There are two main attractions to every sleepover: dinner and breakfast.
Growing up, you were the cool kid if your parents ordered pizza for you and your friends.
You were even cooler if your mom made something awesome for breakfast, like bacon, pancakes or waffles.
My life’s ambition is not for my kids to be part of the cool club, but I like to think that having a mom who’s a food blogger earns them brownie points at some level.
It might be frosted brownies for your class when it’s your birthday, or a jar of homemade cranberry orange granola as a thank-you gift for your teachers.
In the case of sleepovers, it’s Homemade Pizza on a Friday night and Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole for breakfast.
I tried a recipe several years ago and the texture was downright awful. It was soggy, mushy and too much egg for such little toast. My son didn’t finish his plate, and I didn’t blame him.
I’ve avoided french toast casseroles ever since, despite the fact that they’re SO easy to make and REALLY convenient when you’re feeding a crowd. But then my son asked for French toast for his birthday party breakfast and I thought I’d give it a try again.
For the next week, I tested various French toast methods with a basic recipe I tweaked so that every slice tasted like pumpkin pie. With each recipe, the kids ate them up faster than I could cook them.
That’s when it hit me – maybe there was still hope for French toast casserole… emphasis on the word toast.
The key was to slice a half loaf of Soaked Whole Wheat Bread and purposely let it sit out all day in the open to dry. Then cut it into 1″ cubes and dry toast them in the oven until they were crispy and hard.
And THEN make the casserole.
Let me tell you this – starting with hard bread (rather than fresh bread) is key to making overnight French toast that isn’t soggy or mushy!
This Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole recipe is like many other overnight French toast recipes in that it’s made the night before, contains bread and eggs and involves soaking the two together and baking in the morning.
It’s also super frugal, a great way to use up old bread and can be made dairy-free.
And you can make half of it in the blender!
But the feedback I got from our 9 year guest the morning of my son’s sleepover is what makes this recipe stand apart from all the others.
When I asked him what he thought, he said, “It tastes like pumpkin pie mixed with cinnamon roll mixed with French Toast.”
And then he turned to my son and said, “Dude, how does your mom cook so good?”
I admit, that made me smile big time. Brownie points.
- ½ loaf 1-2 day old bread, cut into 1" cubes
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp salt
- maple syrup & powdered sugar (optional), for serving
- Preheat oven to 250F. Place cubed bread on a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the bread is toasted and hard (but not burned).
- Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients in a blender. Alternatively, combine them in a jar and shake vigorously OR whisk them together in a bowl.
- When bread is toasted, place the cubes in an 8x8 glass baking dish. Pour egg mixture over the bread and using a spatula, toss to ensure all the pieces are coated. Note that not all of the bread will be entirely soaked.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the casserole for 20-30 minutes, until the tops start to get golden brown.
- Serve warm with maple syrup and powdered sugar (optional).
Additional Recipe Notes
This is best enjoyed right out of the oven, but leftovers are pretty good reheated. In fact, my son was disappointed that there weren’t leftovers the next day.
I used whole wheat bread, but just about any bread will work EXCEPT freshly made. Fresh bread will absorb the liquid very quickly and will then become mushy in the pan.
You can double this recipe if you’d like – just use a 9×13 pan.
Tip: Cube any aging pieces of bread as you go through loaves and freeze them. When you get to about 1/2 gallon full, make this recipe!
- bread: $0.25
- eggs: $1.02
- milk: $1.00
- salt: $0.02
- maple syrup: $0.69
- spices & vanilla: $0.15
- pumpkin puree: $0.30
Total cost for making Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole is $3.43.
What’s your take on French toast casseroles? Do you prefer the traditional method?
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