Hosting overnight guests? Treat them to a restaurant-quality brunch at home with this Caramel Pecan Brioche French Toast recipe. This make-ahead recipe for french toast with brioche bread tastes just like rich, gooey caramel rolls but is made on your favorite sheet pan!
Making french toast for a crowd can be a bit like making pancakes for a group - it's time consuming!
But this Caramel Pecan Brioche French Toast recipe gives you all the flavor of your favorite brunch dish with the convenience of a dump and go casserole. Prep the dish the night before and in the morning you'll be ready to serve individual pieces of oven baked french toast to a crowd in no time flat.
Why this recipe is unique
- Looks like real french toast: Unlike many french toast casseroles that use chopped up bread, this recipe more closely resembles french toast you'd make in a skillet because it uses individual slices of bread. I use a loaf of the presliced brioche bread from the grocery store so the bread slices are all even and there is no extra cutting or slicing required.
- Minimal prep: Let the bread soak up all the flavorful goodness while you sleep. In the morning, all that's left to do is make a 5-minute caramel sauce and bake the brioche toast.
- A caramel roll knock-off: With this brioche french toast, you get all the decadence of your favorite breakfast roll without baking skills of any kind. No yeast or dough proofing required.
You'll find everything you need for this recipe at the grocery store.
A few ingredient notes:
- Brioche bread - Yes, you can buy an artisan loaf of brioche bread from the bakery but many grocery stores now carry sliced brioche bread loaves that are perfect for this recipe. The slices are all uniform in size and soak up the custard evenly. That's what I used.
- Milk - I prefer whole milk in this recipe because of the richness it gives the french toast, but feel free to use 2% milk instead.
- Pecans - Not a nut fan? You can definitely omit them if you like. Or lightly toast them for even more nutty flavor.
This dish comes together quickly but it's important to dry out your bread before making this recipe. Stale bread ensures your french toast isn't overly soggy after baking, so make sure you leave enough time for the bread to become stale before soaking it overnight.
Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Place bread slices on a sheet pan. Pour egg mixture over bread slices. Spoon excess over tops of slices to ensure they are soaking in the liquid. Cover and refrigerate. Flip slices over about an hour before baking.
Preheat the oven. While oven is preheating, add brown sugar, butter and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
The bread slices should have completely soaked up the custard by now. Evenly spread caramel on another sheet pan. Sprinkle pecans over top of caramel.
Layer soaked bread slices on top of caramel mixture. Bake. Spoon warm caramel sauce over toast when serving.
This recipe calls for brioche bread for extra rich flavor thanks to a lot of butter and eggs in the bread recipe. Challah is also a good choice (also uses eggs but swaps oil for butter) but thick Texas Toast also works.
Dry (or stale) bread is key to making sure your bread doesn't fall apart after a long overnight soak in the custard. The fastest way to dry out bread is to place it in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake it for 20-25 minutes at 275°F. If you have more time, feel free to just leave it out on the counter for a day and let Mother Nature do the work for you.
Expert tips for making french toast with brioche bread
✘ Dry, stale bread is key to the success of this recipe. The fastest way to dry out bread is to place the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake in a 275°F oven for 20-25 minutes. You can also air dry it on the counter for about a day.
✘ You want the bread to soak up as much custard as possible before baking. The amount of time it takes for your bread to soak up the custard may vary somewhat depending on how dry your bread is, but plan for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.
✘ Short on time? Make the caramel sauce in advance and gently reheat before spreading on the sheet pan.
✘ Not a nut fan or have an allergy? Skip the pecans entirely.
✘ This tip is super important: Don't overbake your french toast or your caramel will harden on the pan. Follow the baking time recommended or your pan will be extremely challenging to clean.
✘ Serve immediately and then soak the pan in the sink with hot water and soap. This quick step makes cleaning the caramel off the pan so much easier.
✘ Baking for a crowd? Double the recipe and use two sheet pans.
✘ This is a very rich recipe, so one piece is enough for a serving. Try to make only what you will eat fresh from the oven. Like most french toast recipes, leftovers do NOT reheat well.
More brunch recipes
Don't forget to toast the occasion with a glass of a classic brunch drink, the Greyhound Cocktail.
Looking for more inspo? You'll find all of our breakfast and brunch recipes in our archives.
Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Your feedback helps us and your fellow readers!
Caramel Pecan Brioche French Toast recipe
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 9 slices brioche bread, stale. See recipe notes below to dry out bread. (I used a packaged, presliced loaf of brioche bread that is easily found at most grocery stores.)
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Whisk together eggs, milk, ¼ cup cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Place bread slices in one layer on a large sheet pan. Pour egg mixture over bread slices. Spoon excess egg mixture over bread to cover all pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours. Carefully flip bread slices at least one hour before baking.3 large eggs, 1 ¼ cups whole milk, 6 tablespoons heavy cream,, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt, 9 slices brioche bread,
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place brown sugar, butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons cream.¾ cup packed brown sugar, 6 tablespoons butter, 6 tablespoons maple syrup, 6 tablespoons heavy cream,
- Pour caramel sauce onto a sheet pan and evenly sprinkle with pecans. Place soaked bread slices on the caramel sauce. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the bread slices and golden and the caramel bubbles. Serve immediately while still hot, spooning excess caramel sauce over french toast pieces.½ cup chopped pecans
- Stale bread is key to making sure your french toast isn't overly soggy once baked. The fastest way to dry out bread is to place the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake in a 275°F oven for 20-25 minutes. You can also air dry it on the counter for about a day.
- You want the bread to soak up as much custard as possible before baking. The amount of time it takes for your bread to soak up the custard may vary somewhat depending on how dry your bread is, but plan for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.
- You can make the caramel sauce in advance. Simply warm and pour on sheet pan when ready to bake.
- The caramel sauce will cool and start to harden once removed from the oven so try to serve your french toast as soon as possible when it's done baking. Follow the baking times recommended in the recipe so your caramel doesn't harden on the pan (which makes it really difficult to clean). Then pop the dirty pan in the sink to soak while you eat.
- Serving a crowd? Double the recipe and use two sheet pans.
- Like most french toast recipes, leftovers do not reheat well.
- Recipe adapted from The New York Times.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.