If you're feeling a little French and want a delicious, golden brown breakfast casserole, then this easy Brioche French Toast Casserole is for you!
Sweet brioche bread nestled in a sugary cinnamon /brown sugar egg bake, topped with a hint of salty bacon and maple syrup! Make this french toast recipe for the next morning, special occasions or for your Christmas Day breakfast!
This french toast casserole recipe is technically a breakfast strata - A strata is a casserole dish that includes stale bread slices with baked eggs. Stratas can be sweet or savory and this easy baked French toast strata is delicious!
Why this recipe works
The ratio of eggs to bread and milk is key. If you use too much milk mixture, it gets soggy; if you don't use enough, your french toast casserole is more crunchy like a bread pudding
- Simple ingredients - make this easy breakfast dish with leftover Challah bread, Italian bread, French bread or sourdough bread
- Make ahead - the perfect breakfast for groups; you can assemble and bake the french toast casserole and then refrigerate it or, assemble it, refrigerate overnight and bake it the next day!
- I like to top my sweet french toast with a little salty bacon! The sweet-and-salty flavor profile pairs beautifully with the maple syrup!
Here's what you'll need
This easy French toast bake works perfectly in a 9 x 13 baking pan; If you use a smaller pan, you can keep the ingredient proportions the same, but the french toast casserole will be a little taller than if you use a 9 x 13 pan
Bread: Since this is "French" toast, I recommend using a French bread - I prefer a sweet, buttery brioche bread in this breakfast casserole. If you can't find Brioche bread, you can substitute sweet Hawaiian rolls. You'll need a loaf of bread (this is usually a pound of bread) torn into small pieces. If you don't have either of these, you can use plain white or wheat bread or Italian bread.
Eggs: large whole eggs
Bacon: cook about 2-3 pieces of bacon and crumble it up; the salty flavor pairs beautifully with the sweet toast
Brown sugar: you can use light brown sugar or dark - your call
Milk: 2% or whole milk; if you have heavy cream you can use it, but I haven't made it that way, so I don't know how it will turn out
Butter: use softened butter for the prepared baking dish; I recommend unsalted butter but you can use salted if that's all. you have
Vanilla extract: just a little bit goes a long way
Apple pie spice: most traditional French toast recipes use cinnamon and or nutmeg; I like to use this because it has those seasonings already in it.
Powdered sugar: a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar is always nice!
Maple syrup: if your making a Brioche french toast casserole to impress, don't skimp on the quality of syrup; use a high-quality, Grade A amber maple syrup. It's so much better than convention syrups that contain too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup!
How to make Brioche French toast casserole
This is an overview; see detailed instructions in the recipe card below
Cook a few pieces of bacon and crumble them; set aside (optional)
Lightly butter casserole dish (or ramekins if you're making individual servings)- which a great idea for Mother's Day 🙂
Cut or tear the individual pieces of stale bread and place in a a 9-inch baking dish (you don't have to place them in a single layer); sprinkle bacon crumbles over bread; set aside
In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, brown sugar, lightly beaten eggs, apple pie spice, vanilla extract and a pinch of table salt; combine well
Pour egg mixture over the torn brioche loaf
Bake at 350°F uncovered for 30-40 minutes on the middle rack; the top of the casserole will get golden brown and a little crunchy; if you don't want the top too brown, place a piece of foil over it halfway through the cooking time
Garnish with additional chopped salty bacon bits and sifted powdered sugar
Finish your delicious breakfast with fresh berries and a drizzle of warm maple syrup
Whatever type of bread you use, don't use super fresh bread; you want the bread to be a little "stale" so it can soak up the sugary milk and egg mixture.
If you need to dry out the bread, cut it into thick slices or into 1-inch cubes and place it on a baking sheet; cover and let it sit at room temperature for a day
If your french toast casserole gets too brown on top, place a piece of foil on it about halfway through the cooking time
A drizzle of warmed maple syrup is probably the best part of this breakfast recipe! Warm it in the microwave on the lowest setting or on the stovetop first.
Yield: when made in a 9 x 13 baking pan, this recipe will easily serve 6-8; if you're making this for a crowd, double the recipe and bake it in two separate pans.
Serving suggestions: Let the strata sit for awhile before you dig in. Also, I recommend using a large serving spoon to serve it rather than trying to slice it with a knife.
If you're making individual servings in ramekins, make sure they are cool to the touch before serving and or plating them.
The type of bread doesn't really matter. What matters is that the bread is not soft and fresh. You want to use bread that's "stale" or "day old bread" for best results.
You can freeze the casserole provided it has been cooked first. Wrap it securely in an airtight container and freeze up to 3 months.
French toast casserole that is NOT cooked should not be frozen because the texture of the eggs change during freezing.
Make ahead and storage
You can make this great recipe ahead of time and warm it up on a holiday morning or weekend morning. There's two options; Store it uncooked or store it cooked.
Storing an uncooked french toast casserole: assemble ingredients and cover with plastic and aluminum foil. Keep in fridge until ready to serve. When it's time to bake it, remove the plastic wrap and foil and place the dish in a 350°F oven uncovered. Bake 30 -add 40 minutes, until egg mixture is set and casserole isn't jiggly.
Storing a cooked french toast casserole: If you've already baked it, let it cool slightly at room temperature; then cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, allow to come to room temperature; cover with foil, and place in a 325°F degree oven for 15-25 minutes or until it's warm throughout.
This Brioche french toast casserole is a perfect breakfast or brunch recipe on weekend mornings or Christmas morning! Serve this with a side of crispy bacon or your favorite egg dish and make a hearty breakfast out of it!
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If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating! I love to hear from you! Thank you!
- 1 pound loaf Brioche bread (See Recipe Notes) torn or cubed into 1" inch cubes
- 1 cup milk, 2% or whole
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Apple Pie spice (See Recipe Notes)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- butter for preparing baking dish
- cooked bacon crumbles (optional) (See Recipe Notes)
- powdered sugar
- Maple syrup
- If you're including bacon in the recipe, cook 2-3 pieces; drain and crumble; set asidecooked bacon crumbles (optional) (See Recipe Notes)
- Tear or cut Brioche bread into small pieces (about 1"inch cubes); set aside1 pound loaf Brioche bread (See Recipe Notes)
- Lightly butter baking dish and set oven to 350°Fbutter for preparing baking dish
- In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and lightly beat; add milk, brown sugar, Apple Pie spice, vanilla extract and salt; combine well1 cup milk, 2% or whole, 8 large eggs, lightly beaten, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons Apple Pie spice (See Recipe Notes), 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Place bread cubes in baking dish (they don't have to be in a single layer); if you're using bacon, sprinkle some bacon crumbles over the bread
- Drizzle the milk/egg mixture evenly over the bread; make sure all the bread is coated with the liquid
- Place baking dish on middle rack, uncovered, at 350°F; check the casserole in 20 minutes; if the top is brown enough for you at this point, place a piece of foil loosely over the top; continue baking another 15-20 minutes or so, until the eggs are cooked (about 165°F internal temperature)
- For best results, remove the French toast casserole from the oven and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes; meanwhile, heat up some maple syrup (optional); when ready to serve, garnish the top of the casserole with a light sifting of powdered sugar and any remaining bacon pieces; serve with a big spoon and allow your guests to help themselves to the warm maple syruppowdered sugar, Maple syrup