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Cozy and custardy French Toast Casserole is rich and flavorful with tender brioche, cinnamon deliciousness, and a sweet topping. Perfect for weekend or holiday mornings because you make it ahead and let it soak overnight, it’s easily made gluten free with homemade or store bought gluten free bread!
Table of Contents
Delicious Details at a Glance
Cuisine Inspiration: French, American
Primary Cooking Method: Baking
Dietary Info: Gluten-free, Nut-free
Skill Level: Easy
Why You’ll Love This French Toast Casserole
French toast is a breakfast favorite in my house, and I love turning it into a casserole! Here’s why you’ll love this overnight French toast casserole:
- Gluten-Free. This recipe can be made gluten free with gluten free bread (I recommend rich brioche for the best results). The rest of the simple ingredients are naturally gluten free.
- Perfect for brunch. I love whipping up a big pan of French toast casserole when I’m serving brunch. It goes with so many other breakfast dishes, and since you can put it together ahead of time it will save effort the morning of.
- So flavorful. From the sweet brown sugar to the cinnamon to the richness of the heavy cream, this casserole is big on homey flavor.
Casserole Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s a quick overview of the ingredients needed to make this overnight French toast casserole. Don’t forget to check the recipe card lower down in this post for the full ingredient amounts.
- Brioche Bread: This recipe has been tested using my Gluten Free Brioche, of which you’ll need a little less than half a loaf. It has also been tested using Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Hawaiian Bread. It will work well with any homemade or storebought gluten free bread, but the brioche or Hawaiian bread adds a little extra richness and sweetness.
- Milk and Heavy Cream: You can substitute the whole milk and heavy cream with half and half, depending on what you have on hand. The milk and heavy cream version is just a bit more rich and flavorful.
- Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Brown Sugar: I use light brown sugar to make this casserole.
- Brown Sugar: You can use light or dark brown sugar.
- Flour: Use gluten free all-purpose flour or regular flour.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for this topping.
- Powdered Sugar: To dust over the top.
The Best Bread for French Toast Casserole
In my opinion, the best bread to use in a french toast casserole is brioche. You can make my easy gluten free brioche recipe (or save leftover bread to make this casserole) or buy a loaf of bread. You can also use a gluten free Hawaiian bread, such as Canyon Bakehouse brand. Because this is a sweet casserole, it’s enhanced by the addition of a sweeter bread, which I prefer.
How to Make Overnight French Toast Casserole
I’ve outlined my method for making French toast casserole below. You’ll find the full instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Prepare. Grease a baking dish and layer it with cut pieces of bread.
- Make the filling. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, pour the mixture evenly over the bread, then cover the pan and refrigerate it.
- Make the topping. In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt together, then add the softened butter.
- Finish. Scatter the topping in small pieces over the top of the casserole. Cover again tightly with the foil.
- Bake. Place the casserole in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, then uncover it and bake until it’s puffed and set in the middle and golden on top.
Tips for the Best Brioche French Toast Casserole
- Dry out the bread in advance. Try to let your bread dry out before making the casserole so that it soaks up the filling. Note that if you use fresh bread the casserole may not need to soak as long.
- Make ahead. You can make this casserole up to 24 hours before you bake it. Cover the casserole tightly with foil and keep it in the fridge.
- Add fruit. Tuck fruit into this French toast casserole for an extra treat! I love to add blueberries or raspberries or a combination of the two.
- Make it dairy-free. If needed, you can substitute your favorite non-dairy milk or cream substitute in the filling for the milk and cream. Swap a non-dairy butter for the butter in the topping.
If you have any leftover casserole, here’s what to do with it:
- Fridge – Place leftover French toast casserole in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or, keep the casserole in the pan, cover it tightly with foil, and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer – To freeze French toast casserole, wrap individual portions in plastic wrap and then foil, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the freezer before reheating.
- To Reheat – You can take the pan of casserole directly from the fridge and heat it in the oven at 350°F until heated through. Or, you can heat individual portions in the microwave. Place a serving of casserole on a microwave-safe plate and heat it at 30-second intervals in the microwave until hot.
What to Serve with French Toast Casserole
French toast casserole is the ultimate breakfast offering! You can add a side of fruit, or a pile of crispy bacon to go with it. Here are some of my favorite serving suggestions:
- Eggs. Serve a platter of scrambled eggs with French toast casserole, or make a Spinach Feta Frittata or a crustless quiche to go alongside.
- Breakfast casserole. Pair this overnight French toast casserole with a breakfast casserole! Try my Gluten Free Bisquick Breakfast Casserole or Gluten Free Ham and Cheese Strata.
- Fruit salad. Add a side of fresh fruit or make a fruit salad like my Watermelon Berry Fruit Salad.
- Smoothie. A smoothie would be perfect to sip with French toast casserole. My Strawberry Banana Coconut Milk Smoothie or Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie recipes are nice choices.
French Toast Casserole
- 1 loaf (15-20 oz.) brioche or Hawaiian bread (about 7-8 cups), gluten free if needed (see Note)
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk (you can substitute the whole milk and heavy cream with 2 ½cups half and half)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose or gluten free flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Coat a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cut the bead into 1⁄2 inch to 1 inch cubes and scatter in an even layer in the baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs to combine the whites and yolks. Add the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread in the baking dish. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove the pan from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the topping by whisking the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. Add the softened butter and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir it together and form a paste. Refrigerate until needed (can be made in advance).
- Remove the foil and scatter the topping in small pieces over the top of the casserole. Cover again tightly with the foil.
- Baked covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until puffed and set in the middle with an internal temperature of at least 165°F, and golden on top. Let cool slightly before serving.
- This recipe has been tested using my Gluten Free Brioche. You’ll need a little less than half a loaf. It has also been tested using Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Hawaiian Bread. It will work well with any homemade or storebought gluten free bread, but the brioche or Hawaiian bread adds a little extra richness and sweetness.
- You should allow your bread to dry out if you have time. If it is fresh, the casserole may not need to soak as long. It can be left up to 24 hours before baking.
- You can substitute the whole milk and heavy cream with half and half, depending on what you have on hand. The milk and heavy cream version is just a bit more rich and flavorful.