Our French toast casserole recipe is here for a convenient breakfast and an extraordinary National French Toast Day.
Is French Toast Casserole Healthy?
Many French toast casserole recipes call for a lot of eggs, milk, and butter— all major sources of saturated fat. It is considered the “bad” type of fat and should be consumed in moderation, nutritionists say.
Plus, the signature topping of French toast casserole— streusel topping, made of butter, sugar, and cinnamon— is also at fault. It may add a crisp, buttery layer when baked, but it also adds empty calories and excess saturated fat.
Here is how we adjusted our French toast casserole recipe.
To begin with, we used just enough egg, milk, butter, and bread. It reduces the saturated fat to a healthy amount, plus makes the dish not too carby.
To make up for the calories missing due to less use of the main ingredients, we added nuts and raisins. Walnuts and almonds yield plenty of healthy fats while raisins add natural sweetness, allowing us to reduce the sugar.
Since we want moderate saturated fats, the streusel topping is off the table. We hope to include it in many of our future recipes, but for now, let’s enjoy this dish without it.
Best Bread for French Toast
Challah is a type of braided bread that is flavorful and fragrant, as it includes lots of eggs. The texture of challah is described as “heavenly soft,” which would make for an ultra-tender batch of French toast.
As tasty as it is, we decided to save challah for other occasions because of its high saturated fat content. It is best to have challah as is, with a cup of tea on the side for a light breakfast.
2. White Bread
Standard and commonly available, white bread is often the choice of many when it comes to French toast casserole. However, white bread becomes too soft when it is soaked in the milk and egg, resulting in a mushy casserole.
3. French Bread (or baguette)
French bread is a perfect choice. It stays intact when soaked, and its saturated fat content is exceptionally low, perfect for making a healthy dish.
Since baguettes often come with a crisp, sometimes super hard skin, you can slice it off when cutting. We found no problem with it as it ends up being soaked and softened with the milk and egg mixture.
Why Is My French Toast Casserole Soggy?
A soggy French toast casserole often is the result of an imbalance in the liquid-bread ratio. You don’t need to worry about this if you follow our instructions strictly.
If your bake turns out soggy, we are sorry to tell you there is no going back.
To prevent this, check the bread after 45 minutes of soaking and see if there is still liquid. Remove this excess liquid and you can rest assured the bake will turn out fine.
Tips for Baked French Toast Casserole
1. Cinnamon and Liquid
I found the cinnamon clumps up when it touches the milk. No matter how hard I whisked, it still took more than 10 minutes to barely get the cinnamon evenly incorporated.
To avoid this, whisk the eggs and milk together first, then add the cinnamon. We honestly have no clue how this works, but it does.
2. Use Stale Bread
If you have day-old bread, it may not be avocado toast material, but it is perfect for French toast casserole. Dry bread soaks more liquid than fresh, so it reduces the chance of getting soggy bread.
How to Make French Toast Casserole
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Whisk egg with cinnamon: Crack the eggs in a large bowl. Add cinnamon and whisk well.
Add milk and vanilla: Add milk and vanilla extract, and stir until everything is well-combined.
Soak the bread: Sieve the egg mixture to a large bowl of bread chunks. Gently give it a toss to coat them evenly in the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Soak the raisins: Soak raisins in 1/4 cup of warm water.
Cook the apple and raisins: Melt butter over low heat. Add apples, sugar, cinnamon and cook for 10 minutes. Add soaked raisins, raisin water, cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Prepare the casserole: Toss the soaked bread with the room-temp cooked apple and nuts. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish, foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar: When it’s done, take it out of the oven. Add confectioner’s sugar to a sieve and gently dust all over the surface of the casserole.
Serve: Divide the casserole into four with a knife and carefully lift each piece out. Place onto serving plates and drizzle maple syrup to serve.
Toppings for French Toast
1. Blueberry & Strawberry
Sweet, tangy, and juicy, these two berries fit into this casserole like a missing piece of a puzzle. Plus, they have loads of antioxidants to strengthen our immune systems.
Simply add as much berry as you want on top of the casserole. They are relatively low in calories, so you don’t need to take much into consideration.
2. Apple & Streusel
The tangy, cinnamony apple and crisp, caramel streusel is the most basic combination of any French toast casserole recipe. We would enjoy the casserole with a lot of streusel toppings if it weren’t for the saturated fat.
To get the original taste, you can have the casserole as a dessert— half of a portion, without the nuts and raisins. Then, make the streusel and sprinkle that on top of the casserole to get a crunchy, fragrant layer.
To make the streusel, pulse 4 tbsp melted butter, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, and 1 tsp cinnamon in a food processor. When crumbles form, it’s ready to use.
This new casserole for dessert yields less than 220 calories and only 4.6 grams of saturated fat. It complies with our healthy eating guidelines.
The addition of this versatile fruit (yes, it is a fruit) can fit any bake into the autumnal theme. Its creamy texture with a touch of sweetness is the perfect complement to the unique fragrance of cinnamon.
To include pumpkin in this recipe, steam 4 oz of cubed pumpkin and blend it to make a 30-calorie purée. Mix it into the egg mixture and your casserole will be in theme with the fall season.
4. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese and sweet bakes are besties. It incorporates creaminess and a cheesy undertone to any dessert or sweet dish.
However, cheese, in general, is high in saturated fat and so is not healthy if used in large quantities. We recommend you add only 1 tbsp to the egg mixture, just for a little taste.
Can You Freeze French Toast Casserole?
French toast casserole is a freezable breakfast— freeze today, bake tomorrow. Place the soaked bread, apple, and raisins into a Ziploc bag, and it will only take you 45 minutes to assemble. How convenient is that?
You can also freeze leftover toast, and it will still come out delicious after reheating. Wrap the leftover with cling wrap or store it in an airtight container; either works.
Calories in French Toast Casserole
Each serving of this casserole gives you 513 calories— only 87 more for a fulfilling breakfast. More than 50% of the calories come from healthy fat and protein from the nuts, milk, and eggs.
To crank the calories to 600, we served the chewy, sweet, nutty casserole with homemade juice. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, and cleanses the palate as you take a sip after every bite.
What to Serve with French Toast Casserole
Simple and fulfilling, one glass of our watermelon juice pushes the calories to 600:
|French Toast Casserole||Breakfast||513||5.4 g||334 mg|
|Watermelon Juice||Beverage||79||0.0 g||11 mg|
|Total||592||5.4 g||345 mg|
French Toast Casserole Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add cinnamon and whisk well.
- Add milk and vanilla extract, and stir until everything is well combined.
- Sieve the egg mixture into a large bowl of bread chunks. Gently give it a toss to coat them evenly in the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Soak raisins in 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Melt butter over low heat. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon, and cook for 10 minutes. Add soaked raisins and raisin water, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Toss the soaked bread with the room-temp cooked apple and nuts. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish, foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
- When it’s done, take it out of the oven. Add confectioner’s sugar to a sieve and gently dust all over the surface of the casserole.
- Divide the casserole into four with a knife and carefully lift each piece out. Place onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup to serve.