This simple recipe for Brioche French Toast Casserole is the perfect breakfast for special occasions. Buttery brioche bread is soaked in an easy custard mixture, then baked until golden brown and drizzled with maple syrup.
This is the easiest way to make French toast for a crowd - no dipping needed!
My favorite way to celebrate special days is to make a delicious breakfast for my family. Waking up to the smells of freshly-squeezed orange juice, maple syrup, and fluffy French toast is sure to put just about anyone in a good mood!
Taking that time early in the morning to make a treat is a delicious way to show your guests (or loved ones) that you care. This make-ahead recipe for baked brioche french toast is one of my favorite ways to do that.
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- It's the best way to serve French toast to a crowd! No endless dipping of bread slices is required - just prep everything the night before and bake in the morning.
- It's perfect for special occasions like Mother's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or even just a weekend brunch!
- This easy French toast bake is the perfect recipe for taking to new mothers, or anyone who could benefit from a homemade meal.
- It's made with basic ingredients you probably already have on hand, and the fruit (blueberries) can easily be swapped for whatever you have in your fridge and pantry.
Note: If you want to make and bake on the same day, you can absolutely do that! Just do a quick soak before baking.
- Cubed bread: You will need about 1 loaf of buttery Brioche bread, although you can use any bakery-style loaf (french, challah, sourdough, etc).
- Bread that is dry or stale works best - purchasing a day-old loaf or planning ahead works well.
- If the bread is fresh you can lightly toast it in the oven to dry it out.
- Place the cubes on a baking sheet.
- Cook at 275ºF for 5-10 minutes, or until crusty (but not browned)
- Remove and allow to cool briefly before using.
- Half and half: This provides a balance of creaminess without being too heavy. If you don't have any on hand, you can make your own by using half whole milk and half heavy cream.
- Eggs: These are an essential element in any French toast recipe!
- Blueberries (or mix-ins of choice): Blueberries really pair well with this easy breakfast casserole, but feel free to get creative and swap them out for strawberries, raspberries, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
- Other: You'll also need brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
For Serving (Optional)
- Powdered sugar
- Maple syrup
- Whipped cream
Check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and the quantities needed.
How to Make French Toast Casserole
Whether you're looking for a great recipe for weekend mornings or something that can be made ahead of time for a holiday gathering, this French toast casserole recipe is one that the whole family will love!
Step one: Add the eggs, half and half, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large mixing bowl.
Step two: Whisk well to combine, ensuring the eggs are well beaten.
Adding the Bread Cubes
Step three: Add half of the dry bread cubes to a 9X13" baking dish.
Step four: Sprinkle 1 cup of the blueberries (or mix-in of choice) on top of the bread cube layer. Then top with another layer of bread cubes, and the remaining blueberries.
Soaking and Baking
Step five: Pour the custard mixture into the casserole dish. Press down on the bread cubes with a wooden spoon to soak them in the liquid.
Step six: Cover the baking dish and place it in the fridge. Allow the mixture to soak for at least 1 hour, although overnight is best.
Overnight French Toast Casserole
Prepare the casserole by assembling and pouring in the egg and heavy cream mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the fridge to soak and rest overnight.
The next morning add the cold dish to a cold oven before heating it OR allow the dish to come to room temperature before baking.
Step seven: Bake uncovered in a 350ºF (177ºC) oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the egg mixture is cooked through and the surface is golden brown.
Step eight: Sprinkle with powdered sugar (if desired), then slice and serve with your choice of whipped cream, maple syrup, fresh berries, etc.
Important Tip: In order to prevent temperature shock from the cold dish going into a hot oven, I recommend placing the cold dish in the oven before you even turn it on. Then, as the oven preheats it gradually warms the casserole dish - reducing the likelihood of it breaking.
What to Serve with Baked French Toast
The good thing about this baked French toast casserole is that it's pretty much a whole meal in one! It's a hearty breakfast that's filling enough to stand on its own, but also pairs nicely with side dishes for a beautiful brunch spread.
- Scrambled eggs
- Egg custard
- Fruit salad
- Sliced fruit (berries, melons, pears, and apples)
- Hashbrown casserole
- Orange juice
Storing and Reheating
Storing: Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and place them in the fridge. Keeps well for up to 3 days.
Reheating: heat individual servings in the microwave in 30-second intervals, or until warmed through. Top with maple syrup, whipped cream, and/or powdered sugar, and serve.
Freezing: You can freeze this casserole before baking, or once it is baked and cooled. When you're ready to enjoy, thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight and either bake according to instructions (if frozen before baking) or reheat and enjoy.
Choosing Bread for French Toast Casserole
- Brioche bread is really the star of this show. However, you can substitute it if you have to. Any bakery-style bread like French bread or sourdough work well. You can even use just plain old sandwich bread in a pinch.
- The bread you use MUST be a little dry/stale. This allows it to soak up all of the liquid. If your bread isn’t dry enough the dish will not cook well.
- You can speed up the drying process of the bread by baking it in the oven (already cubed) at 275℉ for 5-15 minutes. Ensure you are flipping the bread and checking on it regularly while it’s in the oven.
- Half-and-half substitute: Milk and heavy cream can be mixed and substituted for the half-and-half if you don’t have any on hand. Use 1 ½ cups of milk and 1 ½ cups of heavy cream to substitute for 3 cups of half and half.
- Frozen fruit: Frozen blueberries (or other fruit) can be used, but your whole casserole may turn blue since frozen berries usually spread their color. It will still taste delicious though!
- Fresh fruit: Raspberries, chopped strawberries, blackberries, chopped apples, and sliced bananas are some great options for adding to baked French toast. Just swap them for the blueberries, or use a combination of two or more fruits.
- Chocolate: If you want your breakfast to be ultra-decadent, you can easily add in some chocolate. Chocolate chips or chunks, white chocolate (especially paired with raspberry!), or Nutella are all delicious additions.
- Nuts: Adding in some nuts is a great way to get some crunch! I think a combination of sliced bananas and walnuts would make a delicious "Banana nut" flavor.
- Brown sugar topping: If you want to add some extra sweetness, swap out the blueberries for some brown sugar. Sprinkle ¼ cup on top of the bottom layer of cubed brioche, then on top of the casserole as well. Add in a few chopped nuts for bonus points.
If wait for the bread to go stale, or you purchase a day-old loaf, there is no need to dry your bread before using it to make French toast. If it is fresh, however, you should dry the bread before using it. This can be done by cutting it into cubes and leaving it in the open air for several hours, or by toasting the bread lightly in the oven.
Whether you're making regular French toast or a baked casserole, the type of bread is important to the end result. You want sturdy, crusty bread that will hold up to a long soaking. Almost any stale bread will work, but brioche, sourdough, french bread, and challah bread are all great options.
There are several reasons why your French Toast Casserole may be soggy, or "wet". A few include using too much liquid (or too little bread), not using stale bread, not baking it for long enough, and not soaking it for at least 1 hour.
If you loved this recipe for Brioche French Toast Casserole, let me know by leaving a 5-star review in the recipe card or comment below! You can also tag me on Instagram @dashfordinner.
Brioche French Toast Casserole
- 9X13" baking dish (23X33cm)
- 1 loaf Brioche bread stale, cut into 1 ½" cubes (approx. 14 ounces)
- 2 cups blueberries or fruit of choice
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups half and half or 1 ½ cups each of milk and cream*
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
For serving (optional)
- Powdered sugar
- Maple syrup
- Whipped cream
- Grease a 9X13” (23X33cm) baking dish.
- Place half of the bread cubes into the bottom of the baking dish in an even layer.
- Place 1 cup of the blueberries (or fruit of choice) over the top of the bread cubes.
- Place the remaining bread cubes over the blueberries. Then sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the bread cubes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half*, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Pour the egg mixture over the bread and blueberries making sure to coat all of the pieces of bread. Use a spatula or spoon to gently press down on the top bread pieces to submerge them.
- Cover the dish and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour, or for the best results: overnight. The bread needs to have fully soaked up the liquids before baking.
- When you’re ready to bake add the cold baking dish to the cold oven**. Set the oven temperature to 350℉ (177ºC) and allow it to gradually warm the baking dish to prevent temperature shock as it preheats.
- Once the oven has preheated, start the timer and bake the casserole uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until the egg mixture is cooked through and no longer runny. *If the top starts to brown too quickly, you can cover the dish with aluminum foil and continue baking until finished.
- Serve warm and add desired toppings (maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, etc).
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