Creamy, fresh, and custard-y strawberries n cream French toast casserole! Make it ahead the night before for a quick and easy brunch.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
- 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.
- Serve immediately. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Mixing Bowls | White Baking Dish | Serving Plates | Custom Stamped Fork
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.