Baked French Toast Recipe with Praline Topping
This baked French toast recipe is a showstopper that will please the masses! Try this easy breakfast casserole with crunchy praline topping today.
Breakfast will never be the same after you try this amazing twist on a beloved classic. Prepare to have your family begging for it every weekend!
Perhaps the best part of this dish (apart from how delicious it is) is that it’s a make-ahead and bake meal. You put it all together the night before, and then top and bake it in the morning. So much less stress than trying to make a big breakfast before you’ve had your coffee!
It’s perfect for special occasions like Christmas or Easter morning. But it’s also an amazing way to wow your overnight guests. Serve this warm, indulgent French toast bake any time you want to turn breakfast up a few notches.
Ingredients for this baked French toast recipe
For the French Toast:
- Heavy cream
- Brown sugar
- Spices: Vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt
For the Praline Topping:
- Brown Sugar
- Chopped Pecans
- Spices: Cinnamon and salt
What kind of bread should I use?
It’s all in the name! This baked French toast casserole is made with… French bread!
It’s easy to find, inexpensive, and hearty enough to hold up to the custard. Just slice and assemble!
If you don’t want to use French bread, you can also use brioche or challah. They are rich and dense enough to not go soggy on you.
A quick note on the bread: Do not use a French baguette, as it is too crusty for this recipe. If you choose to use a richer bread such as brioche or challah, I recommend letting the torn pieces sit out overnight (before assembling) to let it stale or to dry it in the oven, as these are softer breads that won’t hold up as well in the custard.
How to make it:
- Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by greasing it with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- Tear your bread loaf into 1” pieces and place them in the baking dish in an even layer.
- Mix the custard in a large bowl. Do this by gently mixing together the eggs, heavy cream, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. You don’t want to get it bubbly, just well-blended.
- Pour the mixture evenly over your bread. Press down gently with the back of a spoon to ensure all of the bread is submerged.
- Cover with plastic wrap and pop it in the refrigerator for an overnight soak. (If you don’t have room in the fridge to chill a 9×13 baking dish overnight, try my Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding Breakfast Casserole instead!)The next day…
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Make the praline topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to make sure it’s combined well.
- Sprinkle the praline mixture evenly over the soaked French toast.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up.
- Serve hot and enjoy with maple syrup!
Why would baked French toast get soggy?
There are a few different reasons this might happen:
- The Bread — Choosing the wrong type of bread for this recipe could definitely give you a soggy bake. Sandwich bread, for instance, is much too soft and will turn to soup. Stick with dense breads like French, Italian, brioche, or challah.
- Not Enough Rest — The reason you need to let the bake rest overnight is so that the bread can soak up ALL of the custard. If you leave it for only a few minutes or a couple of hours, just the outside soaks it up. That makes it extra soggy outside and dry inside.
- Super-Sized Eggs — If the eggs you’re using are unusually large, it could be too much custard for your bread. Cut back to seven instead of eight.
- Wrong Shaped Pan — If your baking dish is smaller than 9×13, it could funnel all the custard to the bottom rather than allowing an even soak. Similarly, if you’re using a 9×13 but it narrows at the bottom, it could cause the same issue.
As long as you follow the recipe and use the right sized pan, this breakfast bake is bound to be a crowd-pleaser! And it really couldn’t be easier. Just a few minutes of prep and a good night’s sleep, then a quick bake and you’re done!
More Favorite Breakfast Recipes
- Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)
- Fluffy and Crisp Buttermilk Waffles
- Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
- Homemade Pop-Tarts
I hope you’ll put this on your menu for a holiday morning, or the next time you want an extra-special breakfast! If you make it, I’d love if you would take a moment to stop back and share a review below. ENJOY! 😍
Baked French Toast Recipe with Praline Topping
- 1 loaf (1) hearty French or Italian bread, about 1 pound
- 1½ cups (8) heavy cream
- 1½ cups (473.18 ml) whole milk
- 8 (244 ml) eggs
- ½ cup (2 tablespoons) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt
For the Topping:
- ½ cup (227 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (220 g) light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- Pinch (Pinch) salt
- ½ cup (0.5 teaspoon) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- ½ cup (99 g) chopped pecans
- Prepare the Casserole: Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Tear the loaf of bread into bite-size 1-inch pieces (you should have about 10 to 12 cups) and place in the baking dish in an even layer.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, whole milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Evenly pour over the bread pieces in the baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, gently press down on the bread so that it is all submerged in the custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Make the Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until only pea-sized pieces remain. Toss in the chopped pecans. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Bake the Casserole: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
- Sprinkle the topping evenly over the casserole.
- Bake until golden brown and puffed, approximately 40 to 50 minutes (an instant-read thermometer should register at least 165 degrees F when inserted into the center). Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Top with powdered sugar and maple syrup for a traditional French toast flavor!
- Bread: Do not use a French baguette, as it is too crusty for this recipe. If you choose to use a richer bread such as brioche or challah, I recommend letting the torn pieces sit out overnight (before assembling) to let it stale or to dry it in the oven, as these are softer breads that won’t hold up as well in the custard.
- Custard: You can replace all of the heavy cream and whole milk with half-and-half if you’d like, or you can use all whole milk for a slightly lighter, albeit less rich, casserole. I do not recommend using low-fat milk in this recipe.
- Nuts: You can substitute different nuts for the pecans in the topping, or omit them altogether.
- Bake Immediately Option: While this is an ideal make-ahead recipe since it should be assembled the day before baking to allow the bread to absorb the custard, you CAN make it the same day, if desired. After pouring the custard over the bread, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before baking. The inside will be less soft, but still delicious!
- Freezing Instructions: This casserole can be baked, cooled completely, refrigerated for at least 2 hours, then frozen. To freeze, cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, until warmed through, about 15 minutes.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Originally published in 2011, this has been updated to include new photos, and an updated (and improved!) recipe based on user feedback. If you wish to make the original recipe, you can find it here.
[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]
My family loves this – it’s our standard Christmas breakfast. But I like the original better and I can’t find my recipe. Could you send me a link please? Thank you😋
The only French bread I could get because of COVID-19 was a low-quality, soft loaf. I probably should have shredded it and let it sit out for a day before using it, because the texture was a little on the soggy side. BUT the flavor was fantastic! And the smell of it baking got my high school/college kids out of bed! :) I’m going to try it again once I can get a legit loaf! Thanks for sharing!
This recipe is very similar to a Paula Deen recipe called Baked French Toast Casserole I used to make all the time. It was a breakfast favorite of my husband’s. Her’s has a praline topping as well, but left the bread in slices.
Now add 1/2 pkg. cooked and chopped bacon to the mix and you’ve really got something! Of course more bacon on the side is good too😁. I just made something similar this week and my husband loved it. We’re not used to bring home for breakfast 😳…at least not M-F.
Great recipe! Yum!
Who needs to wait for Christmas? I made this last weekend for a houseful of guests. There was none left!! It is the perfect dish for entertaining as it can be made the night before.
This recipe turned out so well! I was delicious! My husband said it was the best French Toast he had ever had! I put the topping on the night before and it baked up fine the next morning. (I wanted to streamline things for Christmas morning! ?) I love your site and your recipes! Thank you! Happy New Year!
We had your French Toast with Praline Topping for breakfast Christmas morning. Everyone loved it! Because it was Christmas, I substituted one cup of eggnog for one of the cups of milk. Thank you for a great recipe!
I absolutely LOVE this recipe!! (I love all your recipes and check your blog daily!) This particular recipe has become part of my husband and I’s Christmas tradition for the past 3 years. We have it every Christmas morning and plan to every year. Thanks for helping us start our own family traditions!! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas this year!
Looks amazing! I have a question though, does this toast bake up crispy and crunchy, or is it mushy? I don’t care for mush, but it looks awesome and like it might be firm in texture. Thanks! Merry Christmas 2015!
You are wanting snow and here in Texas we do not. At least not until Christmas is over. Joseph looks so cute with Santa.
My husbands best friend from Viet Nam lived near Pittsburgh. He had a new Cadillac and kept it in garage all winter. Lost him about 3 years ago.
My daughters boss is from Boston and has already gone home for the rest of the year.
A casserole–sure beats standing over a stove skillet in hand.
Absolutely no offense intended here, Michelle, but if you want snow for Christmas, then I’d like to suggest that you might like to take a trip to someplace snowy :) :) Not that I’m enjoying all of the rain here in the Pittsburgh area, mind you, but at least we don’t have to shovel it. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year, and thanks for all of the great recipes that you have given to us all this year, as well as all of the cute pictures of Joseph!!!
This sounds amazing!
This looks amazing!!!
Is there anything you can replace the nuts with? I’m serving this to an allergy aware crowd and I don’t want to seem insensitive.
Hi Julie, I would just omit them, unless you want to use something liked dried fruit.
Really good!!! Made for brunch today and the pan was cleaned and guests were caught scraping the sides and bottom for more. I used Challah bread that was slightly dry and I think it held together well. Also used ground pecans so it was like a paste I spread on the top. Very successful recipe.
Hi Michelle, this sounds awesome! Unfortunately my wife has an aversion to soggy bread! Does it bake long enough to dry the bread, or does it still come out a bit soppy?
Thanks a bunch for all the great food ideas :-)
Hi Rob, This isn’t soggy, but the bread doesn’t dry out. It has the consistency of custard.
I made this for our Christmas morning breakfast and it came out great. My husband and our 3 year old really enjoyed it. It’s very sweet! I love sweet things but for some reason, after we added the syrup it was a bit much for me so early in the morning. lol I will most likely make this one again for another special occasion or holiday. I may consider leaving out the praline topping on half of the bake and see if I enjoy it more that way.. I figure it’s worth a shot.
I made this for a ladies brunch last weekend and served it with Poinsettias (champagne and cranberry juice). They were both a big hit! Thanks for the great rec.
OMG! You are a goddess!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe!!! I went away with 5 girlfriends that I’ve known since junior high….we are now in our mid-40’s, so that’s a long time ago! Anyway, I signed up to be in charge of breakfast… I made this casserole and a savory one, so all flavor bases were covered. This was such a hit! We had enough of both casseroles for breakfast the 2nd morning….and everyone was very excited about that. I passed the recipe along and can’t wait for the next time to make it!!!
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!
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.
Oh I love French Toasts and this just takes it to another level altogether!Bookmarked!
Do you think this recipe would work with egg bread instead? It’s all I have in my kitchen right now.
Ps: Because my husband is danish he insisted that we serve it with fresh whipped cream – which beyond the unnecessary calories was AMAZING! :)
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. :)
I made this recipe for Christmas this year, and my family LOVED it! They’ll ask for it again, I’m sure!!
This looks so much better than stand-over-the-frying-pan French Toast…I think I’ll be trying this for New Years brunch!
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!
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.
i love french toast casserole and it’s a must around Christmas in our house. Yours looks amazing!
Planning to serve this as our Christmas morning dish! :) My husband can’t wait to eat it! Thanks for the idea!
Getting ready to make this right now for Christmas Eve morning. Thank you for the inspiration, encouragement, and information!
This looks absolutely amazing..will definitely try on Christmas morning!!!
Oh my, anything with a praline topping is devoured by me in seconds! Looks fantastic!
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!
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.
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.
Yum! We normally have cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning, but I might have to make this instead!
I make this for Christmas morning every year. Try it with Challah Bread- it’s really good! ♥
This sounds great! I usually make egg nog french toast for xmas morning breakfast, but a make ahead casserole sounds like a wonderful idea! Thanks!
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!!
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!
Bookmarking this right now! I am so making this for Christmas morning! Sounds so delicious!!
ahhhh I LOVE french toast! This looks amazing!
Oh my goodness! This looks divine! I might have to add this to our Traditions list! :)
As always… beautiful job, Michelle!
We usually do some simple, classic monkey bread for Christmas morning, but I’m sensing a change in holiday tradition this year! YUM!
Monkey bread it is for us as well. We alsways have done the ‘simple’ version with the dough coming from Pilsbury. My husband and I decided to try it from scratch one year and didn’t end up being able to eat it until noon. The dough needs to rise multiple times which we didn’t really factor in. So now it’s back to Pilsbury.
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!
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. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cheesy-shrimp-and-grits-casserole-10000000522445/
Delicious! The bread looks so puffy and pleasant. This would make for a wonderful breakfast with some genuine maple syrup.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
Mmmm. I make this every year for Christmas morning! So easy!
This is beautiful and would certainly give me that boost of energy to get through Christmas Day!
This is exactly what Christmas morning should taste like!
Holy Cow! For me that praline topping is the keeper and the fact that you bake it.
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.
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!
this sounds delish! cannot wait to try!
have a great day!!!
I made this recently and it’s one of the BEST things ever. EVER! :)
Hi everyone, it looks so yummy, I have a question though, I prefer crunchy French toast, is this mushy toast or does it bake crunchy? Thanks! Happy Holidays!
Hi JoAnn, The top is nice and crunchy; the bottom is softer. I hope that helps!
I have been SO wanting to make a baked french toast! This recipe looks like the perfect start :)
This sweet casserole is making me drool – I want this on christmas, eve, morn and on new years too!
This sounds sooo good….a great way to start off the day. Would for sure need to have seconds.
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!
Oooo! Christmas morning here we come!
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!
Oh my goodness, this looks incredible. I may eat the whole pan if I make this. And I think I’m okay with that :P SO delicious looking!
This is delicious looking! I am in love with french toast, so any excuse to change it up brightens my day!!…for realz.