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French toast casserole is an ideal family breakfast

Staff, America's Test Kitchen on

If you’re making breakfast for a crowd or a bigger family, forgo traditional French toast for a breakfast casserole that’s just as delicious and easier to make for a group.

We layered potato bread (which held up better than regular sandwich bread) with a brown sugar–cinnamon mixture and butter, and then poured a creamy custard over the top. We finished by sprinkling the casserole with sliced almonds.

The result? A large dish filled with layers of tender, sweet French toast — ready all at once.

Make-Ahead French Toast Casserole

Serves 6 to 8

Note: We developed this recipe using Martin’s Potato Bread, which has 16 slices per loaf, so you’ll need to buy two loaves. With other brands, it may also be necessary to trim the slices to fit six in a single layer.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

18 slices potato sandwich bread

2 1/2 cups whole milk

 

6 large eggs

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Powdered sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with softened butter. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in bowl.

2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared dish. Place 6 bread slices (use bread heels here) in an even layer at the bottom of the dish. Brush bread with 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the sugar mixture.

3. Place 6 bread slices in a single layer over the first layer, brush with 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar mixture. Place remaining 6 bread slices over the previous layer and brush with 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs together until well combined. Pour milk mixture over bread and press lightly to submerge. Sprinkle with almonds and the remaining heaping 3 tablespoons of the sugar mixture.

5. Bake until the casserole is slightly puffed and golden brown and bubbling around the edges, about 30 minutes. Transfer casserole to a wire rack, brush with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, and let cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The assembled casserole, minus the almonds and remaining heaping 3 tablespoons sugar mixture, can be covered and refrigerated for up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, sprinkle with almonds and sugar mixture. Bake as directed in Step 5.

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