This quick Pumpkin French Toast Casserole requires just 9 ingredients and 15 minutes of preparation! This fluffy, rich breakfast bake just melts-in-your-mouth! Plus, it’s packed with real pumpkin flavor, bursting with cozy, warm spices and layered with crunchy pecans! This pumpkin casserole can be assembled in advance, making it perfect for every occasion from family breakfast and brunch to holiday entertaining!
Enjoy this pumpkin spice french toast dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with maple syrup, or jazz it up with a simple cream cheese icing! Serve it with a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or warm apple cider! No matter how you decide to slice and serve this pumpkin bake, it’s going to become your family’s favorite fall breakfast! Are you looking for more pumpkin recipes? Try these family favorites next: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Baked Pumpkin Stuffed Shells, Easy Pumpkin Pie Cake, Pumpkin Mousse and Pumpkin Cookie Dough Fudge!
Update: This post was originally published in October 2019. I made updates to include more information about this French toast bake. Plus, I added a recipe video to show you how easy this recipe is to make!
Hi, friends! I hope you love pumpkin, because I’m so excited to introduce you to my favorite fall breakfast (or brunch, lunch and dinner) dish!
Pumpkin French toast casserole: overview
Rich and packed with all the cozy fall feels, this pumpkin French toast bake is the perfect mix of sweet and savory!! If you love French toast, you are going to love this simplified casserole version! It has everything you love about classic French toast – golden, slightly caramelized edges and a creamy, pillowy-soft interior – however, it’s just made easy! No frying, flipping or fussing over a stove required! Plus, it’s bursting with warm pumpkin flavor!
Buttery and custard-like in taste, this pumpkin french toast has a fluffy, melt in your mouth texture. It’s jam packed with silky, subtly sweet pumpkin, crunchy pecans, rich brown sugar and warm pumpkin pie spice! Generously drizzled with a smooth cream cheese icing, this casserole gives new meaning to the phrase ‘sugar, spice and everything nice’! Essentially, this bake is outrageously delicious and dangerously addictive!!
Plus, this pumpkin breakfast casserole is insanely easy to throw together, can be prepared in advance, freezes beautifully and it doesn’t require hours of slaving away over a hot stove!
With only 15 minutes of hands on prep time required, this pumpkin french toast is elegant enough for holiday entertaining yet easy enough for Sunday brunch with the family! And, if you are looking for a Thanksgiving brunch idea, look no further – you need this pumpkin breakfast bake on your menu!!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- The best flavor and texture: This pumpkin french toast bake is rich and warming with the perfect mix of sweet and savory flavors! Plus the texture is flawless – soft and pillowy with golden-brown and delicious edges!
- Everything you love about French toast with half the hassle: This baked French toast has all the warming, inviting delicious texture and flavor you love about traditional french toast, with half the effort!
- Staple ingredients: You only need 9 ingredients to prepare this recipe and most of them are pantry staples!
- Super easy: You can easily throw together this recipe in just about 15 minutes!
- Make ahead: If you are having company or simply like to meal prep, you can easily make this casserole in advance!
- Great way to use up old bread: This French toast bake is a great way to use up any bread that is about to go stale!
- Perfect for any occasion: This warm, cozy breakfast is perfect for every occasion, from family brunch to elegant holiday entertaining!
- Family Friendly: Everyone, including picky eaters, loves this pumpkin French toast!
What is pumpkin French toast?
Pumpkin French toast is a flavorful twist on the classic breakfast dish! It features thick sliced bread soaked in a mixture of eggs, milk, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Traditional pumpkin French toast can either be pan-fried in butter on a griddle or in a skillet.
What’s a pumpkin French toast casserole?
Pumpkin French toast casserole is an easy, hands off version of French toast that is perfect for feeding a crowd!
French toast casserole still incorporates all the flavors of pumpkin French toast; however, it’s made with cubes of bread instead of slices, and it’s baked in a casserole dish instead of being fried.
What ingredients are in pumpkin French toast?
This french toast casserole is made with just 10 simple ingredients!
- Bread: Bread is the foundation of french toast. I highly recommend using stale, day old bread for this recipe. (Scroll down for more information on what kind of bread to use.)
- Pecans: Roughly chopped or halved pecans provide a crunchy texture and buttery flavor which adds the perfect contrast to the fluffy french toast!
- Eggs: Six whole large eggs add richness to the french toast custard.
- Milk: Along with eggs, whole milk also provides rich and creamy flavor.
- Cream: For the best flavor I recommend heavy cream; however, you can use half-and-half if desired.
- Pumpkin Puree: Make sure you use plain pumpkin puree for this recipe, and not pumpkin pie filling! Canned pumpkin puree is 100% cooked and pureed pumpkin. On the other hand, canned pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and flavored with various spices which will alter the recipe.
- Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar adds the perfect touch of rich sweetness. You can substitute dark brown sugar if desired. Or, you can use a combination of granulated sugar and light brown sugar.
- Vanilla Extract and Salt: Both pure vanilla extract and kosher salt enhance all the flavors.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Pumpkin spice blend is what gives this french toast that iconic, intensely aromatic touch of warm pumpkin flavor.
This recipe is flexible and totally customizable! Feel free to omit, substitute or add ingredients based upon your personal preferences or simply what you have on hand in the kitchen!
- No pumpkin alternative: If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin, you can substitute the pumpkin puree with an equal amount of mashed bananas!
- Pumpkin Pie Seasoning: If you don’t have pumpkin pie seasoning, you can use a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice instead!
- Nuts: If you aren’t a fan of pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts are delicious substitutions!
- Dairy free option: To make this french toast casserole dairy free, substitute the milk with your favorite dairy free substitution, such as almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk. And, replace the cream with full-fat coconut milk. Also, make sure your bread doesn’t contain any diary.
- Gluten free option: This recipe can be made gluten free by using gluten free French bread.
Please feel free to get creative with this recipe and add whatever ingredients you love! Below are a few delicious ideas to help get your creative culinary juices flowing!
- Cranberries: Add a festive touch to your french toast by adding in some cranberries! Use 1 cup of fresh cranberries and layer them with the nuts before adding the egg custard! (If using cranberries, I recommend substituting the pecans for walnuts!)
- Raisins: While it may sound like an odd addition, pumpkin and raisins are a delicious match! Try using cinnamon raisin bread to make this breakfast casserole! Or you can layer 1 cup of raisins with the nuts before adding the egg custard!
- Orange: Pumpkin and oranges pair together beautifully! Try adding a bit of orange zest or orange liqueur to the egg custard for a subtle touch of bright, citrusy flavor!
What is the best bread for pumpkin French toast?
Great French toast starts with the bread! The best bread to use is stale bread – bread that’s at least one to two days old. Stale bread is drier and will hold up better while absorbing the maximum amount of flavor when dipped into the egg custard. If you use fresh bread, it will simply fall apart and disintegrate.
You can use almost any type of stale, leftover bread for French toast. I prefer a rich, buttery bread, such as brioche; however, any thick-sliced or crusty bread can be used for French toast.
Types of bread for French toast
- Brioche: This is my personal favorite type of bread for sweeter French toasts. It’s made with eggs and butter so it has a very rich flavor.
- Challah: Braided challah bread is enriched with egg and oil – and no dairy. It’s eggy and slightly sweet in flavor. It’s also a delicious option for french toast!
- French Bread: Chewy French bread is a great option if you plan on making this French toast casserole in advance. Since it is a crusty loaf of bread, it requires a longer soak in the custard.
- Non-traditional breads: Leftover croissants or cinnamon raisin bread are delicious options if you want to shake things up a bit!
How to make french toast without stale bread?
While the best French toast is made with bread that’s one to three days old, you can still make delicious French toast with fresh bread! All you need to do is lightly toast the bread!
Drying out bread for French toast
- Preheat your oven to 250°F.
- Cut or tear fresh bread into large cubes. Transfer the cubed bread onto a large sheet pan.
- Toast the bread in the oven for 5-8 minutes, or until the bread is dried out and lightly toasted.
- Remove the bread cubes from the oven and allow to cool completely. Proceed with the recipe.
How to make pumpkin French toast casserole?
Pumpkin French toast is incredibly easy to make and only requires 15 minutes to prepare!
- Spray a 9×13’’ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Prepare the casserole: Place half of the cubed bread into the baking dish. Sprinkle ¾ cup of pecans evenly over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and pecans. Set aside.
- Prepare the egg custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin, sugar, milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- Preheat oven: Position oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove casserole from the refrigerator and let sit on the counter to remove the chill while the oven preheats.
- Bake: Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle the top evenly with ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the casserole is set and no longer jiggly in the center.
- Serve: Let the casserole cool in baking dish for 5-10 minutes before drizzling with icing or sprinkling with powdered sugar. Slice and serve with maple syrup. Enjoy!
Expert tips for the best pumpkin French toast
- Bread: For best results, use bread that is 1-3 days old. Fresh bread will disintegrate when soaked in the egg custard. If you only have fresh bread, you can toast the cubes of bread. (Scroll above to read all about the best bread for french toast.)
- Bread Variations: If you want to add even more flavor, try using cinnamon raisin bread instead of brioche bread!
- Pumpkin: Pumpkin puree is not the same thing as pumpkin pie filling! Make sure you use pure pumpkin puree to make pumpkin French toast.
- Chilling: This casserole tastes best if allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator. However, you will still get delicious results as long as you let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. While you can bake the casserole right away, the French toast will not have its signature custard texture.
How to make pumpkin French toast casserole step by step photos
(Scroll down for the detailed measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.)
Troubleshooting and tips for the best baked pumpkin French toast
Before you bust out your mixing bowl and crank up your oven, please read the easy tips and tricks below to ensure your casserole turns out perfect every single time!
Why is my French toast casserole soggy?
Pumpkin French toast casserole should not be soggy! The casserole should be golden brown and crisp on top with a soft center throughout the middle and bottom.
Expert tips to avoid a soggy pumpkin breakfast casserole
- Use thick slices of bread. Cut your bread into ¾ to 1’’ thick slices. Using thin sliced bread will be too flimsy to dip into the egg and milk mixture.
- Use stale bread. Make sure your bread is at least a day old! Stale bread won’t fall apart when dipped into the egg and milk mixture. If you don’t have stale bread, you can lightly toast the bread prior to dipping.
- Use the proper type of bread. Make sure you use a dense bread, such as Brioche, Challah or French bread. Breads with a denser consistency will do a much better job holding together when dipped into the egg custard.
- Don’t use too much milk. Adding too much dairy to the French toast custard will prevent the egg in the mixture from properly cooking, which will cause soggy baked French toast!
- Mix the custard well. Whisk the egg and milk mixture until it is fully combined! You want the eggs to be fully incorporated into the dairy and seasonings.
- Soak the bread. Make sure you gently press the bread cubes into the custard. You want all of the bread to be evenly soaked.
What to serve with pumpkin French toast?
This French toast recipe is hearty enough to enjoy as a stand alone meal. However, you can also serve this casserole as part of a breakfast or brunch spread! See below for some of my family’s favorite dishes to eat with French toast casserole!
- Fruit: Lighten up your meal by serving French toast with a side of your favorite fresh fruit. We love the this casserole with apples and oranges!
- Cottage Cheese: A small bowl of creamy cottage cheese is a great way to balance out your muffin breakfast! Try adding a dollop of your favorite jam for a touch of fruity flavor!
- Yogurt: Not a fan of cottage cheese? Serve your favorite flavor of yogurt on the side! We love pairing vanilla yogurt with this casserole!
- Granola: Crunchy granola is a wonderful addition to any breakfast spread!
- Vegetables: If you are serving this casserole as a late lunch or breakfast-for-dinner, I recommend offering a side of roasted vegetables! Maple roasted carrots or simple sautéed mushrooms are excellent additions!
- Potatoes: I’m all for carb-loading during the holidays – crispy potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes are the perfect match for this pumpkin breakfast casserole!
- Eggs: Add some protein to your breakfast by making your favorite style of eggs!
- Breakfast Meats: If you have a meat-eater in your family, make sure you offer up a side of of ham, sausage, Canadian bacon or crispy bacon!
Tips for storing pumpkin casserole
Food safety is of the utmost importance, especially when it comes to storing your breakfast bake! Please follow the simple tips below to ensure you are properly storing this recipe!
Can this be made ahead of time?
Absolutely! One of the best things about this pumpkin French toast casserole is that you can make it in advance! It’s perfect for entertaining or holiday morning breakfasts, because you can prepare it in advance and bake it fresh in the morning!
To make this breakfast casserole in advance, simply assemble and prepare it as directed in the recipe – but do not bake it. Cover the unbaked casserole with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake the casserole, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to remove the chill. Then, bake the casserole as directed and enjoy!
Can you freeze pumpkin French Toast?
Pumpkin French toast casserole freezes beautifully! It can be frozen both before and after baking!
To freeze before baking, follow the instructions listed in the recipe. Make sure to assemble the casserole in a freezer and oven safe baking dish. Once assembled, take care to wrap the dish in plastic wrap a couple times and then cover the dish in foil. Assembled, unbaked pumpkin French toast casserole can be frozen for up to two months.
To cook frozen French toast casserole, allow the casserole to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bake according to the instructions in the recipe.
To freeze leftovers, allow the French toast to cool completely. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to three months.
How to reheat it?
- To reheat baked French toast casserole in the oven: Cover the top of the casserole dish with foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Uncover the casserole and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until warmed throughout.
- To reheat baked French toast casserole in the microwave: Microwave individual servings of casserole until warmed throughout. The exact time will depend on the size of your French toast casserole serving and the strength of your microwave.
- To reheat frozen baked French toast casserole: Allow the casserole to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Follow instructions for reheating in the oven.
Until next week, friends, cheers – to pumpkin flavored everything!
Looking for more breakfast recipes?
If you love this french toast, try one of these delicious recipes next:
- Banana Breakfast Cookies
- Sausage Breakfast Polenta Bowls
- Strawberry Ricotta Breakfast Strata
- Sausage and Egg Casserole
The best Pumpkin French Toast Casserole recipe 👇
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- 9x13'' Baking Dish
- Large Mixing Bowl
- 1 (14 ounce) Loaf Brioche Bread – cubed (SEE NOTES)
- 2 Cups Pecans – halves or chopped (about 7.5 ounces)
- 6 Large Eggs
- 2 Cups Whole Milk
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree (SEE NOTES)
- 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar - packed
- ½ Cup Half-and-Half - or heavy cream (SEE NOTES)
- 1 ½ TBS Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ TBS Pumpkin Pie Spice + ½ teaspoon for topping
- ¾ tsp Kosher Salt
- Optional for Serving: Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below - see notes), Powdered Sugar or Cinnamon Sugar, Maple Syrup
- Spray a 9x13’’ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Prepare the casserole: Place half of the cubed bread into the baking dish. Sprinkle half of the pecans evenly over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and pecans. Set aside.
- Prepare the egg custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin, sugar, half-and-half, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap. Use your hands to gently press the bread into the custard. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, or set aside while you preheat the oven. (SEE NOTES)
- Preheat oven: Position oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Remove casserole from the refrigerator and let sit on the counter to remove the chill while the oven preheats.
- Bake: Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle the top evenly with ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the casserole is set and no longer jiggly in the center. (If the top of the casserole starts to brown too quickly near the end of baking, lightly tent the casserole with aluminum foil and continue baking.)
- Serve: Let the casserole cool in baking dish for 5-10 minutes before drizzling with icing or sprinkling with powdered sugar. Slice and serve with maple syrup. Enjoy!
- Bread: The best bread for French toast is generally a rich, buttery, egg-based bread such as brioche or challah. However, any thick-sliced white bread, such as French Bread, can be used. Instead of brioche, try using cinnamon raisin bread for a delicious twist!
- Stale vs Fresh Bread: For best results, use bread that is 1-3 days old. Fresh bread will disintegrate when soaked in the egg custard. If you only have fresh bread, toast the cubes of bread. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Spread the bread out evenly on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-6 minutes or until very light toasted.
- Pumpkin puree is not the same thing as pumpkin pie filling! Make sure you use pure pumpkin puree for this French toast recipe.
- Milk: While I prefer a mixture of whole milk and half-and-half to make the egg custard, you can use any non-dairy milk such as almond milk and/or heavy cream.
- Chilling the casserole: This casserole tastes best if allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator. However, you will still get delicious results as long as you let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. While you can bake the casserole right away, the French toast will not have its signature custard texture.
- To make this gluten free: Replace brioche bread with gluten-free bread.
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