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Apple French Toast (Make Ahead Casserole)

Make this apple French toast casserole the night before, then pop it in the oven the next morning. Serve it with yogurt and maple syrup. Delish!

The custardy french toast is infused with sweet apples, brown sugar and warm cinnamon spice. A perfect recipe for Christmas morning or any time of year when you want an amazing breakfast without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

piece of apple french toast casserole on plate

What to expect

If you have ever made a baked French toast casserole for breakfast, you will know what a pleasure it is to be able to make it the day before. No fuss, so convenient and stress-free the next day.

The other nice benefit is not having to stand at the stove making individual slices.

The apples and pears glazed in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon take this dish to another level. Holiday-worthy.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

Ingredients: bread, eggs, milk, brown sugar, apples, pears, vanilla extract.

Bread: Use your favorite kind of bread – French bread, Italian, white bread, or crusty bread. I like Challah or brioche bread.

Apples: Use fresh apples that will not break down too much when cooked. Good options are Honeycrisp apples, pink lady, Braeburn, jazz or granny smith apples. I also like to throw in some pear slices, but that’s up to you.

Milk: I use 2% but you can use any kind. For added richness, replace some of the milk with heavy cream or half-and-half cream.

Variations:

  • Add some raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of rum, Amaretto or a little bourbon.
  • Alter the texture to your taste by baking it less for a texture more like bread pudding, or more for a crispier drier texture.

Step by step instructions

cubed bread in casserole dish
Place bread cubes in an oven-safe dish that is sprayed with oil.
bread and egg mixture in casserole dish
Whisk together the milk-egg custard mixture and pour it into the prepared baking dish to soak the bread.
sauteed apples and pears with brown sugar and butter in pan
Sauté the apple (and pear) mixture in a large skillet.
french toast casserole mixture with apples in casserole dish
Combine half the pear and apple mixture with the bread mixture.
baked french toast casserole in pyrex
Bake in a preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.
piece of french toast casserole with syrup and yogurt on plate with bacan
Place the remaining apple mixture on top of the casserole and serve with a dollop of yogurt of sour cream and maple syrup.

Recipe FAQs

Are all baked French toast casseroles made the same way?

All French toast casseroles consist of bread soaked in an egg-milk custard mixture. You will find a couple of variations such as: using bread slices vs bread cubes, incorporating fillings vs. using them as toppings (or both like this recipe), and add-ins such as berries.

Can I bake the apple overnight French toast casserole right away or do I have to wait until the next day?

You can bake the French toast casserole right away OR the next day. See options in the recipe notes.

How can I tell if the French toast casserole is fully baked?

A fully baked cinnamon apple French toast casserole is a matter of preference. Some like it moist – more custardy. Others like it drier. Pierce a knife into the casserole to test for doneness. If it comes out too wet, bake it a little longer.

How do I store baked French toast leftovers?

Transfer leftovers to an airtight container or cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can pop it in the microwave to reheat it.

What to serve with this baked French toast recipe

Typically, a baked French toast casserole is a breakfast or brunch dish, but I also like to serve it for a weeknight dinner with a side of bacon, sausage, ham or fresh berries. 

For a hearty buffet brunch, you can serve the French toast with Gordon Ramsey scrambled eggs, sous vide poached eggs (with hollandaise sauce), fried potatoes and onions, or this easy potato skillet breakfast with ham.

Shortcut

Don’t bother peeling the apples. And skip the pears if you like (just use apples).

Make Ahead (3 options)

  • You don’t have to make the apple French toast bake ahead.
  • If you do, there are 3 options. Instructions for all 3 are in the recipe notes.
    1. Make a day or evening ahead.
    2. Make ahead and freeze the baked casserole.
    3. Assemble and freeze the unbaked casserole.
piece of french toast casserole with syrup and yogurt on plate p3

More easy brunch or breakfast recipes

If you are looking for something super decadent (meaning high calorie, high sugar, rich and delish), try our sinful baked french toast casserole

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

piece of apple french toast casserole on plate
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4.95 from 17 votes

Apple French Toast (Make Ahead Casserole)

Make this apple french toast casserole the night before, then pop it in the oven the next morning. Serve with yogurt and maple syrup. Delish.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Breakfast, brunch, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 4 cups bread ripped or cubed – about 1/2 loaf (I remove crusts)
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 cup (500ml) milk (I use 2%)
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar (or less)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • HEAT OVEN to 375F/190C when ready to bake.
  • PREPARE THE BASIC FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE: Spray an 8 x 8 inch (20X20 cm) 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, stirring gently to make sure all pieces get soaked.
  • PREPARE APPLE-PEAR MIXTURE: Peel and core apples (and pears if using). Slice apples thinly (about 1/8 inch/3 mm) and pears a little bigger. Heat skillet to medium and add all apple-pear mixture ingredients EXCEPT the pears. Sauté 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. Gently 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 1-3 to make ahead or freeze.
  • BAKE AND SERVE: Bake the casserole. If you like it soft and more custard-like, bake it for 43-45 minutes until lightly browned If you like it drier and crispier, bake it for 48-52 minutes. It will puff up. 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 into pieces. Serve topped with remaining apple-pear mixture and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream if desired. Pass the maple syrup.

Recipe Notes

  1. Variations to try
    • Add some raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts.
    • Add a tablespoon or two of rum or Amaretto.
    • 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.
  2. To make ahead the day before: cover casserole tightly with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container 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 separately in the fridge to be used as a topping when serving.
  3. 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/177C.
    • 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.  
  4. 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/190C.
      • 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.  
 
Nutrition values are estimates and don’t include toppings like yogurt or maple syrup. 

Nutrition

Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 290mg | Potassium: 317mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 381IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 176mg | Iron: 2mg
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This apple French toast casserole recipe was inspired by Minimalist Baker in 2016 and has been updated with new information and edits. 

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3 Comments

  1. If I wanted to make this a week in advance, should it be baked then put in the freezer, or 1/2 baked, or ingredients put all together then put in freezer then thawed and baked??

    1. Hi Mary Ann. Great questions. You can freeze either the unbaked casserole or the baked casserole as well as the extra apple-pear topping. I’ve added instructions for both methods to the notes after the recipe (along with how to make the casserole a day ahead). I hope that helps.