This easy overnight pumpkin french toast casserole tastes just like pumpkin pie! This slightly sweetened dish is perfect for sleepover parties, holiday brunches, and meal prep for busy school mornings, just like my easy pumpkin donuts or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.
There are two main attractions for 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.
In the case of sleepovers, it’s homemade pizza on a Friday night and Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole for breakfast.
Why Make Baked Pumpkin French Toast?
Let me backtrack for a moment and tell you something about French toast casseroles. I generally don’t like them. And neither do my kids.
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 casserole 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.
How to Make Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
The key is to set out half a loaf of Man Bread slices and purposely let them dry out. Then cut the slices into 1″ bread cubes and dry toast them in the oven until they are 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!
Pumpkin French Toast Bake Ingredients
The ingredients for pumpkin french toast casserole are pretty basic for any sweet breakfast dish. Apart from the pumpkin puree, you should have all the ingredients on hand year-round. (You could always stock up on pumpkin during the holiday sales!)
- Bread. You can use store-bought french bread or homemade wheat bread for this recipe – any bread really. But the key is to NOT use fresh bread. You don’t want mushy french toast.
- Eggs. This recipe calls for a lot of eggs. I do not recommend using an egg substitute. You really want the original texture of the eggs to come through.
- Milk. You can use any type of milk you want. Whole milk, 2%, skim or even homemade almond milk would work well!
- Maple Syrup. Since I know my breakfast eaters will be pouring on the syrup, I didn’t want to make the french toast too sweet by using brown sugar. A small amount of maple syrup makes this dish absolutely delicious.
- Vanilla Extract. You can make your own vanilla for this recipe, or use one of these vanilla extract substitutes if you’re out. (The vanilla almond milk would be a good option!)
- Pumpkin Puree. My son loves pumpkin almost as much as I do. We use homemade pumpkin puree in almost all of our fall baking! (Here’s how to make it and freeze extra for later!)
- Spices. You can use the individual spices listed in the recipe, or substitute 2 tsp homemade pumpkin pie spice. Substituting ingredients for what you have on hand is an EXCELLENT way to save money on groceries. Use this Master Substitution Guide to find more ideas!
Although I love a good streusel topping, I opted to leave that off this recipe. It’s only slightly sweet as is, but adding maple syrup on top AND powdered sugar gives it plenty of sweetness.
You COULD add some chopped pecans if you want. That would be very tasty!!
Overnight Pumpkin Casserole Equipment
You don’t need any fancy kitchen tools to make french toast casserole. But I did use my tried and true favorites.
- I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to make my whole wheat bread a few days ahead of time. This appliance is used ALL THE TIME in my home. Here are over 30 Ways to Use a Stand Mixer.
- My Blendtec blender comes in handy every day. Here’s over 45 Ways to Use a High Powered Blender.
- This stoneware baking dish is one of my favorites. It’s the perfect size for breakfast dishes or our favorite black bean brownies.
Additional Pumpkin Breakfast Casserole Tips
How many people does this recipe feed?
As written this pumpkin breakfast french toast feeds 4-6 people.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes! You can double this recipe if you’d like – just use a 9×13 baking pan. And now that I’m thinking about it, this would be a PERFECT Thanksgiving French Toast breakfast!
Is this breakfast casserole good as leftovers?
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!
Can I freeze pumpkin french toast?
I have not tried this myself, but sheet pan pancakes and cinnamon blender waffles freeze beautifully. I imagine this recipe would as well. You can bake, cover, and freeze the whole dish. Or you could bake, cut into individual servings, wrap separately, and freeze.
Also, if you end up with stray bits of dry bread you don’t really want for a sandwich, cube them and freeze them. When you get to about 1/2 gallon-bag full, make this great recipe!
Is this recipe gluten-free?
It depends on the type of bread you use! I used soaked whole wheat bread in this recipe originally. It also works really well with Einkorn sourdough bread, which contains less gluten than the average loaf. If you try a gluten-free bread, let me know how it works out!
Is this pumpkin french toast casserole vegan?
It is not. You can make it dairy-free by using almond milk or coconut milk, but I don’t recommend using an egg substitute. It would not come out with the right texture.
Did the boys at your son’s sleepover party enjoy pumpkin french toast?
Yes! The feedback I got from our 9-year-old 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 a 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.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes:
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Classic Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Swirl Black Bean Brownies
- Pumpkin Pie Hummus
- Easy Pumpkin Donuts
- Pumpkin Cookies with Naturally Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting
- 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 the 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).