This make-ahead apple french toast casserole is easy to throw together the night before you need it! Sweet challah bread gets combined with diced apples and a cinnamon flavored custard. To even out the sweetness, this is topped with dollops of cream cheese. Let this sit overnight in the refrigerator and then bake the next morning for a delicious breakfast. It’s even better drizzled with maple syrup!
I love a good breakfast casserole. I especially love one that you don’t have to make the same morning you serve it. It’s so satisfying to wake up and just pull an already assembled casserole out of the refrigerator. Most days the last thing I want to do is make a big breakfast in the morning after just getting up. But, I do love having a big breakfast when company is staying with us or for a special treat on the weekend.
This apple french toast casserole fits that bill. It comes together really quickly with no cooking required ahead of time either! Once assembled, you just place it in the fridge overnight and plan for about an hour the next morning to wait for it to bake. You’ll soon be waking everyone up in the house with smells of apples and cinnamon wafting through the air.
How to make an overnight breakfast casserole
As I mentioned earlier, this recipe comes together quite quickly due to a few shortcuts. The first is using a store bought challah bread. I have to admit that for these pictures, I did make my own challah bread but that is only because I couldn’t get challah in my delivery grocery order and being pregnant, I am avoiding going into stores currently (#pandemic). That is definitely an option you can consider if you can’t find challah at the store either. It wasn’t difficult to make challah but does take some extra time!
The ingredients you’ll need to make this are:
- challah bread
- half and half
- 2% milk
- brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- cream cheese
The challah bread and apples get cubed up and thrown together in a greased casserole pan (9 x 13 pan or 3 qt casserole dish). Next you’ll make the custard mixture by mixing the rest of the ingredients except the cream cheese together and whisking until the eggs are combined with everything else. This gets poured over top the bread cubes. Push down any bread cubes that didn’t get wet so that everything is coated in the custard. Last you will dollop cream cheese over the top of the casserole and cover it with foil to sit overnight in the fridge. The next morning, you’ll pull the apple french toast casserole out of the fridge to sit while the oven preheats. Bake for about an hour until the middle is set and the top is golden brown. I like to serve this with a hearty pour of maple syrup but I’ll leave that decision up to you :-).
What apples are best in this casserole?
I used honeycrisp apples as they are one of my favorite apples and what I had on hand. You can use whatever apple you prefer. There is a lot of sweetness with this casserole so if you want to use a more tart apple like a granny smith, that would work well. Fujis or galas would work well too or golden delicious apples. Just choose what you like!
Other types of bread you can use
If you can’t find challah bread and don’t want to make your own, you can definitely substitute another type of bread. There are the best options:
- brioche loaf
- french bread loaf
Either of these will achieve a similar texture to the challah with the brioche being most similar. You will cube either of these breads just as you would with the challah.
Tips for making this breakfast casserole
For more breakfast ideas check out these recipes:
- Apple Crumb Muffins
- Blueberry Cream Cheese Babka
- Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Raspberry Almond Babka
- Vanilla Cardamom Plum Scones
Tag me on Instagram @TaraKringlen if you make this and leave a review and comment below! Thanks and enjoy!
Apple French Toast Casserole
- 3 cups apples peeled and chopped into ¼ to ½ in cubes-about 2 large apples
- 1 loaf challah bread cut into 1-2 inch cubes and preferably day old
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 8 eggs
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 8 oz cream cheese cut into 1/2 cubes, optional but highly suggested!
- Maple syrup for serving optional
- Spray a 9 x 13 or 3 qt baking dish with cooking spray.
- Combine bread cubes and apples in a large bowl and mix to combine. Pour into the baking dish.
- In the same bowl from the bread and apples whisk the eggs. Add half and half, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk until fully combined.
- Pour the egg mixture over the apple and bread cubes, pushing down any cubes that aren’t fully submerged.
- Top the casserole with cubes of cream cheese evenly. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove the casserole from the refrigerator while preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 25 minutes covered. Remove foil and continue baking for 25-35 minutes until golden brown on top and set in the middle.
- Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before digging in! Serve with maple syrup if desired.
- Instead of challah, a brioche loaf or a french loaf can be used. Ideally, the bread should be a day old so if it is fresh, cube, and place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350.