This simple, no-fuss, make-ahead Berry Breakfast Bagel French Toast Casserole is just the thing for a lazy weekend breakfast or brunch. Prep it the night before and it’s ready to go in the oven when you wake up!
I am a HUGE breakfast fan. I’ve already posted some of my favorite breakfast recipes on here like Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Coconut Syrup, my favorite Breakfast Burritos, the unusual but totally delicious Peppery Scrambled Macaroni & Eggs, and classic Big, Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes. But I haven’t done a French toast recipe yet! Until today.
This easy, delicious, no-fuss berry breakfast bagel french toast casserole is perfect for holidays and weekend brunches. It takes all of five minutes to cut up some slightly stale bagels and whip together an egg, milk and cream custard mixture that gets poured over the bagels in a large casserole dish. Then it goes in the refrigerator overnight so the bagels can soak everything up and in the morning you just pop it in the oven to bake.
No standing by the skillet or stove, dipping slices of bread in and out of batter, monitoring and flipping the french toast as it cooks and keeping the finished slices warm while cooking the rest in batches. Instead you just slice into this baby and serve it up piping hot at the breakfast table!
I love using bagels in breakfast casserole because they are chewier than croissants or challah bread and don’t get mushy or soggy when soaking in the egg mixture. And like most french toast, its actually turns good if the bagels are a day old and even a little bit stale. They soak up the custard better that way.
Plus, it’s great for the times when you get suckered into buying multiple sleeves of bagels at Costco, then get home and realize you are never, EVER going to be able to get through them all while they are still fresh. Which totally never happens to me. Yeah, right – that’s actually how this recipe came about in the first place, lol. Every time, Costco, every time! They know me so well.
I chose plain bagels for this berry breakfast bagel french toast casserole, but you could really use any type of bagel you like – cinnamon raisin, blueberry, plain or even whole wheat. You could also sub in blackberries or raspberries for the strawberries or blueberries. I just love the easy, patriotic look of the red and blue berries with powdered sugar dusted over the top of the casserole before serving. Perfect for Memorial Day or the 4th of July!
Berry breakfast bagel french toast casserole is sweet, but not too sweet, thanks to the maple syrup and brown sugar that get whisked into the egg mixture before pouring it over the top of the cut up bagels. Plus, there is a little more brown sugar in the crumb topping. And you dust it with powdered sugar just before serving. So…
If you REALLY want to sweeten things up, definitely make the super simple maple glaze that I included in the recipe and drizzle it over the casserole after baking. It’s just maple syrup and powdered sugar that you combine them with a fork so that the syrup doesn’t immediately soak into the french toast.
Maple Syrup + More Sugar = Buddy the Elf’s ultimate dream breakfast.
Kids and husbands everywhere will require the maple glaze and adore you for it, so be prepared. Me? I’m good with just the dusting of powdered sugar. It’s totally up to you and you could always serve the glaze alongside the casserole to be drizzled over individual pieces instead of the entire thing if you are a house divided on the level of sweetness you can handle first thing in the A.M. like us.
Leftovers heat up really well, if you are making this for just a few people, or you could easily cut the recipe in half and just do a square baking dish to serve 4 with no leftovers at all.
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- 6 day old bagels, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with a little cooking spray. Cut the bagels into small, 1-inch chunks, then toss them into the baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, cream, syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Whisk it up really well with a fork, then pour the egg custard mixture over the bagels and press them down into the custard so everything gets a good soaking. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the top, if using. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees when ready to bake the casserole. Prepare the crumble topping by combining the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl, then pouring the melted butter of the top and stirring everything with a fork to combine. Sprinkle in small clumps over the top of the casserole before sliding it into the oven.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown on top. You might want to cover the casserole with foil during the last 20 minutes if it is getting too brown. It is done when the egg mixture that has soaked into the bagels is set without being soggy and everything is cooked through, but be careful not to overbake and dry it out.
Prepare the maple glaze, if using, by whisking together the maple syrup and powdered sugar in a small bowl.
Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle the berries over the top and drizzle with the maple glaze, if desired. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into large squares just before serving.
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