Overnight French Toast Casserole

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This Overnight Creme Brûlée French Toast Bake is the perfect thing to make when you want a breakfast that looks ultra-fancy, but you need a recipe that’s super easy. I love to make this overnight French toast bake for Christmas morning. I assemble it the night before, when I’m the only creature stirring. Well, whisking.

baked french toast casserole with whipped creme and strawberries
Top with whipped cream and berries for an extra special treat.

You know that I’m all about clean eating and getting in my full servings of veggies. But out of the 365 days in the year, there are some days that just absolutely demand decadence. This recipe is for those days! One day won’t turn you into a plump old elf, just a right jolly one. Lean protein and green leafies will be there waiting for you tomorrow.

When I was growing up, my mom always made an Overnight Breakfast Casserole for Christmas morning, along with Cinnamon Rolls. She would prep both of these the night before, and then pop them into the oven in the morning so she could relax and enjoy opening presents with us.

I’ve kicked it up a notch with this overnight creme brulee French toast! The cream and egg mixture soak into the bread in the most luscious, creamy, dreamy texture, making a custard that’s absolutely incredible. It’s the perfect holiday brunch recipe to enjoy at home or to take to potlucks. Just cover the pan with aluminum foil, jump in the car, and you’re ready to dash away, dash away, dash away all.

The caramel base adds just the right amount of sweetness. If the word “caramel” makes you nervous, don’t you worry. It couldn’t be easier to make. No candy thermometers needed! You can buy caramel sauce at the grocery store for a shortcut, but this version is so quick and delicious, you might never buy it premade again.

Because you can make this French toast with almost any bread, it’s perfect for using up all the leftover rolls from the holiday dinner the night before. Got any baguette slices left over from your dip appetizers? Throw those in, too!

Don’t forget to pin this recipe to save for later!

baked french toast with a slice cut out

What you’re going to love about this recipe

  • It’s prepared in advance. You simply bake it when you are ready to eat it.
  • It’s super rich and satisfying, so one pan will feed a crowd.
  • It’s easily transported to a brunch potluck.
  • Kids and adults both love it. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love creme brulee?
slice of baked french toast with powdered sugar
A sprinkle of powdered sugar makes everything more festive.

Recipe Notes

Making overnight French toast is so simple, it barely needs any explanation. But here are a few tips and tricks to make sure everything goes smoothly. I don’t know about you, but if I’m making something late at night after a holiday party, I want it to be quick and simple so that I can nestle all snug in my bed with visions of perfect brunch dancing in my head.

You can make this recipe with almost any day-old bread. For the one in this picture, I used simple sliced white bread. Honestly, I’ve even made this with leftover hot dog and hamburger buns. That can be our secret! 🤫

“Creme brulee” translates to “burned cream,” and it is known for its crunchy torched sugar topping. If you want to get extremely extra super fancy, you can sprinkle white sugar on the top, rather than powdered sugar, and crisp it up with a butane cooking torch.

Creme Brulee French Toast Casserole
Creme Brulée French Toast Casserole – an easy make-ahead breakfast.

Ingredients For Baked French Toast

ingredients for creme brulee french toast labeled on a black counter top
  • Bread: Really, you can use any white bread to make this recipe. French bread, brioche, and challah are all good choices in this recipe. Croissants would also be fabulous.
  • Caramel Sauce: Brown sugar and butter make a quick, simple caramel sauce. I add a little maple syrup (or corn syrup) to help prevent the caramel from, you know, caramelizing–turning into thick, gummy goo.
  • Custard: Heavy cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla are used to make a custard base that bakes up to perfection. You can swap the heavy cream for half and half or a different type of milk if you want to. Option: Add a teaspoon of Grand Marnier for next level flavor.
  • Toppings: Fresh whipped cream with berries and tossed pecans are absolutely fantastic with the creme brulee French toast.
Creme Brulee French Toast
No matter what kind of bread you use, this baked French toast is DELICIOUS!!!!

How to Make French Toast Casserole

This baked French toast recipe is a really easy make ahead breakfast casserole. It also makes a fantastic dessert. Why save all this sweetness just for a holiday breakfast? If you eat it the night before Christmas, just be sure to share it with Santa.

Step 1: Make The Caramel Sauce

Add the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup to a heavy saucepan (affiliate link). (Brown sugar and corn syrup works well, too, but that note of maple syrup is just perfect.) Heat the brown sugar mixture over medium heat and stir until the sugar is melted and the texture is smooth.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan (affiliate link) and pour the caramel sauce into it. You may need to smooth it out with a spoon to get a nice even layer at the bottom of the baking dish.

A 9x13 inch baking dish filled with a layer caramel sauce. The first layer of creme brulee french toast

Step 2: Layer The Bread

You can cut your bread into small cubes, or tear it into big rustic pieces, or use slices of bread. Basically, add the bread to the bottom of the pan in whatever fashion you see fit. Squish it on in there. This is the day to eat all the carbs your heart desires.

french bread chuncks layered in a 9x13 pan for creme brulee french toast

Step 3: Make The Custard

In a measuring cup or a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, vanilla, and Grand Marnier (if you are using it). Pour the custard sauce over the sliced bread and let it soak in. Yummmmm.

grand marnier custard for creme brulee french toast
pour the custard over the french bread

Step 4: Refrigerate Overnight

Cover the baked French toast casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pan overnight. If you’re in a pinch, you can refrigerate it for less time. I would probably give it a minimum of 2 hours.

refrigerate the french toast casserole overnight

Step 5: Bake

In the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then bake the creme brulee French toast casserole about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it and take it out when the edges are beautiful and bubbling.

baked french toast casserole close up of the caramel sauce

Step 6: Serve

To serve, use a thin spatula and scoop all the way down to the bottom of the baking pan. Flip the French toast bake over on the plate as you serve it so that the caramel base becomes the topping. Add additional toppings to your heart’s content.

Serve piping hot or at room temperature. Your guests and family will laugh when they see it in spite of themselves!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good overnight bake!

Here are some other Sweet Breakfast Recipes

If you fell in love with this Creme Brulee French Toast Recipe, then here are a few more recipes that you are sure to love.

And a few more Savory Breakfast Recipes

slice of baked french toast with powdered sugar

Creme Brulee Overnight French Toast

by: Laura Reigel
This is the perfect make-ahead baked French toast casserole. Overnight French toast is perfect for a weekend bunch or a busy holiday morning. Wake up and throw it in the oven — breakfast is done!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast, Holiday
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 439 kcal

Equipment

  • 9 x 13 baking pan
  • heavy saucepan

Ingredients
 

  • 1 loaf white bread , brioche or country-style bread

Caramel Sauce

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, OR corn syrup

Custard

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream, OR half and half
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier, substitute with more vanilla, if preferred
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Serve With

  • fresh berries
  • chopped pecans
  • whipped cream
  • powdered sugar
  • granulated sugar, torched

Instructions
 

  • Make the Caramel Sauce: In a heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and maple syrup over moderate heat. Stir until smooth. Pour into a 9×13" baking dish.
  • Layer the Bread: Cube the bread, if desired. Arrange the bread in one or more layers in the baking dish.
    Squeeze the bread slightly for a snug fit in the pan. (The number of layers you have will depend upon the thickness of your bread. Standard sandwich bread will result in two layers.)
  • Make the Custard: In a bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until well combined.
    Pour over the bread. Cover and bread mixture and chill for at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
  • PRO-TIP: Throw this together just before you go to bed. It will be all ready to bake for breakfast in the morning.)
  • Bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring bread mixture to room temperature.
  • Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven until puffed and the edges are pale golden brown. 30-40 minutes.

Video

Laura’s Tips + Notes

This recipe was originally found in an old Gourmet magazine. It was in the ‘You Asked for It’ column. This dish was popularized by the Inn at Sunrise Point in Camden, Maine.
Bread Tips: 
White bread, French bread, brioche, or challah are the best choices for this baked French toast. 
Keyword brunch, creme brulee, french toast

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2 Comments

  1. Is it possible to chill for too long? Like I want it for dinner tomorrow but I’d like to make it tonight and chill overnight rather than wake up and make it before work.

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