This Baked French Toast will be your back-pocket recipe for holiday brunches and weekend breakfasts with the family! A crusty top gives way to a soft, custard-like interior, all baked with the warm spices for that irresistible cozy flavor.
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The best baked French toast is a study in contrasts.
You want the top to be crispy, the edges to be a little bit chewy, and when it comes to the middle, it’s all about that tender, custard-y texture.
Is custard-y a word? Maybe not, but you know what I’m talking about, right?
The cinnamon-spiced egg custard saturates the bread, giving it a consistency similar to a bread pudding.
In fact, you might think of baked French toast as a slightly-more-virtuous version of bread pudding that you feel 1,000% redeemed eating for breakfast.
About Baked French Toast
Here are a few things you should know about this baked French toast:
- You can make it ahead and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, which is always an appreciated option for those of us who are a little too bleary-eyed to cook in the morning.
- Like any worthy French toast casserole, it’s great for serving a crowd.
- It’s incredibly versatile. I share some ideas for customization below, but you can also feel free to put your own spin on it.
As long as you keep the custard-to-bread ratio the same and don’t go too crazy with add-ins, there’s a lot of room for variation.
How to Make Baked French Toast
Even if you don’t make it the night before, this baked French toast recipe is easy enough that you can make it the day-of without any stress.
It’ll take about 20 minutes to prep and 45 minutes to cook, along with a 10-minute rest to let all that custard-y goodness soak into the bread.
You can either tear the bread into pieces by hand, or use a serrated knife to cut it into cubes. You can also ask your bakery to cut the bread into one-inch slices, which means you’ll have a little less cutting to do at home!
Baked French Toast:
- Crusty Artisan-Style Sourdough Bread or French Bread. Note that French bread isn’t a baguette; a French bread loaf is wider and the crust is more chewy, less crispy. If you have Brioche on hand, try my Brioche French Toast.
- Eggs. You can use egg whites instead of whole eggs if you’d like, but the yolks add richness to the custard.
- Low-Fat Milk or Milk of Choice. You can swap in half-and-half for a little more decadence, but when I’m making this recipe just for us and not for a special occasion, I like to keep it light.
- Sugars. I use a blend of granulated sugar and brown sugar; this tempers the molasses flavor of the brown sugar so it doesn’t overpower the other flavors in the recipe.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. For a little twist on the classic, try using almond extract.
- Spices. I use ground cinnamon and nutmeg, but you can use pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, or pair the cinnamon with cardamom.
- Kosher Salt. A bit of salt brings balance to the recipe.
Topping & Serving:
- Granulated Sugar + Cinnamon. This recipe’s secret sauce, er sugar. This isn’t just for sweetness—it helps add a little crunch too!
- For Serving. Your favorites! Pure maple syrup, butter, fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, sliced bananas). Go crazy or keep it classic.
- Coat your baking dish with nonstick spray or butter, then tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and place them in the prepared dish.
2. Whisk the ingredients for the custard in a mixing bowl, then pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes.
3. Press the bread into the liquid until it’s saturated. Let this sit for at least 10 minutes, or up to overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the French toast.
5. Bake French toast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is crisp and the inside is set, but still moist. Plate, add toppings, and ENJOY!
- Cinnamon Apple. Slice or dice a firm apple (like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady) and add it to the casserole dish with the bread. The apples will bake up nice and tender along with the French toast.
- Chocolate Chip. Before adding the cinnamon sugar, scatter chocolate chips on top of the French toast for a little extra decadence.
- Banana Nut. Top the French toast with sliced bananas and candied pecans.
- Raisin Bread. Buy a loaf of unsliced raisin bread from the bakery and use that instead of French bread or sourdough.
- To Store. Baked French toast will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Pop your French toast in the microwave to reheat it quickly, or place it in a 350 degree F oven to restore the crispiness of the top and edges.
- To Freeze. Wrap the baked French toast in the baking pan, or transfer leftovers to an airtight container or freezer bag. Store for up to 3 months, then thaw in the refrigerator before reheating according to the directions above.
Portion leftover baked French toast into quart-size freezer bags for an easy heat-and-eat breakfast for one!
What to Serve with Baked French Toast
- Bacon. If you’ve got a double-oven, make a batch of Baked Bacon while your French toast cooks. If not, try my Air Fryer Bacon!
- Fruit. Feeling ambitious? Make a bowl of Fruit Salad to serve alongside your French toast. Or, just buy some cut fresh fruit from the grocery store.
- Eggs. Add some protein to your breakfast with Instant Pot Boiled Eggs or scrambled eggs.
- Yogurt. Serve your baked French toast with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt or skyr on top, or whip it into a Greek Yogurt Smoothie.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls.
- Casserole Dish.
This baked French toast is the best kind of weekend breakfast—warm, cozy, and oh-so-easy. You don’t even need to be a morning person to pull it off!
Frequently Asked Questions
Using sliced sandwich bread or cutting your bread cubes too small are two common reasons your baked French toast might be soggy. You may also have a low bread-to-custard ratio; make sure the loaf of bread you use weighs about a pound.
It’s up to you! If you prefer a firmer French toast, you can dry out the bread or use day-old bread for this recipe. Like your French toast on the softer side? Then use fresh bread.
Because baked French toast spends more time soaking up the custard, I find that a sturdy bread works best. For this recipe, I use French bread or sourdough, but a rustic country bread would work well too. Basically, if you think it will fall apart while soaking in the egg mixture, it’s not a good idea for baked French toast.
Baked French Toast
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For the French Toast:
- 1 loaf crusty artisan-style sourdough or French bread about 16 ounces
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups low-fat milk or milk of choice use 1/2 cup cream or half-and-half for more decadence
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pure maple syrup
- Salted or unsalted butter
- Fresh blueberries strawberries, or raspberries (optional)
- Sliced bananas optional
- GENEROUSLY coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or rub with unsalted butter. Tear or cut the bread into 1-inch chunks, then scatter evenly into the pan (you’ll have about 9 cups of bread).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour evenly over the bread cubes. With your fingers, press down on the bread cubes and toss them around gently so that they all are wet with some of the egg mixture. Adjust them as needed so they are in an even layer. Let sit for 10 minutes, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. With a small spoon, scatter evenly over the top of the French toast.
- Bake the French toast uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, depending upon how crisp vs. pudding-like you would like it. It should be lightly crisp on top and no longer raw in the center when you check with a butter knife. (35 minutes is the sweet spot in my oven for a moist inside and crispy bits on top). To serve, use a spoon to scoop out a big portion (or slice and serve it like lasagna). Serve hot with butter, maple syrup, and any other toppings of choice.
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