Half breakfast, half dessert, this Cinnamon Crisp Apple French Toast Bake takes all the warm flavor and satisfying textures of apple crisp and combines them with drool-worthy french toast for an indulgent breakfast or brunch everyone will love!
Why We Love Cinnamon Crisp Apple French Toast
The cooler weather rolling in can only mean one thing, fall is coming, and we couldn’t be more excited! As if the weather wasn’t beautiful enough, the cooler weather also brings an abundance of new recipes and comforting flavors like pumpkin spice and cinnamon apples. It’s basically all of the best things.
So, to celebrate, we turned one of our favorite fall desserts into a sweet breakfast option with this apple french toast bake! Full of bold flavors and satisfying textures it’s an apple crisp, cheesecake, and french toast bake all in one. Honestly, breakfast doesn’t get better than that! Your new fall favorite, this recipe is also:
- Easy to make ahead of time
- Perfect for feeding a crowd
- Baked in 45 minutes
- Incredibly soft on the inside yet crisp and crunchy on the outside
Not to mention, it fills your whole house with the most tantalizing smell so you’ll be drooling before you even make a plate.
Sweet Ingredients You’ll Need
As mentioned, this recipe was inspired by our favorite dessert. Therefore, we used the base of our classic french toast bake and added a crisp crumbling topping we know you’re going to adore. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Apple French Toast
- Large Croissants – Used in place of bread, croissants create an extra buttery and flaky texture that’s better than anything you’ve ever tasted before.
- Cream Cheese – For the creamiest texture, use a full-fat option. However, if you want to cut the calories a bit, a fat-free or low-fat option would work, too.
- Granulated Sugar – This is key to creating a sweet taste.
- Apples – We love Granny Smith apples for a hint of tartness that balances out the sugar and cream cheese.
- Cinnamon – A dash of warm cinnamon makes this apple french toast bake perfect for fall.
- Eggs – A great source of protein and healthy fats, eggs add structure to this dish and lock in moisture for the fluffiest, most decadent french toast.
- Milk – We love whole milk, but any white milk can be used.
- Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract to elevate the taste of the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
For the Crisp Topping
- All-Purpose Flour – This provides a structure for the crisp topping that helps hold the rest of the ingredients together. If needed, a 1:1 gluten-free flour alternative can be used in its place.
- Rolled Oats – When baked, oats turn crisp and slightly crunchy and are unbelievably delicious when placed on top of warm french toast!
- Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, that’s fine. Just be sure to remove or adjust the extra salt.
- Light Brown Sugar – Unlike granulated sugar, light brown sugar contains extra moisture and creates a slightly caramelized topping.
- Salt – A pinch of salt helps elevate the rest of the ingredients, making them even more flavorful.
- Cinnamon – This is used in both the topping and the french toast bake to incorporate all of the flavors together for a cohesive dish.
How to Make the Best Apple French Toast
The key to creating a truly unmatched french toast recipe is to let it soak overnight. Then, all you have to do is pop it in the oven the next day, and it’ll taste like you were baking all day!
- Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Then, gently fold in the chopped apples.
- Next, slice the croissants, stopping halfway through to create a pocket. Fill each croissant with the cream cheese mixture.
- Add the bread to a buttered baking dish.
- Create a custard by whisking the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the croissants.
- Now, combine the ingredients for the crisp topping, making sure to cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the croissants.
- Cover the dish, and let it refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, bring your apple cinnamon french toast to room temperature. Once warmed, place the covered dish in the oven for 20 minutes.
- To finish your apple french toast, remove the foil, and continue to bake until the top is a crisp golden brown.
- Serve right away, and watch your guests be blown away!
What Apples Are Best for Apple Cinnamon French Toast
As mentioned, we love Granny Smith apples for their crisp texture and slightly tangy taste. However, any baking apple will do. If you want something a bit sweeter, try using Braeburn, Honey Gold, Gala, or Fuji instead. For a truly unique apple french toast bake, you can also use a combination of different apples for extra depth of flavor.
Want to make sure your apple french toast bake turns out amazing every time? Follow our tips below!
Check Your Flavors. This might sound odd, but trust us! This recipe can easily be adjusted and customized to fit your individual tastebuds. So, be sure to give each layer (except for the custard) and taste to ensure the flavor profile suits your preferences, and adjust the sugar and spices as needed. For instance, if you want a warmer taste, add a pinch of nutmeg. Or, for a more robust flavor, try using dark brown sugar.
Use Stale Croissants. Using slightly stale bread will cause it to soak up the egg mixture with ease for extra fluffy croissants. If you don’t have an older batch, you can “age” your croissants by toasting them in the oven at 325° Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. This will dry it out a bit, resulting in the same effect.
Bring Your Cream Cheese to Room Temperature. This will allow for super easy preparation and will create a smooth, creamy center with 0 clumps.
Keep an Eye on the Oven. Every oven cooks a little differently. So, be sure to watch your french toast closely during the last 5-10 minutes of baking. If the croissants are looking brown and crisp, you may need to pull them out early. Or, add a few minutes to the baking time if the custard mixture still looks a little wet and soggy.
Bursting with warm spices and sugar, this apple french toast bake is incredible all on its own. However, if you want a little extra texture and an added boost of flavor, try including extra add-ins and toppings such as:
- Chopped Nuts
- Fresh Berries or Bananas
- Chocolate Chips
- Caramel or Chocolate Sauce
- Whipped Cream
Turn this simple recipe into a full spread when you pair it with all your favorite breakfast options such as:
- Fresh fruit and yogurt for a yogurt parfait
- Froyo cups
- Oven baked eggs
- Scrambled eggs
- Turkey bacon or sausage
Common Questions About Apple French Toast Bake
How do you fix soggy apple crisp?
When reheating leftovers, make sure not to warm them in the microwave! Instead, heat them in a baking dish at 350° Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until your desired temperature is reached. Or, we love to reheat our french toast in the
Why doesn’t my apple cinnamon french toast get crispy?
Using too much dairy or sugar can result in a soggy french toast. You want enough custard mixture to coat the french toast but not so much that it doesn’t absorb into the croissants.
Do I have to use croissants?
No! We love croissants for their extra buttery taste and fluffy texture. However, any thick, crispy bread you like best can be used. For instance, Challah or Brioche bread both make fantastic substitutes.
Make Ahead Options
We love to make this apple french toast bake ahead of time for the best recipe in a matter of minutes! If you want to wait to bake, prepare the french toast, and leave off the topping. Then, cover it with foil, and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to bake, add the topping, and follow the instructions as usual.
Once baked, it will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week. Or, wrap it up, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
To serve, let your french toast thaw in the fridge, and pop it back in the oven until heated through.
More French Toast Recipes Perfect for Breakfast or Brunch
Looking for more make-ahead french toast recipes? Try out more of our favorites listed below!
- A breakfast or brunch you’ll look forward to eating, this Nutella Stuffed Croissant French Toast is made with decadent Nutella and flakey, buttery croissants for a recipe everyone will love!
- The best mashup, this Baklava Brioche French Toast is baked in the oven and ready in just 25 minutes.
- Sweet mascarpone-ricotta filling is sandwiched between fluffy pieces of brioche bread to create a Cannoli Baked French Toast Recipe that will wow you with just one bite!
- If you love french toast, but hate how hands-on it is to make, then this simple Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast Bake is for you.
Cinnamon Crisp Apple French Toast Bake
- 6-7 large croissants
- 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large granny smith apples (peeled and cored)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 5 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Chop apples into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside. n a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, sugar an cinnamon. Beat together. Fold in apples until mixed in.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in the apples until well incorporated.
- Slice the croissants down the center to form a pocket, making sure not to pierce through. Spoon ~2 Tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into each croissant.
- Butter a 12x8 baking dish. Arrange the croissants facing up.
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the custard mixture over the croissants. Set aside.
- In a bowl add the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and butter. Cut the flour mixture with a pastry cutter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Or, use a hand blender to incorporat the ingredients.
- Sprinkle the oat crumble over the croissants in the baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, let the french toast sit out for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- With the foil still covering the dish, place the french toast in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for an additional 10- 15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serve immediately.