunks of bread, dollops of a cream cheese mixture, and sliced/chopped strawberries together. Pour an egg custard all over the top, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Use challah bread and cream cheese to make Overnight Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole on sallysbakingaddiction.com

START WITH GOOD BREAD

Texture is our goal and using day-old bread will help us get there. I prefer using challah bread when I make french toast casserole, but sourdough or French bread work just as well. Homemade or store-bought, doesn’t matter. Just make sure the bread has some body. Flimsy white bread won’t get you anywhere. No matter which type of bread you use, make sure it’s a little crusty. Let it sit out on the counter for a day or 2 so it loses a little moisture and can hold onto the egg custard. The more egg custard the bread absorbs, the less soggy the french toast casserole will taste.

CREAM CHEESE MIXTURE

The cream cheese mixture is 3 ingredients: cream cheese, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar. The reason I mix a little sugar and vanilla with the cream cheese is because without it, we’ll have random savory non-melted chunks of cream cheese in the dish. I explained this in my regular cream cheese french toast casserole recipe. It was good, but not very pleasant!

Bottom line: don’t leave out the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in the cream cheese mixture.

EGG CUSTARD MIXTURE

The egg custard mixture is 5 ingredients: eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and brown sugar. Whisk it all together and pour on top.

Eggs, milk, cinnamon, and brown sugar for Overnight Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Bake it all the next morning and serve it warm. A sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar finishes the textured beauty off. A creamy and lush strawberry masterpiece complete with a dusting of snow on top. Sizzle a little bacon and toss together a fruit salad on the side. Breakfast is served!

Creamy, fresh, and custard-y Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole! Make it ahead the night before! Full recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Creamy, fresh, and custard-y Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole! Make it ahead the night before! Full recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Fellow brunch-ers, let’s dig in!

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Strawberry French Toast Casserole

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 9 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Creamy, fresh, and custard-y strawberries n cream French toast casserole! Make it ahead the night before for a quick and easy brunch. 


Ingredients

  • 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread, sourdough bread, or challah
  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups (480ml) whole milk*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups (325g) sliced or chopped strawberries
  • optional for serving: confectioners’ sugar, strawberry topping sauce, and/or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. Slice and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread half of the cubes into the prepared baking pan.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until combined. Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of the bread. Top with most of the strawberries (reserve a couple chopped strawberries for the top, for looks) and the remaining bread cubes. Place any reserved strawberries on top. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla extract together until combined. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours – overnight. Overnight is best so the bread really soaks up that custard.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
  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. If you notice the top browning too quickly as it bakes, loosely cover the pan with foil.
  6. Serve immediately. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: This dish is prepped ahead of time. Get started the night before because the casserole needs to sit in the refrigerator all night (see step 3). For freezing, prepare the recipe through step 3 and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake as directed. Baked casserole can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and warm up in a 350°F (177°C) for 35 minutes or until warm in the center.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Mixing BowlsWhite Baking Dish | Serving Plates | Custom Stamped Fork
  3. Half Recipe: This french toast casserole recipe can be halved and baked in an 8 or 9-inch baking pan. The bake time will be slightly less, around 30-35 minutes.
  4. Bread: Day-old crusty bread is best 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, doesn’t have to be exact.
  5. Milk: For the best flavor and texture, I prefer using whole milk. You can use any milk, dairy or non, but keep in mind the casserole won’t taste as rich with lower fat or skim milk.
Creamy, fresh, and custard-y Strawberries n Cream French Toast Casserole! Make it ahead the night before! Full recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

76 Comments

  1. Another perfect recipe from our baking genius Sally…..Made this casserole yesterday. I followed recipe exactly & came out perfect. So good. So decadent. A little effort the night before = easy breakfast the next day. Thanks again Sally!

  2. I made this for a potluck and received so many compliments that it was so delicious! THIS *IS* SO DELICIOUS! I had some leftovers (it does make a lot) so I ate it everyday for breakfast until it was gone. My 17 month old son who is as picky as it gets loved this. I cannot wait to make it again.

  3. I made this for Father’s Day brunch, and it was a huge hit! It was only for 3 adults, I halved the recipe and there was a perfect amount for brunch + dessert for my husband that evening . The challah and the compote are SO wonderful with the full dish, I would definitely always include them, if possible. Our strawberries were really sweet, so I just added a little squeeze of honey instead of sugar. Thanks, Sally, this was great!

  4. What happens if i use just regular wheat or white bread? Should i soak it for less time/cook it for less time?
    We just have a surplus of that bread here!

  5. Made this one, as well as the blueberry french toast casserole for my department at work today. Both were a hit and very simple to make. Thanks for another great recipe!

  6. So I just made one quarter of the recipe for my husband and me and I am so excited for tomorrow’s breakfast. Will for sure report back how it tastes.

  7. could you make this 2 nights in advance, letting it sit in the fridge soaking for 2 nights instead of 1 ? … ie make it xmas eve to be eaten on boxing day ??

  8. I just bought my challah and need to make this tonight.. How and what is the best way to dry the bread fast..
    thank you and wishing you all the best for a happy new year!
    Look forward to baking lots of your recipes…

  9. I thought just French Toast was great but you take it to the next level. Your pictures make it look so amazing as well! I have just a standard french toast recipe and you have it x100!

  10. I’m planning on making this tomorrow for brunch. Hoping you can answer this question: I’m also planning to make your breakfast casserole. Do you think I could bake them both together?? I know the egg casserole bakes at 375F – could this one be cooked at that temp as well? Or cook both at 350F? Or bake them consecutively – if so, how would you reheat/keep warm the one that’s baked first?

  11. This is so good! I used frozen berries, layered strawberry jam (about 1/2-3/4 cup) and Texas toast bread slices (half a loaf). I let it set in the fridge overnight and wow! I will be serving this for brunch for sure!

  12. Just tried this recipe and followed your instructions for half the recipe. Baked it as follows and the top seemed perfect but the bottom was still runny and soggy even after more time in the oven. Any suggestions on what might have gone wrong?

    1. Hi Krista, Make sure that your bread is a little crusty. Let it sit out on the counter for a day or 2 so it loses a little moisture and can hold onto the egg custard. The more egg custard the bread absorbs, the less soggy the french toast casserole will taste. You can also tent the top of the dish with foil if you notice the top browning before the bottom is baked through.

  13. Hi Sally, I really want to try this but the strawberries i have are not as fresh and plum and not very sweet either, I fear it won’t taste as good. Can you suggest what I should do to make them a bit sweeter for this recipe

    1. Hi Farwah, You can sprinkle about a tsp of sugar over the strawberries, give them a good stir and then let them rest until they begin to release some juice. This isn’t necessary as the brown sugar in the recipe will help make everything sweeter but you can certainly still try it!

  14. I would like to make this without cream cheese? Would you just omit the cream cheese? Would I need to alter the sugar and/or vanilla extract amounts?

  15. Sally – this recipe was SOOOO GOOD! I just made it for Easter brunch over the weekend (as well as your pineapple carrot cake, which was to die for) for my family and it was a hit. The strawberry sauce was also so good – I could eat it by itself! Thanks for another great recipe 🙂

  16. I would like to use strawberry pie filling instead of frozen strawberries. Do you think it will work? Thank you for your time!

    1. It should be fine if you slightly reduce the amount. 2 full cups would be a lot. There’s usually extra sugar in pie filling, so you may want to slightly reduce the brown sugar.

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