This baked brioche French toast casserole is delightfully tasty. Brioche chunks are immersed in a rich custard base and sprinkled with warming spice streusel for a fall appeal. Each edge is nicely crusted with the right crispiness for a mouthful indulgence.
If you're tired of the same old pancake routine and want to elevate your breakfast game, this recipe is for you. This dish is a fall breakfast favorite, like my pumpkin pecan waffle.
Reasons to Love this Brioche French Toast Casserole Recipe
- Easy to make: this recipe is beginner and friendly and requires no hard or rigorous steps. The refrigerator and the oven do the heavy lifting.
- It’s perfect for a crowd. Planning a brunch gathering? This casserole fits the bill! It serves a crowd without the hassle of flipping individual slices. We make this for breakfast whenever we have company over, and it’s great when paired with a cup of Butterfly peas tea or my green milk tea.
- Perfect make ahead: Prep it the night before, let it chill in the fridge, and bake in the morning. A win!
- Aromatic: The scent that wafts through your kitchen as it bakes is nothing short of captivating. The blend of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the rich aroma of brioche creates a flavor haven.
- Versatile: Whether hosting a special occasion brunch or just treating yourself on a lazy Sunday, this casserole fits the bill. It's versatile enough to be a breakfast showstopper or a low-key treat, depending on your mood. Ever thought of adding bacon bits? Oh ma gawd! Need I say more?
- Bread: The star of the dish. I used a combination of brioche and French bread. It is a buttery, slightly sweet dough that's rich and perfect for this dish. Use a day-old or stale loaf to ensure great custard absorption and prevent a soggy outcome.
- Eggs: this adds to the texture and hold of the casserole.
- Half and half: this is the base of the custard. I love using half and half for the right balance. Heavy cream, whole milk, or nut milk will do.
- Sugar: I prefer brown sugar for French toast as it adds a distinct flavor and caramelized touch to the baked toast. Combined with the streusel, it adds a crunch to each bite.
- Vanilla extract: A splash of goes a long way. It elevates the dish, adding warmth and depth to the flavor profile.
- Spice: I used a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg. The nutmeg is the secret ingredient. It adds warmth nutty flavor, complements the cinnamon, and takes your French toast casserole to a new level.
- Pecan: chopped pecans add a nice texture and nutty kick to the rich custard, making each bite memorable.
- Butter: this was added as a finishing touch to the casserole. Combined with sugar and flour, it created a fragrant streusel for the perfect crunchy topping.
Please refer to the recipe card for the exact measurements.
Whole milk or other types of nut milk can be used instead of half and half.
Evaporated milk can be omitted, but I find it gives the richest custard.
Bread: My delicious Zopf, croissant, or French bread is a great substitute for bread.
Dietary restrictions: Substitute with non-dairy milk, egg replacers, and gluten-free bread to accommodate dietary preferences or restrictions. Be sure to adjust the quantities as needed.
Here is an easy guide to follow to make the perfect brioche casserole:
Step 1: Start by greasing the casserole dish with butter or cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and salt.
Step 2: cut the brioche and French bread into cubes. Place the brioche bread cubes into the egg mixture, ensuring all the bread is soaked. If possible, use your hands to fold it in.
Step 3: Pour half the bread mixture into the casserole dish, then sprinkle half the chopped pecans all over. Pour the rest of the bread mix, then layer with the rest of the pecans.
Step 4: Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or overnight. This allows the bread to soak up all those delicious flavors.
Step 5: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Cut the cold butter into tiny cubes, then add to the mix. Use either a sturdy spatula or your hands. Give it a nice mix until it’s nicely crumbly. Set aside
Step 6: At this time, you can reheat the oven and Sprinkle the butter mixture over the bread in the casserole dish, ensuring it’s evenly saturated.
Step 7: Replace the foil, then bake it for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake more until the top is puffed up and golden brown.
Step 8: Remove from the oven and let it cool over a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve with fruits, whipped cream, or a dusting of white sugar.
- Although this is a brioche French toast casserole recipe, you can use whatever bread you like. I’ve used challah, zopf, French bread, croissants, and even dinner rolls to make this recipe in the past. So, don’t feel limited.
- Depending on the bread used, you may have to add more liquid for a denser bread or less for a softer bread.
- Use a serrated knife to cut the bread; that’d make your life easier. Promise.
- Let the bread bathe in the custard. The longer, the better. Either chill for up to an hour or refrigerate overnight without the streusel.
- Adding a pinch of salt makes a huge difference in balancing the flavors. It enhances the sweetness and lets each ingredient shine.
- If you want a crispier topping, leave it in the oven longer (check at 5-minute intervals) for the perfect crunchy top. Be careful not to dry it out.
How to Make the French Toast Casserole in Advance
For a stress-free and delicious breakfast, try making the ultimate French toast casserole with streusel ahead of time. Here are the steps:
1) Assemble the brioche cubes and custard in a buttered dish
2) Cover and refrigerate it overnight
3) Allow the dish to come to room temperature (or bake longer)
3) Add the streusel just before baking in the morning
While stale bread is optimal for absorption, slightly toasted fresh bread can also work. Adjust the soaking time accordingly to prevent sogginess.
One possibility is that you used too much liquid in the custard mixture or needed to bake it longer. Another possibility is that the bread wasn't stale enough to absorb the custard properly. To prevent sogginess, let stale bread soak in the custard mixture for the recommended amount of time, and bake the casserole until it's golden brown and set.
Yes! Simply double or triple the ingredients and use a larger baking dish. Be sure to increase the baking time accordingly.
Yes! Mix the streusel ingredients, store it in an airtight container, and sprinkle it on just before baking for that perfect crunchy topping.
It's best consumed within 2-4 days for optimal freshness. However, leftovers can be frozen for longer storage.
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I hope you try this fragrant and nutty French toast casserole recipe. It’ll make a great addition to your holiday menu and beyond.
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PEACE & LOVE
Easy Baked Brioche French Toast Casserole
- 9 x 13 inch casserole
- hand whisk
- 20 oz. brioche French, or challah bread, cut into cubes ( about 566 g). I used 1 brioche loaf and 6. oz French bread
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half
- ½ cup evaporated milk (from a can)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract or almond extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
For the topping
- 6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter cut into tiny cubes
- ⅓ cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
For serving (optional)
- Fresh berries blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries work great
- Maple syrup
- Confectioner sugar
- Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray, set aside.
- Cut the brioche and French bread into cubes.20 oz. brioche
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl.6 large eggs, 2 cups half and half, ½ cup evaporated milk, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, A pinch of salt
- Add the brioche bread cubes into the egg mixture, ensuring all the cubes are covered with the liquid but not drenched. Use your hands to fold it in quickly.
- Pour the bread and egg mix into the casserole dish, then sprinkle half the chopped pecans all over. Pour the rest of the bread mix, then layer with the rest of the pecans. Then cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. This allows the bread to soak up all those delicious flavors.¾ cup chopped pecans
- In a small bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar, flour, and chopped pecans using either a sturdy spatula or your hands. Give it a nice mix until it’s nicely crumbly. Set aside6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, ⅓ cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar, ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the pan from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for about 10 minutes or so.
- Remove the foil, then sprinkle the streusel topping uniformly over the top of the chilled casserole. Place a new foil over it.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until the top is puffed up and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool over a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve with fruits or dust with white sugar. Then, drizzle with maple syrup and serve.(please see the variations, step-by-step photos, and tips in the body of the post for best results).Fresh berries, Maple syrup, Confectioner sugar
- Although not necessary, it’s recommended to chill the casserole once you’ve mixed the custard with the bread for at least 2 hours. This enables the bread to soak up all the custard to give the perfect flavor and texture.
- We hardly have leftovers, but I saved a wedge in the refrigerator that lasted up to 4 days and tasted even better.
- Pop individual servings in the microwave to reheat, or place the entire casserole in a low-temperature oven to maintain its texture.