This baked French Toast Casserole with Cinnamon Pecan Streusel is a super easy make ahead breakfast or brunch recipe, perfect for Easter!
We’re currently saving for and planning our dream home. A home where we can paint the walls, comfortably host countless get togethers, and raise a family in. A home where we can gather in the kitchen as I make dinner or whip up French Toast Casserole with Cinnamon Pecan Streusel for Saturday morning breakfast. A home where we can laugh and play in the backyard and make life long memories.
Since this dream has been years in the making and after living in a variety of homes and apartments my entire life, there are several “musts” and several “wishes” that I hope we can build into our future dream home. Things that are a must: no carpet, a laundry room (an actual room, not just the washer and dryer hidden behind some doors) and obviously, a large open kitchen with lots of cabinets and a large walk-in pantry. A short (and in the grand scheme of things, trivial) list, I know, but when you have worked so hard for so long to get your dream house, these are things that I know I need in my future home.
Now, the things I want and hope our future home has is quite lengthy, but since I have had homes with and without these things I know I can make do without, it would just be really, really nice to have them.
Like whoever was the genius who invented large his and hers closets, must have been a marriage counselor or just a husband that was tired of dealing with his wife’s clothes, but whoever it was, having separate closet space in the master bedroom is a dream and relationship saver!
Oh, and a large screened in, or at least covered, patio. This is high on my wish list because since I mostly work from home, my patio has become part of my home office. It is where I go to get some fresh air, to take a break and read, and where I crank out my best articles.
And since I LOVE to entertain, my patio has always been an extension of my home. It is where we gather as friends to have Friday night happy hour and where we have hosted many barbecues. But mostly, I love sitting on my patio to have my morning cup of coffee and to have the opportunity to think and plan my day.
Some of my inspiration for my dream patio comes from the south Texas hunting lodge that I work for. They have a beautiful screened in patio, with wicker rocking chairs, a rustic picnic table, beautiful wood floors and an assortment of nick knacks from the owners’ international travels.
Not only is it a gorgeous and cozy space, the view, the rugged south Texas country side, is spectacular! And the way the patio sits, both the sunrise and sunset hit it perfectly.
Yes, one day I hope to have a patio just like that. With a rustic picnic table where we can have dinner outdoors while the sunsets. A space all our own, where we can have cozy wicker patio furniture where my friends and I can relax after a long week. And where I can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in the quiet, stillness of the morning, as I watch the sun creep over the horizon.
A patio like that is also where I envision us having Sunday brunch; laughing and digging into a spread of food like freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit salad, a platter of crispy bacon and something sweet, like this to die for French Toast Casserole with Cinnamon Pecan Streusel; with some fresh sunflowers and the beautiful Texas landscape in the background.
In fact, this baked French toast recipe will always remind me of that hunting lodge and the work I did there, since it is a recipe I made countless times while working there and for brunch at home. You see, when you have to cook a huge spread of food all by yourself for a large crowd, you need easy recipes like French toast casserole and frittatas. The great thing about these recipes, is that they can be made ahead of time and that they are cooked in casserole or pie dishes, so that you don’t have to fuss over individual French toast cooking in a skillet or fry eggs, everything is baked. These type of brunch dishes are great for crowds or when you want to have a laid back and relaxing weekend or holiday brunch!
Helpful Tips and Information:
Make Ahead: This baked French toast casserole recipe can be made the night before and stored covered in the refrigerator. If making ahead, prepare the French toast (steps 1-3, minus preheating the oven) and cover casserole dish with foil and refrigerate. Prepare and add the Cinnamon Pecan Streusel topping (steps 4-5) in the morning right before baking and bake as directed (adding an additional 5-10 minutes to the bake time, if needed). OR prepare the Cinnamon Pecan Streusel topping the night before and store in a plastic food storage container and add it to the casserole in the morning right before baking.
Serving Suggestion: This French toast recipe can be served alone with a side of fruit or could be served as part of a brunch buffet, served with this Creamy Grape Salad, Sausage and Pepper Quiche and Blueberry Lime Mimosas!
Kitchen Tip: Due to their natural oils, pecans should be stored in the freezer.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Oven Baked Cinnamon Toast French Toast
Banana Bread French Toast with Southern Butter Pecan Syrup
Cranberry Orange Stuffed French Toast
Irish Soda Bread French Toast with Whiskey Syrup and Whipped Cream
- French Toast Casserole:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 (16-24 ounce) loaf Texas toast-style bread
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 8 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Cinnamon Pecan Streusel:
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- For Serving:
- Pure maple syrup, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using 1 tablespoon butter, generously grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Leave any extra butter in casserole dish.
Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and place cubed bread in an even layer in prepared baking dish. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Pour French toast custard over bread in the casserole dish. (If not baking right away, cover dish and refrigerate. See note section above.)
Prepare the Cinnamon Pecan Streusel by stirring together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Using a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers; cut cold butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs are formed. Stir in chopped pecans.
Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the bread mixture in the casserole dish.
Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree-F oven, for 30-40 minutes until golden and French toast is set.
Serve warm with maple syrup.
Milk: Any milk will work in this recipe or you could use equal parts milk and half and half or cream.
Bread: I prefer the Texas toast style bread for this, but have used French bread, sourdough bread, whole wheat bread, leftover hot dog and hamburger buns and leftover croissants.
Inspired by several recipes including one from Diamond Nuts