This Overnight French Toast Bake is prepared the night before and ready for the oven in the morning! Sweet challah bread soaked in a vanilla flavored custard gives you the most perfect balance of flavor.
This recipe was originally shared October 30, 2012. It has since been updated to include fresh photos and helpful tips.
- Easy Breakfast Recipe: The prep for this recipe could not be easier. Actively, you will only be working maybe 10 minutes!
- Perfect for a Crowd: This recipe makes a huge 9×13 dish that is perfect for feeding guests.
- Customizable: Be sure to check out the ingredient list for a few of our favorite substitutions.
We have been making this oven baked French toast for years. Day old bread is slicked thick and soaked in the most amazing custard overnight. The next morning you have got a base that is ready to bake! The end result is a flavor packed bread pudding that is the star of your menu.
This recipe has the wonderful added flavor of vanilla bean. When whisked into the batter you get an aromatic breakfast that is hard to resist, but there is also a secret ingredient. Orange juice adds a slight citrus zing giving it the perfect finish. Cut the custard in half for a classic pan fried French Toast!
OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST INGREDIENTS
The list of ingredients called for in this make ahead French Toast Casserole is actually fairly simple. Most of the items are commonly found in the kitchen, with the addition of just a few secret ingredients. Here is a quick breakdown of what you will need:
- Bread: The type of bread you use will give you a different result. I suggest a thick cut loaf that is at least a day old. The slightly stale texture is perfect for soaking up the custard.
- Sugar: A touch of sugar mixed with vanilla is key to that slight sweetness. A little in the custard with about 1/4 cup saved for sprinkling over the top just before baking.
- Vanilla bean: Optional, but a delicious addition. If you don’t want to pay big bucks for a vanilla bean, you can use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.
- Heavy cream: You have a little wiggle room with this ingredient. Cream will give you a very rich and delicious flavor, however you can use milk or half and half.
- Orange juice: Fresh or store bought. I small amount of citrus really brings everything together with this recipe. It is what takes this dish from good to great.
- Eggs: Four large eggs, to be exact. It may sound like a large amount, but the eggs mixed with the cream gives you the perfect custard mix.
- Butter and Syrup: For topping your finished breakfast bake. You can also use fresh fruit and powdered sugar.
HOW TO BAKE FRENCH TOAST
- PREP: To start this baked challah French toast you will need to slice your bread and mist a 9×13 pan with baking spray. Layer the bread into the pan, overlapping if necessary. Set that aside for later.
- SUGAR: Mix the sugar with the vanilla bean, using a fork, until the vanilla bean mixes into the sugar giving you a fragrant mix. This should take roughly 15 to 20 seconds. Set aside.
- CUSTARD: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly foamy, about 10 seconds. Add the cream, orange juice, salt, and 3/4 cup of sugar.
- CHILL: Pour the custard over the top of the prepared bread inside the baking dish. Let that sit for 15 minutes, turn the bread, then cover tightly. Place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 5 hours.
- BAKE: Before baking, pull the pan from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar over the bread, and bake 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown.
The three breads we find work the best in this recipe are French bread, sourdough, and challah. Our favorite, by far, is the sourdough. It offsets the sweetness in the most amazing way and tastes incredible with a drizzle of warm maple syrup. However, regular sandwich bread works too!
Of course! We often sprinkle a handful of blueberries or raspberries before placing this dish into the oven.
You can freeze this recipe, once baked, for up to three months.
If you notice that the top of the bread is beginning to brown before it has finished cooking, use a piece of foil to create a tent over the top of the dish. This will shield the bread from the hot temperature while allowing the custard to finish cooking.
Easy Baked French Toast
- 1 loaf bread
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Orange Juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Lightly mist a 9×13 dish with baking spray. Layer the bread slices, overlapping if necessary. Set aside for later.
- Place the sugar and scraped inside of the vanilla bean into a small bowl. Whisk together until fragrant, roughly 15 to 20 seconds. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly foamy, about 10 seconds. Add the cream, orange juice, salt, and 3/4 cup of the vanilla sugar.
- Pour the custard mixture over the top of the bread inside the pan. Let soak for 15 minutes then turn each bread piece.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4-5 hours.
- When ready to bake, remove the pan from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the cover.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 up vanilla sugar over the bread and bake 45-55 minutes, or until lightly golden browned and cooked through.
- Serve with fresh fruit, butter, and syrup.