This baked french toast casserole with cinnamon-spiced crumbly streusel topping and easy cranberry maple syrup is just begging to be a part of your next holiday brunch.

baked french toast on a plate with whipped cream and cranberry maple syrup

Looking for a fabulous show-stopping main dish for your holiday breakfast or brunch? Well, this is it.

This baked French toast casserole recipe is extra special thanks to it’s streusel topping and homemade cranberry maple syrup (which is just maple syrup with added cranberries and cinnamon). It’s delicious, rich and super flavorful.

Plus it’s not only easy to make, but it can also be prepared ahead of time, making it the perfect addition to your festive spread. Whether it’s Christmas morning or a special brunch gathering, this recipe is sure to impress your guests and leave them coming back for seconds.

baked french toast in pan with pitcher of syrup and whipped cream

Table of Contents

What is baked French toast?

Instead of cooking individual slices on a griddle, the bread is layered in a casserole dish, soaked in a sweet egg and milk mixture, and then baked to golden perfection. This method creates a soft, custard-like interior with a slightly crispy top, making it perfect for feeding a crowd. 

It’s like bread pudding, but for breakfast. And that’s something I think we call can get behind!

Ingredients you’ll need

baked french toast ingredients
  • A nice loaf of bread— I like to use sliced brioche bread as it’s really soft and flavorful (and you can find it in most groceries stores), but French bread or any other artisan loaf, and even white sandwich bread will work.
  • Milkeggssugar and vanilla extract— For soaking the bread before baking. Just like you would with traditional fresh toast.
  • Flourbrown sugarcinnamonsalt and butter— For the streusel topping.
  • Maple syrup—I recommend real pure maple syrup, but if you want to use imitation syrup that will still be delicious.
  • Cranberries— You can use fresh or frozen. (Keep reading for variations if you’d like to use something other than cranberries!)
  • Cinnamon stick— To add even more holiday spice to the dish.
  • Whipped cream— For serving, if you want!

baking tip:Is stale bread necessary for bread pudding or baked french toast?

Many recipes for bread pudding or baked French toast ask that you use stale or day-old bread. Recipes like these were originally created as a way to use old, stale bread. It soaks up the liquid and becomes moist and fresh again after baking. But does the bread need to be dry and stale in order to soak up the liquid? Not really, the difference it makes is very small. Use whatever bread you have.

How to make this baked French toast recipe

  1. Add bread slices to baking dish. I used a sliced brioche loaf, which I cut into triangles. You may need to play around with your bread a bit to find the best way to layer it in the pan. making baked french toast
  2. Whisk egg mixture together & pour over the bread. Once you’re combined the milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla, pour it carefully over the entire casserole, trying to moisten every piece.
  3. Let it rest in the fridge. In order to let the bread soak up all of the egg mixture, you must let it rest for at least 1 hour, or even overnight (which is my preference). adding streusel topping
  4. Top with streusel. Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut cold butter into the mixture using a fork or pastry blender. You want the butter to be broken up into little chunks and you should be able to clump the mixture with your hands, though it will still be plenty crumbly. Sprinkle it over the bread slices.
  5. Bake. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown. If the top starts to brown too quickly, you can cover it with foil. Let the casserole sit for about 10 minutes before serving.making cranberry maple syrup
  6. Make cranberry maple syrup. While the casserole bakes, make the syrup. Add whole cranberries, maple syrup and a cinnamon stick to a small saucepan and set over medium low heat. Slowly bring the syrup to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t want it to thicken, we’re just infusing the syrup with the fruit and spice.
  7. Serve and enjoy! Cut up the casserole and serve slices with the cranberry maple syrup and whipped cream if desired.
baked french toast in pan with pitcher of syrup and whipped cream

Make this recipe ahead of time

Baked French toast casserole is the perfect make-ahead dessert! Which makes it perfect for holiday breakfasts where you can keep things easy and prep everything the night before. Here’s how to do it:

Make the casserole as instructed in the baking dish, cover it with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. I wouldn’t recommend doing this more than 24 hours in advance. 

The streusel topping can also be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Add it to the casserole just before baking.

The cranberry maple syrup can be made as much as 1 week in advance and kept in the fridge. Warm it over low heat on the stove before serving.

Variations & serving suggestions

  • I highly recommend serving this baked French toast with sweetened whipped cream.
  • You can infuse the egg mixture with other flavors such as orange zest or a splash of brandy or bourbon. Eggnog can also be used in place of the milk for a richer, more flavorful custard (reduce sugar if desired since eggnog is sweetened).
  • Add other spices such as cardamom and nutmeg to the streusel topping.
  • The maple syrup can be flavored with other berries instead of cranberries. Blueberries would be an excellent alternate choice. Raspberries and blackberries should work too, but may break up and dissolve more into the syrup.

More brunch ideas

Pair these dishes with this baked French toast casserole for the ultimate holiday brunch!

Get the recipe

baked french toast on a plate with whipped cream and cranberry maple syrup

Baked French Toast with Streusel Topping and Cranberry Maple Syrup

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
The perfect make-ahead breakfast for Christmas morning!

Ingredients
 

For the french toast:

  • 1 lb sliced bread , such as brioche, French or other artisan bread (455 grams)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk (455 grams)
  • cup granulated sugar (66 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream , for serving (optional)

For the streusel topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (60 grams)
  • ¼ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (28 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter , cold and cut into cubes (56 grams)

For the cranberry maple syrup:

  • 12 oz pure maple syrup (312 grams)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (100 grams)
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions
 

  • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or butter. Line the slices of bread in the pan.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour over the bread slices, making sure every slice is moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  • When ready to bake the french toast, preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until they are the size of very small peas. (Note: this step can also be done the night before. Store topping in the fridge.)
  • Sprinkle the streusel topping over the bread slices. Bake until the topping is golden and the center is set, about 30-40 minutes (cover with foil if topping browns too quickly). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

To make the cranberry maple syrup:

  • While the french toast is baking, make the syrup. Combine the maple syrup, cranberries and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat and let them cook slowly, stirring occasionally. You don't want the syrup to thicken at all, we're just infusing it with berry flavor. Some cranberries will pop and others will stay whole.
  • The syrup will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week. If made in advance, warm over the stove before serving.
  • Slice French toast and serve slices with whipped cream (if desired) and warm cranberry maple syrup.

Notes

  • I used a sliced loaf of brioche bread and cut slices into triangles before arranging in pan.
  • Other berries such as blueberries can be substituted for cranberries if desired.
Calories: 501kcal, Carbohydrates: 83g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 145mg, Sodium: 420mg, Potassium: 334mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 47g, Vitamin A: 464IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 276mg, Iron: 3mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Breakfast
Author: Annalise
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a rating and review below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.

This recipe was originally published December 2014.