This overnight baked French toast casserole is perfect for an easy breakfast. It's also great for special occasions like Mother's Day. Prep is done in advance, so less time is required in the kitchen when breakfast time strikes. Also, since it is a casserole instead of individual slices of French toast, everything cooks at once in about 30 minutes.
French toast is such a universally beloved breakfast item! It somehow spans any occasion and hits nostalgic childhood memories, but it can also feel so elevated and classy. Now you don't have to wait for Christmas morning to make this! It all depends on how you serve it, but no matter what, it tastes wonderful. I personally like serving French toast for occasions or on weekends when we will all have time to sit down and enjoy family breakfast together. However, the challenge of serving this dish while entertaining is that you have to fry each slice, and since it is done in batches, it can take a long time, making it hard to keep everything warm.
Why You'll Love This Overnight French Toast Casserole
- Night Owl or Early Bird – While I love this recipe for its make ahead capability, you don’t have to leave it all night. If you are in a time crunch, it only needs to sit around 45 minutes, or until the bread has soaked up most of the custard.
- Mix It Up – You can prepare the recipe as is for a perfect classic French toast, or you can choose to customize with fun, flavorful mix-ins like fruit, chocolate chips, nuts or more.
Ingredients For Overnight French Toast Bake
- French Bread or Italian Bread- Other bread that will work is Challah and Brioche. The best bread is day old but fresh will work as well.
- Milk – Any type of milk will work, including half and half or nondairy alternatives.
• Eggs – Eggs are one of the most important components to French toast and give it that signature fluffy, yet crispy outer coating.
- Orange Juice – Orange juice adds the most delicious brightness to the recipe. You can use regular bottled juice.
- Vanilla – A little vanilla will go a long way. I recommend real extract, over the imitation.
- Cinnamon – You can’t have French toast without cinnamon!
- Nutmeg – A little nutmeg can add such a lovely warmth to a recipe. If you don’t have any, you can try a little pumpkin pie spice, ginger or clove.
How to Make It
1. Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cut bread into small cubes 1” cubes and fill the baking dish.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the bowl whisk and stir until eggs are fully incorporated.
3. Pour custard mixture over the bread cubes, making sure to cover them evenly.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight and bake time is around 30-45 minutes depending on how big your dish is. Serve warm, as is, or top with berries, powdered sugar and syrup.
Step by Step Instructions
First, let's prepare our baking dish so cleaning up isn't a pain. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray. Now you'll want to cut your bread into 1 inch cubes and place them in your baking dish.
Next, we need to create the custard egg mixture for your French toast. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Then pour the custard mixture over your bread cubes, evenly distributing so that all of the bread is fully covered by the liquid.
Let it sit! Cover your baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or place in refrigerator overnight if desired. When you are ready to bake your French toast, preheat the oven to 350. Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your baking dish. If you are using a wider baking dish, it will cook a bit more quickly than a deeper one. The French toast bake is done when the custard mixture has completely cooked, and edges begin to crisp up slightly. Top with berries, powdered sugar, or maple syrup if desired. Serve warm.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat in the oven at 350 for 5-7 minutes, or in the microwave.
- Up to ⅓ cup of mix-ins such as seeds, nuts or berries may be added before baking for additional flavors.
- Make it a berry French Toast bake by adding some fresh berries on top.
If you add too much liquid, the egg won’t cook as well in your custard mix. Another thing that will affect the sogginess is using too soft or too thin a bread. Choose a thick enough bread, and keep from oversaturating it.
You can store leftovers for up to 3 days. It will taste the best if you reheat it in the oven.
You can use either one. Since this is a baked French toast, I like a butter flavored nonstick spray, but original will work fine, and greasing the dish with butter instead will also work fine.
Be mindful of the amount of milk and orange juice you put into the custard base. When distributing it, cover all of the bread cubes evenly, so that none get oversaturated. Avoid using flimsy breads like white sandwich bread.
Looking for more breakfast ideas?
Looking for more breakfast recipes? Try these:
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French Toast Casserole Recipe
- 1 large French or Italian Bread Loaf
- 1 ½ cups Milk ½ and half or milk alternative will also work
- 6 Eggs
- ⅓ cup Orange Juice
- 1 tbs Vanilla
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
- Optional Toppings: Syrup Berries, Powdered Sugar
- Preheat Oven and spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cut bread into small cubes 1” cubes and fill the baking dish.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until eggs are fully incorporated.
- Pour custard mixture over the bread cubes, making sure to cover them evenly.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how big your dish is.
- Serve warm, as is, or top with berries, powdered sugar and syrup.