Easy and comforting baked vegan french toast casserole which is custardy, crispy and so delicious! You'll need less than 10 ingredients to make this vegan breakfast and it can even be prepared overnight. I've also included an extra special pecan crumble.
This recipe uses only common pantry ingredients and no tofu, no aquafaba and no store-bought egg replacers.
When you should make this casserole
This baked vegan french toast is great for using up excess stale bread and is perfect for:
- when you have guests over for breakfast/brunch
- breakfast for birthdays, Christmas or Thanksgiving
- special weekend breakfasts
- when you want to meal prep but want something a bit more lush!
Ingredients for this french toast casserole
Traditionally, french toast involves dipping bread in an egg-based custard mixture and cooking it. We're making an eggless custard from a few simple ingredients! You'll need:
Sturdy sliced bread such as french bread, italian bread or sourdough. I used old homemade vegan brioche for the pictured casserole. However, I made this recipe with sourdough for my cookbook which works really well!
Dairy free milk. I prefer unsweetened soy as it's often thick and rich.
Brown, coconut or cane sugar (or even a liquid sweetener) for a touch of sweetness.
Corn starch (flour) or ground flax / chia seeds to thicken the milk. The corn starch helps retain the colour of the milk whereas the ground seeds add nutrition but gives the casserole little brown specks.
Cinnamon and vanilla for extra yum
Black salt to give the french toast an eggy taste and smell, reminscent of traditional french toast. This is completely optional but makes the casserole more special.
I've also included an optional pecan crumble made with just pecans, flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon.
How to make the french toast soaking liquid
This is super easy! Simply add all ingredients to a bowl and mix. Set it aside for 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to slightly thicken up.
The mixture should still be very liquidy but with slight viscosity (just like lightly whipped eggs). If the flax/chia seeds or corn starch has sunk to the bottom, simply whisk the mixture again.
Assembling the french toast casserole
There are two ways you can assemble the casserole.
The first method is easy where you cut the bread into cubes, arrange them in a casserole dish and simply pour the custard liquid on top. Each cube of bread easily absorbs the french toast liquid.
However, this version can sometimes look messy and disorganised.
The second method is where you slice the bread and arrange them in the baking dish. This creates a prettier and more presentable baked french toast. However, depending on how you arrange the bread and pour the french toast liquid, you can be left with toasted bread and pools of custard with a bit of french toast.
For the second method, the bread needs to be arranged as flat as possible so there's enough surface area to soak the french toast liquid. If your bread doesn't fit evenly in your dish (like below), you can arrange it similar to how Well Plated arranged her overnight french toast.
You may also need to lift each piece of bread and carefully pour the french toast liquid where the bread overlaps so everything is more evenly distributed. Alternatively, you can dip each slice of bread in the liquid, arrange them in the tray, pour over the excess liquid and bake it.
Customising the baked vegan french toast
To make the casserole a little more luxurious, substitute the corn starch (or flax/chia seeds) with custard powder. That'll make your baked french toast reminiscent of bread and butter pudding! Dessert for breakfast anyone?!
Instead of using pecans in the crumble, you can use walnuts, flaked almonds or even pumpkin seeds! Alternatively, simply add more flour to the crumble mixture (or omit the crumble altogether).
If you're gluten free, simply use any sturdy gluten free French, Italian or sourdough bread. You may be able to use regular sandwich bread, as long as it's stale and sliced thickly. The custard soaking liquid is already gluten free!
Can I prepare this casserole the night before?
Yes, I'd definitely recommend making this french toast overnight! The bread will soak up the custard liquid and the flavours will have time to develop.
To do this, simply assemble the whole casserole the night before (cut up the bread and pour over the liquid). Cover the tray and place it in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, bake the overnight vegan french toast in a preheated oven. The casserole doesn't really need to come to room temperature before baking. However, it might just take 5 minutes longer to bake in the oven.
Other vegan breakfast recipes
- Sticky Cinnamon Buns (with maple glaze)
- Jam Donut Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)
- Easiest Baked Vegan Blueberry Pancake
- Vegan Banana Blueberry bread
- Cinnamon Babka
- Vegan Apple Berry Crumble Muffins
- Vegan Apple Cake with Pecan Crumble
Vegan French Toast Casserole (2 ways)
- 450 g (1 lb) stale loaf of bread, such as vegan brioche, French, Italian or sourdough
- 2 cups (500g) dairy-free milk, such as almond, soy or coconut
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar, coconut sugar or cane sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn starch / corn flour, or 3 tbsp ground flax / chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak), or ½ teaspoon any good quality salt
To make the crumble (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a bowl. Rub the mixture with your finger tips or a spoon until combined or there are no more pockets of butter or flour.
To make the french toast casserole
- Chop all the bread into 1 inch (2 cm) cubes. Or slice all the bread into 1 inch (2 cm) slices. Arrange in a greased casserole dish about 11 x 6 inches (28 x 15cm) large (note 1).
- Add the milk, corn starch (or ground flax), cinnamon, vanilla and salt to a large bowl. Whisk until combined and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken. If the corn starch or flax seeds sink to the bottom, simply whisk the mixture again.
- Pour the french toast liquid over the bread in the casserole dish making sure each piece is coated. If you sliced your bread, you may need to press each slice into the bottom of the tray to soak the liquid or lift each slice so the liquid can get to the gaps.
- Allow the bread to soak the custard liquid for at least 30 minutes. Or cover the tray and allow to rest in the fridge overnight.
- When you're ready to bake the french toast casserole, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake the casserole in for 30-40 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and there's no more liquid at the bottom of the tray.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm with maple syrup, ice cream, cream and/or fresh fruit!
- Leftovers can be stored in the tray covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, sprinkle with a little plant based milk (just a few tablespoons or enough to return moisture to the casserole) and heat in the oven at 210°F (100°C) until warm.
- If you opted for the 'sliced' version, make sure your slices are as flat as possible otherwise they may not soak the liquid adequately. If this isn't possible, you may need to dip each individual slice of bread in the french toast liquid then arrange them in the casserole dish.
This recipe was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2021 for simplicity.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.