Deep-Dish Brioche French Toast

The last thing you need to worry about on a weekend morning is breakfast. With this deep-dish brioche French toast, you assemble it today, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and tomorrow slide it in the oven. By the time the gang wakes up, breakfast will be on the table.

Deep-Dish Brioche French Toast

This make-ahead brioche French toast recipe offers big rewards while letting you sleep in late. Originally published October 4, 2004.David Leite

LC Brioche French Toast Brilliance Note

Perhaps the only thing better than waking up to brioche French toast for breakfast? Waking up to brioche French toast that doesn’t require any stand-at-the-stove effort on your part. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It’s the French toast you already know and go weak in the knees over but it’s assembled in a baking dish the night before and stashed in the fridge. The only thing left for you to do in the morning is slide it in the oven and have an unrushed cup of coffee. Well, that and accept accolades.

Special Equipment: Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)

Brioche French Toast

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 5 H, 25 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
5/5 - 6 reviews
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Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • One 24-ounce brioche loaf, cut into 1-inch (25 mm) cubes
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into 18 cubes
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (2 oz)
  • To serve
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Pure maple syrup, warmed

Directions

  • 1. To make the Brioche French Toast in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

    To make the Brioche French Toast in your oven, generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place half the bread in a single layer, filling in all the gaps. Evenly scatter the cream cheese cubes, nuts, and raisins on top. Cover completely with the remaining bread.
  • 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Evenly pour the egg mixture over the bread. Gently press down on the bread with your palms to encourage the top layer to absorb the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  • 3. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 4. Remove the dish of brioche French toast from the refrigerator and let sit 20 minutes at room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap and replace it with aluminum foil. Bake the French toast for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the bread is nicely toasted and there’s no liquid puddling on the bottom.
  • 5. Transfer the dish to a wire rack and drizzle the melted butter on top. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the French toast. Let sit for 5 minutes before you cut it into squares, arrange on individual plates, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve along with the warmed maple syrup. (If you have leftovers—which is sorta doubtful—cover the dish with foil and refrigerate. When ready to serve, reheat it in a moderate oven until warmed through.)

Slow Cooker Variation

  • This already easy make-ahead recipe just got even easier. Assemble all the ingredients in the insert portion of your slow cooker, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Place the insert back on the slow cooker base and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

This brioche French toast recipe has become my go-to dish for every sort of brunch imaginable: baby shower, parents in town, company over, holiday…the list is endless. The entire dish is prepped and refrigerated the night before, which is a huge plus. All you have to do the morning of your event is pop it in the oven and drizzle the dish with a little butter. While convenience is good, taste is the most important factor, of course, and this French toast really delivers. It’s tender, buttery, and studded with nuts and raisins. I often use only half as much cream cheese as the recipe calls for, since it already seems like enough of a good thing. This recipe is a hit every time I make it!

Okay, why mess with perfection? I knew this recipe worked great in my oven, but there are so many occasions when I'm asked to bring this to a breakfast or brunch at a place where I don't have access to an oven and I know it will not be served as soon as I arrive. This dish is so good warm that I would hate to serve it cold (yes, it still gets eaten cold, but it's so much better warm). Or there are times, like on Christmas morning, where I get so caught up in the festivities that everyone suddenly says they're hungry, and I haven't even turned on my oven yet. So I decided to try the slow cooker variation of this recipe. I assembled all the ingredients in the stoneware part of my 7-quart slow cooker and put it in the refrigerator. The next morning I put the stoneware back in the base and turned the slow cooker on low. After 3 hours and 20 minutes, the French toast was perfect, just like the oven version. My family also agreed that it tasted just as good.

Comments

  1. I have made this several times, substituting neufchatel for the cream cheese and skim milk, instead of whole milk, to cut down on the fat and calories. It tastes delicious and guests always ask for the recipe. It is very easy to make the night before.

  2. When you put the French toast in the oven to bake, what should it be covered with? (I know this may be a stupid question, haha)

    1. Not at all, Madison. When you’re finished assembling the French toast, you cover it with foil and place it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning you just slide the foil-covered dish right into the oven.

  3. Is there a good substitute for brioche bread? Challah Jewish bread? Hawaiian? Couldn’t find brioche :(. Thoughts?

    1. Kristen, I think either of those would work just fine. Any relatively rich, eggy, slightly sweet bread will bring the right measure indulgence to this French toast. Kindly let us know what which you choose to use and how it goes!

      1. Went with hawaiian sweet rolls because they made it easy to break apart evenly, they came in a 24-oz pack, and they were cheaper than challah. Turned out wonderful!! :)

              1. Hi, I am from Hawaii and grew up with Portuguese sweet bread. An old Portuguese man came to the house every week with his truck and would sell my Mom a loaf of the most wonderful and tender bread. Kings Bakery originally had a single location in Honolulu, where one could buy a rather processed version of the bread, but it sure was sweet and delicious. Same roots:) Kings was always supportive of youth groups and teams…they were our favorite fund raiser supporters! So thanks to the Portuguese sweet bread man and to wonderful Kings Bakery!!

                1. Mary, what a great memory. I had some Portuguese sweet bread when I was in Honolulu, and it was really wonderful. Also, the malassadas there are great! Very different than our, but nonetheless, fantastic!

        1. Kristen, So you used Hawaiian sweet rolls? Were they a 24 pack or 12 pack of rolls. They were the premade boxed kind, right?

  4. I’m going to attempt this for a potluck brunch on Wednesday morning – do you think it would cook the same in a disposable aluminum pan? I’d love to simply bake and bring to the potluck that morning, without the concern of transferring to a serving plate (which would require retrieval at the end of the day) . Plus, I think it would stay warmer if baked, sliced and served out of the disposable pan.
    Thoughts on baking in disposable tray vs. glass baking dish?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Christiana, you should be fine baking this in an aluminum pan. I would suggest placing the pan on a baking sheet during cooking. It will help to regulate the heat and provide a stable surface for those disposable pans that tend to wobble when filled. Just be sure to check the edges for browning and take it out when the liquid has set.

    1. Natalie, the recipe was developed with cream cheese, which is soft but holds up the heat. Now a warning: I haven’t tried these substitutes, but you can reach for Neufchâtel or ricotta mixed with a little yogurt. Is there a dietary restriction? Or is there a personal preference at work here?

      1. Just a personal preference, but I think I’ll go ahead with it. I’m baking it as a Mother’s Day gift so I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out! :) Thanks for your help!

  5. That was an amazing brunch!! We all loved it very much. I had to bake it for a longer time as I was using a 9×9 dish, but nevertheless, it was perfect! Thanks again! :)

  6. Bravo. This was terrific. Made it for a church gathering and everyone loved it. Many asked for the recipe. I used challah bread, real butter, and maple syrup. It was rich but not too sweet or decadent.

  7. I am making this for an Easter morning brunch. I will bake it at home and then take it to church where it will need to be kept warm during the church service. What is the best way, such as temp of oven and should I keep it covered or uncovered? I can’t count on someone to monitor it as the kitchen crew is so busy. thank you! I think everyone will enjoy something new.

    1. Hi De Phillipe, the casserole will taste best right out of the oven. But if that’s not possible, it can be reheated, covered, at 350°F for 10 minutes or until hot.

  8. I have made this recipe many times…well, not this particular one, but similar for years! It is the best for company breakfasts since all is done the night before! Also great Sunday Breakfasts’ too! Thanks for sharing this…I am going to make this one for Christmas morning! Nah, the BMW wasn’t on my list this year!

  9. I’m making this today using a loaf of panettone. Will think of LC as I enjoy it for Xmas breakfast tomorrow. Ho-ho-ho!

  10. I made this for xmas morning. To help keep it simple I did the slow cooker recipe. Turned out great, was a big hit! Delicious, even those who don’t like French toast enjoyed it, we served it with bacon (for savory) and a fresh fruit salad. This might just be a new tradition.

  11. First let me say that this is FABULOUS! And so much easier than making even the simplest of French Toasts! I put this together the day before and it was pretty easy. I followed the recipe but used 2 extra eggs and slightly more of everything else. I guess because the pan I finally decided on was larger than stated in the directions, I thought I might need more filling. It’s an old probably aluminum, but very sturdy pan that my mom always made a big cake in, or chicken and chourico, she used it for everything!

    My pan’s inside measurement is 11×17 and 2 loaves of Brioche bread fit PERFECTLY (with the exception of the 4 ends, so 2 ends from each loaf of bread were not used, but I already have plans for them!)

    My daughter marveled at how perfectly the bread fit in! That’s why you must see the picture.

    It was not easy to find Brioche bread. There aren’t any good bakeries in my town, none in fact, and I had to go to 3 grocery stores until I finally found some, just made in the store, Roche Brothers Grocery store, at $5.99 a loaf.

    I wonder about adding any blueberries or strawberries to the filling, but it was delicious as is. It comes out Beautiful and because we had so much food and other dishes to try, we cut it in triangle servings, but some of us went back for seconds.

    At the end of the day, we had plenty left over because we only had 7 adults and 3 children. My daughter packed up take-home boxes for everyone! The next day, my sister called me and said she had eaten her leftovers, and it was SO GOOD! “You have to give me the recipe, for that AND The Chocolate Chip Cookies,” she begged.
    “Just go to Leite’s Culinaria,” I said, you’ll find everything I made there, chocolate cake too!

    I can see myself having a Summer Brunch in the backyard and serving this. It goes very well with a Mimosa or two! Thanks for posting another delicious, and simple recipe! Anyone can make this.

    Pan filled with 12 pieces of brioche French toast, maple syrup, tea pot

    1. You are so very welcome, Lorna! Love everything that you shared, thank you so much for taking the time to let us and other readers know! We’re so looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

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