This overnight French toast with caramel sauce is an indulgent make-ahead breakfast that’s topped with caramelized bananas and a rum-caramel sauce.
Overnight French toast. It makes something indulgent even easier. Enough so that French toast any day of the week becomes reality. And by adding a quick last-minute caramel sauce, we’re making something easy even more indulgent. (Seriously, you’ve got to try this sauce, whether for breakfast or dessert.) Perhaps you’ve finally found a way to get everyone to clamber out of bed without complaint.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Overnight French Toast with Caramel Sauce
For the overnight French toast
For the caramel sauce
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons rum
- 3 bananas peeled and sliced
- Maple syrup for serving (optional)
Make the overnight French toast
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, brown sugar, rum, cinnamon, cloves, and a pinch of salt.
- Butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish. Layer the brioche slices in the dish, overlapping them slightly. Pour the egg mixture over the brioche, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
☞TESTER TIP: To ensure your brioche slices are evenly coated, take another moment to dip each slice in the egg mixture before layering them in the baking dish and then pour any remaining egg mixture over the top.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Remove the plastic wrap and cover the baking dish instead with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake until the center of the French toast is puffy and the edges are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool slightly.
Make the caramel sauce
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is incorporated, 3 to 6 minutes.
- Add the bananas, rum, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the liquid is syrupy and the bananas are caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes.
Serve the overnight French toast
- Serve the French toast with a spoonful of the caramelized bananas or pass them on the side. If desired, pass maple syrup on the side as well.
☞TESTER TIP: In the event you have leftovers, this French toast will reheat nicely in a warm oven. The banana sauce, however, is best enjoyed immediately after making.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Warm, inviting, custardy French toast with a super yummy bananas foster-type sauce, this dish is a great weekend treat. Almost like a bread pudding, this would also be great as a dessert with some fresh whipped cream on top!
Because it’s refrigerated overnight, start-to-finish time is about 14 hours but actual hands-on time is only about 15 minutes. I used the wonderful brioche recipe linked to in the ingredients to make 2 loaves of brioche. This recipe used about 1/2 of 1 loaf sliced, into 1/2-inch slices. One hour in the oven was perfect for the baking time.
I might try dark rum next time and perhaps add some chopped pecans either to the casserole itself or to the top after baking. I also found the clove a little overwhelming so might either swap that out completely and add some grated nutmeg or half it and add nutmeg to the custard mixture.
I’ll definitely be making this dish again and again!
Serve this brioche French toast at the first brunch you host when the world opens back up. It’s simple in preparation and lovely in presentation. In the meantime, you could serve this as ‘breakfast for dinner” to switch up your mealtime routine with sausage links and cantaloupe on the side for a complete meal.
The assembly was so easy, I prepared mine during the day to serve for dinner. I refrigerated for exactly 8 hours prior to baking. My brioche came pre-sliced, St. Pierre brand, the slices were just over 1/2 inch thick. About 14 slices in total, which was the perfect amount to fill the 9-by-13-inch pan.
This still tasted delicious 2 days later when I ate the leftovers for breakfast, so it holds up well.
This casserole puffed up so beautifully! When we first perused the recipe, my daughter had been worried that soaking the bread overnight in eggs and half-and-half would make for a soggy French toast. Much to her delight, the technique proved her wrong as the bread rose up to be perfectly toasted on top while infused with the egg and cream mixture closer to the bottom of the pan.
As for the rum sauce, the flavor was fantastic.
I used Trader Joe’s pre-sliced brioche. Slices are thick. Maple syrup is extra but not overly so; it nicely balances the rich rum sauce. We warmed ours slightly before a scant drizzle over the finished casserole. The integrity of the sauce didn’t hold up well after the first day (though the rest of the casserole did). The sauce primarily didn’t work on day two because the bananas didn’t age well. I recommend eating all the bananas on day one if you’re going to have leftovers and use fresh sliced fruit on day two.
This recipe is straightforward and dependable. We’ll make it again and again, perhaps with a hint of vanilla, cinnamon, or cardamom and a smattering of pecans!
This was a good and easy version of French toast but the show-stealer was those amazing caramelized bananas. The bananas turned a “casserole” into a dish fit for an upscale brunch.
I ended up making this for a camping trip and it was so effortless to mix the liquid together before leaving and throwing everything together the night before. My brioche came pre-sliced, it was 3/4 inch thick.
If I were to serve this without the bananas, however, the French toast would be a little bland by itself. But, I can see why you wouldn’t want the two to conflict.
I love French Toast, rum, and bananas. I was compelled to test this recipe because anytime you can sneak rum into the breakfast menu, it’s a good day. The topping was reminiscent of Bananas Foster. This was almost dessert for breakfast.
It’s easy to prepare. The egg mixture seemed to be missing something on the spice front. I would definitely add cardamon orange zest, vanilla, and possibly nutmeg, ginger, or allspice. This is something I do when I make my own French toast.
I used Trader Joe’s brioche loaf and layered the slices in the baking dish. I think it might be better to cut those slices in half for the layering. It might be a little easier to have a snugger fit in the baking dish as the top of the slices didn’t soak up enough of the egg mixture. I would also recommend dipping the slices in the egg mixture before layering just to make sure that the tops of the slices are also soaked in the creamy goodness.
The banana caramel sauce was delicious. I used Plantation Dark Rum. As a self-professed rum geek, I would like to experiment with a darker Demerara rum the next time I make this recipe It would add some great undertones to the sauce. A spiced rum, such as Foursquare or Chairman’s Reserve, might also make for an interesting flavor profile. That being said, if you’re not a rum geek, a good dark rum such as Mount Gay or Plantation will do nicely.
I love that this has the classic French toast flavor with so much less effort, especially in the morning. A make-ahead breakfast recipe is always king in my household. I was surprised I liked this so much, actually. I was timid about the rum and clove additions as those flavors, are not generally my favorite. However, both flavors were only very slightly detectable on their own; the French toast had a well-rounded flavor. The caramelized bananas were absolutely amazing and my favorite part of the meal.
In the morning, after a 12-hour soak, when I went to bake the French toast, I could see some of the egg mixture hadn’t soaked in. It did cook into the brioche, but there were some dry spots among the pieces. I baked the dish for 40 minutes with foil and 25 minutes without foil. This seemed perfect with the edges of brioche a golden brown. I had to use a commercial packaged brioche, which was fine but came already sliced. It was sliced like thick Texas toast.
The bananas, too, were easy to make. I had an organic light brown sugar and the granules seemed larger than the non-organic.
For those in my family who do not like bananas, maple syrup was perfect in it’s place. This recipe is simple and decadent but not over the top and unique with the caramelized banana. It will be a mainstay in my kitchen for years to come.
Originally published July 27, 2020