Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole with Vanilla Maple Butter
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Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole — A marinade of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cinnamon, sugar, and spices coats chunky cubes of bread overnight. The resulting French toast is moist and tender, and bursting with fall flavors!
If a Crockpot is the equivalent of a set-it-and-forget-it dinner solution, this is the parallel equivalent for breakfast.
I’m an advocate of as little as humanly possible to do in the morning and this recipe for french toast pumpkin casserole is one that even I can pull off when I’m bleary-eyed because the work is done the night before.
And ‘work’ is a very loose term because there’s hardly any involved.
Coffee is my usual breakfast of champions and the last thing on my mind on a busy weekday morning when I’m making sure shoelaces are double-knotted and hair is un-knotted is making French toast or pancakes. Cereal, without spilling the milk, is all we can muster here and still get out of the house on time.
If you’re one of those people who makes French toast on weekday mornings, please come to my house because I need your help.
This pumpkin french toast bake was a game changer, though!
This French toast is everything I could want in French toast. The batter took about 90 seconds to whisk together and there was no active work at the stovetop flipping French toast over and risking grease burns on my wrists.
What I loved most about this French toast was how moist it was after it had all night to soak up and bathe in the marinade.
Between the maple syrup in the marinade that’s baked into the bread and then the vanilla maple butter that engulfs it after baking, I was in sticky, sweet, maple syrupy heaven.
The warming spices of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and cloves complemented the pumpkin and maple and each bite had a distinctive cinnamon-sugar quality, which I loved.
The chunky pieces of bread that I could pull apart, one by one, made me reach for one more piece, and one more piece. It’s the French toast equivalent of monkey bread. Keep the napkins handy and embrace the sticky chunks.
Between the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon-sugar, and the sweet perfume of baking pumpkin, my house smelled so fabulous that the family set up camp in the kitchen waiting for this to emerge hot from the oven.
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole Ingredients
To make the overnight pumpkin french toast bake, you’ll need the following:
- French bread
- Unsalted butter
- Pumpkin puree
- Granulated sugar
- Maple syrup
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Spices (cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin spice)
How to Make Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
This fall French toast recipe couldn’t be simpler to prepare! Here’s an overview of how the recipe comes together:
The afternoon or evening before you plan to serve the french toast pumpkin casserole:
- Make a marinade of melted butter, pumpkin puree, two eggs, cream, sugars, maple syrup, vanilla, and spices.
- To the marinade, add the cubed bread pieces.
- Toss the bread chunks until they’re all coated (it will seem that the bread is literally drowning in marinade and that there will be no possible way all the liquid will ever be absorbed. Well, bread gets very thirsty overnight and does a marvelous job of drinking up while it waits for you in the covered bowl in your refrigerator until morning when it’s time to bake it.)
In the morning:
- Transfer the drenched bread chunks into a lined 9-by-9-inch pan. I always line my pans with foil to save on cleanup.
- When the bread pieces are in the pan, lightly smoosh them down with a spatula, making sure there aren’t any pieces with corners that are jutting up significantly higher than the other pieces, as those edges and corners will have a tendency to burn so try to keep everything about the same height.
- Bake it for about a half hour but don’t overbake it. When it’s done, the surface of the bread will still appear moist and a bit on the juicy side with some glistening surfaces and not all dried out.
While the French toast is baking, make the vanilla maple butter:
- Whisk the melted butter together with maple syrup and vanilla extract.
- Prior to pouring it over your golden pumpkin-kissed bread chunks, reheat the mixture gently in the microwave for a few seconds if necessary if you like your syrup warmed like I do.
What’s the Best Bread for Overnight French Toast Casserole?
Now’s the time to use the ends of your bread-baking fails! You know, those hard, dense, hockey puck-like loaves of bread that you’ve been making in your bread-baking experiments that for some reason didn’t quite rise as nicely as planned or were as dense as 200-year-old tree trunks. Feel free to use those.
Or, simply buy a one-pound loaf of French bread, a crusty baguette, or a hearty bread from your grocer’s deli and slice about 12 ounces of it, about three-quarters of the loaf, into chunky cubes about two-inches in size.
Don’t slice the cubes too small because they need to be large enough and have enough surface area that the marinade doesn’t transform them into a mushy mess overnight.
Can I Use Regular Sandwich Bread in This Recipe?
No! Do not try this pumpkin monkey bread french toast with the equivalent of white Wonder bread, or even regular sandwich bread that comes in plastic.
Tips for Making Overnight Pumpkin Baked French Toast
Spices: I went heavy-handed on the cinnamon so that it wouldn’t get lost in a sea of other competing flavors, but scale it or the pumpkin pie spice back a bit if you’re not as much of a cinnamon fiend as I am.
Bread: The bread needs to be a hearty, dense, substantially-textured loaf. Stale bread is perfectly acceptable and almost preferred because that renders the bread capable of absorbing all the glorious drippy, saucy, sweet pumpkin and cinnamon-spiced marinade without disintegrating.
To keep vegan: use vegan butter in place of all butter and use two flax eggs in place of the eggs.
To keep gluten-free: use a hearty gluten-free bread. Take care all ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs.
- about 8 cups bread, diced in 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces, or about 12 ounces (French bread, a French Baugette, or a crusty and hearty bakery-style bread is necessary; something that can stand up to overnight soaking without disintegrating)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup milk or cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Vanilla Maple Butter (double the batch if you love syrup)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the French toast:
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. I prefer to brown the butter by heating for about 3 minutes on high power until the crackling and popping has subsided, the butter browned and nutty-smelling; being careful not to burn it browning butter tips here. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don't scramble the eggs.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the butter, except for the bread, and whisk until smooth and combined.
- Add the bread cubes and toss gently to coak.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place bowl in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 2 hours so the bread has time to absorb the marinade.
- Before baking, preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-by-9-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Transfer bread into baking pan, leaving it fairly loosely piled in the baking pan. Watch any bread corners that are jetting up much higher than the rest of the pieces as they will have a tendency to burn more easily so I push any of them down with a spatula so all pieces are roughly the same height. Scrape out any marinade in the bottom of the bowl and pour that over the bread.
- Bake for about 30 to 38 minutes, or until golden and browned, the marinade has dried out some, taking care not to overbake as you want this moist and coating does not have to be bone dry on all piece.
- Serve immediately with a pat of butter, warm maple syrup, a dusting of confectioners' sugar, or vanilla maple butter.
For the Vanilla Maple Butter
- In a medium microwave-safe bow, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power; or brown it by heating for about 3 minutes.
- To the melted butter, add the maple syrup, and whisk vigorously until combined.
- Heat for about 30 seconds to warm the mixture and add the vanilla and whisk to combine.
- Pour over French Toast.
To keep vegan, use vegan butter in place of all butter and use two flax eggs in place of the eggs. To keep gluten-free, use a hearty gluten-free bread. Take care all ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs.
Storage: Store extra French Toast in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, reheat gently in the microwave prior to serving. Extra syrup may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 34gProtein: 6g
More French Toast Recipes:
Cinnamon French Toast Bake — Cinnamon sugar french toast is baked rather than being griddled, which frees you up from having to stand at the stove flipping it. It takes minutes to assemble, and there’s an overnight option!
Baked Bagel French Toast with Maple Glaze — Soft, chewy bagels make the best French toast! So easy, no flipping required, and tastes phenomenally good!!
Caramel Overnight French Toast Casserole — EASY, soft, tender, and decadent French toast that’s coated in caramel sauce!! Assemble it the night before and wake up to an amazing breakfast or brunch that everyone will ADORE!
Overnight Syrup-On-The-Bottom French Toast – Assemble it the night before and wake up to AMAZING French toast the next morning!! An EASY homemade syrup layer on the bottom with super SOFT challah bread on top!
Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole — An EASY recipe with a make-ahead overnight option so it’s perfect for weekend or holiday brunches!!
Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake – Easy, make-ahead French toast that’s perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe!
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