Easter Brunch: Baked French Toast Casserole

It’s Easter weekend and I am sharing with you a delicious recipe, a spin on a classic, and one you will want to make as soon as possible for your Easter brunch or frankly any day of the year! It’s one I’ve been meaning to share with all of you for a while now, but for some reason there’s been other things to write about and this recipe kept taking a back seat. I’ve been making this baked french toast casserole for my family for years. It’s become one of my family’s favorite dishes and a recipe that I use not only for breakfast on holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) but for weeknight dinners as well. (Do you have breakfast for dinner in your house? We do here and we love it!) There are many things we love about this recipe, not only the fact that it tastes delicious, and feeds a crowd, but I love the versatility and that it can be made ahead of time giving me more time with family if baking this on a holiday or more time to get things done on a weeknight. So, if you’ve got a busy Easter weekend ahead of you with company headed to your home, I’ve got you covered with this delicious baked french toast casserole recipe you can whip up in no time the day before friends & relatives arrive!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Salted butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Thick sliced bread (I use sourdough)
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 9×13 baking dish

How To Make:

To start your baked french toast, begin by making your own syrup combining butter and brown sugar (on the stove or in the microwave) and pouring into a 9×13 baking dish.

Prepare a simple egg wash with eggs, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Place bread in a single layer over the syrup in the baking dish. Arrange slices to fit. No need to cube the bread, I just add the slices to the dish. Fill in holes between slices with small pieces of bread.

Pour half of the egg wash over bread and top with a dusting of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Layer remaining bread over the top and pour the rest of the egg wash on top with a final dusting of brown sugar and cinnamon.

If baking immediately, let casserole rest for about 30 minutes before baking in the oven.

If making ahead of time, place covered casserole in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours. Remove from fridge when ready to bake and let rest on counter for about 20 minutes. Bake for about 45 minutes and prepare to excite your taste buds!

Simply top with a pat of butter and a small amount of maple syrup. Enjoy!

My Tips:

  • Here’s a little secret of mine…don’t tell anyone! I use salted butter when baking, there my secret is out! I love how salted butter adds just the right amount of salt to sweet foods. I don’t add additional salt if using salted butter.
  • My family discovered our love of sourdough bread many years ago, and it is mainly what we purchase these days. So, using sourdough bread for this recipe was a no brainer for me! The slightly sour flavor adds so much depth to this very sweet recipe. I also love the texture of sourdough bread, which works so well with this casserole.
  • Use good vanilla extract! As tempting as it might be to buy the cheap stuff at the grocery store, spend a few more dollars on quality vanilla extract, you will taste the difference. I’ve made my own in the past, but have found Trader Joe’s vanilla extract to be a very good substitute when I don’t have my own!
  • This recipe calls for milk, however for a richer french toast casserole feel free to substitute the milk with light cream, heavy cream, or half and half.
  • Serve your baked french toast with a side of fruit, bacon, sausage links, or breakfast ham. We love the saltiness of bacon or ham with the sweetness of the casserole. It’s fun to swipe a slice of bacon through the brown sugar syrup. Yum!

Do you have a breakfast or brunch planned for Easter weekend? What will you be serving? I hope this recipe makes it’s way into your recipe book for Easter or any other day of the year, it’s one my family loves and I am so happy to finally be sharing it with you!

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Baked French Toast Casserole

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 loaf thick sliced bread (I use sourdough)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 9×13 baking dish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Lightly grease on oven safe 9×13 casserole dish.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 15 second intervals, until butter is melted.
  3. Stir 1 cup brown sugar into the melted butter, mix well until fully combined. Pour brown sugar mixture into the prepared dish and spread evenly to coat the bottom of the dish. Set dish aside.
  4. In a bowl beat eggs. Once beaten, add in milk, vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. Combine remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate small bowl. Set aside.
  6. Arrange bread in a single layer over the butter/sugar mixture in the dish.
  7. Pour half of the egg wash over bread. Top with half of the brown sugar/cinnamon.
  8. Arrange remaining bread slices over the top. Pour over remaining egg wash and top with remaining brown sugar/cinnamon. Lightly press bread into the egg wash to ensure slices are evenly soaked.
  9. Cover dish with tin foil and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to soak up the custard mixture, or overnight for best results.
  10. When ready to bake, take the dish out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before baking (if it has been overnight) to remove the chill from the dish.
  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  12. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  13. Serve with butter and syrup. Enjoy!