This overnight french toast casserole is where sweet cinnamon swirled bread gets soft and custardy with eggs, topped with maple sweetened pecans and bacon for an easy make-ahead breakfast everyone loves.
Big batch overnight breakfast casseroles are the key to easy morning eats for lazy holiday mornings, or when house guests come to visit, hosting baby showers or potluck brunch, or any time you’re cooking for a crowd but don’t want to be tied to flipping pancakes at the stove.
I’m a huge fan of the make ahead breakfast casserole, with this overnight ham and cheese breakfast casserole at the center of my Christmas morning table for almost 50 years. It is the best. But some of you are on the sweeter side of the aisle, and that’s why this french toast casserole is for you.
Baked French Toast Casserole Ingredients
This month I was sad to see the revamped publication Family Circle (yes! that one! in the past year it had become one of my favorite magazines!) declare the December issue would be their last. This french toast recipe was in it’s last issue and so I thought I’d share it here as an ode to it’s departure. I’m going to miss that magazine!
The ingredients for this french toast casserole are similar to what you’d use for regular french toast, but with more eggs mixed with half and half to create that smooth custardy bite and the sweet crunch of nuts and bacon on top.
- Cinnamon-swirl bread, or, use regular white sandwich bread instead
- ground cinnamon
- vanilla extract
- kosher salt
- light brown sugar
- maple syrup
- chopped pecans
- thick cut bacon
How to Make Overnight French Toast
The perfect ratio of eggs and dairy are what create the soft, custardy infusion to this cinnamon swirl bread. I use half-and-half for the added bit of fat to keep that custard going. Whole milk can be used as well but won’t be quite as custardy.
Just like in my chocolate chip banana french toast bake, I use cinnamon swirl bread for this recipe too. The added sweetness is subtle but noticeable and one of my favorite parts. You can substitute white sandwich bread or en egg-based brioche instead.
There’s no need to break apart the bread or cut into chunks for this recipe, but if you want to, you can. If you do, I suggest adding a few more pieces of bread to make up the volume. It may not come out as custardy, but will still be tasty. I usually use an extra piece of the bread to fill in any gaps when I lay the slices flat.
Cinnamon and vanilla are the main warming spices here, but nutmeg, chai, or pumpkin pie spice would be a festive twirl too.
The Maple Brown Sugar Nut and Bacon Topping
This french toast bake gets an extra dose of special with a sweet and nutty crunch PLUS savory sweet bacon with each bite.
Mix the light brown sugar with the maple syrup to soften and start to dissolve, then toss in the chopped nuts and bacon pieces to coat. Distribute them evenly over the french toast before baking. And try not to snack on it before you do.
Make-Ahead Baked French Toast
The beauty of this recipe is assembling it ahead of time, then popping it in the oven the day of eating it. Allowing it time to rest in the fridge gives the egg and dairy time to soak into the bread and create that soft tender bite.
Bake the french toast uncovered. If you feel it’s getting too browned, midway through baking slide a piece of aluminum foil over the top to protect the nuts and bacon from getting to brown.
How to Freeze and Reheat This Breakfast Casserole
This french toast is a great idea for meal prepped breakfasts to freeze then heat when you’re ready to eat. Before freezing, bake the casserole, let cool, slice and separate into individual portions and freeze for up to 2 months.
To reheat from frozen, microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes or until hot. Or, bake covered in at 325°F oven for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
What to Serve with Breakfast Casserole to Make a Meal
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Overnight French Toast Casserole with Maple Bacon
- 12 slices cinnamon-swirl sandwich bread
- 5 eggs
- 1 ½ cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon, cooked roughly chopped
- Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Lay 6 slices of bread across the bottom of the pan and make another layer with the remaining slices, fitting the slices snugly.
- In a medium bowl or 4 cup measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread slices, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and maple syrup. Fold in the pecans and bacon pieces. Top the bread with the bacon mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.
More Easy Breakfast Recipe Ideas for a Crowd
- Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked French Toast
- Easy Quiche Lorraine
- Coconut Baked French Toast With Oatmeal Crumble
- Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast Cups
- Deep-Dish Spinach, Leek and Bacon Quiche
- Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
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Such a delicious treat for breakfast! Love the sweet and salty of the topping. Thanks for the recipe!
I made this and the whole family loved it!! I think it tasted even better the next morning when I reheated it! Thanks Heidi for another fabulous recipe
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
YAY! So glad it was a hit!
I made this recipe without the nuts for a Christmas Day Breakfast. Turns out it was the hit of all the food at the breakfast! I batched the recipe for a standard catering hotel pan and used Pure Joy Maple Bread (available at Publix Supermarkets) and Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste in place of Vanilla extract. The gentleman at the breakfast really LOVED the Maple Bacon on top!! Easy and crowd pleasing. Can’t beat that! THANKS Heidi!
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
I am so glad it turned out great! I hope you’ll make it again!