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!
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!
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.
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).
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):
- The Best Chocolate Babka: sprinkle on some additional chocolate chips before baking and top with maple syrup or homemade chocolate sauce
- Cinnamon Hazelnut Babka: add 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the egg mixture; sprinkle some halved of quartered toasted hazelnuts on top of the casserole before baking and serve with maple syrup
- Pizza Babka: add 1/2 tsp garlic to the egg mixture; sprinkle any additional desired pizza toppings on top of the casserole before baking and top with shredded mozzarella cheese; serve with heated tomato sauce for dipping if desired
- Everything Bagel Babka: add 1 teaspoon additional everything bagel seasoning to the egg mixture; after baking top with fresh chives; serve with slices of lox if desired
- Funfetti Babka: add 1 teaspoon almond extract to the egg mixture; top with cinnamon roll glaze and 1/4 cup additional sprinkles after baking
- Blueberry Babka with Almond Streusel: follow recipe below as written
- S’mores Babka: top with miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips, and graham cracker crumbs before baking; top with maple syrup or homemade chocolate sauce
- Honey Apple Babka: top with sauteed cinnamon apples
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Babka: add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg to egg mixture, sprinkle additional chocolate chips on French toast before baking; serve with homemade pumpkin caramel sauce or pumpkin butter
- Cranberry Orange Babka: add additional orange zest to egg mixture; top baked casserole with sugared cranberries and extra powdered sugar
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.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Babka French Toast Casserole
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Unbaked babka French toast casserole can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
More Easy Breakfast Recipes:
- Blueberry Blintzes
- Smoked Salmon Egg Muffins
- Bacon Chocolate Chip Waffles
- Soft Pretzel French Toast Casserole
- Baked Eggs in Spinach
- Baked Peach French Toast
For the babka French toast casserole:
For the blueberry sauce:
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol