Pumpkin French Toast Casserole is a restaurant-worthy breakfast or brunch made with thick bread, pumpkin puree, warm spices, and a sweet streusel topping. Kid-friendly, easy to make, and out-of-this-world delicious, it’s the perfect way to celebrate fall!
Table of Contents
- Indulge in the Flavors of Fall with our Irresistible Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- Why Is It Called French Toast?
- Ingredients for Fall-Inspired Breakfast Perfection
- Elevate Your Breakfast with Simple Steps in this Pumpkin French Toast Casserole Recipe
- Serving Suggestions
- Storage Options
- Common Questions About This Easy Pumpkin French Toast Casserole Recipe
- More Fabulous French Toast Recipes
- Pumpkin French Toast Casserole Recipe
Indulge in the Flavors of Fall with our Irresistible Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
Are you a fan of French toast? It’s one of our favorite recipes, and with endless options like churro French toast, pecan pie French toast, and cinnamon roll French toast roll-ups, we make it pretty much every weekend!
However, with fall in full swing, we knew we needed to add another variation to our recipe box. So, without further ado, let us introduce you to our pumpkin French toast casserole!
Loaded with warm, sweet pumpkin flavor and finished with a decadent streusel topping, it’s what breakfast dreams are made of! Not only is the flavor guaranteed to knock your socks off, but this recipe is:
- Made with just a handful of simple ingredients.
- Created with minimal prep time.
- Great to prepare in advance.
- Perfect for feeding a crowd.
Why Is It Called French Toast?
Believe it or not, the name French toast is actually believed to have been an accident! According to reports, an innkeeper in Albany, New York named Joseph French presented the dish in the U.S. in 1794 and meant to call it “French’s toast”.
However, a grammatical error was made eliminating the apostrophe “s” at the end. Then, in 1871 the term “French toast” was printed in the “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink” in North America, and the name has stuck ever since!
Ingredients for Fall-Inspired Breakfast Perfection
Indulge your senses with the warm spices and sweet taste of fall! Here’s everything you need to make your pumpkin French toast casserole dreams come true.
Pumpkin French Toast
- Bread – Use thick, crusty bread such as French bread or Brioche bread.
- Milk – For the best taste, we recommend using whole milk, but any kind you have on hand will work. If you want to make an ultra-rich recipe, you could even use eggnog instead!
- Sugar – Granulated sugar helps sweeten the custard.
- Pumpkin Purée – Use pure pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling which has added sugar and spices. The only ingredient should be pumpkin!
- Eggs – Eggs are crucial to add rich flavor and hold the bread pieces together.
- Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract to enhance the flavor of the rest of the ingredients, creating extra sweetness and depth.
- Spices – Use pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or both to create a warm, pumpkin pie-inspired taste.
- Light Brown Sugar – This helps sweeten the topping while keeping it moist.
- All-Purpose Flour – This helps create the crumbly texture we’re looking for.
- Salted Butter – Creates a rich flavor and a crumbly topping.
- Chopped Pecans – We love the added crunch!
- Cinnamon – Just a dash helps incorporate the flavor of the streusel with the French toast pieces for a cohesive dish.
What Kind of Bread Works Best?
Technically, any kind of bread can be used for French toast recipes. However, for the best results, we recommend using thick, fluffy pieces to help soak up all the custard.
French and Brioche are our favorites, but Challah and sourdough also work! No matter what you use, you’ll want to make sure it’s a day or so old.
Stale bread more readily soaks up the custard mixture, creating fluffy, flavorful pieces of French toast. If all you have is a fresh loaf of bread, you can create stale bread by drying out the pieces in the oven!
Elevate Your Breakfast with Simple Steps in this Pumpkin French Toast Casserole Recipe
The process to make this recipe is simple, but it tastes better the longer it soaks. So, for the best results, we highly recommend preparing it a day in advance!
- Prepare. Before you begin, preheat your oven, grease a baking dish, and set it aside.
- Soak the bread. Slice the bread pieces into equal-sized cubes, and arrange them in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Then, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the custard, and pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes. Press down slightly to ensure they’re soaked.
- Create the streusel topping. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the streusel topping. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to blend the mixture until a crumbly, sand-like texture forms. Sprinkle the streusel over the bread in the baking dish.
- Chill. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and transfer it to the fridge to chill and allow the bread to absorb the liquid.
- Bake. Place the baking dish in the oven covered with foil until the custard is mostly set. Then, remove the foil, and continue to bake until the top is golden brown and the casserole is completely set.
- Serve. Allow the French toast to cool slightly. Then, slice, and serve with your favorite toppings!
Loaded with pumpkin flavor, this pumpkin French toast casserole is great to serve as is, but you can never go wrong with extra toppings, right? Try pairing your breakfast or brunch with options like:
- Maple Syrup
- Powdered Sugar
- Peanut Butter (or any other nut or seed butter)
- Whipped Cream
- Chocolate Chips
- Caramel Sauce
- Fresh Fruit
- Pumpkin Butter
This recipe is best enjoyed right away while it’s still hot and fresh. However, if you have leftovers, they can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for one to two days.
Or, freeze them instead for up to three months! To reheat, allow your casserole to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, warm it covered in the oven, or heat individual portions in the microwave.
Common Questions About This Easy Pumpkin French Toast Casserole Recipe
The key to preventing soggy French toast is to use stale bread and just enough custard to cover the pieces without drowning them in liquid. Then, just be sure to bake it long enough to set!
You want your bread to be submerged in liquid but not totally drowning or covered. Then, let it sit and soak for at least two hours or up to overnight in order to absorb the custard and become fluffy.
Milk helps soften the bread and combine and bind the ingredients while enhancing the creaminess of the custard.
Some of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to making French toast include not using the right kind of bread, not thoroughly mixing the custard, and not allowing the bread to soak.
More Fabulous French Toast Recipes
Looking for more French toast variations? Try out the easy recipes below!
- Strawberry Mascarpone French Toast
- Cinnamon Crunch Bagel French Toast Casserole
- Nutella Stuffed Croissant French Toast
- Cannoli Baked French Toast
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
For the French Toast Casserole:
- 1 pound day-old French bread or brioche bread
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree not pie filling
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
For the Streusel Topping:
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cold salted butter diced
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish, and set it aside.
- Cut the day-old French bread or brioche into 1-inch cubes, and place them in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.1 pound day-old French bread or brioche bread
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, granulated sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon). Mix until well combined.2 cups milk, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 4 large eggs, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
- Pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes in the baking dish, making sure all the bread is soaked. Press down lightly to ensure even soaking.
- In a separate bowl, prepare the streusel topping. Combine the light brown sugar, all-purpose flour, diced cold butter, chopped pecans, and cinnamon spice. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to blend the mixture until it forms a crumbly texture.1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cold salted butter, 1/3 cup chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the bread mixture in the baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish with foil, and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. This allows the bread to absorb the liquid and flavors.
- To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
- Bake the French Toast Casserole, covered with foil, for 30 minutes.
- Then, remove the foil, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the casserole is set.
- Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Drizzle with maple syrup or sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.