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French toast casserole is a sweet and comforting dish that will turn any breakfast into a celebration. It has everything you love about traditional French toast, along with a scrumptious serving of baked apples, cranberries, and cinnamon underneath!
This French toast casserole is absolutely to die for. A layer of cinnamon-sweet fruit in a bath of buttery brown sugar is topped off with a rich, fluffy layer of French toast to create a decadent and delicious breakfast dish. It can almost double as a dessert!
This French toast casserole recipe is perfect for holidays and any large, family breakfasts — but you don’t need to wait around for a special occasion, either!
I first had this served at a Thanksgiving holiday breakfast with family years ago by my mother-in-law, who also gave me this recipe. It’s quite simple to put together, but you do need to plan ahead. Just make sure to assemble everything the night before and you’ll be all set.
Table of Contents
- French Bread – I prefer to use French bread for this French toast casserole recipe, but feel free to experiment with other types of bread. Challah, sourdough, or cinnamon swirl bread are great options.
- Apples – This dish works best with tart, firm apples like Granny Smith, McIntosh, or Pink Lady.
- Eggs – Add richness, moisture, and hold the entire casserole together.
- Dried Cranberries – Add a dash of tart, tangy sweetness and a soft, chewy texture. Feel free to reconstitute them in some water for 5 minutes to plump them up.
- Brown Sugar – Sweetens the recipe with an earthy, caramel-like flavor.
- Cinnamon – Delivers an aromatic warmth and subtle sweetness.
- Milk – Regular milk is perfect here, or you can use a dairy-free alternative if desired.
- Vanilla – Offers another layer of gentle, harmonizing sweetness.
Should I use fresh or day old bread?
Best practice – the bread should be slightly stale because a drier bread will soak up all the delicious custard. Bread can be left out the day before cooking, or you can dry your bread slices in a 275°F oven for 10 minutes before soaking them in the custard.
- Mix Butter & Spices. Use a large bowl to combine the melted butter with brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Add the Fruit. Core, peel, and cut the apples into ¼-inch thick slices. Add them to the brown sugar mixture, followed by the dried cranberries. Mix thoroughly.
- Transfer to Pan. Coat a 13×9 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, then evenly spread the apple and brown sugar mixture over the bottom. Add the cubed pieces of bread to the top of that.
- Make the Egg Mixture. Use a bowl to whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and the rest of the cinnamon. Carefully and evenly pour the mixture over the top of the bread.
- Cover & Chill. Cover the pan with foil and place it in the refrigerator to let the bread soak up the egg mixture. Give it at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
- Prepare to Bake. At least 30 minutes prior to baking, remove the pan from the refrigerator to rest on the counter. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake the Casserole. Keep the dish covered with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake uncovered for the last 5-8 minutes. You want the top to be a nice golden brown.
- Rest & Serve. Remove the French toast casserole from the oven and give it at least 5 minutes before slicing into it. After that, serve and enjoy!
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First, be sure you haven’t underbaked your casserole. Check that your oven is properly calibrated, fully preheated, and that you leave the casserole in for enough time.
Next, be sure to measure accurately and don’t drown your casserole with too much egg mixture. At a certain saturation point, the bread will stay soggy no matter what.
Finally, patience is key. Be sure to give the egg mixture at least 8 hours to soak into the bread fully and evenly. This will deliver the most equal texture once your French toast casserole is baked.
Enjoy a slice on its own as a quick snack or on-the-go breakfast, or pair it with all of your brunch favorites for a larger feast. Here are a few of my top picks to get you started:
– Enjoy with Omelet Muffins or your choice of scrambled or fried eggs.
– For a real feast, serve with this Breakfast Egg Strata.
– Pair with Breakfast Sausage, ham, or bacon.
– Serve with a sliced fruit and a side of yogurt.
– Top with maple syrup, whipped cream, or any of your favorite toppings.
Yes — in fact, it is required! The prep work needs to be done at least 8 hours in advance for the egg to saturate the rest of the dish. If needed, you can assemble this French toast casserole recipe up to 24 hours in advance before baking.
After baking, the casserole will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container. Alternatively, it can be wrapped tightly and frozen for 2-3 months. Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight before you plan on reheating it.
To reheat, cover the casserole dish with foil and place it in a 350 degrees F oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until warmed throughout.
Mom’s French Toast Casserole
- In a large bowl mix together the brown sugar, melted butter and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Core, peel and cut the apples into 1/4-inch slices. Toss in the brown sugar mixture along with the cranberries.
- Spread the apple mixture evenly on the bottom of a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Cover the apples with the cut bread cubes.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Pour evenly over the bread and cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours) to soak.
- Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake covered for 45 minutes, remove foil and bake another 5-8 minutes until top is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
- Feel free to reconstitute the dried cranberries in just enough water to cover for 5 minutes to plump them up.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.