Pumpkin French Toast Casserole is full of classic holiday flavors: sweet pumpkin, warm spices, subtle caramel flavors from brown sugar, and delicate floral notes from the pure vanilla. This overnight casserole is soft and tender in the center with a crunchy molasses-y crumble topping. This is the perfect make-ahead breakfast that’s elegant enough for holiday entertaining and simple enough for a delicious busy mornings.
When cool weather hits and the hustle and bustle of the holidays is in full swing, there is nothing better than a quick, easy, make ahead breakfast to start the day off right! And over here, one of our favorite breakfasts is overnight French toast casserole. So, I decided to put a seasonal spin on this dish to make it Christmas morning worthy!
This French toast casserole recipe is tender, perfectly spiced, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The sweet pumpkin, tangy cream cheese mixture, and warm spices produce the flavors of your favorite quick pumpkin bread while the custard and crusty French bread gives you the flavors of a classic breakfast casserole. The dish is then finished off with brown sugar topping and garnished with a pad of cold butter and rich pure maple syrup that seeps into all the nooks and crannies. Trust me when I say this casserole is honestly one of the BEST comforting breakfasts you can have – it’s simply irresistible and so easy to make!
I have been baking my whole life and this recipe will work flawlessly in any recipe (try it in my cranberry bliss bars or pumpkin whoopie pie cookies) and it’s great for making ahead and storing in your pantry for a rainy day. You can also check out what to serve with French Toast for more scrumptious idea!
This overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole is the perfect sweet breakfast when you’re wanting the classic flavors of French toast but don’t want to spend the time making individual slices and will quickly become a family favorite!
pumpkin french toast casserole ingredients
- french bread
- cream cheese
- confectioners’ sugar
- pure vanilla extract
- pumpkin puree
- brown sugar
- pumpkin pie spice
- whole milk
French bread: Be sure to use day-old or somewhat stale bread. The best bread for this recipe is French bread; however, any kind of bread such as, stale sourdough would be wonderful in this dish as well.
Cream cheese: Be sure to use a block of cream cheese, not a cream cheese spread. Feel free to use low fat or fat free versions.
Pumpkin puree: Do not use pumpkin pie filling; use pumpkin puree. While fresh pumpkin puree will work, I find using canned produces better results.
Pumpkin pie spice: Instead of using store bought pumpkin pie spice, I recommend making your own using my simple recipe. I find my special mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and all-spice gives this casserole an extra warmth that pairs extremely well with the crunchy brown sugar crumble.
Whole milk: While I find using whole milk is best for this recipe as it produces a rich casserole that isn’t too heavy, you can certainly use low fat or nondairy milks keeping in mind that the texture won’t be as light and spongy.
crumb topping ingredients
- brown sugar
- all-purpose flour
- ground cinnamon
- unsalted cold butter
- quick oats
how to make pumpkin french toast casserole
STEP ONE: Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and spread on bottom of prepared baking dish.
STEP TWO: Using a stand mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth. Slowly add in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined. Drop spoonful of cream cheese mixture on top of cubed bread.
STEP THREE: In a large bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and milk. Pour egg mixture evenly over cubed bread. Cover dish with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
STEP FOUR: In a medium bowl mix brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add ½ cup of cold butter to mixture. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into the brown sugar mixture until pea-sized pieces form. Stir in oats. Cover and refrigerate.
STEP FIVE: When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove casserole dish and crumb topping from fridge. Sprinkle topping over bread mixture and bake uncovered for 30-minutes. After 30-minutes, cover with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes or until it starts to bubble.
STEP SIX: Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-minutes. Slice into pieces, drizzle of maple syrup and enjoy!
what’s the difference between a bread pudding and a french toast casserole?
While a bread pudding and French toast casserole are very similar there are a few distinct differences!
- A bread pudding is considered a dessert and therefore, is significantly sweeter.
- Bread pudding also is made with more cream in the custard whereas the custard in a breakfast casserole has more egg.
- And finally, bread pudding is usually served with a luscious sauce and a baked casserole is served with traditional butter and syrup for toppings.
can i make this in the slow cooker?
You certainly can! However, the texture of the casserole will be slightly different than if baked. To make in the slow cooker:
- Grease the slow cooker insert with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and place inside of slow cooker.
- Follow steps 2 and 3 in baked recipe.
- Take slow cooker insert, cover, and place in fridge overnight.
- When ready to cook, allow insert to completely come to room temperature, and then sprinkle with crumb topping over soaked bread.
- Place slow cooker insert back into base, cover with lid, and cook on HIGH for 2.5-3.5 hours, or on LOW for 4-5 hours.
Casserole is done when center is set and is no longer runny.
can this pumpkin french toast casserole be made ahead?
Yes, this dish is a wonderful make ahead! You can prepare the casserole up to 1 day in advance before adding the crumb topping. You can also prepare the crumb topping separately 1 day in advance, cover tightly, and store in the fridge.
Sprinkle topping over the soaked bread right before baking.
can i freeze this casserole?
This dish is a wonderful freezer friendly meal! To freeze, prepare the through step 3 and freeze for up to 2 months.
When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the fridge and make crumb topping according to recipe card. Once oven is preheated, sprinkle topping on top and bake as listed on recipe card.
For baked casserole, place any leftovers in freezer safe container and store in freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Heat up in microwave or bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven until warmed throughout, at least 20 minutes.
bbq bakers tips and tricks
- Use day-old or leftover bread that is starting to dry out and become stale. Fresh, soft bread tends to fall apart and becomes extremely mushy when it soaked up the custard whereas stale bread retains its shape.
- Allow bread a minimum of 3 hours to soak up custard
- Feel free to half this recipe and bake in a 9-inch square baking pan. Baking time will be cut down to around 30-35 minutes. Be sure to cover with aluminum foil after 15-minutes of baking.
- Add pecans or walnuts to the top of the casserole for added crunch!
This easy French Toast Casserole is a holiday twist on the classic overnight French toast bake! It’s easy to throw together the night before and is ready to bake in the next morning for a delicious breakfast that feeds a crowd.
Follow these step by step stories for more inspiration.
other easy breakfast recipes to try
- Banana Scones
- Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread
- Blueberry French Toast Casserole
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- 1 loaf french bread or sourdough bread
- 1 pkg cream cheese 250g, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree fresh (find recipe here) or canned
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice see notes for homemade
- 6 large eggs
- 2¼ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold and cubed
- ¾ cup quick oats
- Maple Syrup for serving
- Grease a 9×13 inch pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. Cut the bread into cubes, about 1 inch in size. I . Spread the cubes into the prepared baking pan.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the 1 pkg of cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Beat in the 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract until combined. Drop spoonful's spread out amongst the bread cubes of cream cheese mixture. Set aside.
- Whisk 1 cup pumpkin, ¾ cup brown sugar, 2½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, 6 eggs, 2¼ cups of milk together in a large bowl. Pour evenly over bread.
- It isn't called an overnight casserole for nothing. Cover the pan tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight! The bread needs time to soak up the pumpkin custard and you will regret it if you don't.
- Mix in a separate bowl the ¼ cup brown sugar, ⅓ cup flour, and ½ tsp cinnamon together. Add the cold ½ cup butter and using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into the brown sugar mixture until pea-size pieces. Stir in the oats. Cover and refrigerate (separately, do not add to soaking casserole). Can be refrigerated for just 15 minutes or up to 1 day. Remember you don't want it sinking to the bottom of the casserole so keep it cold!
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over casserole and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, and then cover with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes or until you hear it bubbling. The total time this casserole takes is 45-55 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Casserole sinks slightly as it cools.
- Freezing Instructions: prepare the recipe through step 3 and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, make the crumb topping, sprinkle on top, and then bake the casserole as instructed. You can also freeze the leftover baked and cooled casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat to your liking in the microwave or cover and bake in a 300°F (149°C) until warm throughout, at least 20 minutes.
- Bread: Crusty, somewhat stale bread is best for French toast casseroles. When all is cut into cubes, you’ll have around 12 cups (slightly more or less is fine).
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you do not have pumpkin pie spice, follow super simple pumpkin pie spice.
- Milk: Whole milk is best because the texture leaves a light casserole that isn’t too heavy. You can use lower fat or nondairy milks of course but remember it won’t be as spongy.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Word of mouth is the kindest compliment you could give!
Leave a comment below. Tag @bbqbakers on Instagram. Like, comment & follow on Pinterest.