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Brioche French Toast Casserole with Pecan Streusel Topping

This Brioche French Toast Casserole is layered with fluffy brioche bread, butter, brown sugar, and warm spices. Topped with an out-of-this-world crispy pecan streusel topping, this decadent breakfast casserole is perfect for your next holiday brunch. Serve it with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar and you’ll be in breakfast heaven.

A piece of brioche french toast casserole on a small white plate with a fork removing a small piece of it.

I’ve always been a sweet breakfast kind of girl. Eggs and bacon are great, but give me waffles, pancakes, and French toast any day of the week.

Classic French toast casserole is the perfect make-ahead breakfast, especially for Mother’s Day, a holiday brunch party, or just a lazy Sunday morning. And it’s one of my favorite recipes to make for a crowd.

In this easy brioche French toast casserole recipe, soft, buttery brioche bread is soaked in a warmly spiced, rich egg custard. Then, the whole dish is topped with a crispy pecan streusel topping for a truly decadent breakfast treat.

Serve it with a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and a hot cup of coffee for the perfect winter weekend breakfast. Oh, and cozying up with a warm blanket doesn’t hurt either.

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What is Brioche?

Brioche is a type of lightly-sweetened French bread made with eggs, butter, and milk.

These additional ingredients give the bread a soft and pillowy texture with a rich, tender crumb. The texture and flavor of brioche make it the perfect bread for French toast.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Crispy Streusel Topping- Chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter – can you say yum?! The pecan streusel topping gives this French toast casserole a crispy, golden brown, caramelized crust that can’t be beat.
  • Perfect for Holiday Brunch- There’s nothing better than the smell of cinnamon and sugar wafting through the air on Christmas morning. This recipe is perfect for you if you’re hosting Christmas brunch.
  • Make-Ahead Friendly- An overnight French toast casserole can help take the stress out of planning your holiday meal. Just throw the casserole together the night before and pop it in the oven first thing in the morning. Breakfast, done!

Ingredient Notes

Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.

  • Brioche Loaf- Soft, fluffy, and lightly-sweetened, brioche is the ideal bread for a French toast bake. The loaf I found at the grocery store was 14.1 ounces, but anywhere from 14 to 16 ounces will work. Cut the bread into large 1 to 1 ½-inch cubes for the perfect texture.
  • Eggs- Mix the egg custard well to avoid finding any little pieces of egg throughout your breakfast casserole. The eggs will make the French toast casserole nice and puffy as it bakes.
  • Milk- I use 2% milk whenever I make this casserole. Two-percent milk is still creamy enough without being overly heavy or rich.
  • Brown Sugar- The rich, caramelized flavor of brown sugar pairs well with the warm spices. I like to use a little brown sugar in both the streusel topping and the egg custard.
  • Butter- What’s a French toast recipe without a little bit (okay, a lot) of butter? Butter makes an appearance in both the coating of the baking dish and in the streusel topping. It just means you don’t have to add any once it’s done, right?
  • Pecans- I love the crunchy texture the pecan streusel topping gives this breakfast casserole.
  • Spices- Warm, cozy, and inviting, cinnamon and nutmeg make this casserole perfect for a chilly winter morning.
The ingredients to make brioche French toast casserole on a countertop, each labeled with text stating what they are. The ingredients include brioche, milk, eggs, flour, brown sugar, pecans, spices, butter, and vanilla extract.

Step by Step Instructions

Here is how to make this brioche French toast casserole.

Step 1: Make the pecan streusel topping. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Stir melted butter together with brown sugar, flour, pecans, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

A glass bowl filled with pecan streusel topping.

Step 2: Coat the baking dish with the butter-sugar mixture. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in another microwave-safe mixing bowl. Once melted, whisk in ⅓ cup brown sugar until well combined. Pour the butter-sugar mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Then, evenly distribute the cubes of brioche bread into the prepared baking dish.

A mixture of melted butter and brown sugar spread on the bottom of a glass baking dish.
Cubes of brioche spread evenly in a glass baking dish.

Step 3: Prepare the egg custard. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, ¼ cup brown sugar, vanilla extract, spices, and salt together thoroughly. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, pressing down on any dry pieces to ensure they’re all well soaked.

Spiced egg custard in a glass mixing bowl.
Cubes of custard-soaked brioche bread in a glass baking dish.

Step 4: Finish assembling the casserole. Crumble the pecan streusel mixture evenly over the top of the bread. Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes (or cover and refrigerate overnight) to allow the bread to fully soak up the custard.

Unbaked brioche French toast casserole.

Step 5: Bake the casserole. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes. The casserole will puff up and be slightly jiggly when it’s ready. Allow the casserole to cool for approximately 10 minutes before serving.

Baked brioche French toast casserole.

Tips for Success

  • Whisk the egg custard thoroughly. To ensure you don’t end up with little pieces of scrambled egg throughout your French toast casserole, whisk the eggs until homogenous with the milk.
  • Push the bread into the custard. After pouring the custard over the bread cubes, use your hands or a fork to push the piece of bread that didn’t get soaked down into the liquid.
  • If made overnight, the bake time may be slightly longer. Starting with a chilled casserole may add 10-15 minutes to the bake time.
  • The casserole will puff up, then deflate. Don’t be alarmed if the casserole comes out of the oven puffy and jiggly, then seems to deflate after a few minutes on the counter. This is completely normal.

Substitutions and Variations

Here are a few ways you can try customizing this baked French toast casserole to fit your diet and taste preferences.

Substitutions

  • Brioche- Swap the brioche for challah bread, sourdough, crusty French bread, or ciabatta.
  • Eggs- While I haven’t tried it myself, you can try replacing the eggs with a vegan egg replacer such as Just Egg. Other recipes use silkened tofu and cornstarch to replace the egg. Keep in mind, brioche bread is typically made with eggs and dairy.
  • Milk- Feel free to use any type of milk you have on hand. Plant-based milk, half-and-half, or even heavy cream can all work in this recipe.
  • Brown Sugar- You can use granulated sugar in place of brown sugar. And if you have molasses, add 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of granulated sugar to make your own light brown sugar.
  • Butter- Dairy-free stick butter can be swapped for regular butter.
  • Pecans- Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios would all work well here.
  • Spices- Leave out the nutmeg, add a little ginger – get creative!
A baking dish filled with brioche French toast casserole.

Variations

  • Gluten-Free- Replace the brioche bread with a loaf of your favorite gluten-free bread. Just make sure it’s not pre-sliced into thin slices. And make the streusel topping with gluten-free all-purpose flour instead.
  • Chocolate Chip- Sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips over the bread before adding the custard.
  • Orange Zest- Add a bit of orange zest to the egg custard to give it a fresh, citrusy flavor.
  • Dried Fruit & Nut- Chopped dried fruit, such as cranberries or apricots, would make a sweet and delicious addition.
  • Fresh Fruit- Try mixing sautéed apples or fresh berries with the bread to add a little more sweetness to this easy breakfast casserole.
  • Cream Cheese- Dollops of cream cheese throughout the casserole would really send it over into the rich, decadent, and delicious category.

What to Serve with Brioche French Toast Casserole

Brioche French toast bake is scrumptious when served as is. Better yet, load it with tasty toppings or served it alongside another breakfast dish for an even more delicious breakfast meal. Here are a few ideas for what to serve with this brioche French toast casserole.

Toppings

  • Maple Syrup or Honey
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Berry Compote
  • Lemon Curd
  • Sautéed Apples
  • Caramelized Bananas
  • Salted Caramel Sauce
  • Peanut Butter
  • Hazelnut Spread
  • Whipped Cream
  • Ice Cream
A slice of brioche French toast casserole on a small white plate. It is topped with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Side Dishes

  • Fruit Salad
  • Greek Yogurt Parfait
  • Baked Apples
  • Leafy Green Salad (Try my Kale Crunch Salad)
  • Scrambled Eggs on Toast
  • Bacon, Sausage, or Ham
  • Corned Beef Hash
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Home Fries or Hash Browns
  • Muffins, Scones, or Quick Bread

Storage and Reheating

If serving this casserole at a brunch or holiday party, it’s important to remember that it can only be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Since French toast casserole is made with lots of eggs and dairy, it’s especially critical to follow proper food safety rules.

How to Store

  • Refrigerator- Leftover French toast casserole can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Either cover the whole casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or transfer the slices to an airtight container.
  • Freezer- Store leftovers in a freezer-safe container for 2-3 months. Then, defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

How to Reheat

  • Oven/Toaster Oven- The best method for reheating leftover brioche French toast casserole is the oven. To reheat individual slices, place them on a baking sheet, cover them with aluminum foil, and reheat for 10 minutes at 350°F. For a full casserole, reheat it in the same baking dish it was initially cooked in. Cover it with aluminum foil and warm for 15-20 minutes.
  • Stovetop- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add a piece of French toast casserole and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until fully warmed through.
  • Microwave- Place an individual slice of leftover casserole on a microwave-safe dish and cover loosely with a damp paper towel. Reheat at half power (50%) for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until hot.
  • Air Fryer- Place a piece of French toast casserole inside the air fryer basket on a small sheet of aluminum foil. Set the air fryer to 350°F and reheat for 5-7 minutes or until fully heated through.

Make Ahead

French toast casserole with brioche is the perfect make-ahead brunch recipe. Simply assemble, cover, and store the unbaked casserole in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Then, when you’re ready to bake, pull it out and follow the recipe instructions. Keep in mind, a chilled casserole may take 10-15 minutes longer to bake.

You can also cube the bread and make the streusel topping up to a few days in advance.

A piece of brioche french toast casserole drizzled with maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar on a small white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best bread to make French toast out of?

Brioche is an excellent bread for French toast because of its soft texture and rich flavor. Challah is another wonderful choice. Thick-cut white bread, French bread, or sourdough can also be used.

Why is my French toast casserole soggy?

French toast casserole is typically on the softer side. But, if your casserole came out too soggy for your liking, try cutting back on the egg custard, increasing the amount of bread you use, or baking it for a little longer.

Can you make brioche French toast casserole overnight?

Yes! Overnight brioche French toast casserole is the ideal make-ahead brunch recipe. To make ahead, assemble the casserole, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.

Let’s Connect!

Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions about the recipe. You can also connect with me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, or via email at [email protected].

More Breakfast Recipes

Brioche French Toast Casserole

This Brioche French Toast Casserole is layered with fluffy brioche bread, butter, brown sugar, and warm spices. Topped with an out-of-this-world crispy pecan streusel topping, this decadent breakfast casserole is perfect for your next holiday brunch. Serve it with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar and you'll be in breakfast heaven.
Course Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine American, French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 429kcal
Author Ashley Petrie

Ingredients

For the Pecan Streusel Topping

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup pecans measured, then finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon kosher salt

For the Brioche French Toast Casserole

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • cup + ¼ cup packed brown sugar divided
  • 14-16 ounces (1 whole loaf) brioche cut into 1 to 1 ½-inch cubes
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

For the Pecan Streusel Topping

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Stir melted butter together with brown sugar, flour, pecans, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, ½ cup packed brown sugar, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup pecans, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Brioche French Toast Casserole

  • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in another microwave-safe mixing bowl. Once melted, whisk in ⅓ cup of brown sugar until well combined. Pour the butter-sugar mixture into the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. Then, evenly distribute the cubes of brioche bread into the dish on top of the butter.
    4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, ⅓ cup + ¼ cup packed brown sugar, 14-16 ounces (1 whole loaf) brioche
  • In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the eggs, milk, ¼ cup of brown sugar, vanilla extract, spices, and salt. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, pressing down on any dry pieces to ensure they're all soaked well.
    ⅓ cup + ¼ cup packed brown sugar, 6 large eggs, 2 cups 2% milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Crumble the pecan streusel mixture evenly over the top of the bread. Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes (or cover and refrigerate overnight) to allow the bread to fully soak up the custard.
  • Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes. The casserole will puff up and be slightly jiggly when it's ready, then deflate as it cools. Allow the casserole to cool for approximately 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Quick Tip: Whisk the egg custard until homogenous to prevent finding any bits of scrambled egg in your finished casserole.
  • Make Ahead: Store the unbaked casserole in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. Add 5-10 minutes to the bake time if baking from chilled.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 25g | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Did you try this recipe?Let me know! Comment below, or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @enwnutrition.

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