Baked French Toast Casserole
Challah bread soaked in a rich sweet custard with sweet cream cheese and topped with a brown sugar streusel topping
I am all about easy breakfasts. I love me some lazy mornings but my kids always want a gourmet breakfast. So this French Toast casserole is the way to appease both parties in our home. This Baked French Toast Casserole can be made the night before, placed in the refrigerator, and baked in the morning. It looks so fancy yet doesn't take much time to put together.
Since Easter is coming up this Sunday, this is what I will be making for our special Easter Sunday breakfast. It is always such a hit! I love to serve it with real maple syrup and fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
What is Baked French Toast?
Baked French Toast is made with challah, brioche, or french bread dipped into a homemade rich custard batter with dollops of sweet cream cheese and topped with a brown sugar streusel topping. It is baked until golden and topped with maple syrup and fresh fruit.
I love to use challah bread because it is firm enough to hold up to the custard yet soft enough to create the perfect baked french toast texture. Brioche works beautifully as well. Day-old bread works well since it is drier and will stand up the milk-egg mixture. However, you can dry out the bread by cutting it into bite-size pieces and placing them in the oven for 10 minutes.
The addition of sweet cream cheese adds a creamy tang to this baked french toast. You can use 4 or 8 ounces of cream cheese, depending on preference. I used 4 ounces of cream cheese in this baked french toast and found myself looking for bites with cream cheese in it. I wanted more of it! I always add powdered sugar to the softened cream cheese to give it a slightly sweet flavor. If not, the cream cheese tends to be too savory.
This can be baked right away or placed in the refrigerator overnight and baked in the morning. I love how versatile this Overnight French Toast recipe is!
How to make Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole:
- Start with your favorite type of bread -- challah, brioche, or french bread. Cut it into bite-size pieces. It is best to use day-old bread since it is drier and will be sturdy enough to hold up to the custard. Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Make a custard by whisking together eggs, whole milk, brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour custard over the bread.
- Add powdered sugar to the softened cream cheese. This gives it a touch of sweetness. Drop dollops of cream cheese on top of the french toast.
- Make a brown sugar streusel topping. Stir together brown sugar, flour, and cold butter. If you want to add a touch of spice, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Crumble over the top of the bread.
- Make sure to cover the baking dish with foil for half of the baking time. This allows the custard to set up without the bread becoming too brown.
- Serve with real maple syrup and fresh fruit.