Babka French Toast Casserole

How can you make babka even better? Turn it into french toast, with this easy make ahead babka french toast casserole recipe! Lots of flavor combinations for dozens of babka recipes – both sweet and savory! Plus freezing instructions to make this overnight casserole months ahead of time, too!

overnight baked babka french toast casserole in a white serving dish next to a ceramic container of eggs, a pint of blueberries, and some sliced almonds

We’ve reached the end of our yearlong series on babkas — what a fun, twisty, yeasty year it’s been!

Instead of a new babka recipe for December, this month I decided to give you a new way to use all the different types of babka recipes we’ve baked… a babka French toast casserole!

I love this recipe because it’s so adaptable.  You can make it the night before.  (Hello, easy prep when you have guests in town!)  Or you can make it in the morning and let it sit for 30 minutes before baking.  (No need to stress if you forget to make it the night before, or have unexpected morning visitors.)

The flavors are also super easy to pair with any of the babkas from my list.  And since all of my babka recipes make two loaves… it’s perfect to freeze the extra loaf and keep it around to make this babka French toast when you have company!

Read on for suggestions on how to turn any of my babka recipes into an amazing make-ahead babka French toast breakfast casserole — or a savory any time of day French toast casserole!

a slice of blueberry babka french toast casserole being lifted out of a white casserole dish showing a side view of a slice of the casserole

How to Make Blueberry Babka French Toast Casserole

Using babka instead of “regular” bread for a French toast casserole just elevates French toast to a whole new level.  Babka is already rich, eggy, and almost custardy on its own.  Now, we’re soaking it in eggs and cream and milk and baking it, blurring that line between breakfast-appropriate French toast and dessert-appropriate bread pudding.  (What is the difference, exactly, anyway?)

While you can certainly cut the babka into cubes and toss with the liquid before baking, I like to keep the slices of babka whole and arrange them in a baking dish.  Babka swirls are so beautiful on their own, and if you’re a little less heavy-handed than I was with the final dusting of powdered sugar, you can still see the gorgeous swirls of filling in the final dish.

Making this babka French toast casserole could not be any easier.  Slice your babka into 12 half-inch thick slices. 

Whisk together eggs, milk, and heavy cream.  No heavy cream at home?  No problem – I like to add it for a little extra richness, but you can use whatever milk or milk-like products you have on hand.  Add in any added spices (see flavor suggestions below!), vanilla extract, and salt.  

Dip the babka slices in the milk and egg mixture, then add to a 9×13-inch baking dish, overlapping the slices.  Pour the rest of the egg mixture over top, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator.

Let this sit for at least 30 minutes so the babka can absorb some of the liquid.  It can sit in the refrigerator for as long as 18 hours, so it’s a perfect make ahead breakfast option.

When you’re ready to bake, add in any extra mix-ins like fruit, nuts, or chocolate (again, ideas below) and bake at 325 °F for 1 hour.  Cool for 15 minutes, then top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar (or grated cheese, for savory babka casseroles!) and serve.

four panels of pictures showing unbaked babka french toast casserole, then the casserole topped with blueberries and sliced almonds, then the baked casserole, and lastly the baked casserole topped with powdered sugar

Freezing Babka French Toast Casserole

What makes this babka french toast casserole even better?  You can freeze it!

Make everything as directed, up to baking.  Slice the bread, make the egg/milk mixture, dip in the bread, pour the rest of the custard mixture over top.

Instead of baking, cover with a layer of plastic wrap, pressing down on the bread to press out any air.  Wrap with an additional layer of aluminum foil, then freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw the French toast casserole overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed (325 °F for 1 hour).

just baked babka french toast casserole covered in powdered sugar with blueberries and almond slices scattered on top

Babka French Toast Casserole Flavor Ideas

For this particular recipe, I used my blueberry babka with almond streusel, topped it with additional blueberries and slivered almonds, and poured homemade blueberry sauce on top.  The recipe for this specific version in included below, but you can adapt this recipe to work with any of my babka recipes.

Here’s some amazing flavor ideas, with each of my babka recipes from my 2019 Babka of the Month recipes (excluding the cinnamon chocolate babka muffins):

a slice of babka french toast casserole with homemade blueberry sauce being poured on top of the slice

How to Store Babka French Toast Casserole

This babka French toast casserole is best when it’s fresh out of the oven.  As it bakes, the bread puffs up and reheating the casserole doesn’t quite achieve the same results – it will always be a bit flatter and denser.

That said, it still tastes good, even if the texture is heavier.

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  

Reheating is best done in the oven, at 325 degrees until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes, but time will depend on the size of the leftover piece of babka French toast casserole.

Leftovers can also be reheated in the microwave for quicker, weekday-morning breakfasts, but the texture will be a bit chewier.

overhead view of a white casserole dish with baked babka french toast with one slice removed on a small plate covered in homemade blueberry sauce

Tips and Tricks for the Best Babka French Toast Casserole

  1. This recipe adapts easily to varying amounts of babka; don’t get held up on whether your babka is bigger or larger than the one this recipe initially used.  It also works well for three-fourths of a babka if you want to eat a few slices and then freeze the rest.
  2. Thaw any slices of frozen babka (or entire loaves of babka) before dipping in the egg mixture.  Frozen babka will not absorb the mixture.  Babka should be room temperature.
  3. Any milk or milk alternative can be used in lieu of the 2.5 cups of whole milk and 0.5 cups of heavy cream.  Adding some heavy cream makes the French toast casserole even richer, but is not necessary.  Dairy-free milks can be substituted as well.
  4. Unbaked babka French toast casserole can be frozen for up to three months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

More Easy Breakfast Recipes:

Babka French Toast Casserole: Make babka even more impressive, by turning it into French toast, with this easy make ahead recipe! Lots of flavor combinations for dozens of babka recipes - both sweet and savory. Plus freezing instructions to make this overnight casserole months ahead of time, too! #bunsenburnerbakery #babka #frenchtoast #breakfastcasserole #frenchtoastcasserole #breakfast

Babka French Toast Casserole

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

How can you make babka even better? Turn it into french toast, with this easy make ahead babka french toast casserole recipe!

Ingredients

For the babka French toast casserole:

For the blueberry sauce:

  • 1 pound blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Slice a babka into 12 approximately half-inch thick slices, excluding the ends; you may not use the whole loaf of babka.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Dip each slice of babka into the egg mixture, then place into the prepared baking dish. The slices of babka will overlap. Pour the remaining egg mixture overtop the slices of bread, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 18 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Sprinkle blueberries and almonds across the top of the casserole, tucking some between the slices of babka. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the slices of bread are puffed and browned and the custard is just set with no additional liquid pooling in the bottom. If the bread is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
  4. While the babka is baking, make the blueberry sauce. Combine the blueberries, water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly thicker.
  5. When babka French toast casserole is done baking, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar, then slice into squares and top with blueberry sauce before serving.

Notes

  1. Thaw any slices of frozen babka (or entire loaves of babka) before dipping in the egg mixture.  Frozen babka will not absorb the mixture.  Babka should be room temperature.
  2. Any milk or milk alternative can be used in lieu of the 2.5 cups of whole milk and 0.5 cups of heavy cream.  Adding some heavy cream makes the French toast casserole even richer, but is not necessary.  Dairy-free milks can be substituted as well.
  3. Unbaked babka French toast casserole can be frozen for up to three months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
  4. Store any leftover babka French toast casserole in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven at 325 °F until heated through for ideal texture, or microwave for a quicker option.
  5. See the full post for variations for many other babka flavors.


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Babka French Toast Casserole: Make babka even more impressive, by turning it into French toast, with this easy make ahead recipe! Lots of flavor combinations for dozens of babka recipes - both sweet and savory. Plus freezing instructions to make this overnight casserole months ahead of time, too! #bunsenburnerbakery #babka #frenchtoast #breakfastcasserole #frenchtoastcasserole #breakfast