Make this apple french toast casserole the night before, then pop in the oven the next morning. Serve it with yogurt and maple syrup. Yum.
If you have made a baked french toast casserole for a brunch or breakfast previously, you will know what a pleasure it is to be able to make it the day before. No fuss the next day – so convenient and stress-free.
The apples and pears glazed in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon make this dish moist and delicious. Top it with a spoon or yogurt or sour cream and drizzle it with maple syrup. You can use just apples if you like. I just happened to have pears around, so I mixed them together.
The recipe is similar to most french toast casserole recipes. Fundamentally, it consists of bread soaked in an egg-milk mixture. Some recipes use bread slices, others like this one use torn up or cubed bread. Some are baked plain (adding toppings after baking). Others, like this one, incorporates a fruit filling and leaves some aside to add as a topping as well.
Typically baked french toast is a breakfast or brunch dish, but I like to serve it for a weeknight dinner with a side of bacon, sausage, ham or fresh berries. I like it with a bit of yogurt too. And maple syrup of course.
My husband, one of my main testers, said this one is a keeper 🙂
Tailor To Your Taste
- Add some raisins or walnuts.
- Use all apples or a mix or pears and apples.
- Alter the texture to your taste by baking it less for a pudding-like texture or more for a crispier drier texture.
Make Ahead Apple French Toast Casserole
- With this recipe, you don’t have to make it ahead.
- If you do, There are 3 options. Instructions for all 3 are in the notes after the recipe.
- Make a day or evening ahead.
- Make ahead and freeze the baked casserole.
- Assemble and freeze the unbaked casserole.
Apple French Toast Casserole
- 4 cups bread ripped or cubed - about 1/2 loaf (I remove crusts)
- 4 medium eggs
- 2 cup milk (I use 2%)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (or less)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Apple (and Pear) Mixture
- 1 large apple (gala, honey crisp, cortland, macintosh, other)
- 2 pears (bosc, bartlett, other) or substitute with more apples
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375F when ready to bake.
- PREPARE THE BASIC FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE: Spray an 8 x 8 inch ovenproof dish with oil or grease well with butter. Place bread cubes in the pan. Whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Pour over bread, making sure all pieces get soaked.
- PREPARE APPLE-PEAR MIXTURE: Peel and core apple and pears. Slice apples thinly (about 1/8 inch) and pears a little bigger. Heat skillet to medium and add all apple-pear mixture ingredients EXCEPT the pears. Saute for a few minutes until mixture is bubbly and apples begin to soften. Add pears if using and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Pears need less cooking as they are much softer than apples.
- ASSEMBLE: Pour half of apple-pear mixture onto the pan over the bread mixture. Lightly toss so that the apple-pear mixture is scattered throughout the bread mixture. I use clean hands for this. It's fine if a few pieces of fruit are sticking up or on top. At this point, it's ready to bake. Note 1 to make ahead.
- BAKE AND SERVE: Bake the casserole for about 50 minutes until lightly browned. It will puff up. If you like it soft and more pudding-like, bake it less. If you like it drier and crispier, bake it more. Just before serving, reheat the rest of the apple-pear mixture in a skillet or in the microwave. Scrape along the sides of the pan before cutting. Serve topped with the apple-pear mixture and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream if desired. Pass the maple syrup.
- To make ahead the day before: cover casserole tightly with plastic wrap and store in fridge until you are ready to use it (not more than a day and a half ahead). Also store the other half of the apple-pear mixture in the fridge to be used as a topping when serving.
- To freeze baked casserole: Bake french toast casserole (in a freezer friendly casserole dish), cool completely, wrap well in plastic and tin foil, then freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost casserole and extra topping in fridge the night before use. Reheat casserole, covered with foil, about 20 minutes at 350F.
- For extra apple-pear topping, cool completely and freeze in a sealed container or ziploc bag. Defrost in fridge the day before use, then warm in microwave or in pot on stove. Spoon over casserole before serving.
- To freeze unbaked casserole: Assemble casserole as per recipe. Cover well with plastic and foil, then freeze. Alternatively, spoon casserole contents into a ziploc bag, squeeze out air then freeze up to 3 months. Defrost in fridge the night before using. Bake as per recipe in greased casserole dish, about 45-55 minutes at 375F.
- For extra apple-pear topping, cool completely and freeze in a sealed container or ziploc bag. Defrost in fridge the day before use, then warm in microwave or in a pot on stove. Spoon over casserole before serving.
This recipe was inspired by one from the Minimalist Baker.
Here’s another french toast casserole recipe you might like:
And a couple of other make ahead brunch recipes