This baked French toast casserole with cream cheese is a delicious way to start the day! Perfect for feeding a crowd, brunches, baby showers and more – it’s easy to make and so yummy!
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If you’ve never had French toast casserole before, you’re missing out. It’s like french toast combined with your favorite breakfast casserole, only better.
And this one isn’t just a French toast casserole, it’s a French toast casserole with cream cheese. For anyone who’s ever had anything with cream cheese frosting, you know cream cheese just makes things better!
It’s also a great way to use up bread if you find yourself with extras!
French Toast Casserole Ingredients
This French toast casserole with cream cheese uses many of the ingredients you’d find in a regular French toast recipe, plus a few others like cream cheese that you might find in stuffed French toast.
- 6-8 slices of bread – cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces, you’ll need about 10 cups of bread pieces total
- 8 oz cream cheese – this is French toast casserole with cream cheese after all, cut it into 1 inch pieces
- 3/4 cups chopped pecans – have someone with a nut allergy, leave them out but it’s better with them included
- 32 oz half and half – make sure it is the full fat stuff, the fat free stuff is typically loaded with additives and won’t work in this recipe. If you don’t have half and half, cream will work too
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs – beat them before using them in this recipe
- 1/2 cup maple syrup – if you can, go with the real stuff
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
You can top this French toast casserole with whatever you want really but here are some of our favorite topping options!
- Powdered sugar
- Fresh berries
- Maple syrup
- Fresh whipped cream (and berries!)
How to Make French Toast Casserole with Cream Cheese
While the steps might seem a bit daunting, I’ll tell you right now – there’s nothing difficult about this! And just like with this ham and cheese breakfast casserole, it’s a casserole so as long as you cook it long enough and don’t burn it, it’ll still taste good!
Make sure to check out the actual recipe at the bottom of this post for all the exact times, details, and more to make this. These are just the basic step by step instructions.
1 – Add your bread, cream cheese, and pecans.
First things first, add all those bread pieces, cream cheese pieces, and pecan pieces into a 9×13 pan. Then set that pan aside – you’ll top it with deliciousness later!
2 – Make your custard.
Whisk together the half and half, vanilla, salt, eggs, syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well combined. I recommend doing this with either a mixer or hand mixer but if you want to whisk it yourself, more power to you.
One important note – make sure the eggs are fully whisked in with everything so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
3 – Pour custard over the bread and cream cheese.
Once the custard ingredients are whisked together, pour them over the bread, cream cheese, and pecans in the 9×13 pan.
Gently press down on the ingredients to make sure the bread is all soaked – it doesn’t need to be covered, just wet.
4 – Make a water bath.
Place your 9×13 pan onto a rimmed baking sheet (like these ones).
Put both pans into the oven then carefully pour water into the sheet pan until it almost reaches the top of the sheet pan rim. If you try to do this before you put them in the oven, you’ll end up with water falling all over the floor instead of staying in the rim!
5 – Bake the French toast casserole.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and the casserole no longer jiggles when you move the pan around.
Once you take it out the oven, let it sit for 30 minutes before serving. It’ll still be warm, the sitting allows the custard to totally set.
6 – Serve warm with toppings.
Serve warm with powdered sugar, fresh fruit, whipped cream, and syrup. Or your favorite breakfast toppings work great!
French Toast Casserole with Cream Cheese FAQs
I get a lot of the same questions about this baked French toast casserole, so I’ve included answers to those questions below. If you have additional questions, leave me comments and I’ll do my best to answer quickly!
Do I need to cook French toast casserole in a water bath?
The water bath ensures even cooking of the casserole, which is important for this particular recipe. It allows the outside and the inside to cook evenly so you don’t end up with with a super crispy outside while waiting for the custard like inside to cook.
What kind of bread should I use for French toast casserole?
The best breads for French toast casserole are French bread, ciabatta bread, challah, or sour dough. I prefer unsliced bread to cut larger cubes of bread, but if it’s already sliced, that’s fine too – you’ll just have smaller chunks of bread.
And just like with my favorite stuffing recipe, it’s even better if the bread is slightly stale, but not essential.
Can I make French toast casserole the night before?
Yes, you can make this ahead of time. Simply refrigerate when it’s done and when you’re ready to eat it – heat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until warmed. It’s basically just like if you were going to reheat the casserole.
How long will this French toast casserole last?
You can store this casserole in the fridge for up to 1 week in an airtight container, but I can almost guarantee it won’t last that long!
Can you freeze this French toast casserole with cream cheese?
Because of the cream cheese in the recipe, I don’t recommend freezing it. It’s not that time-consuming to make so just make it on the weekends when you have time to let it bake, then enjoy all week long.
Can I make substitutions or add other things?
These are the things that I’ve personally tried and added to this recipe that worked out okay. I can’t say if other substitutions or additions will work but if you try something else that’s delicious, feel free to leave me a comment – I always like to try new things!
- Before Baking – you can add more pecans and cream cheese to the mixture before baking. You can also add up to 1 cup of fresh berries to the recipe – raspberries or blueberries are best but strawberries and blackberries work as well. Just make sure they’re fresh, frozen will add too much liquid to the mixture.
- After Baking – you can add any other toppings you choose such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, jam, flavored syrups, butter, and more.
Baked French Toast Casserole with Cream Cheese
- 10 cups bread cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 8 oz cream cheese cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3/4 cups chopped pecans
- 32 oz half and half
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar lightly packed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 9x13 inch pan, spread bread, cream cheese, and pecans around evenly.
- Whisk together all the custard ingredients until well combined. Make sure eggs are fully incorporated so you don't end up with a scrambled egg texture once cooked.
- Create a water bath by placing your 9x13 pan onto a rimmed sheet pan. Place both pans in the oven.
- Carefully pour water into the baking sheet until it almost reaches the top of the sheet pan rim.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and the casserole no longer jiggles when you move the pan.
- Take pans out of oven and let sit 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve topped with powdered sugar, fresh fruit, syrup, and any other toppings you'd like.
More Delicious Breakfast Recipes
- Trail mix breakfast cookies
- Best ever banana chocolate chip muffins
- Hash brown egg cups
- Berry smoothie bowl
- Ham and cheese empanadas
Don’t forget to pin this baked French toast casserole with cream cheese for later!