This overnight Baked French Toast is flavored with cinnamon and vanilla and topped with a brown sugar crumb topping. Prep the French toast the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. This make-ahead breakfast is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.
In very important news, it is Baked French Toast season. You are looking at our very favorite holiday breakfast (and basically what I want to eat every chilly winter morning). This Baked French Toast is perfect because 1) you can make it ahead, and 2) it is delicious and cozy. This is our Christmas morning breakfast every year, and once you taste it you’ll see why.
Recipe overview: Baked French Toast
This fluffy and tender French toast casserole is flavored with vanilla and cinnamon and topped with a buttery brown sugar crumble.
Here are the three components to this recipe:
- Bread: Cut a loaf of day old French bread into bite sized pieces and place them in a casserole dish.
- Custard sauce: Whisk up a mixture of eggs, milk, half and half, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the bread and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours or overnight.
- Topping: A simple but delicious brown sugar cinnamon crumble is the perfect topping to the French toast. Add it right before baking.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Easy – Just a few easy steps, and a basic list of ingredients.
- Make ahead – All the work is done in advance (either a few hours ahead of time or overnight).
- Hands off time – No standing at the stove flipping individual slices of French toast. While this bakes in the oven you are free to do whatever you want.
- Flavor – Rich custard flavored with cinnamon and vanilla and a buttery brown sugar crumb topping. The coziest combination of flavors.
- Texture – Fluffy and tender cubes of bread paired with a slightly crunchy crumb topping.
- Use day old bread. You want the bread to be beginning to dry out so that it soaks up that delicious custard without getting too soggy.
- Allow enough time for the French toast to soak. You need to allow the bread to soak in the custard for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. This gives the bread a chance to absorb the custard.
- Feel free to switch up the flavors by adding orange zest, raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped nuts.
- Out of brown sugar? Try my Brown Sugar Substitute.
- Out of half and half? Try my Half and Half Substitute.
Serving and storage
Serving: This French toast is best served right after baking. Allow to cool down just a bit, then serve it warm with maple syrup.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave.
Cinnamon Vanilla Baked French Toast
- One 15 oz loaf French bread, cut into cubes (preferably a day or two old)
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup half and half
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Maple syrup, for serving
Preparation (allow time to soak overnight):
- Place the bread cubes in a greased casserole dish (an 8×11 will make a thicker casserole, a 9×13 will be a bit thinner).
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, half and half, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread cubes. Lightly press down on the top of the bread to allow the top layer of bread to absorb some of the custard mixture, or gently stir it to distribute the custard throughout the bread. Cover, and refrigerate overnight (if you want to bake the same day, allow it to soak for at least 3 hours).
- Combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add butter, and using your fingers or a fork, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles wet, clumpy sand. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake the French toast.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the French toast from the refrigerator (the bread will have absorbed most of the custard). Crumble the topping over the top of the French toast. Bake uncovered for 40-55 minutes, until puffed, golden brown, and set (check that the center is not too wet).
- Note: Baking time will depend on how deep your casserole dish is and whether you prefer your french toast more well done. Serve immediately with maple syrup. Leftovers can be refrigerated.