Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole

Tested & Perfected Recipes
French Toast Casserole

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

  • I’ve made a very similar recipe with the same boozy sauce on top of the bread each Christmas, and noticed the bread would deflate out of the oven, so I’m glad you mentioned this aspect of baking french toast vs griddling. I have used orange juice and whipping cream (liquid) in place of the half-n-half as well which helps firm up the toast. I’m just scratching my head wondering how you Jennifer Segal, found this recipe in Gourmet magazine and live on the east coast while I received my recipe with the caramel on top from a coworker years ago on the west coast!! That goes to show everybody should try this baked french toast, it is so easy to make it the night before to save time too, making the caramel sauce while baking.

    • — Teresa Nickell on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my new favorite breakfast for guests and Christmas morning, because you can make it ahead and it’s always delicious. It’s subtly flavored and one of those recipes that you have taste memories of. I used store bought pre sliced brioche so it wasn’t 1.5 inches thick but I just overlapped etc to fit the bread in. It’s also pretty tasty as a leftover, although more custardy and not puffy anymore.

    • — Marie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, Is this the same recipe as your “Drunkin Sailor” French Toast?? I don’t remember the bread slices being flat in the casserole dish.
    I was just looking for it for our Christmas Brunch. My family loves it as well as all of your recipes. I’m not a great cook, but you have turned me into one Thank you.

    • — Susan on December 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I’ve never heard of drunken sailor french toast so I can’t compare the two – sorry! Hope you enjoy if you try this though. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn, I love this recipe! Can you tell me what size dish I would use for 1/2 the recipe and the bake time?

    • — Erin on August 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Erin, I’d use an 8 x 8-inch pan. Bake time may be the slightest bit different so keep a close eye on it. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Wow! I made this for a friend’s birthday brunch and it was a huge hit! We have a restaurant in La Jolla, CA that serves a similar dish called Coast Toast and I cannot believe that I have found a recipe that basically has the same flavors. I only made two small changes to the recipe based on other reviews – 1. I added a tablespoon of regular pancake syrup to the caramel sauce to prevent it from hardening. I did not notice that it has hardened over time so I think it worked! 2. I did a little less than a teaspoon of orange zest which still gave it a ton of orange flavor. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Laura on March 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • I also forgot to mention that Trader Joe’s has sliced brioche bread which was a breeze to use!

      • — Laura on March 9, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn: For Christmas 2019 I made your Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole, and although I couldn’t find Brioche nor Challah, I did find English Muffin bread, and I used it. I was afraid that the English Muffin Bread wouldn’t work, but oh my goodness it worked.

    This Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole is out of this world Good.

    • — Pamela H? on January 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • Oh, my gosh!!!!! First of all, my grocery store did not have Brioche, nor did it have Challah bread, however, it did have English Muffin Bread. So, since I love English muffins, I thought, “why not?” So, this Christmas morning 2019 we had your recipe “Boozy Caramel French Toast Casserole, using English Muffin bread.”

    You simply can’t go wrong. You can’t find the stated bread, no problem? I just picked a bread, and I saw English Muffin Bread., I bought it, used it, and it’s excellent.

    We are having it for dessert with vanilla bean ice cream, and a twirl of chocolate syrup.

    • — Pamela Harriman on December 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    How will this caramel sauce work with the cheesecake bars? Or do you think I should stick with the berry sauce?

    • — Tonya on December 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • 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
      • Are there any substitutions for the Grand Marnier?

        • — Amy on December 24, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Amy, Bourbon would be delicious.

          • — Jenn on December 24, 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!

    • 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.

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

      • Thanks Jenn. Can it be reheated if there are leftovers.

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

  • Quick question…would you still serve butter and maple syrup with this dish?

    • Hi Andrea, No it’s really not necessary. 🙂

  • 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!

  • OMG! The best breakfast item ever! Been making it for a couple of years now. My kids and grandchildren love, love, love it.

  • 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.

    • Hi Mareesa, Sorry you had trouble with this! Did you let it chill for at least 6 hours before baking?

  • 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😞.

    • 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. 🙂

  • 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

    • 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.

      • Thank you Jenn!!! Do you think they’d need to be rotated half way through? Or just leave them alone??

        Thanks again!!
        XOXO

        • 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!

          • I will! And thank you for these prompt responses Jenn!!

            • — Kim
  • 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
    • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • I can’t find challah in Hawai’i. Would it be possible to substitute brioche bread or any other type of bread?

    • Hi Su, yes, brioche or a Hawiaan loaf would work nicely here too. Enjoy!

  • 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

    • 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!

  • I was wondering do you think I could makes these into individual servings like in a muffin?

    • Hi Erica, I think it would work (sounds good)! Hope you enjoy 🙂

  • 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!

    • WARMING tray, not “warning” tray

      • Ha! What a great idea for serving. Glad it was a hit! 🙂

  • please provide the nutrition information for this dish.

  • 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.

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

  • 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!

  • Just one layer of bread slices…correct?

    • 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!

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