Baked French Toast Casserole with Praline Topping

There is perhaps no better occasion for an off-the-charts, blowout breakfast feast than Christmas morning. You’ve spent weeks decorating, making lists, buying gifts and wrapping. And in a flash, much like the letdown after waiting an hour in line to ride a 2-minute roller coaster, it’s over. The gifts have been opened and there is wrapping paper strewn about all over the floor. How fabulous to then meander into the kitchen and be able to sit down to a decadent, celebratory breakfast that took almost zero time in the morning? Ahh, the beauty of the make-ahead breakfast casserole. Today and tomorrow are dedicated to making your Christmas morning meal extra-special this year!

This French toast casserole is the epitome of indulgent, and I absolutely love it. Embrace it – Christmas only comes once a year!

You can assemble the casserole the day before, and the next morning all you need to do is top it with the praline topping (which takes less than 10 minutes to make) and then pop it into the oven. If you get your timing right, you can get it into the oven and then by the time you’re done opening presents, it will be ready and you can sit down to a beautiful, hot breakfast.

Do you have any Christmas breakfast traditions at your house?

One year ago: Mini Cheesecake Cookies
Four years ago: Peanut Butter Blossoms

Baked French Toast Casserole with Praline Topping

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of salt

For the Praline Topping:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt


1. Generously butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.

2. Slice the French bread into 20 one-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices in the baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices.

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour the mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

4. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Make the Praline Topping: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well, using a pastry blended or your fingertips.

6. Spread the praline topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

(Recipe adapted from Paula Deen)

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66 Responses to “Baked French Toast Casserole with Praline Topping”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Katrina on December 22, 2011 at 12:07 am

    This is delicious looking! I am in love with french toast, so any excuse to change it up brightens my day!!…for realz.


  2. Ryan on December 22, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Oh my goodness, this looks incredible. I may eat the whole pan if I make this. And I think I’m okay with that 😛 SO delicious looking!


  3. Melanie on December 22, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Oooo! Christmas morning here we come!


    • Melanie on December 23rd, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      I have to add that I found your post for breakfast sausage, egg & cheese casserole today. Looks like I am making two prepare ahead yummies for Christmas this year!

      Thanks for all your hard work!


  4. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on December 22, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Yummmm. I love French Toast casserole. I made one last weekend, but just with a crumb topping. I wish I’d had the recipe for the praline topping then! It looks awesome!


  5. CouponClippingCook on December 22, 2011 at 2:28 am

    This sounds sooo good….a great way to start off the day. Would for sure need to have seconds.


  6. Choc Chip Uru on December 22, 2011 at 3:13 am

    This sweet casserole is making me drool – I want this on christmas, eve, morn and on new years too!


  7. Krissy @ Krissy's Creations on December 22, 2011 at 3:33 am

    I have been SO wanting to make a baked french toast! This recipe looks like the perfect start :)


  8. Blog is the New Black on December 22, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I made this recently and it’s one of the BEST things ever. EVER! :)


  9. linda on December 22, 2011 at 6:41 am

    this sounds delish! cannot wait to try!
    have a great day!!!


  10. Lori on December 22, 2011 at 7:36 am

    My great-grandfather owned a bakery and it would not be Christmas without his stollen. It’s not really Christmas for me until they come out of the oven!


  11. Penny Wolf on December 22, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Holy Cow! For me that praline topping is the keeper and the fact that you bake it.
    I may switch the half and half out with the eggnog. Thank you for sharing this find.

    Our tradition for Christmas breakfast is walnut cinnamon rolls and grapefruits.
    As we age, the grapefruit has been replaced with an egg breakfast casserole due to (Lipitor) drug interactions.


  12. Mallory @forkvsspoon on December 22, 2011 at 8:44 am

    This is exactly what Christmas morning should taste like!


  13. Paula on December 22, 2011 at 8:45 am

    This is beautiful and would certainly give me that boost of energy to get through Christmas Day!


  14. leslie on December 22, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Mmmm. I make this every year for Christmas morning! So easy!


  15. Mal @ The Chic Geek on December 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I love baked french toast, it’s so nice for when you have company you don’t have to stand at the stove the whole time. This recipe looks so wonderful!


  16. Amber, RD on December 22, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Ooohhh, that looks good! One of my favorite Christmas traditions as a kid was making waffles dying the batter red and green. We had a waffle iron, but for some reason Christmas morning was about the only time we used it.


  17. Monika on December 22, 2011 at 9:59 am

    My husband’s aunt made something very similar to this for Easter and it was soooo good. I just emailed her to ask if she will be making it for Christmas Brunch also!


  18. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on December 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

    This sounds so amazing! I wish I had a slice right now! How do you do it? How do you make all of these wonderful goodies and not get as big as a house? I have such a hard time! I lick the batter, eat the dough, eat the baked good, scoop up some chips, I can’t stop! I’d eat my computer if I knew I could get one taste of your baked french toast! Do you eat everything you make?


    • Michelle on December 26th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Hi Jennifer, I do eat some of everything I make, but not every last bite. I do a lot of sharing with family, my boyfriend, many times my mom will ask to take things to work for her coworkers, etc. Some things I will freeze for easy desserts later. I basically have an “everything in moderation” approach to eating, and don’t really overdo it on any one thing.


  19. Viviane Bauquet Farre on December 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Delicious! The bread looks so puffy and pleasant. This would make for a wonderful breakfast with some genuine maple syrup.


  20. Aimee Carter on December 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I always make an apple french toast casserole and a shrimp and grits casserole for Christmas morning. You have inspired me to change up my french toast casserole. Thanks!

    If you want to make the shrimp and grits, this is the recipe I use, but this has far too much salt for me. I use the sodium free chicken broth instead. Also, if you like heat skip all the salt and pepper altogether and use the same portions of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning or drop in a couple of dashes of Tabasco sauce. It’s so good. Double the recipe, everyone will eat seconds or thirds.


  21. Lacy on December 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

    OMG this looks SO good!! We have some sort of french toast every yr for Christmas breakfast, must just have to try this one out this yr. Yum!


  22. MOMables on December 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

    We usually do some simple, classic monkey bread for Christmas morning, but I’m sensing a change in holiday tradition this year! YUM!


  23. Ally on December 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

    As always… beautiful job, Michelle!


  24. Angela on December 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Oh my goodness! This looks divine! I might have to add this to our Traditions list! :)


  25. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    ahhhh I LOVE french toast! This looks amazing!


  26. Steph@stephsbitebybite on December 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Bookmarking this right now! I am so making this for Christmas morning! Sounds so delicious!!


  27. Jen at The Three Little Piglets on December 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    We are serious munchers in my house – seems we never really do the same thing twice, but you can bet there will always be some scones floating around!


  28. Angela W. on December 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    We have Orange Rolls on Christmas morning. When I was a kid they came out of a can, then I discovered Rhodes made them, now I make my own. But this casserole sounds good for New Year’s Day morning!!


  29. Abigail Griffin on December 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    This sounds great! I usually make egg nog french toast for xmas morning breakfast, but a make ahead casserole sounds like a wonderful idea! I think I’ll try this and use egg nog instead of half and half to see if it mixes the best of our usual tradition with your amazing recipe. Thanks!


  30. The Doll Baker on December 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I make this for Christmas morning every year. Try it with Challah Bread- it’s really good! ♥


  31. Allyssa @ First Sweet Taste on December 22, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Yum! We normally have cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning, but I might have to make this instead!


  32. Cathy on December 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I have made this French Toast recipe twice.
    Both times everyone absolutely loved it – while it is very rich, it is a great choice for a special breakfast/brunch. That it can be made the night before is also a real positive.


  33. Emily (The Culinary Couple) on December 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I’ve made this recipe several times, and I LOVE it! Though on Christmas morning, my mom always makes an egg and cheese casserole with apple muffins.


  34. Ann on December 23, 2011 at 1:19 am

    This looks absolutely delicious! Our breakfast tradition at our house is Eggs Benedict! It’s our favorite – and it’s a lovely thing to have when we wake up….then nothing until dinner!


  35. KiriW. on December 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Oh my, anything with a praline topping is devoured by me in seconds! Looks fantastic!


  36. katsbynp on December 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing..will definitely try on Christmas morning!!!


  37. Jane Cato on December 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Getting ready to make this right now for Christmas Eve morning. Thank you for the inspiration, encouragement, and information!


  38. Newlywed Foodie on December 24, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Planning to serve this as our Christmas morning dish! :) My husband can’t wait to eat it! Thanks for the idea!


  39. Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} on December 24, 2011 at 8:20 am

    i love french toast casserole and it’s a must around Christmas in our house. Yours looks amazing!
    Merry Christmas!


  40. Gary on December 26, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Put this in the oven when present opening was well underway Christmas morning. A REALLY BIG HIT and the perfect way to not miss any of the fun. I’m to the point where I’m in need of a food blog intervention, but yours is a very consistent source of great ideas. Thanks.


  41. Skyler on December 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I made this same recipe that I found from Paula Deen but instead of the half & half I used eggnog & it was absolutely amazing & everybody loved it!


  42. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie on December 28, 2011 at 10:47 am

    My stomach just demanded this, but the thought of getting out of my sweatpants and going outside into the cold to the grocery store is not appealing. But this casserole oh how it is very much so appealing!


  43. Anna on December 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    This looks so much better than stand-over-the-frying-pan French Toast…I think I’ll be trying this for New Years brunch!


  44. Tammy on December 30, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I made this recipe for Christmas this year, and my family LOVED it! They’ll ask for it again, I’m sure!!


  45. Jenn on December 31, 2011 at 5:09 am

    this is an awesome recipe. i’m so gonna try it! btw, what can i use as a substitute for half and half and corn syrup? (if there’re any)


    • Michelle on January 3rd, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Hi Jenn, For the half & half you can substitute half whole milk and half cream. For the corn syrup I think you could probably eliminate it and still be okay.


  46. Rachel on December 31, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I made this for Christmas eve brunch for my family- it was sooooo amazingly good! Even some of our pickier family members were raving about it. I unfortunately used a baking dish that was just a tad to short and some of the liquid bubbled over…. which made for a smokey Christmas eve mess, but really is it Christmas without a smokey kitchen? :) Thank you so much for sharing this one and if anyone is considering making this – be smarter than me and use the proper pan. :)


  47. Rachel on December 31, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Ps: Because my husband is danish he insisted that we serve it with fresh whipped cream – which beyond the unnecessary calories was AMAZING! :)


  48. Carin on January 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Do you think this recipe would work with egg bread instead? It’s all I have in my kitchen right now.


    • Michelle on January 3rd, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Yes, absolutely!


  49. Soni on January 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Oh I love French Toasts and this just takes it to another level altogether!Bookmarked!


  50. Ellen on February 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Hello! I was wondering, Does the amount of time this soaks over night need to be a certain amount? I wont be able to make this until late at night, after 11pm, to be prepared for early the next day (6-7am). Should I prepare it earlier in the afternoon or will it even matter? This recipe is great I can’t wait to try it! thanks!


    • Michelle on February 12th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Ellen, You will be just fine preparing it at 11pm and baking it up early the next morning. I think about 5-6 hours is a good minimum soak time.


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