French toast is one of those comforting morning recipes that allows you to eat dessert for breakfast. What’s not to love about thick-cut bread soaked in vanilla custard? It’s the perfect way to transform a loaf of bread into something magical.
EASY OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST
Save time and stress by preparing French toast casserole in the slow cooker the day before you need it. Instead of individually dipping and pan-frying each custardy slice of bread, add everything to the slow cooker, soak it overnight, then let the slow cooker work its magic in the morning!
An overnight soak gives the custard plenty of time to soak into the buttery cubes of toasted brioche. The casserole then gently cooks in the slow cooker to produce tender, pudding-like results, loaded with the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg, with a touch of sweetness from vanilla.
Grab a bottle of maple syrup! You’ll want to dig in as soon as this casserole is ready!
WHY MAKE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE IN THE SLOW COOKER?
I didn’t realize how versatile a slow cooker could be until it transformed bread, egg, and cream into the most luxurious breakfast treat!
Using a slow cooker saves me time and builds a better French toast casserole. I love not having to fire up the oven, plus I can take this dish anywhere! I prepare the toasted brioche and the custard the night before, then let the slow cooker take over in the morning. This gives me a chance to enjoy my first cup of hot tea and watch cartoons with my kids.
Also, when you bake a custard, typically you want a warm and moist environment so the texture stays velvety, instead of rubbery, which can happen when custard is overcooked.
The slow cooker mimics just the right steamy environment. The eggs in the casserole cook gently over a longer period of time, allowing the creamy, spice-infused custard to bring everything together.
WHAT’S THE BEST BREAD FOR FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE?
French brioche is my top choice for French toast. It’s a tender and rich bread made with flour, butter, eggs, and a touch of sugar.
It has a nice chew, with golden buttery crust, but yields a silky texture when it absorbs the custard. I found pre-sliced loaves at Trader Joe’s, which I then cut into cubes.
Brioche rolls, loaves, and burger buns work great as well. Challah, French bread, or even sourdough would be tasty substitutes.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE?
French toast casserole is easy to make. Here’s how!
- Toast the bread to remove the moisture, while helps it soak up more custard.
- Make the custard, add the bread cubes, and soak overnight in the fridge (or at least for one hour).
- The next day, let the slow cooker insert with the soaked bread cubes come to room temp, and then put it in the slow cooker!
- Get ready to devour a big slice!
As the casserole cooks, it will puff up, then deflate a bit. When done, the center should no longer be jiggly. Custards are ready to eat at 175ºF.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT NEED TO COOK?
French toast casserole is a wonderful dish to make on slow and laid back weekend mornings, for Sunday brunch, or when you need to serve a group buffet style.
Depending upon when you want to eat, plan for 30 minutes to take the chill off the insert before cooking. If you placed the cold insert and food in the slow cooker, it would increase the time it takes for the temperature to ramp up. Letting the pot sit briefly at room temperature helps to reduce cook time.
The casserole should be ready in about two and a half hours if cooked on the high setting. If cooked on the low setting, it should take about five hours. Your kitchen is going to smell amazing!
It’s best not to slow cook the casserole overnight—the eggs in the casserole may overcook and become rubbery in texture, instead of smooth and custardy.
A Great Make-Ahead Breakfast for the Week!
This French Toast Casserole also reheats well, so it’s a good choice if you need a make-ahead breakfast for the week. French toast casserole can be refrigerated for up to five days and then reheated in the microwave. Reheat in 30-second intervals until warmed through, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS TO ADAPT THIS RECIPE?
The ways to add some variety and excitement to this basic Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole are endless.
Try any of the following:
- Top with sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
- Add dried cranberries, raisins, or apples to cook with the casserole.
- Sauté apples or peaches with brown sugar and butter, then serve on top.
- Mix up the spices and add cardamom, cloves, ginger, or even cocoa powder.
- Add crunch with chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts.
- Kids love chocolate chips on top or in the casserole
- Make mom happy with some homemade caramel sauce drizzled over the top.
TRY THESE SWEET OR SAVORY BREAKFAST CASSEROLES
- Baked Blueberry French Toast Casserole
- Got leftovers? Anything goes with this casserole.
- Ham and Cheese are a classic casserole combination!
- Baked Cherry French Toast Casserole is perfect for spring!
- Cinnamon Sugar French Toast Casserole is simple and satisfying!
Cream Cheese Crock Pot French Toast Casserole
Yummy, easy and a sure crowd pleaser&hellipsound good? Then you do not want to miss this Cream Cheese Crock Pot French Toast Casserole! Delicious!
Note: We use referral links for the products we love.
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- a loaf of bread (I recommend a soft whole wheat bread, but pretty much any type of bread would work – French, baguette, challah, etc.)
- vanilla extract
- brown sugar
I encourage you to use whole milk (vs. skim or 2%) for the richest result. Other dairy or nondairy milk would work too, but whole milk is always my gold standard!
Optional toppings include blueberries, pecans, maple syrup, etc.
Start by greasing the inside of a crockpot/slow cooker insert. (Here’s an affiliate link to the crockpot I own and love.)
Cut up your loaf of bread into cubes, then dump into the crockpot.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and most of the brown sugar. Pour this mixture evenly over the bread. Press down on the bread to help it soak up the liquid.
Cover the slow cooker insert and refrigerate it overnight for up to 12 hours.
The next morning, slice the butter into small pieces and place the slices evenly over the top of the soaked bread. Sprinkle evenly with the rest of the brown sugar and place the cover on the crockpot.
Lastly, cook for 2.5 hours (on high) or 4.5 hours (on low).
Once it’s done, add your desired toppings and it’s ready to serve!
Can I make this overnight french toast casserole in the oven?
Yes! Follow the instructions until it’s time for cooking (use a baking dish for overnight refrigeration instead of a slow cooker insert).
Then, in the morning, bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes.
French Toast Recipe Ideas & Variations
This recipe can be used as a base for lots of french toast variations! Here are some ideas:
- Add a cup of blueberries or other chopped fruit (strawberries, mixed berries, apples, bananas, etc) in with the bread for fruity french toast.
- Mix half a cup of canned pumpkin puree into the milk mixture, and substitute pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon for a pumpkin pie inspired french toast.
- Replace the butter and brown sugar topping with half a cup of chocolate chips sprinkled on top (and/or add bananas in with the bread for a chocolate banana combo!)
You will find the full crockpot french toast casserole recipe at the end of this post.
What’s your favorite brunch recipe? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more delicious brunch ideas? Check out these recipes:
And here’s some more crockpot/slow cooker inspiration:
Enjoy – and please let me know how you like it by rating the recipe, leaving a comment, or by tagging me @fANNEtastic food on social media!
There are really only 4 steps to prepping this sweet breakfast casserole in the slow cooker.
Be sure to grease your slow cooker with cooking spray beforehand.
I also like to prep the topping beforehand, so it's ready to go. Just mix the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl (a pastry blender works best for this), and set it aside for now.
- Cube the bread into small 1-inch cubes, and layer it with the pecans in your slow cooker.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Pour the egg mixture over the bread and pecans in the Crock Pot, and give it all a gentle toss. Make sure all the bread is good and soaked.
- Crumble the cinnamon brown sugar topping over the entire casserole. It’s a really moist mixture, so it’s more like clumps of cinnamon brown sugar.
Place the lid on your slow cooker, and cook on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours… Or you can cook it on low for 3 to 4 hours.
To make sure it's done, I use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and make sure it's up to the proper temp for eggs.
You can slice it and serve it with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup. Keep the rest of your casserole warm, using the “Keep Warm” setting on your slow cooker, if applicable.
- 1 apple, cut into bite-size pieces
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice, or to taste
- ½ cup raisins (Optional)
- 1 (16 ounce) loaf cinnamon-raisin bread, torn into chunks
Grease the inside of a slow cooker.
Place apple pieces in the prepared slow cooker. Sprinkle brown sugar over apples and top with butter slices.
Beat eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and allspice together in a bowl with a whisk until smooth add raisins. Mix bread pieces into egg mixture until bread is saturated. Pour bread-egg mixture into the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole
I made this dish purely out of skepticism.
I recently received the America’s Test Kitchen: Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook as a gift on Mother’s Day from my girls, because I guess they’ve heard that I like to cook!
If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you know that I love America’s Test Kitchen. They are some crazy smart food people over there. I’ve never made anything of theirs that hasn’t been good, so when I saw this recipe for a french toast casserole in a Crock Pot, I was really skeptical. I mean, I love my Crock Pot, I really do, but some things just don’t work in it…and a lot of recipes I’ve tried in it just come out tasting like flavorless mush. When thinking of French toast in a slow cooker, I had visions of rubbery eggs and mushy bread. It wasn’t a pretty vision.
The ATK people assured me that this would work, though, so I figured I’d put my skepticism aside and I gave it a shot because I really do trust these people.
I started with an ounce of prevention. I lined my slow cooker with foil, in hopes that it would help keep the insert a little bit cleaner. (Turns out, I didn’t put it on tight enough and the egg still leaked through where two pieces of foil met up, but it was better than nothing. Next time, I’ll be smarter about it.)
ATK says that the key to this recipe working is dried out bread, so I cut up a large loaf of French bread (Nothing fancy, just the soft supermarket kind.) and placed the pieces on a large cookie sheet. They went into the oven, at a low temperature, for forty minutes. When they came out, they were crisp and dry, but not really toasted.
Once the bread was ready, I poured the pieces into my lined slow cooker. Then, I mixed together some milk, eggs, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to pour over the top.
I poured the mixture over the bread and pushed the bread in to submerge it just a bit. Then, I mixed together some brown sugar and butter and stirred in some candied pecans. I was able to find praline pecans at the grocery store, and ATK claims that the candied nuts hold up better during the long cooking time. They did remain crunchy, when all was said and done. The pecan topping went on to the bread and we were ready to start (slow) cooking.
Four hours later, my house smelled like a sweet, breakfast bakery, and I had a beautiful bunch of French toast on my hands for dinner. Were the eggs rubbery and the bread a mushy mess? Nope. Everything about it was perfectly perfect, right down to the crunchy pecan streusel on top. I was really impressed, and my family was to busy gobbling it up to take in the beauty, and amazement, of French toast in the Crock Pot. It was a huge success!
CROCKPOT FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
If you have day-old bread laying around, this is a great recipe for putting it to use. I find myself usually making it for Christmas morning. Being able to prep all of the ingredients the night before is key to making any other cooking I’m doing easier. It’s also great if you’re just planning to open gifts once the kids wake up.
You don’t have to worry about timing breakfast. You can put everything in the Crockpot and let it cook while you open gifts. Then you’ll have a tasty breakfast to enjoy once the chaos has calmed down a bit.
SLOW COOKER BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS
- 12 thick slices Texas toast or French toast
- 2 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (if desired)
HELPUL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST IN SLOW COOKER
1. Cut the bread into chunks and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
3. Place the pieces of bread in the bowl and press them into the egg mixture.
Store mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
4. In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, work the butter into the flour mixture until it forms a sandy consistency.
Store the butter mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
5. In the morning, place the bread mixture into the greased bowl of a slow cooker. You can also use a slow cooker liner to make clean up easier.
6. Discard any egg mixture remaining in the bottom of the bowl.
7. If desired, add blueberries to the slow cooker. (This is the step you skip if you don’t want to have blueberry french toast casserole!)
8. Top the bread and blueberries with the topping butter mixture.
9. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
- Since all slow cookers cook a little differently, please just use the cook times as a guideline. Adjust the cooking time as needed for your slow cooker.
- All nutritional information varies depending on the exact products you choose to create the recipe. Our values are just estimates.
SLOW COOKER FRENCH TOAST FAQ
CAN I KEEP FRENCH TOAST WARM IN MY CROCKPOT?
You can! Although this recipe is a way to make french toast that won’t give you that issue, if you’re making a more traditional french toast like our Copycat Cracker Barrel French Toast, you can also use your slow cooker to keep slices of french toast warm until you serve them!
All you have to do is set your Crockpot to the warm setting and then you can place the french toast slices in the slow cooker to keep them warm. It works best if you stand them up on their crust edges.
CAN I USE A SLOW COOKER OVERNIGHT?
Despite the fact that I call this recipe Overnight Crockpot French Toast, you don’t actually use the Crockpot overnight. That refers to the time the bread soaks before cooking it.
DOES FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?
For this recipe, you put all of the ingredients together and refrigerate it overnight. Then you drop it in the slow cooker to cook in the morning. You could throw everything together and put it in the Crockpot, but I prefer it refrigerated for at least a few hours. It just helps with the texture.
But you can toss everything together and put it right into the Crockpot too!
WHAT TYPES OF BREAD SHOULD I USE TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST?
You want a bread that can hold up to the egg mixture and not just fall apart. French bread works well, just avoid thing slices. You want to be able to make decent sized cubes from your bread.
Texas Toast works well, as does Brioche. I’m also a huge fan of sourdough bread. If you can pick up a loaf at your local grocery store’s bakery, it works great for cutting into chunks to use in this recipe! Just don’t use sandwich bread. It will just be a soggy mess.
Crock Pot French Toast Casserole
This Crock pot French Toast Casserole tastes like you spent hours creating it, but your crock pot is really doing all the work.
You can make it the night before and set the timer for a few hours before you are ready for breakfast. The best part is you can sleep in and have a great breakfast made for your family.
All of our 5 Ingredient crockpot meals are made with 5 ingredients or less. They may also have some additional spices, but only 5 main ingredients.
- Almost any type of dried fruit can be substituted for the cranberries - dried blueberries, cherries, apricots or raisins.
- You could also substitute frozen blueberries or peaches - wouldn't that be delicious.
- Adding a cup of chopped nuts - pecans or walnuts would add a delicious crunch to this yummy breakfast!
There is so much deliciousness in this meal you really don't need a whole lot else! A nice fruit salad would be a wonderful pairing and how about some breakfast potatoes? That would round out the meal nicely!
Whatever you serve it with, keep it simple! This Crock Pot French Toast Casserole is the star of the show!
Spray 11 x 7 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Place bread cubes in single layer in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle golden raisins and the cream cheese cubes evenly over the bread cubes.
Beat eggs in medium bowl with electric mixer set at medium speed until well blended. Add milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract beat until well blended.
Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture. Cover refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine sugar and cinnamon in smnall bowl sprinkle evenly over casserole.
Bake, uncovered, until puffed, golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve with additional maple syrup, if desired.
Generously spray inside of 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Peel and mash 2 bananas in large bowl. Stir in Egg Beaters, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Add bread cubes toss to coat. Place mixture in slow cooker.
Cover cook on LOW 3-1/2 to 4 hours or on HIGH 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
Just before serving, set slow cooker to WARM. Place Peter Pan in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds. Add syrup microwave on HIGH 30 seconds more or until mixture is blended when stirred. Peel and slice remaining 2 bananas. Top each bread portion evenly with banana slices and syrup.