Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Over the years, my mom has gone from hosting her three daughters in our three-bedroom ranch home for the holidays to hosting her three daughters, their three significant others, one dog, and one baby. It’s a full house, and everyone has an appetite. To feed the hungry hoards, she always has hearty, make-ahead recipes like this Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole at the ready.
Fluffy pieces of everything bagel soaked in a French toast-like egg batter, tossed with ham and cheddar, then dotted with cream cheese, this golden breakfast bake is the stuff of lazy weekend mornings. It’s comforting, sized to feed a crowd, and because it can be assembled in advance, it’s perfect for entertaining friends…or your mooching adult children and their significant others.
The day-after-Christmas breakfast casserole has become an annual tradition in our home. Every year, my mom tries a new recipe, and this year, I’m making a pitch for this everything bagel version.
While I’ve long been a fan of the sweet side of breakfast casseroles—I’d much rather pop this Blueberry Coconut French Toast Bake into the oven than stand at the stove and flip individual slices—this Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole was my first foray into the savory breakfast casserole realm. I’m a fan! While I love a good maple-syrup-soaked French toast casserole as much as the next sane individual, the subsequent sugar crash is not as enticing. This Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole kept me full and happy all afternoon long.
Whether you are looking for a way to use up extra holiday ham or leftover bagels from your last baker’s dozen, or to entertain a full house of your own, this Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole offers big flavor, quick prep, and make-ahead flexibility.
The recipe is delicious as written, but feel free to adapt it to your preferences or other ingredients you might have on hand. Swap the ham for cooked and crumbled bacon or sausage (or add all three), replace the everything bagels with sesame, sourdough, or a combination, or fold in sautéed veggies, either for extra flavor or to make the breakfast casserole vegetarian.
My biggest tip: Don’t skip the shredded cheese, and especially don’t skip the cream cheese. Its creamy texture against the lightly crispy top of the breakfast casserole is nothing short of marvelous.
Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
- 6 leftover everything bagels — halved horizontally and cut or torn into bite-sized pieces (see notes if your bagels are fresh or very soft)
- 6 ounces cooked ham — bacon, or sausage, cut or crumbled into small pieces
- 3/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese — divided
- 8 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives — plus additional for sprinkling on top
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese — or regular cream cheese; do not use fat free
Lightly coat a 9x13-inch or similarly sized casserole dish with baking spray. Scatter the bagel pieces into the bottom of the dish. Scatter the ham (or bacon or sausage) over the top of the bagels. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the bagels, then lightly press down on the bagels so that they absorb some of the egg. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces, then dot the pieces on top. Sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons fresh chives and remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover the casserole tightly with plastic or foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Tent the casserole with foil and bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover, then return to the oven and continue baking until golden at the edges and set in the center, about 15-20 additional minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
- If your bagels are fresh or very soft, toast them in the oven first to dry them out and help them absorb the custard: Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the bagel pieces out in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until browned and crisp. Use in the recipe as directed.
- Casserole can be assembled and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance.
- To freeze: Fully bake the casserole, then let cool and cover tightly. When ready to bake, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat, covered, in a 350 degree F oven.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 serving) — Calories: 383, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 189mg, Sodium: 733mg, Carbohydrates: 32g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 20g
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