Apple French Toast Casserole (Overnight)
A quick overnight Apple French Toast Casserole that you can assemble ahead of time and bake for breakfast or brunch. Top it off with my simple streusel and sour cream icing. Trust me, you won’t even need the maple syrup!
Cool off for a hot second with me, wouldja?
I’ve got a casserole dish stuffed with apple french toast bake, crunchy jumbo lump streusel, cinnamon apples, and a tangy sour cream icing for you today. Is there a way to add a scratch-and-sniff feature to this page? The smells sweeping through my kitchen are just a little too insane for me to convey right now.
This French toast casserole is the newest addition to my French toast family. A couple of Octobers ago, I shared a pumpkin breakfast casserole that you guys fell for just as hard as I did. Our love for overnight french toast bakes is stronger together. And when you’ve had enough pumpkin for Thanksgiving, this apple french toast casserole is perfect for Christmas morning.
So this time, I swapped out the pumpkin puree for juicy and tart apples and drizzled on sour cream icing because my heart told me to do so. And what we’re left with is the perfect excuse to eat apple pie for breakfast. It even comes all wrapped up, looking like a French toast casserole.
Ingredients for apple French toast casserole:
- Apples: You can use any variety of cooking apples. I like fuji, pink lady apples, and granny smith apples, but other varieties, such as, Braeburn, will work too.
- Salted butter: we’ll use a little butter to saute the apples before we bake the casserole. The sugar, apples, and butter give this casserole the most delicious caramel sauce.
- Granulated sugar: the granulated sugar sweetness to the casserole.
- Cinnamon: adds a delicious scent to the apples.
- Bread: you can use sandwich bread, french bread, sourdough, or even country white bread.
- Milk: we’ll combine this with the heavy cream and eggs to make the custard.
- Heavy cream: make the custard portion of the French toast bake.
- Eggs: Gotta have eggs for a French toast casserole!
- Vanilla extract: It’s the best pairing with apples.
- Ground nutmeg: adds a delicious scent to the casserole.
- Light brown sugar: we’ll use this to make the streusel topping.
- All-purpose flour: the flour goes into the crumb topping.
How to make a holiday breakfast casserole:
- Start with the apples. First, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add salted butter to the skillet and allow it to melt. When melted, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and cinnamon to the skillet. Stir to combine. Toss the apples in the butter mixture. The combination of sodium from the salted butter and the sugar gives the apples a delicious flavor. You want the apples to soften, and then let them cool to room temperature.
- Prep the casserole. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the diced bread in the pan and layer on the cooked apples; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar (or maple syrup), milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Then pour the prepared custard over the bread and apples.
- Make the streusel. combine the light brown sugar, the remaining tablespoons of butter, all-purpose flour, and some ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, mix together until the butter breaks down into smaller pieces. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the casserole. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, for the flavorings to develop properly.
- Instructions for baking. Preheat the oven. Then bake until the casserole is no longer jiggly. You may need to tent the casserole loosely with a piece of foil if it starts browning too quickly.
Tips for a better baked French toast casserole:
- Use stale bread. at least a day, if not two. Stale bread cubes will soak up that delicious custard and leave you with no jiggly centers or a dry crumb in sight! On that note, play around with the kind of bread you use. I love sourdough bread, but country white bread would also work.
- Play around with the variety of apples. You can use
- Saute the apples. I know it’s an additional step, but when you saute the slices of apple in a little butter and sugar and sprinkle on a pinch of cinnamon, something absolutely magical happens. The apples soften, turn golden and caramelize, and meld into the bread pudding and become one.
- Make ahead. this one really benefits all of us! It’s actually better if you make this ahead of time. I repeat, it’s actually BETTER. I love making recipes that you prep ahead of time, and then in the morning, just pop it in the oven, and when your guests come over, they’ll be none the wiser.
- About that sugar. I used a full cup of sugar in my French toast bake, and along with the streusel and icing, it makes this casserole kinda on the sweeter side. Think actual dessert. If you’re looking to serve this maple syrup, I suggest cutting back on the sugar to 1/2 a cup and skipping the icing.
- Make them into individual portions. You can make these into 12 cupcake-sized cups if you want to serve them individually. They’ll take a little less time in the oven, and you can find directions on how to do so here.
- Go dairy-free. replace the milk with almond, soy, cashew, or coconut milk. You can use full-fat coconut cream in place of the heavy cream to give it that touch of luxury! For the icing, swap out the sour cream for coconut milk yogurt.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Salted Caramel Banana But French Toast Casserole
- Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast Casserole
- Caramelized Onion Spinach Savory French Toast (Strata)
- Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- Veggie-Loaded Breakfast Casserole (add sausage or ground chicken!)
- 4 medium apples, (peeled, cored, sliced)
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- granulated sugar*
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 (day old) French bread, diced*
- 2 cups milk*
- 1/2 cup heavy cream*
- 6 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- APPLES: heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and allow it to melt. When melted, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the skillet. Stir to combine. Toss the apples in the butter mixture. Stir as needed and let the apples cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove; let cool.
- CASSEROLE: Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the diced bread in the pan and layer on the cooked apples; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar (1/2 cup if serving with maple syrup or 1 cup if serving on it's own with sour cream icing) milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour the prepared custard over the bread and apples.
- STREUSEL: combine the light brown sugar, remaining 4 tablespoons of butter (diced), all-purpose flour, and remaining 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, mix together until the butter breaks down into smaller pieces. Sprinkle over prepared casserole. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours and preferably overnight.
- BAKE: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake the casserole for 45-55 minutes or until the casserole is no longer jiggly. You may need to tent the casserole with a piece of foil if it starts browning too quickly.
- butter: just use a pinch of salt wherever the butter is called for if you've got unsalted
- sugar: If you're serving this casserole with my sour cream icing, use 1 cup of sugar for the casserole portion. If you're serving this with maple syrup, use 1/2 cup granulated sugar. You'll also need 2 tablespoons of sugar for the apples.
- french bread: you can also use brioche or challah bread
- milk + heavy cream substitutes: for a dairy-free option, replace the milk with almond, soy, coconut or cashew milk. Substitute coconut cream for the heavy cream
- sour cream icing: whisk together 1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1/3 cup of powdered sugar, and 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Drizzle on the casserole and enjoy!