The ultimate Fall decadence is a sweet breakfast filled with seasonal spices. Pumpkin French Toast Casserole is a rich pumpkin spice filled recipe with a crunchy cinnamon streusel perfect for indulging on those crisp mornings.
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
There are few better meals than those where you settle into a decadent fall breakfast with your cozy jammies on and a steaming cup of coffee. This Pumpkin French Toast Casserole is the ultimate indulgence with it’s slightly crunch streusel topping. Place a large spoonful of homemade whipped cream on top and drizzle with some maple syrup and you’ll be on your way to fall bliss.
This french toast casserole can feed a crowd or freeze for later, maybe even late at night, indulging. If you can’t get enough pumpkin breakfast recipes then make sure to also try pumpkin spice waffles, or these pumpkin pancakes.
Ingredients in Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
Some of the best-baked recipes have the most simple ingredients. Below are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe, which can all be found in your grocery store during the fall season.
- Stale White Bread: though it isn’t entirely necessary to use stale bread, I highly recommend it because it will soak up the pumpkin cream better.
- Milk: either milk or cream will work for this recipe and the creamier the better. Whole milk works best for this recipe.
- Pumpkin Puree: smooth pureed pumpkin is a key ingredient in the delicious cream mixture that soaks into the bread.
- Eggs: whisking the eggs into the cream mixture helps hold it all together during the baking process.
- Granulated Sugar: sugar is needed to add a little sweetness to the recipe.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: this spice mixture is what makes all sweet pumpkin recipes so recognizable.
- Vanilla Extract: adding the vanilla enhances all the other flavors in the recipe and keeps it from tasting bland.
- Flour: the following ingredients are for the streusel topping and the flour is the base that holds it all together.
- Brown Sugar and Granulated Sugar: these two sugars combined add a rich sweet flavor to the topping.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: by adding the pumpkin pie spice to the topping as well it balances the flavor of the french toast casserole with the topping.
- Pecans (optional): mixing pecans into the streusel is optional, but provides a nutty flavor as well as a little crunchiness.
- Unsalted Butter: stir in some melted butter to combine all the streusel ingredients together.
How to Make Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- Prep: Grease your baking dish and if making immediately preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Cut: Slice and cut the bread into 1-inch sized cubes and place them in the prepared baking dish.
- Make the Pumpkin Cream: In a large bowl, whisk the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, pumpkin spice, and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the cubed bread and use a spoon to toss the bread so each piece is coated.
- Mix the Streusel Topping: In a medium-sized bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and pecans. Drizzle the butter into the mixture and toss to mix in. Clumps will begin to form.
- If Baking Immediately: Sprinkle the streusel mixture on top of the casserole and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- If Making Ahead: Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before ready to bake. Place the streusel topping in an air-tight container or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge along with the casserole. When ready to bake remove both the casserole and streusel from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the casserole and replace the foil. Heat the oven to 350ºF and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes when the top becomes golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Make-Ahead French Toast Casserole Instructions
Prepare the casserole and the streusel topping. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Store the streusel in an air-tight container and place it in the fridge. When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350ºF and spread the streusel on top of the casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
Baking Immediately French Toast Casserole Instructions
Prepare the pumpkin french toast casserole completely, including adding the streusel topping to the top. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and cover the casserole with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes and remove the foil, then cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the top begins to turn a slightly crispy golden brown.
How to Make Stale Bread
Sometimes you just really want to make a recipe right away and not wait for ingredients like banana to ripen and bread to go stale. In the case of this recipe, the best bread option is stale bread, however, if you only have fresh bread follow these steps.
To dry out the bread, which is basically all stale bread is, heat your oven to 300ºF and place the sliced bread on the baking sheet. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes and let cool before cutting into cubes.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie Spice
You can easily whip up your own pumpkin pie spice if you’re running low or can’t find it at the store. Combine the following ground spices together in a small bowl. The amount below makes enough spice for this recipe.
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
If you plan on making many pumpkin spice recipes then make a large batch of this spice by tripling this recipe and saving it in a spice jar.
How to Freeze French Toast Casserole
Make sure to prepare the french toast casserole completely and baking in a freezer-safe casserole pan. Let cool before covering with a double layer of aluminum foil. The casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To thaw place the pumpkin french toast casserole into the refrigerator and let thaw overnight before baking the next morning.
Best Bread for Making French Toast Casserole
When making a French toast casserole it’s best to use stale white bread. The best and most decadent option is to use challah bread with the next best options being French bread or brioche. You could also use croissants. You’ll need 12 to 13 standard-sized croissants cut in half.
How to Store Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil or slice into individual servings and place in an air-tight container. Keep the casserole in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The casserole can be reheated in the microwave or in the oven for 20 minutes set to 275ºF.
Tips for Making the Best Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- Try to use stale bread if possible, which will absorb the pumpkin cream mixture better and create a super spongy casserole.
- Don’t use “pumpkin pie filling,” which is already sweetened and filled with spices. It will make your casserole too sweet.
- Save time by using pumpkin pie spice or making your own. Follow these directions to make your own pumpkin pie spice.
- Make sure to cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil during the first 40 minutes of baking and then remove it for the final 15 to 20 minutes.
FAQ’s for Making Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
Can this pumpkin french toast be made dairy-free?
Yes. To make this dairy-free change the milk for a dairy-free alternative such as coconut milk or oat milk. Swap the butter for a plant-based dairy-free option.
Can this french toast casserole be made gluten-free?
Yes. To make a gluten-free pumpkin french toast casserole swap the standard bread for a gluten-free white bread option. Make sure to also check the labels of the other ingredients. Sometimes vanilla extract can contain gluten.
Can I use a different type of bread?
Of course! Try using croissants or pound cake for a super-indulgent casserole or an Italian loaf or sourdough for a crispier version.
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- 9×13 Baking Dish
- Bread Knife
- Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowls
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Aluminum Foil
- 1 15-ounce Stale White Bread challah, French Bread, or Brioche
- 1½ cups Milk or cream
- 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
- 5 large Eggs
- 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/3 cup Chopped Pecans optional
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter melted
- Grease a 9×13" baking dish and preheat the oven to 350ºF if baking immediately (skip if waiting to bake later).
- Slice the bread into small 1-inch sized cubes and place into the greased baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, pumpkin spice, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture over the cubed bread and use a spoon to toss the breads so each piece is coated.
- In a medium-sized bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and pecans.
- Drizzle the butter into the mixture and toss to mix in. Clumps will begin to form.
Baking Immediately Instructions
- Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the casserole and cover with aluminum foil.
- Cook in the oven (heat to 350ºF if you haven't already) for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the top becomes a golden brown.
Make-Ahead Baking Instructions
- Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before ready to bake.
- Place the streusel topping in an air-tight container or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge along with the casserole.
- When ready to bake remove both the casserole and streusel from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the casserole and replace the foil.
- Heat the oven to 350ºF and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes when the top becomes golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.