If we were asked to choose between pancakes and French toast, French toast would win. Every time. The problem? We’re not too excited with the concept of standing in front of a hot stove making it. That’s why we’re in love with Baked French Toast.
Still simple and humble, this recipe takes our beloved French Toast up a couple notches. We line bread slices up in a baking dish, soak them in vanilla-scented custard and bake until puffed and golden brown. Baked French Toast Heaven.
We love breakfast so much, don’t you?
Use Cinnamon Raisin Bread for Baked French Toast
We are all about easy around here. So, we switched out regular bread for sweet cinnamon raisin bread.
Less work, more flavor. Not bad, right?
First step, generously spread each bread slice with butter and sprinkle with a little sugar. Then, we bake the buttered slices in the oven. The butter and sugar melt into the bread and adds a teeny tiny bit of crunch to the bread.
Next, layer the baked bread slices in a baking dish, but reserve two slices. Grab a knife and cut the two slices in half, crosswise.
Then, sneak the bread halves into each end of the baking dish. Seems strange, we know. Trust us here.
Without the extra halves, the thickness of the baked French toast won’t be the same at the ends compared to the middle. We don’t want anyone to lose out now, do we?
For the custard, we whisk milk, eggs and a whole tablespoon of vanilla extract together, and then pour over the bread slices.
Let everything sit for about 20 minutes on the counter before baking so everything is absorbed in to the bread. Then, bake for 35 minutes or so.
Make Ahead: Baked French Toast
This Baked Cinnamon Raisin French Toast can be made in advance. Follow our recipe below until it is time to bake. (So, go as far as pouring the milk custard over arranged bread slices in the baking dish). Then, instead of baking, tightly cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate up to eight hours or overnight.
**By the way, if you got all giddy about this baked French toast then may we suggest that you take a peek at one of our Baked Oatmeals? We mix oats, fruit, eggs and milk then bake in the oven until warm and puffed – they’re pretty darn delish! So, go ahead and give our Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries, Banana and Chocolate or Blackberry Baked Oatmeal a looksy**
This would be lovely if you used a dense white or wheat sandwich bread, instead, though we used cinnamon raisin bread. Then, to get back some of that crunch from pan-frying individual French toast, we took a tip from Deb (Smitten Kitchen) and buttered then sprinkled the bread with sugar and toasted it before layering the slices in our baking dish.
Make Ahead: Baked Cinnamon Raisin French Toast can be made in advance. Follow our method below until it is time to bake. (So, go as far as pouring the milk custard over arranged bread slices in the baking dish). Then, instead of baking, tightly cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate up to eight hours or overnight.
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 16 slices (from a 1-pound 4-ounce or 567 gram loaf) cinnamon raisin bread
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups (710 ml) 2% (reduced fat) milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
- powdered sugar or maple syrup for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Using one tablespoon of the butter, grease (or spray with cooking spray) a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place bread slices on the baking sheets in one layer.
- Spread each bread slice with remaining 5 tablespoons of butter, and then sprinkle tops of bread evenly with the sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bread is golden brown and the sugar has caramelized enough to create a crunch on top of the bread. Remove bread from oven, and then cool 5 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Remove two bread slices from baking sheets and slice in half, crosswise, so that you have two top-halves (with the curved crust) and two bottom-halves. Now, beginning with one of the bottom halves, layer seven more slices of bread in a row down the length of the baking dish, and then finish with one of the top halves. Replicate this in the second row.
- (Halving the bread and arranging them at the ends of the rows makes sure every serving is the same thickness).
- Whisk the milk, eggs, salt and vanilla extract in a large bowl then pour over bread slices. Using your hands or a wide spatula, gently press the bread down towards the work bench, which helps the bread absorb the custard. Then, let French toast sit for 20 minutes so that the milk mixture has a chance to be absorbed by the bread even more. (If making ahead of time, tightly cover dish and let sit in the refrigerator up to 8 hours or overnight).
- Bake French toast, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown, puffed and no liquid oozes out from under bread slices when pushed.
- To serve, cut into eight squares and serve warm plain, with powdered sugar sprinkled on top or with a drizzle of maple syrup.