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Maple Cardamom Baked French Toast

4.6 stars (20 ratings)

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Topped with a simple cardamom maple syrup, this easy Maple Cardamom Baked French Toast has a soft custardy center with golden crunchy edges. It’s decadently delicious and perfect for breakfast or brunch, featuring all your favorite French toast flavors in one convenient casserole. With only 15 minutes of prep, instead of spending your morning flipping bread, you get to enjoy breakfast with your family.

French toast bake on a white plate

A Baked French Toast Casserole

French toast is one of those dishes that always feels comforting to me. The intoxicating aroma of vanilla and cinnamon fills the kitchen and warms my soul as it mingles with the scent of coffee and sausage frying on the stove. It’s a breakfast I find myself making often, but also one that requires I remain at the stovetop until it’s done.

While sometimes it’s nice to eat in silence as everyone else runs off to play with full bellies, sometimes I want to put breakfast on the table and actually eat with my family. Now that I’ve converted my Vanilla French Toast into this easy-baked French toast, I get to have the best of both worlds.

Often, oven-baked French toast requires time to chill overnight, but fortunately for those of us who decide to make things last minute, this cardamom French toast requires no chill time. Just combine the ingredients, transfer them to a casserole dish, and bake. (For those of you who do like to plan ahead, you can easily turn this into an overnight French toast bake—details below!)

The addition of cardamom gives this French toast casserole a festive winter twist. While it’s easy enough to whip up any time, it’s also special enough for a Christmas breakfast or brunch, along with an overnight breakfast casserole or quick veggie omelets.

What You’ll Need

This easy French toast casserole uses standard French toast ingredients and a simple 4-ingredient cardamom maple syrup. If you’ve ever seen someone grocery shopping for an impending snowstorm to buy bread, milk, and eggs, know that they are so very close to having all the ingredients to make a French toast casserole.

French bread cut into slices on a cutting board

Featured Ingredient: The Best Bread for French Toast

The gold standard for making French toast is Brioche, an eggy, buttery type of French bread that perfectly compliments the eggy custard we soak the bread in before baking. Coming in second, and my personal preference for when I make this an overnight casserole is a standard French loaf. It’s the type of bread pictured above and can be found in the bakery section of most American grocery stores.

If you can’t find brioche in the bread aisle, check the bakery section. Whole loaves that haven’t been presliced allow you to cut them yourself into thicker slices that will hold up better. Sourdough and thick-sliced Texas toast are also good alternatives.

In general, you want a dense bread that is sturdy enough to not turn mushy during baking. In a pinch, like a snowpocalypse, basic sliced white bread may work, but it will be prone to falling apart and won’t give you the best result.

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How to Make a French Toast Bake

Making an absolutely delicious breakfast has never been this easy. This baked French toast casserole requires just a few minutes of prep work. The hardest part is just waiting for it to finish baking!

  • Prepare the bread mixture. Cut the brioche into slices and then into one-inch cubes. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl to form a custard-like egg mixture. Stir in the bread, making sure to coat it completely with the egg mixture. Transfer to the buttered baking dish.
  • Make the cardamom maple syrup. In a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan, heat the butter until just melted. Combine melted butter with the remaining ingredients. Drizzle in an even layer over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown and the center is cooked through.
  • Serve. Enjoy with your favorite toppings or fresh fruit.

Convert to an Overnight French Toast Bake

To reduce your workload in the morning even further, make this French toast bake in advance by converting it to an overnight French toast bake. Making it in advance is especially helpful for early mornings and holidays, like Mother’s Day or Christmas morning.

The main change you’ll need to make is using stale bread instead of a fresh loaf. Using day-old bread or letting fresh bread sit out uncovered for a couple of hours to dry out will help the bread retain its structure after soaking overnight. Prepare the casserole as directed, assembling everything in the pan and drizzling the syrup on top. Instead of baking right away, cover with the lid of your casserole pan or use aluminum foil (single use plastic wrap is NOT necessary), then place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, allow the dish to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes while the oven heats. It’s important to let the pan warm up before putting it in a hot oven, as a cold pan can warp, crack, or shatter if you move it directly from a cold fridge to a hot oven. Pick up where you left off in the directions, baking as instructed in the recipe.

Overhead view of French toast bake

Tips for Success

Every great recipe is helped along with great tips. Here are some to help you bake the perfect French toast casserole the first time and every time.

  • Don’t let the top get charred. If the top is turning too dark but the center is not fully cooked, you can cover the dish with a piece of foil to prevent the top from burning.
  • Doublecheck that the center is done. To be sure the center is fully cooked, check with a probe-style thermometer (aka a meat thermometer). It should read 160ºF when inserted into the center of the dish.

Serving Suggestions

Serve up this French toast bake with your favorite toppings! Classic toppings like powdered sugar and maple syrup are always a great option. I personally like to add fresh fruit like berries, peaches, or banana slices.

If you want to get fancy, make a second batch of the cardamom maple syrup to pour over at the table and serve it with some baked cinnamon apples.

Syrup being poured over a serving of Fresh toast bake

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

This French toast casserole is best when enjoyed immediately. If you do have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for 2 -3 days, in an airtight container or in the casserole dish covered with foil.

The best way to reheat leftover French toast bake is in the oven. To reheat the entire casserole, cover the top to avoid burning and bake at 350ºF until heated through. I reheat single-serve portions in my air fryer oven at 350ºF on the bake setting.

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French toast bake on a white plate

Maple Cardamom Baked French Toast

Topped with a simple cardamom maple syrup, this easy Maple Cardamom Baked French Toast has a soft custardy center with golden crunchy edges. Featuring all your favorite French toast flavors in one convenient casserole, it's decadently delicious and perfect for breakfast or brunch. With only 15 minutes of prep, instead of spending your morning flipping bread, you get to enjoy breakfast with your family.
4.6 stars (20 ratings)
prep: 15 minutes
cook: 45 minutes
total: 1 hour
servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

French Toast

  • 1 loaf brioche bread
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Cardamom Maple Syrup

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Instructions

  • Cut brioche bread into 1/2" to 1" chunks. Preheat the oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle. Grease a 2 quart casserole pan with butter or cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Add in bread and gently stir to coat bread. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish and set aside.
  • Make the cardamom maple syrup. In a small saucepan or a microwave safe container, heat the butter until just melted. Stir in the maple syrup, cardamom, and orange zest. Drizzle the syrup over the french toast, coating as evenly as possible.
  • Bake french toast uncovered at 350º for 40 – 50 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown and the center is cooked through. To double check, a probe thermometer should register 160ºF in the center of the dish.
  • Serve with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, maple syrup, or whipped cream.

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Notes

This French toast bake can be made as an overnight French toast. Prepare the casserole through step 3, with the exception of preheating the oven. Cover the dish with either a casserole lid or aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, allow the dish to sit at room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes to warm up while the oven preheats. A refrigerator cold pan can be damaged going directly into a hot oven, glass can shatter and other materials can break or warp. Bake as instructed in the recipe.
If the top of the casserole is turning too dark and the center is fully cooked, cover with a piece of aluminum foil to shield the top from the heat element.
If you don't have cardamom on hand, you can substitute equal parts ground cinnamon and ground ginger, or use all ground cinnamon.

Nutrition

Serving: 2slicesCalories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 16gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 262mgSodium: 666mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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