Super easy, super delicious holiday breakfast coming at you! Gingerbread French Toast Casserole takes just a few minutes of prep, bakes easy in one baking dish and taste like classic french toast laced with flavors of molasses, holiday spices, crunchy crumble topping, and sweet icing glaze.
If you need an easy breakfast to feed a crowd for the holidays, this is perfect! French toast casserole can be made in advance and easily reheated so you can enjoy the morning.
Technically we file this recipe under breakfast or brunch, but if I'm in the mood for a sweet treat this does the trick too! My kids gobbled it up, so its a crowd pleaser for the whole family.
French toast casseroles have been a bit of an obsession over here. This raspberry cheesecake french toast casserole tastes just like a raspberry danish and is the #1 request of friends and family, followed by my blueberry lemon version.
Things are going to get tricky after they try this gingerbread french toast - they won't be able to decide which one they like the best!
Ingredients & Substitutions
All your standard french toast ingredients combined with a little molasses and gingerbread spices!
Bread - I love to use a nice big challah loaf for this. It's the perfect amount of bread to wet ingredients and the texture is just really great.
Brioche bread is also delicious but you'll need 2 loaves and it tends to soak in the liquid really fast. Sourdough or french bread are really great options as well. You can also use leftover dinner rolls if those didn't get used during your holiday dinner!
Wet ingredients - you'll need plenty of eggs, whole milk, and cream. You could substitute the whole milk for something lighter like 2% or 1% if that's what you have on hand. The combination of the whole milk and heavy cream makes that custard-like richness when baked with the eggs, so its worth it in my opinion.
Heavy whipping cream or regular heavy cream works great.
Sugar - the combination of brown and granulated sugar add caramelized flavors to this french toast casserole recipe.
If you only have one or the other, you can definitely still make this recipe, it will just change the flavor a little. Brown sugar has more of that caramelized flavor and will deepen the overall color of the final product.
Gingerbread ingredients - we're adding molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg to bring all those classic flavors! For molasses, I highly recommend the 'Grandma's unsulphered molasses' brand.
For the ginger lovers, you can try adding chopped crystalized ginger to the dish as well. Or if you have some leftover gingerbread cookies or gingerbread bark to use up, crush them and include in the crumble topping!
How to make Gingerbread French Toast Casserole
The thing I love most about this recipe is how delicious it is, the thing I love second about this recipe is how easy it is to make!
Preheat the oven and spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray or grease with butter. Cut the challah bread into bite-sized pieces using a bread knife or by hand tearing.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, granulated sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
Add the pieces of bread to the french toast batter mixture in the large bowl and gently toss until all the pieces of bread are coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle the crumble topping over the french toast casserole and bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes. The center will be just a touch jiggly and the edges should be golden brown. Drizzle with the icing glaze before serving.
See?! Just mix it all together, bake it, and give it a drizzle of super easy icing (it's just confectioner's sugar and heavy cream!)
Hint: If making this ahead of time, under bake the casserole by about 10 minutes and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes when you're ready to serve it!
Hint: The ingredients can also be prepped ahead of time, assembled in the baking dish and then held in the refrigerator overnight until you're ready to bake it the next day.
What to serve with a french toast bake
French toast bake vs french toast casserole, the terms are interchangeable but they're the same delicious thing!
I love a sweet breakfast, but I also need something savory too! Especially since it's the holidays.
If you're on the hunt for a savory addition, call me crazy, but I love roasted veggies alongside some scrambled eggs and a sweet breakfast offering.
Another option, similar to that, is this lamb and sweet potato hash - so good and a sweet and savory combo as well!
Scrambled eggs - or 'cheesy eggs' in our house - are a must. Just regular scrambled eggs mixed with shredded cheddar cheese and cooked on medium heat on the stove top until done!
This happens when the bread to egg and milk ratio is off and there is too much of the wet ingredients. This recipe will come out perfectly balanced if you’re using a full-size challah loaf as written in the ingredient list.
If substituting another bread, you can avoid a soggy casserole by adding the wet ingredients a little at a time until the bread pieces are well soaked and coated but not completely falling apart or ‘swimming’.
Yes! Slice the bread in ¾-inch slices, line in a 9x13 baking dish and pour the milk/egg mixture over the slices, then following the remaining directions.
Absolutely! You can make this recipe all the way through and then reheat it the day of OR follow all the instructions through transferring it to the baking dish then cover it and bake it the next day.
If baking this recipe in advance and need to reheat the whole baking dish, I would highly recommend cooking it on the shorter side initally - about 35-40 minutes - and reheating at 350 for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Reheating a single serving slice in the microwave works perfectly fine and is what we do most often. If you want that fresh-out-of-the-oven texture, try adding a little maple syrup drizzle before reheating or covering the piece with a damp paper towel before microwaving.
Crumble Topping & Icing Glaze
You could absolutely make this without the crumble topping, but you'd be leaving out my favorite part!
If you have a food processor, just pulse all the ingredients together for about 1 minute. If you don't have a food processor, combine the flour and sugar in a bowl and use a pastry cutter - or your fingertips - to blend the butter into pea-size pieces in the dry ingredients.
The icing glaze is super simple and a nod to the classic frosted gingerbread cookies. Just a little heavy cream whisked together with confections sugar. The glaze should be thick but drip off a spoon.
Other Gingerbread Ideas...
If you're crazy about gingerbread (like yours truly) here are some of my absolute favorite recipes to make during the holiday season.
This easy gingerbread house is a win for baking with small kids. The fun specialty gingerbread house bundt pan (affiliate link) means no structure assembling required and the kids can decorate with colored buttercream frosting or just a simple sprinkle of confectioners sugar.
Gingerbread espresso martinis are ridiculously delicious. Somewhat similar to my gingerbread martini but with the classic espresso pick-me-up of an espresso martini (with actual espresso!)
Last, but not least, if you're a breakfast aficionado bake up these gingerbread scones with cream cheese icing or some healthy, whole-food ingredient gingerbread muffins!
If you loved this recipe, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below and let me know your favorite part! Don't forget to tag @hungerthirstplay on social media so I can see your delicious creations!
Gingerbread French Toast Casserole
- 9x13 baking dish
- 1 loaf challah, sourdough, or brioche
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray or grease with butter. Cut the challah bread into bite-sized pieces using a bread knife or by hand tearing.1 loaf challah, sourdough, or brioche
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, granulated sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.6 large eggs, 2 cups whole milk, ½ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons molasses, 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Add the pieces of bread to the french toast batter mixture in the large bowl and gently toss until all the pieces of bread are coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- Prepare the crumble topping. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and butter together. Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter or your fingers to break the butter into pea size pieces and mix with the flour and sugar. Sprinkle over the top of the prepared casserole.¼ cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup all purpose flour
- Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes. The center will be just a touch jiggly and the edges should be golden brown. Serve warm.
- While the french toast casserole bakes, prepare the glaze. Mix together confectioners sugar and heavy cream. Using a spoon, drizzle over the french toast casserole.½ cup confectioners sugar, 2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- The bread. Challah loaf yields the best results for me, every time. It's the perfect amount of bread and the right softness - it's tender but doesn't fall apart. If using brioche you may need two loaves depending on the size. Sourdough or french bread is a great option, especially if you want to prep everything the night before and bake in the morning.
- Skipping the crumble topping: cover the baking dish with foil for about 25 minutes then remove it and finish baking. The crumble topping will 'protect' the bread from overcooking, but without it the top may brown a little faster.
- Reheating: To bake in advance and reheat the whole baking dish I would highly recommend cooking it on the shorter side - about 40 minutes - and reheating at 350 for about 10 to 15 minutes. If reheating a single serving slice in the microwave works perfectly fine (and what we do most often.) For that fresh out of the oven texture, try adding a little maple syrup drizzle before reheating or covering the piece with a damp paper towel before microwaving.
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