Dear Sara:

I'm looking for a French toast casserole recipe. Do you know of one you prepare the night before and bake in the morning? -- S.B., Idaho


Paula Deen has an excellent French toast casserole recipe. Visit Or how about French toast made in a muffin tin? Visit

I have three more recipes for you to enjoy. Two are to be made ahead and chilled in the refrigerator, while the other can be made and immediately baked. Feel free to add nuts (such as pecans or macadamia) or sliced apples as a topping. You can replace the milk in the two latter recipes with leftover holiday egg nog or half-and-half, or add a bit of orange juice and decrease the amount of milk.

Creme Brulee French Toast
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 homestyle-loaf bread (or French bread), sliced into thick slices
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small, heavy saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring until smooth, and pour into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Cut 6 thick slices of bread (about an inch thick each). I use the crusts, too. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt until combined well, and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least eight hours and up to one day. Preheat oven to 350 F and bring bread mixture to room temperature. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cook's note: For best results, use a glass baking dish. -- Erika, Florida

French Toast Casserole
5 cups bread cubes
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon margarine, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with bread cubes. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour egg mixture over bread. Dot with margarine. Let stand for 10 minutes. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden.

Baked French Toast
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 loaf brioche, challah or French bread, sliced
1 cup whole milk
8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Maple syrup and powdered sugar for topping, optional

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish. In another bowl, combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and pour evenly over bread slices. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. When ready to bake, remove casserole from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake casserole for 30 to 35 minutes. At the halfway point, cover with foil and continue to bake for time remaining. Remove casserole from oven. Serve with powdered sugar and maple syrup if desired.

photo by JMilles