Putting a fun fall spin on a breakfast classic, this Pumpkin Pecan French Toast Casserole serves up warm autumn spices, toasted nuts and fresh pumpkin flavor. The rich custard base helps the flavors sink into the bread, turning it soft and tender, while the crispy streusel topping practically melts in your mouth.
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The Best French Toast Bake You’ll Ever Taste
When it comes to staying toasty on a crisp fall morning, there’s nothing better than the warm autumn flavor of pumpkin pie spice. This tender and flavorful pumpkin French toast casserole is the perfect thing to distract you from the first frost glittering on the ground outside. The melt-in-your-mouth crumble on top will make you forget all about the dip in the temperature.
And thanks to canned pumpkin puree, you don’t have to wait to enjoy this sweet breakfast. You can make it in the summer, or in the winter when you’re holding on tight to the memory of fall. Plus, the nutrients in the pumpkin make this dish healthier than regular French toast casserole, making it a super tasty way to get in a few vitamins and minerals – and giving you an excuse to make it whenever you want!
What You’ll Need
First, I’ll go over the ingredients for the casserole itself, then move on to the spiced streusel topping. Check out the recipe card below to find the exact amounts for all the ingredients.
For the French Toast Casserole
- Stale Bread: Cut into cubes.
- Half and Half
- Heavy Cream
- Pumpkin Puree: Do not replace this with pumpkin pie filling.
- Granulated Sugar
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Vanilla Extract
For the Streusel Topping
- All-Purpose Flour
- Brown Sugar: Packed tightly.
- White Sugar
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Salted Butter: Diced from cold.
- Pecans: Chopped and toasted.
What Kind of Bread is Best For French Toast?
Whatever kind of bread you choose for this recipe, the most important thing is that it’s stale. I like to tear apart a 2 to 4-day-old French loaf to make it, but any thick white bread is fine. Brioche and Texas toast are also great options that hold up well in this casserole.
How to Make Pumpkin Pecan French Toast Casserole
With just 6 simple steps, this casserole is so easy to throw together. Follow these instructions to get the best French toast casserole you’ve ever had.
- Prep Your Materials: Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with non-stick baking spray. Arrange the cubes of stale bread in the baking dish you prepared.
- Combine the Wet Ingredients: Combine the half and half, heavy cream, pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Mix everything until it’s fully combined.
- Add the Custard: Pour your combined wet ingredients over the bread and gently turn the bread cubes until they’ve been completely covered with the pumpkin mixture.
- Make the Streusel: Combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar and remaining pumpkin pie spice. Use a fork or your fingers to add the salted butter to the mixture. Toss the crumble until it comes together in pea-sized clumps, but don’t let it melt. Sprinkle the streusel over the French toast and add the chopped pecans on top.
- Bake: Place your baking dish in the oven and bake the casserole for 1 hour.
- Cool, Cut and Serve: Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Once it’s cooled, cut it into 8 portions and serve them with maple syrup drizzled over the top as desired.
Can I Make It Ahead of Time?
Feel free to assemble your casserole the day before and refrigerate it until you’re ready to pop it in the oven. In fact, this can make your casserole even better, because the flavor of the custard will soak further into the bread the longer it sits. You can also save the casserole after baking it, but the texture will change and it won’t taste quite as fresh.
Tips and Tricks
This French toast casserole has tasted incredible every time I’ve made it. Here are a few helpful hints so it comes out just as good for you.
- Cover With Foil: You may want to cover your casserole dish with a layer of domed tinfoil after 45 minutes so it doesn’t get too browned on top. Make sure you don’t cover it too early though, or the casserole may end up soggy.
- No Stale Bread? No Problem. If you don’t have any stale bread, you can cut or tear the bread up and place it on a pan in the oven to bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 250°F. Flip the bread over about halfway through the baking time to keep it from burning.
- Toast the Nuts: Feel free to use walnuts instead of pecans if you prefer, but either way, make sure they stay on top of the casserole. If they fall down between the bread, they won’t toast properly. This will affect their taste and texture, making them waxier and less flavorful.
- Keep the Butter Chilled: Don’t take the butter out of the fridge until right before you plan to use it. You can even cut it up in advance and keep the cubes in the fridge so that they can firm back up again. If the butter is too warm, the streusel won’t hold up and could melt right into the bread.
The only must-have topping for this pumpkin French toast casserole is maple syrup. I also love to chase this casserole down with a cold glass of milk. A side of fresh berries will add some extra vitamins and minerals, and so will this smooth and creamy Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie.
Looking for some savory breakfast options to serve along side this sweet breakfast casserole? Try some of these reader favorites:
- Biscuits and Gravy Casserole
- Chorizo and Eggs
- Fresh Huevos Rancheros
- Homemade Sausage Gravy
- Overnight Ham Breakfast Casserole
- Overnight Bacon and Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Storing and Reheating Extras
This casserole keeps pretty well in the fridge for up to 5 days when it’s covered tightly in plastic wrap or sealed well in an airtight container.
When you’re ready to dig in again, pop it back in the oven at 350°F for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until it’s heated through and the streusel starts to get crispy again. You can also heat up individual slices in the microwave in 10-second intervals until they warm up.
Does Baked French Toast Freeze Well?
Like most bread products, this casserole is really best if you eat it fresh. If you have leftovers that you don’t think you’ll get around to within the week, you can wrap individual slices up in plastic wrap and a layer of foil. When you’re ready to dig in, either let it thaw overnight in the fridge or just pop a slice in the microwave on the defrost setting until it warms up.
Pumpkin Pecan French Toast Casserole
For the French Toast Casserole
For the Streusel Topping
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ cup cold salted butter, diced
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Heat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Spray with non-cooking baking spray.
- Place the stale bread pieces in the prepared baking dish.
- In a large bowl (preferably with a pour spout), combine the half and half, heavy cream, pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and mix till well combined.
- Pour over the bread and gently turn the bread till completely covered with the custard.
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Use a fork or your fingers to add the salted butter. Mix till it is pea sized but don’t let it melt.
- Sprinkle over the french toast and add the pecans over the streusel.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. You may wish to cover with tinfoil after 45 minutes so it doesn’t get too browned on top. (optional)
- Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve with syrup. Enjoy.
- To Store: Keep in the fridge covered tightly in plastic wrap or sealed well in an airtight container up to 5 days.
- To Freeze: Wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and a layer of foil and freeze. Let thaw overnight in the fridge or thaw in the microwave on the defrost setting until warm.
- To Reheat: Heat in 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and crisp on top OR heat individual slices in the microwave in 10-second intervals until warm.
More Festive Fall Breakfast Ideas
- Apple Pie French Toast Casserole
- Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
- Easy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Easy Pumpkin Pancakes
- Bakery Style Pumpkin Muffins
- Baked French Toast Muffins
- Easy Cinnamon Bread
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