Looking for the perfect breakfast or brunch solution? Try this Easy Brioche French Toast Casserole recipe! Buttery brioche bread soaks up a rich cinnamon custard, making it an ideal overnight French toast casserole. Prepare it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning for a delicious hassle-free breakfast. Enhance it with a topping of fresh berries and a maple syrup drizzle to elevate your French Toast casserole to perfection.
If you’re a fan of breakfast classics with a twist, we have an array of equally tantalizing recipes waiting for you to try. From the crunchy goodness of Captain Crunch French Toast to the cozy charm of Cinnamon Toast Crunch French Toast, and the aromatic allure of Cinnamon Crunch Banana Bread to the nutty delight of Banana Bread with Pecans, our collection offers a plethora of options to satisfy your morning cravings.
What is Brioche French Toast Casserole?
Brioche French Toast Casserole is a delightful twist on the classic breakfast favorite. It combines buttery brioche bread with a rich, sweet cinnamon custard, resulting in a decadent morning treat. What sets this dish apart is its convenience – you can prepare it the night before, allowing you to enjoy a stress-free breakfast or brunch without sacrificing flavor. This casserole is known for its luscious texture, warm spices, and the option to customize it with various toppings, making it the perfect dish for special occasions or lazy weekend mornings.
Details About Brioche French Toast Casserole
Flavor: This brioche French toast casserole is a flavor-packed breakfast. With the rich buttery goodness of brioche bread, a hint of vanilla, and a touch of sweetness, each serving tastes like a decadent pastry straight out of a bakery. You’ll savor the comforting flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar, reminiscent of a warm cinnamon roll, all topped with a drizzle of maple syrup. The best part? No need to worry about yeast if you opt for store-bought brioche bread, making it a hassle-free choice for a scrumptious morning meal.
Texture: If you’re someone who appreciates texture in their breakfast, you’ll adore the delightful contrast in every bite of this brioche French toast casserole. Following the recipe’s advice to let the brioche bread slightly stale before assembling the casserole is key. This clever trick ensures that the bread can soak up the creamy custard, resulting in a velvety, bread pudding-like texture. Say goodbye to limp and soggy slices; instead, relish each mouthful’s thickness, softness, and density.
Ease: Making this French toast casserole is a breeze, even if you’ve never tried it before. The simplicity of the process will leave you pleasantly surprised. The best part is there is no need for cutting bread into cubes only slices! The most challenging decision you’ll face is selecting the perfect loaf of brioche bread. There’s no need to slave over the stove, cooking individual servings. Everything effortlessly comes together in a casserole dish, allowing you to prepare it the night before.
Ingredients You’ll Need & Why
- Brioche Bread: Brioche is the star of this dish, providing a rich, buttery, and slightly sweet flavor. Its tender crumb structure absorbs the custard beautifully, creating a luscious texture. You will need two loaves. I used two 14.11 oz loaves.
- Eggs: Eggs are essential for creating the custard base. They provide moisture, structure, and a creamy consistency to the casserole.
- Milk: Milk adds creaminess to the custard and helps balance the brioche bread’s sweetness. I use whole milk in this recipe, but you can use lower-fat or nondairy milk if necessary. Half-and-half or heavy cream would make for a richer, creamier custard, but I find it makes the french toast casserole too heavy.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract enhances the flavor profile, giving the casserole a warm, aromatic note.
- Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon adds a delightful, warming spice to the casserole, enhancing its flavor and providing that classic French toast taste.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg is another aromatic spice that complements the cinnamon, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile. It’s often used sparingly as it can have a strong, nutty taste.
- Brown Sugar: With its higher molasses content, brown sugar is the best choice for sweetening this casserole. Brown sugar brings sweetness and a subtle caramel-like flavor to the dish. It also helps create a slightly crispy and flavorful topping.
- Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the overall flavor by balancing the sweetness and adding depth to the taste.
- Butter: A bit of butter is often used to grease the baking dish and to top of the casserole. This adds richness and helps achieve a golden, buttery crust.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: Confectioners’ sugar adds an elegant and visually appealing touch to the dish. When lightly dusted over the top of the casserole, it creates a delicate, snowy-white finish that contrasts beautifully with the golden-brown, crispy edges of the baked Brioche French Toast. It also adds the right sweetness to enhance the overall flavor without overpowering it.
- Maple Syrup (optional for serving): Maple syrup is a classic topping for French toast casserole, providing sweetness and a delicious, finish.
How to make Brioche French Toast Casserole
The basics of this recipe are to layer the bread, sprinkle on the sugar and spice between the layers, pour on the custard, top with butter and the rest of the spice mixture and bake. Easy peasy!
STEP 1: Let it get stale. Brioche, somewhat stale, is best for French toast casseroles. Cut the loaves into 1-inch slices, then let them sit uncovered for a few hours or up to 1 day. The less moisture in the bread, the more custard it can soak up! If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to let the bread sit out lay the bread slices on baking sheets in a single layer and bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes. This is what I do most often!
STEP 2: Generously butter a 9×13 casserole dish or any (3.5-4 -quart) baking dish, or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Here is the casserole dish pictured below. Set aside.
STEP 3: Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in bowl. Set aside.
STEP 4: In a separate glass mixing bowl or bowl with a pour spout, whisk milk, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
STEP 5: Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of brown sugar mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared dish.
STEP 6: Place 6 bread slices (use bread heels here) in an even layer at the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar mixture. You may have to cut a slice in half to fill the dish.
STEP 7: Arrange 6 bread slices in a single layer over the first layer. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture. Position the remaining 6 bread slices over the prior layer and brush with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Gradually pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread, gently pressing to submerge it.
STEP 8: Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture on top of the bread. Bake at 350°F (170°C) for 45 minutes or until the casserole is slightly puffed and golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, and serve.
Tips and Tricks
- Bread Selection: Opt for high-quality brioche bread for the best results. Its rich and buttery texture adds a luxurious touch to the casserole.
- Even Layering: When layering the bread slices, aim for even distribution to ensure every bite is equally delicious.
- Customize Toppings: Experiment with toppings like sliced almonds, fresh berries, or whipped cream to add texture and flavor.
- Make-Ahead Convenience: Taking advantage of the make-ahead option by refrigerating the assembled casserole allows for a stress-free morning.
- Serve with Syrup: Drizzle warm maple syrup over individual servings for that classic French toast experience.
- Allow Resting Time: After baking, allow the casserole to rest for 15 minutes before serving. This helps the custard set and makes it easier to cut and serve.
- Slicing and Presentation: Use a sharp knife to cut neat slices, and present them on plates with a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar for an elegant touch.
- Chocolate Chip Indulgence: Elevate the indulgence factor by sprinkling mini chocolate chips between the bread layers. The warm, gooey chocolate will complement the buttery brioche and custard perfectly.
- Apple Cinnamon Delight: Sauté thinly sliced apples in butter with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg until tender and caramelized. Then, spoon this warm and sweet apple mixture generously over your Brioche French Toast Casserole for a cozy and flavorful apple pie-inspired twist.
- Nutella Swirl Sensation: Swirl Nutella between the bread layers for a luscious chocolate-hazelnut infusion. It’s a surefire hit for those who adore the beloved spread.
- Banana Foster Flair: Sauté sliced bananas in butter and brown sugar until caramelized, and layer them between the bread slices or spoon over the top. This homage to the classic dessert brings the casserole a rich, banana-caramel flavor.
- Bread Alternatives: If brioche bread is unavailable, you can use challah bread, sourdough, or Texas Toast as a substitute. Crusty, somewhat stale bread is best for French toast casseroles. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to let the bread sit out or lay the bread slices on baking sheets in a single layer and bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
- Spice Substitutions: Experiment with spices by adding a touch of cardamom, ginger, or cloves to the sugar and spice mixture for a unique flavor profile.
- Refrigeration: After baking and serving, if you have leftovers, promptly refrigerate the casserole. Place it in an airtight container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Cool Completely: Before refrigerating, allow the casserole to cool completely at room temperature. This helps prevent condensation inside the container, which can make it soggy.
- Individual Portions: If you anticipate having leftover portions, consider cutting the casserole into individual servings. This makes it easier to reheat and reduces the risk of the entire dish becoming soggy during reheating.
- Use Within 2-3 Days: Consume the refrigerated Brioche French Toast Casserole within 2-3 days for the best quality and taste.
- Reheating: To reheat individual servings, you can use a microwave for quick heating or an oven for a crisper texture. Microwaving for short intervals with a damp paper towel on top can help retain moisture.
- Freezing: If you want to store it for an extended period, you can freeze the casserole. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, or use a freezer-safe container. Label with the date.
- Thawing and Reheating from Frozen: When ready to use, thaw the frozen casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat it in the oven at a low temperature (around 300°F) to ensure it heats evenly and retains its texture.
- Avoid Excessive Moisture: To prevent sogginess, avoid reheating the entire casserole in the microwave as it can become too moist. Opt for individual servings or oven reheating for better results.
Using the wrong type of bread can lead to sogginess. Choosing bread with a sturdy texture, like challah, brioche, or French bread, is essential to absorb the custard without becoming mushy. Avoid using bread that’s too soft or thinly sliced. And, dry the bread by baking it in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
Brioche is known for its high butter and egg content, which gives it a rich, tender, and slightly sweet flavor. The generous use of these ingredients results in a soft, fine-textured crumb that’s almost cake-like.
Drying out the bread helps it absorb the custard mixture evenly without becoming overly soggy, resulting in a better-textured French toast. You can achieve this by leaving the brioche slices out in the open air for a few hours or up to a day before making your French toast casserole. Or dry it out in the oven at 300°F (149°C) for 10 minutes.
Serving Brioche French Toast Casserole
Top with fresh berries and pour maple or Nutella maple syrup on top of warm brioche French toast casserole—dust with confectioners’ sugar. As a side, serve cooked bacon or sausage. Enjoy!
Let me know if you try this Easy Brioche French toast casserole recipe! Leave a comment, and if your family loves it as much as mine, give it a five-star ⭐️ rating! Subscribe to our mailing list to receive more delicious recipes.
More Quick & Easy Breakfast Recipes
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- Moist and Fluffy Cinnamon Banana Muffins
- Baked apple cider donuts with apple butter glaze
Easy Brioche French Toast Casserole
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter softened, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup packed (165 grams) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
- 18-19 slices brioche bread 2 (14.11 oz) loaves cut into 1 inch slices
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup for serving.
- Lay the bread slices on baking sheets in a single layer and bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
- Once the bread is removed, heat the oven to 350°F (177°C) degrees.
- Generously butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (or any 3.5–4-quart) or spray with nonstick spray.
- Whisk brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl, preferably with a spout. Set aside.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of brown sugar mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared dish. Place 6 bread slices (use bread heels here) in an even layer at the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of sugar mixture.
- Place 6 bread slices in a single layer over the first layer. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar mixture. Place the remaining 6 bread slices over the previous layer.
- Pour the milk mixture over the bread and press lightly to submerge.
- Brush the top layer of brioche bread with the remaining 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle it with the remaining heaping 3 tablespoons sugar mixture.
- Bake until the casserole is slightly puffed and golden brown for about 45 minutes or until the center appears set and is no longer runny. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. Casserole deflates slightly as it cools.
- Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve.