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Baked Apple French Toast

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Baked Apple French Toast

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Whip up this baked apple French toast for your next holiday brunch—it’s a heavenly blend of French toast and apple pie that’s sure to become a family favorite.

baked apple french toast

A lovely mash-up of French toast and apple pie, this prep-ahead baked apple french toast has all the makings of a special holiday brunch dish—the kind that becomes a much-loved family tradition. You can assemble and bake it straight away, or prepare it the evening before, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and then pop it in the oven in the morning when you’re ready to eat. I like to add a little bourbon to the custard mixture for depth of flavor but it’s fine to substitute apple cider or more half & half, if you prefer. Serve the baked apple French toast with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup, and bacon on the side (for perfectly crispy bacon, see how to cook bacon in the oven).

“I made this for a brunch and am still dreaming about how good it was.”

Karen

What you’ll need for Baked Apple French Toast

Baked Apple French Toast

how to make Baked Apple French Toast

Begin with the custard: in a large bowl, combine the eggs, half & half, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.

Baked Apple French Toast

Whisk to combine.

Baked Apple French Toast

Dip each slice of challah into the custard mixture for about 5 seconds, then arrange in an overlapping pattern in the prepared baking dish.

Baked Apple French Toast

Be sure the entire bottom of the dish is covered with the bread. Pour any remaining custard over the bread. Set aside.

Baked Apple French Toast

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.

Baked Apple French Toast

Add the apples, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon.

Baked Apple French Toast

Bring to a gentle boil.

Baked Apple French Toast

Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened and the sugar-syrup is thickened, about 8 minutes.

Baked Apple French Toast

Spoon the apples and sugar-syrup evenly over the bread, making sure not to leave any of the syrup behind. If not baking immediately, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Otherwise, proceed with the recipe.

Baked Apple French Toast

When you’re getting ready to eat, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes more.

Baked Apple French Toast

Remove from the oven and, using a fine sieve, dust with the confectioners’ sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

baked apple french toast

“I make this french toast regularly and our family and friends love it. It is super easy prep the day before and pop in the oven in the morning for an amazingly delicious brunch/breakfast.”

Sharon

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Baked Apple French Toast

Whip up this baked apple French toast for your next holiday brunch—it’s a heavenly blend of French toast and apple pie that’s sure to become a family favorite.

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 55 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Ingredients

For the French Toast

  • One 1-lb challah or raisin challah
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1½ cups half & half
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional; replace with apple cider or half-&-half if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Apple Topping

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For Serving

  • Confectioners' sugar and/or maple syrup

Instructions

For the French Toast

  1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch or 3-QT baking dish. Slice the bread into ¾-inch-thick slices.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Dip each slice of challah into the custard mixture for about 5 seconds, then arrange in an overlapping pattern in the prepared baking dish. Be sure the entire bottom of the dish is covered with the bread. Pour any remaining custard over the bread. Set aside.

For the Apple Topping

  1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened and the sugar-syrup is thickened, about 8 minutes. Spoon the apples and sugar-syrup evenly over the bread, making sure not to leave any of the syrup behind. If not baking immediately, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Otherwise, proceed with the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  3. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and, using a fine sieve, dust with the confectioners' sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 473
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 65 g
  • Sugar: 33 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Sodium: 358 mg
  • Cholesterol: 177 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I made this recipe yesterday and it was a hit! I didn’t have bourbon or apple cider vinegar but it still turned out wonderful.

    • — Kristy Parent on January 29, 2024
    • Reply
  • All of Jenn’s recipes are foolproof and truly delicious! This was amazing and worked perfectly as a make-a-head casserole for brunch the next day.
    I followed the recipe exactly and got rave reviews. Maybe next time I might try Grand Marnier for the heck of it, although, this was so good I may not.
    Thank you again, Jenn for such good recipes!

    • — Sharon on December 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas Day brunch and it was a huge hit! Not only delicious, but easy to put together. I used a Costco french bread loaf and it worked just a well. Had some left over, but it was reheated the next morning and disappeared! Just as good as the day before! Ann P.

    • — Ann on December 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this for a brunch and I’m still dreaming about how good it was. I did add and extra egg and upped the half and half to 2 cups as I like it creamier. It was PERFECT!!!!! I’m thinking of trying it with mixed berries next time.

    • — Karen L on October 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I don’t like to try a new recipe on a group so I did a 1/2 recipe test run today, a week before my brunch. I assembled last night and baked this morning, following the recipe closely but adding some pecans to the saucy apple mixture (I’m a texture person). My brunch is an open house, buffet style so I’m contemplating cutting the bread slices in a bit more buffet friendly size but also wonder if anyone has tried it in a crockpot. I’m worried that serving at room temp won’t be as good as if served warm. Didn’t see any references to it so I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask. . Thanks 😊

    • — Sue on October 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • I found your website recently and used it to fix 3 dishes for my book club tomorrow. I made this French toast, apple challah bread recipe and, even though all of my steps looked identical to your pictures, it looks pretty dry. I will cook it before people arrive tomorrow but I feel like I need to add something before I bake it. Should I add syrup before putting in the oven? I’d appreciate any advice if you can before tomorrow morning, but I even if you answer after, I’ll know for the future. Clearly it is my issue since everyone else here is raving…,

    • — Christy Dimitriades on October 8, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Christy, Based on my timing, you’ve obviously already served this so I’m weighing in a bit too late – sorry! Did you use a 9 x 13-inch/3-quart baking dish and the amount of bread the recipe called for? If you did and still felt it was dry, for future reference, you could make 1.25 times the custard to give it a little more moisture. Please let me know how it turned out though!

      • — Jenn on October 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delish… even with the following modifications to lighten it up a bit: used skim milk instead of half and half in the batter. For the apple mixture, I used only 2T of butter, 1/4 c. of brown sugar and 1/4 c of maple syrup. I also added a little extra cinnamon and some ground nutmeg.This was a well received addition to our Yom Kippur breakfast menu that I’ll make again.

    • — Susan H. on September 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can we freeze this?

    • — D on August 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi D, I haven’t frozen it, but I think it would freeze nicely.

      • — Jenn on August 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • Simply fantastic. Loved every sweet taste and just perfectly as you wrote it. A 5 star recipe to share with company and or holiday time.

    • — Ellen on August 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • Here in southwest rural France, I couldn’t locate either challah or bourbon. So I used (gluten-free) brioche for the bread, and Calvados (apple brandy) for the liquor. Terrific! I think this will become a “special breakfast” regular.

    • — Loren Chudy on July 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was delicious! I cubed the apples instead of sliced but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. Don’t hesitate to use the 2T of bourbon. In my opinion, it is what makes this recipe extra special. I appreciated that this dish wasn’t too sweet. It was perfect.

    • — trish on May 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi!

    I put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in before I realized you may have meant regular apple cider… will this ruin the casserole?

    • — Samantha on April 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Oops! If the French toast isn’t already assembled, you can add some apple cider to the soaking liquid. If it’s already in the fridge (which I assume it is at this point), I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You may just need to serve it with a little extra maple syrup. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 19, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thank you!! It’s already assembled. I stopped after one tablespoon so hopefully it’ll be good. It certainly smells amazing. I was more concerned about making it unsafe to eat by doing that. As long as it’s safe to eat, I know it’ll be terrific. I’m making your strawberry cake tonight for my Dad’s birthday and incorporating rhubarb in it. Yum!!

        • — Samantha on April 19, 2023
        • Reply
        • Yes, it’s perfectly safe to eat. Hope you enjoy both the French toast and the strawberry cake!

          • — Jenn on April 20, 2023
          • Reply
  • Hi! Could you use brioche bread for this? It is hard to find challah bread in my area. Thanks!

    • — Samantha on April 13, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • My dad made this for our Easter brunch and it was a crowd favorite! So delicious and easy to make!

    • — Courtney P on April 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I use canned spiced apples?

    • — Charlotte on April 13, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, that should work, Charlotte – just be sure to drain them.

      • — Jenn on April 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was delicious for Easter brunch. I followed the recipe exactly except that I only bought two apples (instead of 4). It was still amazing and our brunch guests were impressed. Thank you for sharing your cooking talents! I’m grateful to be able to put such good food on the table for holidays and everyday!

    • — Megan on April 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • Another Once Upon a Chef win. You make me look so good. Easy and delicious. Made it for Easter. Took advantage of the night before prep. Probably cooked for about an hour. Powdered sugar makes it pretty.

    • — Amy on April 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • I tried this recipe with dairy-free alternatives to accommodate an allergy. I’ve had mixed results with subbing dairy in some recipes but this one was delicious. I used Miyoko’s vegan butter and a can of unsweetened coconut milk, and everyone went nuts for this recipe. I have no doubt it would be equally or more delicious as written! The apples added a nice tartness and texture that is often missing from most of the baked French toast recipes I’ve tried. Most people felt it didn’t need the extra syrup on the side, it was delicious with or without. Such a special and easy addition to our Easter brunch!

    • — Katie R. on April 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I replace the bourbon with something else?

    • — Cathy on April 8, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Cathy, you can replace the bourbon with rum. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 10, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi, Jenn,
        I love your recipes…never a bad one! Would I be able to make this ahead & freeze it? I’m doing a bunch for 24 so whatever I can make ahead & just warm the day of would be a huge help! Thanks so much!

        • — Beth on April 23, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Beth, Yes I do think this would freeze well. Hope that helps and so glad you enjoy the recipes!

          • — Jenn on April 24, 2023
          • Reply
      • Also Calvados instead of bourbon.

        • — Loren Chudy on July 30, 2023
        • Reply
  • how do I omit the nutritional information from printing

    • — Janet on April 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet, unfortunately, there’s not a way to omit it — I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 3, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was so delicious and so easy. I was worried it would be too sweet, but it wasn’t. Definitely will be making this again.

    • — Patricia on February 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, what other bread would work for this recipe? Not sure I can find challah where I am. Thanks

    • — Dessi on February 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Dessi, Brioche will also work nicely. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this for our annual Galentine’s brunch and it was a major hit – not a crumb was left! So easy to put together and the favors are amazing. Thank you, Jen, for yet another spot-on recipe!

    • — Lauri on February 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Have you ever made a dish that, when served, there is silence following the first bite? And then, there are audible “Mmmm’s”! And following the “Mmmm’s”, the compliments start to flow.

    Thank you Jenn for the “Mmmm’s” and the compliments I received after making this recipe!

    • — GrandBob on February 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • So I have to say I have never made baked french toast before. Decided to make this today, the flavors are amazing. For me the bread was too soggy, so I’m thinking of trying it again except grill the french toast and top with the apples. That being said you are my goto recipe source, I love all your recipes.
    Thanks

    • — Chuck on January 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, this was soooooooooooo good! Do you think I could make it using cubed challah bread instead of slices? If so, what sized cubes? Big? 1 or 2 inches?

    Thanks as always, Ally in New Jersey 🙂

    • — Ally O'Connor on January 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Ally, that should work. I’d cut them in to approximately 1-inch cubes. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn, I sure will!

        • — Ally O'Connor on January 10, 2023
        • Reply
  • I’m not usually a fan of baked french toast casseroles, but this was over the top delicious! I made this, along with your Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding to have both a sweet and a savory option while on a ski vacation with a crowd. I didn’t have access to any bourbon in our condo so used an extra egg and a bit more maple syrup & vanilla to make up for that. I’ll certainly be making this again soon. Thank you and Happy New Year!

    PS – the sausage & cheddar bread pudding is also amazing 🙂

    • — Donna on January 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Well, this was absolutely delicious. Thank you!
    I made it with white (stale) stoneground bread, and single cream (not sure what half and half is). It was a bit early to look in the alcohol cupboard, so I omitted the bourbon.

    We loved it, and I can see it becoming a stable for lazy mornings at home.
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year.
    Maureen (surely your biggest fan in Ireland!!)

    • — Maureen O'Rourke on December 29, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2022
      • Reply
    • Am not sure you are Maureen.. 😁 but this sounds so tasty. Greetings from Co. Kildare.

      • — Sinead Keogh on April 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • My usual recipe for baked French toast, uses French bread. This is what I have but I would like to try your recipe. Do you think this will work? Any modifications?
    Your recipes never failed me. Thanks for making me a much better cook!! It’s your pasta fagioli on the menu tonight. 😋 Happy holidays.

    • — Jackie F on December 24, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Jackie! Yes, French bread is fine to use here. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 25, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have a loaf of Challah from Whole Foods. Today is Monday. Plan on cooking it on Saturday night to eat Sunday morning. Should I freeze the challah loaf or will it mold? Whole foo breads tend to spoil quickly! If I freeze the challah, how should I thaw it for making this recipe?

    • — Mary on December 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • If your experience is that bread from Whole Foods spoils quickly, I’d pop it in the freezer. Remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature during the day on Saturday. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • One of my favorite Breakfast for Dinner recipes! Could this French toast be prebaked and frozen? If so, how long would it keep in the freezer?
    Thanks for another fabulous recipe!
    Trudy

    • — Trudy Cope on October 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it, Trudy! I haven’t frozen this myself so I can’t say for sure, but I’d be a bit hesitant to freeze it because of all the dairy it has. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Do you think it still works ok to make this 48 hours ahead before baking?

    • — Suzanne on October 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes, I think you can get away with it. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this for Easter brunch (and several times since). It is nearly impossible to find Challah where I live without driving an hour into Pittsburgh so I substituted brioche and it has worked wonderfully. I will try Jenn’s Challah recipe sometime and make this for my family, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet. Just a really yummy breakfast/brunch dish that is a hit with kids and adults! My 2 year old nephew and my grandfather were really not interested in sharing this french toast with anyone else.

    • — corinne on September 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • Is there a replacement for half and half?

    • — Jess on August 29, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jess, you can use whole milk instead. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    What is the best way to reheat the leftovers? Thank you for this delicious recipe! Jan

    • — Jan on August 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jan, Glad you liked it! If they’re individual portions, I’d probably reheat them in the microwave. If it’s a large portion in the baking dish, I’d cover it with foil and heat it in a 350-degree oven until heated through.

      • — Jenn on August 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • As most have said, Jenn’s recipes are pretty much always amazing and this one is no exception. Prepped this last night for an easy brunch this morning and it was a total hit. Getting challah last minute is pretty tough where I am, so I took a chance with a 12-pack of pandesal (Filipino sweet buns very similar to brioche) at the local grocery store. Sliced in half and arranged, they had the side benefit of being super easy for people to portion themselves with two bun halves each (before getting seconds, of course).

    Thanks for another favourite recipe, Jenn – it was perfect!

    • — Brett on June 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Served the Apple French Toast today at a birthday brunch. Everyone LOVED it (including me). Jenn, I never have to trial run your recipes before serving to a group as they are always wonderful. As an aside, bought the spiral bound version of your Weeknight / Weekend cookbook. So nice to have it lay flat on the counter while using. Thank you for being such a great resource.

    • — Sally on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • I could not find challah bread at the market, but I found brioche bread. Do you think that would work for this recipe?

    • — Margaret on May 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep, definitely 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2022
      • Reply
  • Loved this — just the right amount of sweetness, plus easy to prep the night before.

    • — Lainey H. on April 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Do you think this could be made with almond milk instead of the half and half?

    • Hi Rakhi, I think this would work with almond milk. Just in case you want to consider it, some readers have commented they’ve used Rich’s non-dairy coffee creamer (frozen) (Please keep in mind that I haven’t tried it with this.) Please LMK how it turns out!

      • This dish turned out fabulous. I used a dairy free oat based creamer as suggested. Will definitely be making this again. Thank you for another amazing recipe.

  • I didn’t have any bourbon, but I did have Fireball cinnamon whiskey, so I added that. The end result was delicious!

    • I love that idea! Cinnamon is the perfect compliment.

      • — lisa on January 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • Jenn,
    I have a strawberry huller that does a brilliant job with coring pears and apples, and the top in the middle bit that we don’t want on a tomato. I love it as it leaves such a neat and perfect hole. Very useful gadget.
    I haven’t tried these apples yet, but since everything else of yours (masses of stuff) that I’ve made is 5 star worthy, that’s what they get!

  • Hi Jenn i was wondering could i make this up tonight but not bake until friday morning
    Thank you so much

    • I think it should be fine, Melissa — enjoy!

  • The recipe is great but I have just one simple comment. If you prepare it the night before and put it in the fridge for baking the next morning either let it come back up to room temperature before putting it in the oven or let it stay in the oven for ten minutes longer otherwise the batter will not be fully cooked.

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