After days of hard work, it’s time to treat yourself to a delicious weekend breakfast. Make sure the calories count with Paula Deen’s French toast.
Trust me, this French toast casserole is the best way to start your Saturday.
The toast slices are crispy on top and pudding-like at the bottom. The praline topping is buttery, crunchy, and utter perfection.
You won’t even need to wake up early to make it!
With a simple prep the night before, all you’ll need is to bake it the next morning, and voila! It’s ready to be devoured.
Want a sinful, delectable, hassle-free breakfast? Paula Deen’s French toast is calling your name.
Paula Deen’s French Toast
This heavenly casserole is all you can ask for in a French toast. It’s ridiculously rich and tender with crunchy, buttery goodness on top.
The best part is, there’s minimal work involved. Unlike regular French toast, you won’t need to stand in front of the stove for minutes with this recipe.
The oven will take care of everything for you. Its simplicity makes you want it even more.
The Best Bread for French Toast
The recipe calls for French bread, which is ideal because it’s sturdy enough to soak up the custard without it disintegrating.
Other great bread options include brioche, challah, baguette, Pullman loaf, and sourdough.
Here’s another important factor: the bread has to be thick. If the slices are too thin, they might fall apart during baking.
Whichever bread you choose, be sure to slice it into 1-inch thick pieces.
How to Make Overnight French Toast
The recipe card looks long, but it’s easier than you think.
Start by prepping your pan. You’ll need a 9×13-inch dish for this casserole. Grease it generously with butter.
Then, slice your bread. 20 (1-inch) slices will do. If you have extra, save them for later. Don’t feel like you need to use every last piece.
Arrange them in the dish with one bread overlapping the other. Or, feel free to arrange them however you please.
Next, prepare your custard. Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Pour that delectable custard over the bread slices, spooning some of it in between the slices to ensure every bread is evenly soaked.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Now, for the hard part: refrigerate the dish overnight. Depending on how you look at it, it’s either a blessing or a curse.
If you want the casserole now, sorry! But the good thing is, it’ll be ready for you tomorrow morning.
Take a shower, brush your teeth, and do all your bedtime rituals.
Look forward to a delicious French toast casserole for breakfast and have a good sleep.
The next morning, take out the baking dish and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is preheating, prepare the praline topping by combining butter, brown sugar, pecans, corn syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Spread the topping over the bread slices, which will have absorbed the custard nicely by now.
Pop the dish in the oven and prepare for the day. Forty minutes later, your casserole will be ready. Hurray!
Serve it with whipped cream, maple syrup, or fresh fruits and berries. Enjoy.
Does this Dish Really Have to Sit Overnight?
There are two reasons why the casserole is best made the night before:
- It allows the bread to soak up the custard, giving it a rich flavor and a pudding-like texture.
- It eliminates the hassle of waking up early to prepare it. You’ll just pop it in the oven, take a shower, and it’s done!
However, if you do wish to serve the casserole on a Saturday afternoon or for a fun breakfast for dinner, don’t feel like you absolutely need to soak the bread overnight.
Just give the bread slices at least 2-3 hours to sit in the custard to give them time to absorb the flavors.
Tips for the Best French Toast
- Press the bread slices lightly to ensure they absorb the custard mixture evenly.
- For a fancy presentation, slice the bread diagonally, and spread it like a fan in the baking dish.
- For richer toast, use heavy cream instead of half-and-half.
- Take the dish out of the fridge 30 minutes before you intend to bake it to let it come to room temperature. This will ensure the dish won’t crack due to an abrupt change in temperature and allow for even baking.
- If the tops of the bread are browning too much before the baking time is up, cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil.
- French toast casserole can be frozen either before or after baking. Here’s how:
- Pre-baked casserole: cover the casserole with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and bake as instructed in the recipe card.
- Baked casserole: cover the casserole with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
- Flavor Variations:
- Chocolate Toast: Top the toast with chocolate chips and syrup.
- Nutty Toast: Add a teaspoon of almond extract to the custard and top the toast with almond slivers or walnuts.
- Cheesecake Toast: Top the bread slices with a mixture of cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Sprinkle fresh berries after baking.
- Savory Toast: Top with sausage, ham, bacon, and cheese.
- Fruity Toast: Top with thinly sliced apples, apricots, pineapple, or berries.
- Elvis Toast: Slather with peanut butter and top with banana slices, bacon, and maple syrup.
More Yummy Paula Deen Recipes
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