This French Toast Casserole combines the best of two of my favorite culinary worlds: dessert and breakfast! Custard-y french toast is baked with a delicious cinnamon apple filling and a brown sugar pecan topping. Serve with caramel sauce or maple syrup for the perfect breakfast or brunch.
An Easy Breakfast Casserole for Fall Baking
Apple picking is one of our family’s favorite fall activities. So, needless to say, we have a lot of apples to use up come September/October. In preparation, I like to have lots of apple-centered recipes on hand to ensure that none go to waste!
We make apple crisp, apple pie, pumpkin cinnamon applesauce, baked apples… you get the point. But this year I wanted to try something different. That something different is called Apple Pie French Toast Casserole, and, in my humble opinion, it’s glorious.
French toast is fantastic, and so is apple pie, so why not mash them together for the ultimate, fall-themed breakfast-dessert combination?
This french toast casserole is so rich and delicious. French bread is soaked in custard to create a decadent french toast base, and then a sweet apple pie filling is layered on top. Add a brown-sugar pecan crisp topping, and this breakfast is complete.
Your mouth must be watering by now, like mine is, so let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
First let’s go over what you’ll need to put this breakfast casserole together. Here are a few notes on the most essential ingredients. (You can find the full list on the recipe card below.)
- French Loaf – Cut this into thick pieces and let it dry out overnight. Or, turn the oven on at 200° and spread the bread out on a pan, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until dry. You can also use brioche bread.
- Brown Sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar, whatever you have on hand is fine.
- Vanilla Extract – Maple syrup is a great substitute.
- Apple Pie Spice – You can also just use cinnamon if you prefer it.
- Apples – Any kind you like. I used granny smiths and honey crisps.
- Quick Oats – You can use regular for a crunchier topping.
- Eggs – We’re making quite a bit of French toast here, so you’ll need 8 eggs!
- Cream – Heavy cream makes the rich custard for the French toast. You’ll also need some milk to go along with it – you can use 1% or 2%, it doesn’t really matter.
- Pecans – Chop these before starting to save a little time later when making the crisp.
How to Make Apple Pie French Toast Casserole
French toast casserole has three easy components, as mentioned above, that come together in a snap. It really won’t take you more than 30 minutes to prep this meal, and then you just have to wait for it to bake! Here’s the step-by-step guide to the best french toast casserole recipe for fall:
Arrange the Bread Cubes: Place the dried French bread cubes in the 9in x 13in pan.
Mix the Custard Together: In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining toast ingredients and mix well.
Pour the Mixture Evenly Over the Bread: Then, cover it with saran wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, or at least for 1 hour.
Cook the Apples: In a medium sauce pan, cook the butter, apples, brown sugar and granulated sugar for 10 to 15 minutes until the apples are tender and the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and add the apple pie spice and lemon juice.
Mix the Pecan Crisp Together: In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour sugar, cinnamon and butter and mix with a fork till crumbly. Add the pecans and stir.
Preheat the Oven to 350°: Spread the apple pie filling over the french toast. Spoon the crisp over the filling.
Bake the Casserole: Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the custard is cooked through. Remove and serve hot with caramel syrup or maple syrup.
Tips for Success
As you can see, apple pie french toast casserole is pretty simple to make, whether you’re preparing it ahead of time or not. Here are a few tips that will help you achieve the best-tasting casserole:
- Bake the Casserole Ahead: Bake it the night before and let all the custard soak into the bread for the best french toast.
- For More Apple Pie Flavor: If you would like your french toast casserole to really have a lot of apple flavor, make it with double the filling.
- Use Stale Bread: I touched on how to make your own ‘stale’ bread in the ingredients section. The reason you want to use stale bread is that it will soak up the custard better than fresh bread will, and it is less likely to become soggy.
- Apple Pie Filling Substitute: If you’re in a pinch time-wise, you can use canned apple pie filling instead of using the homemade version. I highly recommend making your own because it’s delicious and a great way to use up apples, but sometimes life is crazy and time is limited.
Topping Ideas & Serving Suggestions
This apple pie french toast is best served hot from the oven! Don’t burn your tongue or anything, but make sure you get to this casserole while it’s still warm.
And don’t forget toppings, either! Here are a few of my go-to additions:
- Syrups/Sauces: Maple syrup and caramel sauce are sweet additions that my family loves to add to this delicious casserole! If might be interesting to try a raspberry or blueberry syrup on top as well.
- Whipped Cream: Cool Whip and whipped cream are great toppings for pancakes and french toast, so why not french toast casserole, too?
- Powdered Sugar: A dusting of powdered sugar tastes great on french toast casserole, and it looks really pretty, too!
- Fruit: I like to serve this casserole with a bowl of fresh fruit on the side (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, orange slices, etc.).
Can this Be Overnight French Toast?
Sure! You can make this french toast ahead of time and then bake it when you’re ready. Prepare the three components (french toast, apple pie filling, pecan crisp) and store them separately in the fridge. Then, all you have to do is layer everything together and bake. Making overnight french toast saves so much time in the morning! It’s also a great reason to convince yourself to get out of bed. :)
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store this apple pie breakfast casserole in a covered baking dish or an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days – I doubt you’ll need that long to devour the rest, though!
To reheat the casserole, put it back in the oven at 350°F until warmed through (probably 15-20 minutes depending on the oven). I don’t recommend using the microwave because the bread will become soggy.
Can I Freeze French Toast Casserole?
Yes! French toast casserole is easy to freeze. Let it cool in the baking dish and then transfer it to an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. Make sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating and eating.
Apple Pie French Toast Casserole
For the French Toast:
- 1 14- oz loaf French bread, cubed and dried out
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup heavy cream
For the Apple Pie Filling:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large apples, peeled and cubed
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the Crisp:
- ½ cup quick oats
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
For the French Toast:
- Place the dried French bread cubes in the 9in x 13in pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining toast ingredients and mix well.
- Pour the mixture evenly over the bread, then cover with saran wrap and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or at least 1 hour.
For the Apple Pie Filling:
- In a medium sauce pan, cook the butter, apples, brown sugar and granulated sugar for 10 to 15 minutes until the apples are tender and the sauce is thickened.
- Remove from the heat and add the apple pie spice and lemon juice.
- For the Crisp
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour sugar, cinnamon and butter and mix with a fork till crumbly.
- Add the pecans and stir.
- Let the french toast sit for one hour, to overnight, to allow the bread to soak up the custard.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Spread the apple pie filling over the french toast.
- Spoon the crisp over the filling.
- Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the custard is cooked through.
- Remove and serve hot with caramel syrup or maple syrup.
– If you'd like your casserole to really have a lot of apple flavor, make it with double the filling.
– Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
More Breakfast Ideas
Looking for more easy breakfast recipes to try? If that’s the case, check out these ones:
- Overnight Ham Breakfast Casserole
- Homemade Sausage Gravy
- Blueberry Scones
- Overnight Bacon and Sausage Casserole
- Fluffy Pancakes or these Low Carb Keto Pancakes
- Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
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