We’re suckers for classic French Toast but let’s be honest, we don’t want to stand over the stove flipping individual slices and watch them get cold while cooking the rest of the batch. If you’ve also endured this struggle, then Overnight French Toast is for you!
Simply prep it the night before and bake it the next morning for a breakfast or brunch that’s full of the flavor you love with minimal effort.
Overnight French Toast is similar to regular French Toast but with a huge difference. Rather than dipping each slice in egg then frying them on the stove, you layer the bread in a casserole dish, pour the egg mixture over the top, then refrigerate overnight.
By the morning, the bread has absorbed all that delicious liquid, which turns into a delectable custard as it bakes. We’ve even taken the flavor up a notch with orange zest and tart, juicy cranberries to keep us in our fall feels.
When you’re ready to bake, cover with foil and pop in the oven. Then relax and enjoy the tantalizing scents of warm cinnamon, nutmeg, and buttery maple syrup.
Talk about an effortless, make-ahead brunch that’s perfect for your family or even a crowd.
Why We Love These Ingredients
Cranberries are packed with antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. Research shows that anthocyanins protect your cells from damage, lower blood pressure, support your vision and ease inflammation. Cranberries are also a well-known remedy for supporting urinary and bladder health.
Pecans contain a triple-nutrient punch of protein, Omega 3 fats and fiber that can help keep you energized and satisfied. Pecans also have a low glycemic index, which means they won’t wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels. Eating pecans can even offset the effects of high-glycemic foods when eaten with a rich meal.
Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It’s been used for centuries as a remedy for nausea, indigestion, and even morning sickness. Modern research shows that ginger is not only an effective digestive aid. It also can reduce joint aches, balance your blood sugar, and improve brain function.
Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s become a popular remedy for supporting healthy blood sugar levels, thanks to its ability to mimic the effects of insulin and increase glucose transport into the cells.
Finally, cinnamon also acts as a prebiotic ‘food’ for the good bacteria in your gut.
Some Pro Tips to Get You Started
So what’s the best bread to use? Brioche and challah are buttery, eggy breads which pair best with the French toast custard. You can even use a fruit panettone. Sourdough and French bread are just a bit too dry.
Be sure to spray the 10 x 13 pan with butter-flavored cooking spray. Or, line the pan with a silicone liner or parchment paper then add the spray. This will help make clean up so much easier.
When you serve it, be sure to scoop up the buttery maple syrup sauce on the bottom; it gives this a rich finish. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and serve with a spiced vanilla yogurt. The tanginess will cut through the richness of the French toast plus it has some gut health benefits.
French Toast will keep wrapped in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave.
Overnight French Toast with Ginger, Cranberries and Pecans
Active Time: 15 mins
Chill Time: 12 hrs
Total Time: 12 hrs 55 mins
- Butter-flavored cooking spray
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) salted butter
- 3 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 1 (16-ounce) challah bread loaf, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 8 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups half-and-half
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup craisins or unthawed frozen cranberries (from 1 [5-ounce] package)
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Powdered sugar
- Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Bring brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Carefully pour mixture into prepared dish; arrange bread slices over mixture, overlapping slices.
- Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, orange zest, and cinnamon in a large bowl until combined. Pour over and between bread slices. Sprinkle cranberries evenly on top. Cover with aluminum foil, and chill for 12 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375°F when you’re ready to bake. Remove foil from baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with nuts. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove baking dish from oven. Remove foil; return baking dish to oven and bake at 375°F until golden brown and set, another 20 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over top. Serve with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and drizzle with additional maple syrup or honey, if desired.