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This cinnamon french toast bake is equal parts decadent and simple! It is perfect for brunch gatherings and special occasions like Christmas morning or Mother’s Day, because you can prepare it the night before, refrigerate it overnight, then bake it in the morning.
Baked French Toast
French toast is hands down, my favorite decadent breakfast, with an especially delicious blueberry pancake running a close second. As much as I love a perfect piece of french toast that is crisp on the outside with a rich, creamy texture on the inside, I tend to avoid making it in favor of easier breakfasts. Unless you have a large griddle, you’ll find yourself stuck standing at the stove for at least 30 minutes cooking one slice at a time. While that might be fine for a leisurely Sunday morning, I wanted to create something that was just as tasty but cut out the work.
I love casseroles for all meals of the day, so I thought – why not make a french toast casserole? That’s exactly what baked french toast is. It’s a little like french toast, bread pudding, and cinnamon rolls had a baby and it has rocked my whole world. Best of ALL, it’s an absolute breeze to make. You can whip it up quickly for an easy breakfast, or you can prep it the night before for a no-fuss brunch.
Overnight French Toast Bake Ingredients
Like I said, this recipe is SIMPLE! You’ll only need a few ingredients for this delicious breakfast treat, and you probably already have them on hand! You’ll need bread, eggs, heavy cream, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and then powdered sugar for the luscious cinnamon roll glaze. While you’ll find that many recipes use whole milk, we found that heavy cream led to a deliciously rich texture that wasn’t overly soggy. We also opted for pure maple as our main sweetener because it complements the flavors of the dish so well!
What is the Best Bread for French Toast Bake?
This recipe will be successful with whatever bread you have on hand! Since I’m gluten-free, I opted for Canyon Bakehouse Honey White bread, and it worked like a dream! If you don’t need to worry about gluten-free, brioche, challah, french bread or any crusty loaf of white bread would all make fantastic options.
Can I make this dairy-free?
You betcha! While the recipe calls for heavy cream, you can substitute it 1-for-1 with full-fat coconut milk. If you aren’t a fan of coconut, other non-dairy milks will also work, but they won’t bring the same richness that makes this recipe so good.
How to Make Baked French Toast
Here’s how to make this simple french toast bake:
- Lay your bread slices in a 9×13 baking dish. If you’re looking for a more bread pudding-style consistency, lay your slices of bread flat in a 9×13 pan, making sure they overlap. If a crispy top with a bread pudding consistency underneath is more your style, simply lay your loaf of bread in the pan at a diagonal angle.
- Whisk the wet ingredients together. Whisk together the eggs, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a bowl until fully combined.
- Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Once your wet ingredients are whisked, simply pour them over the bread into your pan.
- Bake! Next, you’ll bake the casserole at 350 F for about 30 minutes, until the top of the bread is toasted and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Make the cinnamon roll icing. Once the french toast has finished baking, it’s time to make the icing. Simply whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream.
- Pour the icing over top. Finally, the best part – pour the icing over the french toast bake and sprinkle cinnamon over top. Serve immediately and enjoy!
For Overnight French Toast Bake
My preferred way to make this is the overnight method! It allows the bread to really soak up the liquid and leads to a great texture, plus it makes the next morning even easier! To make it overnight, simply assemble the casserole, cover it, then place it in the oven the next morning when you’re ready to eat.
How to Prevent Soggy Cinnamon French Toast
While it may feel a little bit risky to let your toast sit in liquid overnight, it actually won’t make for a soggy french toast. The use of heavy cream (vs. regular whole milk) also really helps to avoid a soggy texture here.
Serve this Cinnamon French Toast Recipe With:
I love to serve this alongside some sort of breakfast protein (crispy oven bacon is my go-to) and eggs. The two of these really round out the meal!
Baked French Toast FAQ
Because you’re soaking bread in liquid, it’s certainly going to have a different texture than just regular ole bread. I definitely wouldn’t call *good* french toast soggy, though!
Good question! While any milk can be used here, I recommend sticking with heavy cream to keep any soggy texture to a minimum.
Texas-style french toast calls for Texas Toast (a thick-cut bread) and makes for a super fluffy, thick finished product. Whether you choose to use Texas Toast for this recipe or not is totally up to you — any crusty bread will work great here.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat This French Toast Bake Recipe
Can I freeze this?
Yes! This french toast bake freezes and reheats great. I’d recommend freezing a few slices at a time in an airtight container, or by wrapping the slices in wax paper then sealing in a Ziplock bag. You can quickly reheat them by microwaving for about 1 minute, or placing in a 350 F oven for 5-7 minutes. One thing to keep in mind here is that the icing will melt once reheated, but it will still taste great!
It’s so good, I want to go make another batch of it right now.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it offers up a fun, decadent breakfast treat while you relax and enjoy your morning with family! If you’re looking for more breakfast recipes that are worthy of a special occasion, you might love our Gluten Free Overnight Waffles and our Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake as well.
Cinnamon Overnight French Toast Bake
For the French Toast Bake:
- 1 loaf of crusty white bread - brioche french bread, and challah will all work (we used Canyon Heritage for gluten-free!)
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream may substitute full-fat coconut milk for gluten-free
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream may substitute full-fat coconut milk
- Cinnamon for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Place the bread in a 9x13 inch baking dish, separating slightly so it leans diagonally*. Then, in a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla, and pour it over the bread.
- Note: you can prepare the french toast bake the night before! Assemble per step #2 and then bake as directed below.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- While the french toast is baking, make the icing in a medium-sized bowl by whisking together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream.
- Remove the french toast from the oven, then pour over the glaze. Garnish with additional cinnamon and serve!
Tracy W says
This breakfast was AMAZING! My 16 year old daughter doesn’t often get excited about my Paleo breakfasts. I decided to switch things up a bit on a school morning and chose to make this French toast recipe. Oh. My. Goodness! You put a huge smile on my daughter’s face! She, along with the rest of my family, LOVED this breakfast! She was still talking about it later that night, telling my husband, “and it even had frosting!” Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Your blog is my first stop when I’m doing my weekly meal planning. I’ve loved all of your recipe. You are incredibly talented.
Aw thank you so much!!
Hopeful baker says
sooooo in my frenzy of preparation for Thanksgiving I made this (just through step 2) full day and a half before I wan to cook it. Will it still be good when I was planning on eating it?
Amber Goulden says
I think you should be ok!
Jennifer Womack says
Yes! I want to try this on Christmas morning – What is your favorite bread??
Jennifer Womack says
So sorry – just found it!! Excited to try it!!
Made this for Christmas brunch and it was a huge hit from the young kids (7 and up) to the adults. I used gluten free challah bread the I cut into big pieces. Spread some brown sugar and cinnamon on bottom of pan first. Also only suggestion would be to make about 1.5x the frosting. I made according to recipe but thought it was a little sparse so next time will increase the amount of frosting. I also added diced pecans with about ten minutes left in the cooking process.
Amber Goulden says
So glad everyone enjoyed it Robert!
I was wondering if I can use oats milk instead coconut cream, or normall milk
Amber Goulden says
Hi Monica, yes oat milk and normal milk will work!
have you tried this with any egg substitutes?? (I.e. flax egg, etc.)
Brandi Schilhab says
We haven’t! Please let us know if you do, Luke!
My glaze is super thick! Am I doing something wrong?? Also with the gluten free bread it doesn’t fit nice and snug like the picture. Would it ruin it if I used a smaller pan?
Brandi Schilhab says
A smaller pan would work fine, Kelsey!
Made this for Christmas Eve breakfast and it was a hit. Even with my hubby who doesn’t typically like sweet breakfast casseroles.
Brandi Schilhab says
Awesome!! Thank you for sharing this with us!!
Nathalie Rondou says
I made this for Easter 2021 and the whole family is requesting that I make this again for Easter 2022! Safe to say it was a hit! This Easter there will be 20 of us (double the people from last year). Do you think I can double the recipe and still make it in a large baking dish (9×13) and stagger the bread slices or do you suggest making it in two separate dishes? Great recipe! 10/10 recommend!
Melissa Guevara says
How wonderful! I think you could definitely double the recipe and stagger the bread slices. I hope everyone enjoys and you have a blessed Easter celebration! -Melissa