This Overnight Brioche French Toast Casserole uses delicious buttery brioche bread and a cruncy cinnamon streusel topping to make a decadent breakfast that's easy to make. It can be made ahead the night before so that all you have to do is pop it in the oven the next morning. Perfect for weekend mornings, special occasions, holiday breakfasts or any event where you need a delicious easy breakfast at the ready.
Are you ready for Christmas yet? I’m just starting to get there since we finally have a tree up!
We almost didn't have a Christmas tree this year, as we will be traveling. But then, my husband came home with a pass for us to pick out a tree from a nearby national forest. Yes, in Colorado you can actually go into the forest and cut down your own Christmas tree. How awesome is that!
We headed out on Sunday afternoon and after walking through the woods for about 30 minutes finally circled back to the very first tree we saw (sorry honey!) chopped it down, and tied it to our car to head home.
It’s a tiny tree – very Charlie Brownish – and fits perfectly at the entrance of our home. We decided to decorate it with simple homemade ornaments the kids made. Snowflakes, finger-knitted garland, candy canes. I couldn’t love it more, and I think this may be the start of a new family tradition.
This weekend I also developed an easy recipe that may be our new perfect breakfast for Christmas morning, Easter morning, Mothers day, or any other holiday where we're serving up a weekend brunch.: This easy Brioche Baked French Toast Casserole.. We had a bunch of Brioche bread left over from a potluck we had been to earlier in the week and it was a perfect way to transform it into something even more delicious.
Think soft pillows of sweet buttery brioche bread, tinged with warm blueberries and a crunchy cinnamon topping. This french toast recipe is the perfect holiday breakfast!
Why this easy breakfast casserole works
This is the perfect recipe when you want something special but don't have time (or desire) to put in a large amount of work. Here's why we love it so much:
- Easy. This easy French toast casserole recipe is truly as simple as cutting up some stale bread into 1-inch cubes (or just tearing them into small pieces as I did), adding an egg custard and some blueberries, and letting it sit overnight to soak up all the goodness before you pop it into the oven for a delicious french toast breakfast.
- Make ahead. Have I mentioned you can make this ahead of time? This overnight French toast casserole recipe is such a time saver. It's a great recipe that lets you sit back and enjoy your morning without feeling like you're scrambling around in the kitchen.
- Delicious. Our whole family loves this easy french toast bake and it has made a regular appearance at our breakfast table many Sunday mornings since we discovered it.
- Plays nicely with others. We love having this alongside a bowl of creamy scrambled eggs, bacon, and a bowl of fresh fruit or fresh berries.
The basic ingredients for this French toast recipe are pretty much what you'd expect, and easy to pull together:
- Stale bread. I personally love to use Brioche bread for this French toast casserole, but really any bread will do the trick. French bread, challah bread, or even sourdough bread, would do work. The trick is to make sure it's stale, as this will absorb the custard mixture better. (It's also my favorite way of using up leftover bread from the night before.) But if fresh bread is all you have, that can work in a pinch too.
- Heavy cream and whole milk and eggs. These ingredients will combine to form the most delicious, creamy custard mixture for your french toast.
- Vanilla extract, brown sugar and cinnamon. You'll add these ingredients to the egg mixture for a sweet flavor.
- Flour, unsalted butter, light brown sugar, and cinnamon. These will combine to make a sweet and crunchy cinnamon streusel topping that will go on top of the casserole. (Did I mention that there was a streusel topping?!!)
Substitutions And Variations
- Sub out the cream. If you're looking to cut some calories, or don't have whole milk or heavy whipping cream on hand, you can use low-fat milk and/or half-n-half instead. Just know that it won't produce as creamy of a custard.
- Use different fruit. We love using blueberries here, but you could try whatever you have on hand or is in season. Strawberries, blackberries, or even peaches would be a great option.
- Try a different addition. Instead of fruit (or possibly even in addition to?), you could add chocolate chips for even more decadence. Or, add in some toasted nuts, like pecans or walnuts for an added crunch.
How To Make Overnight Brioche Baked French Toast Casserole
The best part about this meal (and why it’s so great for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other busy morning) is that you can, and should, make it in advance (overnight). Here's how to do it.
- Prepare the bread. Start by mixing all the ingredients together in a casserole dish the night before. This basically involves cutting up your bread cubes and placing them in a prepared baking dish.
- Prepare the custard. In a large mixing bowl, whisk your eggs, whole milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugars and pour it over the top of the bread and toss well so that everything is coated. Add your blueberries, cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place it in the refrigerator until the next morning.
- Make the streusel. The next day, while your oven is preheating, mix together your cinnamon brown sugar crumble by combining the light brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and, using a pastry cutter, two knives, or even just your hands, cut the butter into the flour mix until it resembles a crumble. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the french casserole.
- Bake! Then just pop it in the oven. You’ll open presents as the delicious smell of baked French toast floats through your home, without any of the mess or prep to ruin your day.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe works best with bread that’s a day or two old and a bit dried out. That way you don’t end up with a mushy casserole. Is your bread too fresh? No worries. Just slice it up and bake it at a low 250 degrees for about 10 minutes to dry it out a bit and you’ll be good to go.
I used fresh blueberries for this recipe but you can sub in frozen ones in a pinch. And, you can use whatever fruit suits your fancy – apples, peaches or cherries would be great alternatives.
This recipe is best mixed the day before, then cooked the following day. Letting the bread and custard mixture sit for any longer in the refrigerator may make for a mushy casserole.
If you have any leftovers, simply allow the casserole to come to room temperature, then store the leftovers in an airtight container. (Tip: You could even store these as individual servings if you wanted to take it to work the next morning - just saying!)
What do I serve with this brioche french toast casserole?
This is a hearty breakfast on it's own, but if serving as part of a larger brunch or for a special occasion, we love to serve it with any of the following:
- Creamy Scrambled Eggs
- Oven-Cooked Bacon
- Breakfast Charcuterie Board
- Cheesy Chicken Hash Brown Casserole
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Egg Muffin Cups
And of course, if you'd like to really do this dish justice, add just a touch of maple syrup to the top and perhaps even a dollop of whipped cream.
Planning on making this Overnight Brioche French Toast Casserole for your next holiday brunch or weekend morning? Take a picture and tag me on Instagram @frontrangefed. I’d love to see your masterpiece!!
More Delicious Breakfast Recipes!
- Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese And Everything Bagel Pizza
- Avocado Toast
- Homemade Blueberry Waffles
- Lemon And Blueberry Baked Donuts
- Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- Quiche Florentine
Overnight Brioche French Toast Casserole
- 1 loaf crusty brioche or french bread (preferably a day or two old)
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
For The Crumble Topping
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
- Cut up brioche bread into bite size chunks. If your bread is not dry enough, bake at 250 degrees for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Make the custard by whisking the eggs, milk, half n half, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
- Add cinnamon and light brown sugar to the egg mixture and mix well.
- Arrange bread evenly in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Pour mixture over bread, making sure all the bread is coated (you may need to press some of the bread into the egg mixture.)
- Add blueberries to the casserole ensuring they are evenly distributed.
- Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator over night.
- When you’re ready to bake your brioche French toast casserole, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- While oven is preheating, make your cinnamon struesel topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, two knives, or even just your hands, cut the butter until it is well integrated into the flour mixture (it should feel kind of like wet sand).
- Sprinkle the crumble over the top of your casserole and add additional blueberries if desired.
- Bake casserole for 50-55 minutes, or until the top starts to brown slightly and become crisp. (Note, depending on how big your bread chunks are, you may require a slightly longer cooking time.)
- For best results, use stale bread for this recipe. Stale bread will do a better job of soaking up the custard mixture.
- If your bread is not dry enough, bake it for about 10 minutes at 250 degrees in the oven.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.