Creme Brulee French Toast Casserole

by Shawnda on July 25, 2010

in Bread,Breakfast,Lighter & Healthier,Project Pastry Queen

The Foodie Groom picked this week’s recipe for Project Pastry Queen: Creme Brulee French Toast. He saw a delicious mound of carbs for dinner. I saw an excuse to play with fire. And bake a loaf of challah.

I try to put one breakfast-for-dinner night on the menu each week. Pancakes are cheap. And my husband can – and will – make them. As much as I like to cook, it’s nice to sit at the island in awe at how he gets almost nothing dirty when he cooks. I should take notes.

I’m really not a fan of breakfast casserole type dishes. Everything cooked together in a big dish isn’t very appetizing. Nor is it very pretty. But this dish is no ordinary breakfast casserole. It’s part french toast and part bread pudding. It’s topped with sugar and fired to a glassy finish… and because I’m not very practiced with my torch, a sometimes charred finish. Pyro mis-steps can be easily hidden with fire-sale strawberries or peaches. Throw in a springform pan and it’s even pretty enough to serve at brunch.

Creme Brulee French Toast Casserole

A prettier french toast casserole with a brulee topping.


  • 1 loaf challah bread
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon


  1. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and set aside.
  2. Cut challah into 1-inch cubes (If you can do this part ahead of time, leave the bread cubes on a baking sheet to dry for a while).
  3. Place cubes in a large bowl. Whisk egg yolks, half and half, 2 Tbsp sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon until well combined and pour over bread. Toss until all liquid is absorbed.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and lightly press down on the bread to spread evenly. Let sit while oven preheats. (Alternately, you can cover and refrigerate overnight, if desired.)
  5. Preheat oven to 325.
  6. Bake the french toast casserole for 25-30 minutes, until browned.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the rim.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar over the top and with a kitchen torch or broiler, cook until the sugar is liquified and brown (this works better with a torch than a broiler).
  9. Let sit until sugar hardens.
  10. Cut into 6-8 wedges and serve warm, with fresh fruit and maple syrup.


Yields: 6-8 servings

Adapted from The Pastry Queen

Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Nutritional Information
Calories: 358.5 | Fat: 15.7 | Fiber 1.6
WW Points: 8


{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 amanda @ fake ginger July 25, 2010 at 5:49 am

Looks delicious! I like how you used a springform. it looks elegant outside of a casserole dish!


2 foodies at home July 25, 2010 at 10:34 am

There is just something wonderful about breakfast for dinner! And something even more wonderful when YOU don’t have to be the one to cook it! :) This dish looks so yummy I wish I had a plate of it right now!!


3 Ivy July 25, 2010 at 10:36 am

This looks super fun! I love french toast and creme brulee.
Not sure if I could do this for dinner though.


4 Joanne July 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I made my last bread pudding in a springform pan as well it made for a much nicer presentation! This looks absolutely fantastic, especially with the fruit on top!


5 Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes July 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Your presentation is gorgeous! We’re doing a french toast casserole bakeoff with my bf’s whole family in a few weeks…I just may have to do this one.


6 ashley July 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm

great idea using the springfoam pan! looks good!


7 Lizzy July 26, 2010 at 8:50 am

Creme Brulee French Toast Casserole??? Sign me up! Wow!


8 Tara @ Smells Like Home July 26, 2010 at 9:18 am

i love how yours looks like monkey bread! this was a great choice – please thank the hubs for me! :)


9 sarah k. @ the pajama chef July 26, 2010 at 9:45 am

wow! that’s gorgeous- so much prettier than the french toast casserole i’ve made before.


10 nigel July 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

A beautiful casserole or serving dish always helps with the final presentation.


11 Joy July 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm

That looks great. I can’t wait to try this.


12 Becky July 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm

This looks amazing! Thank you for sharing : )


13 Jen July 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm

This looks fantastic! I just got my copy of this cookbook in the mail today from Amazon and there are so many great things I can’t wait to try!


14 delicieux July 27, 2010 at 1:06 am

This looks great. I’d have never thought of combining creme brulee into a casserole. It’s a great idea though!!


15 Carla July 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm

A creme brulee French toast casserole….I think that is the greatest idea in gastronomic history. Oh. my. gosh.


16 Heather July 28, 2010 at 7:03 am

Wow. This just blew my mind.


17 carla's tasty treats July 28, 2010 at 7:22 am

This looks delicious – I love the presentation!


18 Shree July 28, 2010 at 11:52 am

beauttttiful….. love the presentation.


19 Chef Dennis July 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

what an incredible presentation!! I absolutely love it! I can only imagine how good it was too!
Congrats on the top 9!!


20 Maria July 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Love the presentation! Great for a weekend brunch!


21 Sommer J July 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I want a torch even more now! Thanks for a great idea for Saturday dinner!!


22 Val July 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm

How inventive…and heavenly! This is a must-try.


23 Brittany July 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm

My husband is the exact opposite when he cooks – he gets everything dirty!


24 Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) July 31, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I was passing over this until I saw the creme brulee in the title. Yum!!! I can’t understand how people cook neatly either!


25 Peggy August 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Definitely looks like a classy and elegant brunch/dinner/breakfast/anytime of the day meal!


26 Mandy September 17, 2010 at 8:26 pm

How big was the challah loaf? I have a pretty big loaf and not sure how much of it to use. I weigh everything…Can you estimate for me?


27 foodiebride September 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

I’d estimate the loaf was just over a pound.


28 Rebeca January 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm

OMG… I’ve made one just like this and it was divine but I added a secret ingredient… a shot of Grand Marnier or Cointreau… it just added this subtle, yet incredible dimension to it.


29 Lisa F. April 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I’d love to make this for a baby shower brunch I have coming up!
If I were to make it in ramekins or muffin tins, how should I adjust the baking time?
I think individual portions would look so cute!

And a little cinnamon caramel sauce on the side never hurt anybody. :-)


30 foodiebride April 20, 2011 at 8:22 pm

@Lisa F., I think the individual servings would be great! I’d bake them ~15 minutes and then check for doneness/browning.


31 heatherleigh May 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I had something similar while on a trip to the country last weekend and was IN LOVE…. so I found your recipe this morning and decided to give it a go! I used Brioche and followed the recipe to a T(save doubled the vanilla…yes, i’m one of those). However, I coated and bread cubes over and over and when it was just done, it was very dry on top.

Does making this the night before help?


32 Maliha October 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Hey! I just tried this recipe of yours for a brunch with, and even though i personally prefer savory foods for breakfast, this was incredible!! I haven’t gotten around to replacing my broken blowtorch yet so i melted the sugar with the broiler — you are right about it not being as efficient since the sugar in the crevices didn’t melt. Nobody noticed though. I drizzled some Nutella on the top to cover the sugar and i have never seen anything disappear so fast. And what a beautiful dish. Thank you for the recipe!!


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