Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This boozy French toast casserole with a caramel bottom makes the perfect company-for-brunch dish.

Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole

Part booze, part French toast, part bread pudding — how could you go wrong? In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you already had the recipe because such things (i.e., amazingly good, crowd pleasing, make-ahead, easy recipes) tend to get around. I got it from my friend Gayle, who got it from her friend Karen, who got it from…you get the idea.

This French toast casserole makes a perfect company-for-brunch dish because you can assemble it the night before, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and then just pop it in the oven in the morning when you’re ready to eat. Don’t worry if you forget to plan ahead; it can be baked soon after assembling if need be.

Ingredients For Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole

I use broiche bread to make my French toast casserole. Brioche is a lightly sweetened yeast bread enriched with lots of butter and eggs. You can find it in the bakery of most large supermarkets; if for some reason you can’t find it, challah makes an excellent substitute.

Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored liqueur. It adds depth of flavor and subtle orange flavor that pairs nicely with the orange zest and caramel. If you’d like to omit the booze, go ahead and replace it with more half and half.

How To Make Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole

Begin with the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and one tablespoon of water.

caramel ingredients in saucepanMelt over medium heat, stirring until smooth.

finished caramel in saucepanPour the caramel into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

caramel in baking dish

Remove the crust on the brioche and into 1½-in slices. Arrange the bread on top of caramel, making sure entire base is well covered.

arranging brioche in baking dish

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, orange zest and salt until well combined.

Pour evenly over bread. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

soaking bread with custard

When you’re ready to eat, bake the French toast casserole, uncovered, until puffed and golden, 40-50 minutes.

baked French toast casseroleLet cool a few minutes (it will deflate) and then serve immediately. The caramel will harden up as it cools, so it’s important to serve this dish hot.

Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole

More French Toast Recipes

Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole

This boozy French toast casserole with a caramel bottom makes the perfect company-for-brunch dish.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1-1/3 lbs brioche (you'll likely need two loaves but you won't use it all)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar, corn syrup, and one tablespoon of water, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan.
  3. Slice off the crusts from the brioche (it doesn't need to be perfect). Cut the bread into 1½-in thick slices. Arrange the bread slices on top of caramel, making sure the entire base of the pan is covered.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, orange zest and salt until well combined. Pour evenly over bread. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 20 minutes or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  6. Bake, uncovered, in the middle of the oven until puffed and golden, 40-50 minutes. Let cool a few minutes (it will deflate), then serve immediately. The caramel base hardens up as it cools, so it's important to serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (705 servings)
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 84 g
  • Sugar: 37 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Sodium: 578 mg
  • Cholesterol: 269 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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Reviews & Comments

  • You are truly gifted! Made this recipe for the first time and it was phenomenal! My only change per a previous reviewer was adding a bit of syrup to keep the Carmel from hardening and instead baked and drizzled over the top. It received rave reviews and will be my go to from
    now on. Thank you so much for sharing your brilliance, and gift!

    • — Abby on July 27, 2019
    • Reply
    • 😊

      • — Jenn on July 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • Excellent, delicious, recipe, decadent flavor. Has to be prepared ahead, so perfect for guests. Can be easily adapted to countries outside North America, in place of half and half, just mix whipping cream and milk. Be very careful though if you use the metric measurements! One and a half cups of half and half is way more than the 120 ml provided in the metric. If you only use this amount, the dish will be too dry.

    • — E. on July 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Thank you so much for catching that error, E – the metric measurement has been corrected.

      • — Jenn on July 4, 2019
      • Reply
  • How long before the caramel hardens? If it was made, say an hour or so before being eaten, would it still be warm? Can it be reheated? Sounds good but I’d like to make it for a women’s group and it wouldn’t be eaten until an hour after being taken from the oven.
    Thank you!

    • — Josephine Varsi on May 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Josephine, This dish really needs to be served straight out of the oven. The baked French toast from my cookbook would be a better option. Email me if you don’t have the book; I’m happy to send the recipe to you.

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn

    What a coincidence , my daughter;s birthday is coming up and she has asked for a Caramel French Toast . Can I leave out 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or substitute with something else. ?

    Thanks
    Madhuri.

    • — Madhuri Krothapalli on May 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Madhuri — you can just use more half and half. Happy birthday to your daughter! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn. Can it be reheated if there are leftovers.

        • — Madhuri Krothapalli on May 9, 2019
        • Reply
        • Yes, but the caramel bottom does get a bit sticky so I would loosen the pieces from the pan before refrigerating leftovers.

          • — Jenn on May 10, 2019
          • Reply
  • Quick question…would you still serve butter and maple syrup with this dish?

    • — Andrea on May 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Andrea, No it’s really not necessary. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe for the first time this morning and my entire family LOVED it! All of them said it was a definite keeper. Preparing the dish the night before made getting breakfast on the table fast and easy. Thank you Jenn for helping make our Saturday morning pure bliss!

    • — Linda Fasulo on February 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • OMG! The best breakfast item ever! Been making it for a couple of years now. My kids and grandchildren love, love, love it.

    • — Ingrid on February 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is the first one of your recipes that did not work for me unfortunately. While the toast did puff up, when we cut into it there were scrambled eggs mixed into the toast. It didn’t look appetizing. It looked like the bread did not absorb the liquid.

    • — Mareesa on December 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Mareesa, Sorry you had trouble with this! Did you let it chill for at least 6 hours before baking?

      • — Jenn on December 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I’m making this for Christmas morning but I have to bake it at my house and bring it to my brother’s house. How do you suggest I go about this? I’m concerned that the Carmel will harden and I cannot bake it in her oven because her ovens are broke😞.

    • — Vicky on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Vicky, Unfortunately, I think you’re right about the caramel. Do you have my cookbook? There’s a baked French toast in it that I think would work better – if you don’t have it, email me at [email protected] and I’ll happily email it to you. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! This is ridiculously delicious!!! I have shared this recipe many times!!! :o))

    Question – Do you think two of these can be cooked at the same time stacked in the oven? If so, what adjustments would be needed?

    Thank you for this wonderful website!!
    XOXO

    • — Kim on December 7, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, So glad you like this! I do think they can bake at the same time, but they will take longer. Hard to say how much longer, so just pay close attention to they look – you’ll want to remove them when they’re puffed up and golden.

      • — Jenn on December 7, 2018
      • Reply
      • Thank you Jenn!!! Do you think they’d need to be rotated half way through? Or just leave them alone??

        Thanks again!!
        XOXO

        • — Kim on December 7, 2018
        • Reply
        • I think it couldn’t hurt – if you’re in the kitchen – I think that would be great. Please let me know how they turn out!

          • — Jenn on December 8, 2018
          • Reply
          • I will! And thank you for these prompt responses Jenn!!

            • — Kim on December 14, 2018
  • I made this recipe for a family breakfast. Not only was it delicious, we were all able to sit down and enjoy breakfast together. I will make this again and again!

    • — Mary Howell Kirk on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Always a hit!! I’m a nurse and whenever we throw baby, wedding, showers at work, the staff always depends on my drunken caramel French toast. I make it in a Pyrex and just warm it up. I do put less orange zest than Jenn’s recipe. That was based on my family’s request way back when I started making it, so I stuck with using less, it was too powerful of a taste with Jenn’s amt.

    • — Maria J. on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Thinking of making this for Fathers day. Is this ok for children or is the Grand Marnier flavor strong? Thanks for your help.

    • — Maria on June 7, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Maria, I don’t think it’s too strong — my kids have always loved it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 7, 2018
      • Reply
  • I had this recipe planned for Easter brunch, however with all my preparations the day before, I never got around to getting it done so it could sit overnight. I ended up making it in the morning and we had it as dessert after Easter dinner. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream it was fantastic!! I used a combination of challah and bread; making two layers worked very well. Next time, I might even try adding some diced apple to it. Thanks once again, Jenn.

    • — Karen on April 8, 2018
    • Reply
  • I can’t find challah in Hawai’i. Would it be possible to substitute brioche bread or any other type of bread?

    • — Su on March 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Su, yes, brioche or a Hawiaan loaf would work nicely here too. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn- you are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your skills, recipes and beautiful website. I appreciate your visual recipes very much. Fabu news-every recipe I have tried has been a win and for me, sincere accolades. YAS. I give you all the credit 🙂
    We have a dairy-free friend visiting for brunch this weekend. Any substitutions you could recommend? Or more suited dishes to prepare? (Maybe create an elimination filter to your vast recipe bank?) Dairy is the only restriction. sad. xo proud cheesehead from Lk Michigan. thx in advance from PNW rains

    • — Tanja G on March 16, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Tanja, so glad you enjoy the recipes and the website! While I think the half and half could be replaced with a non-dairy milk, I’m concerned that the caramel will not have the right consistency with a butter substitute. You may want to consider this French Toast and replace the cream and milk with a nut or soy milk and the butter with margarine or a dairy-free butter substitute. This Baked Oatmeal is also a crowd pleaser and you could still get good results with non-dairy milk and a butter substitute. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • I was wondering do you think I could makes these into individual servings like in a muffin?

    • — Erica on February 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Erica, I think it would work (sounds good)! Hope you enjoy 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 14, 2018
      • Reply
  • I made this for a holiday brunch, following the recipe exactly. It sat on a warning tray during the brunch, which kept the caramel fluid so it didn’t get hard as other reviewers mentioned. This my most-requested breakfast food item when we have overnight company. It’s delicious, beautiful, and unexpected. Hands-down, one of my favorite recipes from my favorite chef! Thanks, Jen!

    • — Judy on February 1, 2018
    • Reply
    • WARMING tray, not “warning” tray

      • — Judy on February 1, 2018
      • Reply
      • Ha! What a great idea for serving. Glad it was a hit! 🙂

        • — Jenn on February 1, 2018
        • Reply
  • please provide the nutrition information for this dish.

    • — BA Ste on January 27, 2018
    • Reply
    • Done!

      • — Jenn on January 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • First, please accept my compliments for your expertise and generosity! Every single recipe I tried resulted in delicious food. Thank you.
    I was wondering if this is possible to bake stovetop in a covered pan instead of in the oven, and if yes – for how long? Your response would be very appreciated.

    • — Sim on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Sim, Thank you – so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! Unfortunately, this dish can’t be cooked on the stovetop. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 29, 2018
      • Reply
  • We made this for visiting family and it was really enjoyed by all, including our gourmet chef who asked for the recipe (I shared your web site, of course!). Added 1 T maple syrup to prevent the caramel from hardening, otherwise made as directed. Thanks very for this terrific recipe and Happy New Year!

    • — Staci H on January 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Just one layer of bread slices…correct?

    • — Cynthia on December 24, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Cynthia, Generally yes but it doesn’t really matter how many layers, just use all the bread and fit it in. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2017
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I’m planning on making this for Christmas brunch. I already have a bottle of dark corn syrup that I’d like to make use of if at all possible. Do you think it would work, or be too overpowering?

    • — Caroline on December 23, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Caroline, I think it’d work. Please lmk how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2017
      • Reply
      • Jenn, thank you so much for your quick reply! It came out great. The caramel was somewhat chewy, not sure if that was because of the dark syrup or if yours is like that as well. Either way, it was a huge hit! I’ll be making it again for sure. Thanks again!

        • — Caroline on December 26, 2017
        • Reply
  • I am serving a very flavorful savory sausage/cheddar strata for Christmas breakfast. Do you think this would pair well with that? Sweet vs. savory?

    • — Dorriann on December 13, 2017
    • Reply
    • Yes, definitely. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2017
      • Reply
  • This was a hit with my family. I substituted the challah with brioche which is all my store carried. Tasted wonderful. Served with bacon/ sausage and maple syrup. An easy recipe to make. Thank you Jen for sharing this one. You are an amazing chef.

  • Hi Jenn,
    I’ve made this several times and everyone loves it. I follow the recipe exactly and it’s perfect every time. No need to change it!

  • Hi Jenn,
    Can’t wait to try this. I make my own Challah, do you think a 1 1/2 lb loaf will suffice here ? Would it be better to use day old or freshly baked? Thanks so much for all of your fabulous, dependable recipes, all are clearly written and always excellent! 😄

    • Hi Chrissy, A standard challah is about 1 lb so you should have plenty (and you probably won’t need all of it). Day-old will work well, but it honestly doesn’t make much of a difference here. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • I made this Thanksgiving morning and it was divine. Everyone else thought so because it didn’t last very long. I loved the orange flavor in the dish, it was just enough and not overpowering at all. And let’s not forget that buttery caramel bottom that added the right amount of sweetness. Heaven! As always, Thank you Jenn for your amazing recipes.

  • This has become a go-to recipe for my family. Depending on what we have on hand, we have substituted brioche for challah, and orange juice for Grand Marnier, both with excellent results. Serve with bacon and fresh fruit for an irresistible Sunday brunch!

  • The recipe does not include the amount of caramel or instructions showing placing the bread on caramel.

    • Hi Patricia, you may be confused because the recipe doesn’t require packaged caramel, but rather you’re making it with the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Hope that clarifies!

  • Hi, Can this be made without corn syrup?

    • — Lora Tchekoratova
    • Reply
    • Hi Lora, you’d need to substitute the corn syrup with something else; Lyle’s Golden Syrup would work well.

  • absolutely delicious! A crowd pleaser.

  • Family loved it. It was very easy to make and it turned out lovely. No need for syrup though we did add a little whipped cream when serving.

  • Made this for my brother’s brunch and it was a hit! Added nutmeg and cinammon to my egg base and left out the alcohol and it was delish! The only problem with this dish is how quickly the caramel hardens….seconds were caramel-less which was a shame. Otherwise tasty and great as a make-ahead dish.

  • So this has become my go-to breakfast recipe when company is here for the last 2 years now! I’ve made it with and without the alcohol, kids love it. The only thing that I would say is wrong is that mine never seems to puff, but it always looks and tastes great!

  • My family adores this recipe! From the smallest to the largest member. This recipe is the epitome of decadent. It’s also a great reason to visit Great Harvest Bread Co., for their challah and other yummy treat samples. I like to substitute the zest from Cutie tangerines for traditional orange. It really amps up the flavor profile! Love your recipes!

  • Hi Jenn, I scaled this recipe to 1/2 and followed the instructions, but it didn’t turn out as expected. The toast didn’t puff at all after 50 min of baking, and cooked in what seemed like a butter bath. Once cool, the caramel never hardened but stayed soft like toffee and got mostly absorbed by the toast. It was also quite heavy. Any idea what went wrong? Should I have waited for the sugar to melt into a complete clear caramel? Mine stayed smooth but opaque like toffee. The liquid came up to 2/3 of the bread slices; should it have covered all the way to the top? I also think I might have turned the Convection bake on. Could that have something to do with it? I’ve tried quite a few of your recipes and all were a success, so I’m thinking I did something wrong here.

    • Hi Tina, that’s a real headscratcher; I’m not certain what may have gone wrong here. Any chance you used margarine instead of butter?

  • This french toast is decadent and delicious. It’s my daughter’s absolute favorite. On special occasions, we make this and chilaquiles to balance the sweetness of this dish. I do not like orange flavors so I substitute Bailey’s for the Grand Marnier and leave out the zest. I have yet to meet someone who does not LOVE this french toast. And it’s not difficult to make either (but totally looks it!).

  • I’m excited to make this for Easter brunch tomorrow. I could not find challah bread. Could I use ciabatta as a substitute?

    • Hi Crystal, I may be getting back to you too late, but I would recommend either brioche or a Hawaiian loaf instead.

  • I have leftover pannetone from Christmas in my freezer. Would that work as a substitute for the challah?

    • Hi Mary, I’ve never had pannetone, so I can’t say for sure. I googled it, though, and there are a lot of pannetone French toast recipes, so it may be worth a try (but do it at your own risk :)!

  • Amazing!!! Great way to impress your family or guests.

    I did add 2 tbsp. maple syrup to bottom mixture to keep the mixture soft as I had a straggler coming to brunch – this worked great.

    Due to poor planning, I used really fresh french bread with crusts and only had time for 2 hour soak before cooking. Which did work for me. Next time, I will soak it over night and compare the results.

    Served with breakfast sausages and it disappeared very quickly when served to four adults.

  • I made this for Breakfast as we had about 6 people here to help put up my new green house, The directions said your caramel sauce would harden so I substituted Dulce De Leche I had made from boiling cans of sweetened condensed milk (In the closed cans) Since people were not all arriving together, I set out some candied pecans and some candied Bacon so guest could sprinkle it over theirs to add a little texture it was a huge hit!!

  • Can I substitute maple syrup for corn syrup?

    • Hi Jane, Maple syrup wouldn’t work here, but you could use Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead.

  • Great recipe, glad i found it.
    However I added cinnamon and nutmeg in batter and drizzled caramel and sprinkled powdered sugar before serving and daughter made a compote to topping

  • Hi Jenn: Would I be able to halve this recipe and bake it in an 8 x 8 ” pan?

    • Yep, that should work fine Kathy. Enjoy!

  • This recipe is amazing! It was extremely easy and straight forward to make, and I loved that I could do it all ahead of time, leading to very little clean up after serving it. I was originally concerned as my challah had gotten squished in the grocery bag, but it wound up being fine. Overall, the dish was a little on the sweet/rich side, but I loved it. Could even be served as a dessert bread pudding! Can’t wait to make this again!

  • I did this again for guests over Thanksgiving weekend minus the alcohol and each time, it’s always a big hit.
    I used the Trader Joe’s challah rolls
    http://www.traderjoesfan.com/component/mtree/products/bakery/handbraided-challah and baked them in my http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/le-creuset-heritage-stoneware-rectangular-covered-casserole/?pkey=e%7Cle%2Bcreuset%7C145%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C22&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH
    It was perfect.
    The bread I got was big enough to feed a crowd, sliced it thicker so it fits in the rectangular baker = perfection!!!

  • hi! making this on saturday, but I just want to confirm that an overnight soak won’t make it too soggy. My guests are coming at noon on saturday and I am afraid if i do this around 8pm the night before it will be. thoughts?

    • No Casey, It shouldn’t be soggy; the soaking allows the bread to fully absorb the egg mixture. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • Awesome! Just prepped it (my gosh it looks amazing!)! Can’t wait to pop this in the oven tomorrow! Thank you!

        • MASSIVE hit.
          One of my guests: ‘this is literally the best French toast I have ever had in my life!’
          🙂

  • A friend made this for my daughter’s post wedding brunch and it was a big hit. Now it’s a Christmas morning must have. We used whole wheat croissants cut in half instead of challah bread and it was perfect!

  • Hi Jen-

    This was yummy but it didn’t puff up at all. So it tasted better that it looked. What did I do wrong? Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa, Try cooking it a bit longer next time. I find it puffs up right at the very end.

  • Hi Jenn! I’m making your drunken caramel French toast for tomorrow’s Easter brunch. Your recipe says you make it the night before. Can I make it this morning or will it become too soggy in the refrigerator for that long? By the way, I have made so many of you recipes and everyone loves them! Your site is beautiful and so well organized. You make each recipe foolproof! Thank you!

    • Hi Patti, I think it should be fine to make it this morning. So glad you’re enjoying all the recipes and Happy Easter!

  • Hi! I’m making the Drunken Caramel French Toast and the Spinach and Cheese Strata. Can the French Toast be baked at 325 like the strata? You mention that the reason for the lower temp is to add creaminess, so I don’t want to lose this. How much longer for the French Toast at 325? Thanks!

    • Hi Iesa, I’d give it an extra 15 minutes or so.

  • I was looking for a recipe that would provide an alternative to the traditional French toast. This hit the mark. I made this for Christmas breakfast and it was a huge hit with everyone. I would definitely make this again, even if just for the hubby and I. I loved the flavor. I didn’t use the Grand Marnier, so I added in fresh orange juice. It added such a great flavor. Thumbs up!

  • The whole family was at our home this Christmas. I was looking for something I could make ahead for breakfast on the day after Christmas. Made this and everyone LOVED it. Following suggestions, I served it with lots of bacon and a big bowl of creamy scrambled eggs. Will definitely make again.

  • It was sooo perfect – served it for breakfast on the 1st of January – everyone loved it. It tastes like a homemade luxurious pastry coming right from the oven and it is so easy to make. And no fuss in the morning. Jenn, thanks a lot. I adore your site and this recipe is again a triumph. Happy holidays and all the best to you and your loved ones!

  • This had all the makings of another excellent recipe from you.

    I baked in a glass pyrex dish and am wondering if this would cause the caramel to burn? The top was perfect but the bottom burnt and stuck to pan. Thanks for your input as I would like to try again,

    • Sorry you had trouble, Cheryl. Happy to help troubleshoot – was the caramel actually burnt or just hard?

      • Hi Jenn,

        Thanks so much for the quick reply. I would say it was both burnt and hard. We do want to try again as everything we have made here has been a consistent five star.

        • Cheryl, Next time try lowering the heat to 325°F and check for doneness at 35-40 minutes; also, be sure to serve hot while the caramel is still soft. Hope that solves the issue. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it again.

          • Jenn,

            Thank you so much for your suggestion! Doing that and adding two T of maple syrup as another person suggested resulted in perfection.

            • — cheryl
      • to make sure the caramel didn’t set too hard I just added a Couple of tablespoons of real vermont maple Syrup to the caramel mixture before adding to the bottom of the dish. Seconds were no problem!!!

  • Hi Jenn, I’m pulling out your winning recipes that have become standard Christmas fare for breakfast and dinner in our home. Please remind me why I need to remove crust from Challah bread in your drunken French toast recipe. Best season greetings to you and your family. Cathy

    • Hi Cathy, If you’d prefer not to have the crust on the bread, you can simply slice it off. Hope you enjoy!

      • Oops, sorry Cathy, I misunderstood! I prefer to remove the crust for a more delicate texture throughout but it’s not absolutely necessary.

  • Would it be possible to eliminate the caramel bottom – to decrease the sugar content?

    • While the caramel adds a lot to the recipe, I do think you could eliminate it.

  • I’ve made various forms of baked French toast over the years & none have wowed me until this one. It’s just the right combo of flavors & I would never have thought I would like the orange in it so much. The challah makes it just the right consistency (not too mushy ). This one is going in the table Christmas morning- thanks!

  • this sounds like it would taste wonderful…is it as easy to make as it sounds?

    • Yes Anita, it’s quite easy (and a definite crowd pleaser :).

  • Just loved it!

    And with all the prep done the night before makes for a real easy morning breakfast. One question though, as mentioned by a previous poster, once the caramel mixture cools a little it sets up real hard. Would there be a way to make the sauce so it would not harden.

    • There’s not really a different way to make the sauce to avoid that. I would just make sure to keep the dish warm while your serving. (Perhaps you could keep it covered and on the warm setting in your oven.)

  • what is half and half.

    • Half-and-half is a blend of equal parts whole milk and light cream.

  • I’ve made this for the past couple of years at Christmas… it’s been a huge hit! I think the challah makes this perfect! I like to top servings with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. We usually make eggs and sausage to balance out the sweetness level.

    • — Tracey Richardson
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    My local store does not carry challah or brioche. Would an Italian loaf or Hawaiian loaf suffice? I could make a loaf of challah but would prefer a store bought loaf for this dish.

    • Hi Mindy, Yes, either would be fine. Definitely no need to make a homemade loaf!

  • I m anxious to try this. Is there anything else to use other than corn syrup? I never use it in my recipes any longer.
    Thanks

    • Hi Catherine, You could use Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Please lmk how it turns out 🙂

    • I agree. I was distressed to see it listed. I found a substitution rule, though:

      “You can replace 1 cup of light corn syrup with 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water or other liquid used in the recipe.”
      Obviously adjust portion.

  • I’m trying to figure out what a large loaf of challah would classify as…How many slices of challah are required? Do I just cover the bottom or do I layer it? Thank you so much for all the delicious recipes!

    • Hi Aileen, I don’t recall how many slices I used to make this dish, but one standard challah should be enough — you just cover the bottom of the dish. (If you’re a little short, you can always fill in with sandwich bread.) Hope that helps!

  • Absolutely delicious!
    The marriage of Grand Marnier and caramel was heavenly.
    Mine didn’t puff up as nicely as yours, but it was still the best breakfast/brunch casserole I have ever served. A real crowd pleaser.
    Thanks again, Jenn. Yo gave me another “go-to” recipe. And one that can be made ahead is so appreciated.

  • This recipe looks amazing, but I am not a fan of orange flavoring. I’m sure I can omit the orange zest, but do you have a suggestion for a replacement for the Grand Marnier? Thank you so much. Our family enjoys your recipes often!

    • Hi Jamie, Yes, fine to omit the orange zest — rum would be delicious 🙂

  • How does the French toast turn out if you completely bake the day before and warm the next morning?How long would you suggest reheating it?

  • I know some French Toast recipes ask for the bread to be “day old” to have a crunchy outside and soft inside. Does it matter for this recipe as well? Or can I use bread bought same day? Thank you! This looks wonderful and I am looking forward to making it for Easter!

    • Hi Brie, Same day bread is fine — either way it will be delicious 🙂

  • I made this for Sunday brunch today and it was a BIG HUGE hit. First time my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents came over and I needed something wonderful and this was it. I looked good thanks to you once again. Keep it up and I will look amazing 🙂

  • I made this the night before to serve for a brunch on saturday. It was a tremendous hit! Served with thick applewood bacon and scrambled eggs with avocado and salsa to balance the sweetness in the meal. Mimosas were a perfect complement to the hint of orange in the dish!

  • Is it possible to use regular cream instead of half and half? Will it change the recipe much?

    • Hi Michael, Regular cream should work fine.

  • WOW. The taste, texture, and presentation is heavenly. I served four grown men (my husband and three brothers-in-law, who were visiting from out of town) and they were still raving over the next couple of days. I loved being able to get this prepared (and so easily) the night before because I enjoy the meal and am much more relaxed not trying to serve, carry on conversation, and get everything cooked and beautifully presented at once. Great brunch dish that pleased all of us! Thank you!

  • I made this over Thanksgiving and it received rave reviews. The orange zest really gives it a fresh flavor. I substituted Cointreau for the Grand Marnier.

  • how do you make perfect scrambled eggs?

    • Hi Kathleen, To make perfect scrambled eggs, cook them in a butter over very low heat, stirring occasionally.

  • The first time i made it I used challah bread and it turned out perfectly. Second time I used white sandwich bread. Big mistake! It turned to mush. Still tasted good though. Don’t skip the hallah or brioche bread, it won’t turn out right. I like to make 1.5x the caramel too. That way it’s got plenty of sauce to go around.

  • First, I have to say that the taste was AMAZING.

    I do have to follow that up with the caveat: you have to serve this HOT as the caramel on the bottom of the pan cools and turns into a solid piece fairly quickly. We found it difficult to have seconds – we reheated in the same pan the next day, but it was hard to get the bottom hot enough to melt the caramel without burning the top. I might make a more “traditional” french toast using the custard recipe she has here, and then have the caramel be a separate little dish for drizzling.

  • Looks fabulous, but i have little kids to feed. Any suggestions for a non-drunken version??

    • Hi Renee, It’s fine to leave out the booze. Or, if you think your kids would like the orange flavor, you could add a little orange juice instead.

  • I have make this French toast for Christmas for my family for the past couple of years. Yes, it is in the fridge right now chilling for the morning. It is much anticipated & loved by all. It is a real treat. Thank you for posting this recipe. Happy holidays to you & your family.

  • I have made this recipe 3 times already and am getting ready to make it again for family visiting. Everyone loves this French toast. I love it because it’s so easy to pop it into the oven in the morning after it sits in the fridge overnight. One glorious pan of decadent deliciousness. Love your recipes.

  • This big hit on valentine’s day!

  • This is so so so good! I used Brioche bread, and didn’t use the orange zest (not a fan) other then that it is a very Cozy meal!

  • OmG….I make french toast all the time, but this recipe is totaly out of this world fabulous….made it for out of town visitors….the platter was empty in no time…with lots of mmmm-good comments….this is another winner rerecipe !

  • Oh, the first time I made this I use Amoretto instead….and it was ddddelicious!!

  • Ok…I need everyone to know that this recipe is out of this world amazing!! I’m not exaggerating. I quickly put it together the night before, in the morning I slid it in the oven, put a few slices of bacon on a baking sheet along side it and poored my husband a coffee and myself a tea……and we were able to spend time with our two little girls!!! Now that’s a great recipe!

  • This was a big hit at our brunch this morning. Mine didn’t puff out quite like the one in your picture did, but it sure was yummy. I’m glad we had some salty bacon on the side to counteract the sweetness of the french toast; it made a great counterpoint. This is a keeper.

  • I know I’m a little later than the rest of the commenters but I had to pop in and thank you for this recipe! I took this dish to a ladies’ breakfast at church and it was a HIT! Several ladies asked for the recipe and I referred them all to this site. Also, I thought I’d share how I squeezed a dessert out of it: I saved the crusts that I’d cut off the challah bread and let them sit out overnight to go stale. Then I used them to make my family’s favorite bread pudding but I added a layer of this recipe’s caramel on the bottom and added orange zest and Grand Marnier to the custard mixture. FABU! I have a feeling I’ll be making Drunken Caramel Bread Pudding whenever I make the French Toast. And I have a feeling that will be OFTEN!

  • OMG!!!
    I’m a caramel addict already and you just gave me another fix!
    Our family makes the rounds at Christmas & everyone starts out here. I make something very similar, without the caramel, . Everyone asks for the French Toast casserole.
    ****Wait until they try THIS recipe! ****

  • Good recipe but I made it a little better by mixing a little cinnamon and sugar together and right before it goes in the over, sprinkle it on the top and dot with a small amount of butter.

  • We had family in town this weekend and I made this to serve for breakfast – it was a hit! Everyone loved it, even the picky ones!

  • Made this as a birthday party breakfast and everyone loved it.

  • Wish I had this for Easter. Sounds just too good.
    What do you think about putting this in lg. muffin
    Cups for individual servings. Thanks for a super recipe

    • Hi Julie, I think that would work just fine. Hope you like it!

  • Yummy, I wish I had come across this recipe a few weeks ago when I need a frech toast casserole recipe. I am putting this on my board for next time.

    • — Lazendra Hairston
    • Reply
  • mmmm…. yum! this looks so good. it reminds me of a creme brulee styled french toast. can’t wait to try and make it!

  • This is delicious! I love the caramelly brown sugar flavor and I’m a freak for a good custardy French toast. I’m in love and will be making this over and over….and over. 🙂

    • — Jenniffer Hernandez
    • Reply
  • I’m going to have to try this one after my husband and I get back from our honeymoon. Sounds like a great breakfast!

  • I am trying this on the weekend. It looks foolproof!

  • Love this! Definitely a go-to when I have company in town!

  • a must have, but not until next week’s budget! ha ha

  • This quickly became my instant go-to recipes for anybody. I’ve “tailored” it for serving kids and adults. Its so easy and makes for a elegant breakfast…or dinner. Yes, it was so good the kids asked for it for dinner! We ended the meal with us hovered around the empty baking dish with spoons eating remaining caramel. Delicious!

  • The first time I made this one my husband looked for the second dish!!!! Big hit at family camping breakfast…..makes me look so talented thanks I love you for this one.

  • Another one of my go-to recipes when relatives are in town. I make it a night or two before and just pop in the oven. So yummy!

  • Scrumptious. This disappeared immediately! I think it could be a dessert.

    • — Jennifer Skibins
    • Reply
  • This looks amazing!

  • needing to try this very soon!!! Sounds delicious!

  • Will try this Saturday. My husband cooks for a local B&B on weekends — this looks very promising!

  • This is my favorite French Toast – It is also a great gift! I made several at Christmas Time and handed them out so that the familys had Christmas Breakfast ready!

  • This is just amazing. I make it every time I have guestst for brunch 🙂

  • I’m putting this on the menu for Saturday Morning. 🙂

  • Wow! This was a great Christmas brunch dish. My daughter has declared it “dangerous”! It is also very easy to put together, especially for something so very delicious.

    • — Claudia Nicholson
    • Reply
  • Jorge Millen

    Major thankies for the blog.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  • Hi Jen, I’m hesitant to say because I’ve never tried it and all eggnogs are different. You might just use it instead of the cream, and reduce the eggs in the recipe by one or two depending on how “eggy” the eggnog is. Also, if it’s spiked, you may want to omit the Grand Marnier. Hope that helps!

  • I’ve made this before and it’s delicious! I’m planning on making it again for Christmas morning. Could I use eggnog in place of the eggs and custard?

  • Sometimes I buy the tiny bottles that they have on airplanes or in hotel mini bars. If you can’t find Grand Marnier, you could also use Triple Sec or Cointreau. You could also just leave it out but then you’d miss out on the boozy orange flavor. Hope that helps!

  • This recipe looks amazing, I’m so excited to try it. Is there a substitute for the grand marnier that I could use? I wouldn’t want to buy it just for 3 tablespoons and then have the rest go to waste. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi there!

      Grand Marnier would actually keep pretty much forever, but you couls also go buy a little tiny bottl (think airplane size bottle) from the liquor store for between $3-$5. 🙂

  • Oh..my..gosh!! I made this for Mother’s Day morning & it was excellent! I personally am not a huge fan of french toast (guess I have never had any that’s been really good until now)but this was awesome! We even had a little left over & it was fantastic a couple of days later. I will make this for guests for sure & for us frequently! Thank you for yet another outstanding recipe!

    • This unfortunately did not come out for Easter breakfast. The caramel tasted great when I cooked it the night before but in the dish it never hardened and mixed with the egg mixture. It also never puffed up. We ended up tossing the food. I’ve made many things from here and the cookbook and this is the first fail.

      • — Emma M. on April 21, 2019
      • Reply
  • A wonderfully easy & decadently delicious recipe. Huge hit at a recent brunch I hosted. You are a culinary genius!!!

  • YUM!!! Best french toast casserole I’ve tasted. Made it for company and everyone was asking me for the recipe…always a good sign!! I used raisin challah which was a nice twist….it was even good reheated in the microwave the next day.

  • This recipe is amazing. We literally scraped the pan clean. I thought the hint of orange was just perfect. This will definitely be an entertaining stand-by for me.

  • Seriously, brilliant. Excuse me while I bookmark this!

  • This was a big hit with my husband and brother-in-law yesterday. They ate so much of it, they had to take naps soon after 🙂
    I had forgotten to stop at the market for the Challah, so I used plain wheat sandwich bread – worked just fine. I also didn’t have a chance to make it the night before, and again, didn’t seem to affect the taste.

    One thing I added before serving: A few maple glazed pecans from your salad recipe.

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