This delicious Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake makes the ultimate weekend or holiday breakfast casserole! Gluten-free bread cubes and diced sweet apples are covered with plant-based milk and egg custard, topped with crunchy maple-walnut streusel, then baked to perfection.
What is an overnight French toast bake?
Overnight French Toast is simply a large pan of French toast made into a casserole. You can make it the night before, refrigerate it overnight (or simply for a couple of hours), then bake it in the morning!
It turns out soft and creamy inside with crispy crunchy edges. Did I mention it's topped with the best cinnamon maple-walnut streusel? It's the same crunchy streusel topping I use on these Grain-free Apple Muffins and Banana Coffee Cake.
There's more! While you can easily use a regular loaf of wheat bread and whole milk, I've made this breakfast treat recipe both gluten-free and dairy-free. I've also included instructions to make it nut-free!
- What is an overnight French toast bake?
- ❤️ Why you'll love this gluten-free apple French Toast
- 🛒 Simple ingredients and substitutions
- 🔪 How to make the best apple cinnamon French Toast casserole
- 🔁 Possible Variations
- 👍🏼 Helpful Tips
- ❓Reader's Questions
- 🍽 Serving Suggestions
- ⏰ Storage Instructions
- 🗒 More gluten-free breakfast recipes
- 📖 Recipe
❤️ Why you'll love this gluten-free apple French Toast
This recipe makes a warm and hearty breakfast, perfect for weekends, slow mornings, or for holiday breakfasts.
- Prep ahead: It's an ideal breakfast to make ahead of time. Simply prep it the night before, let the bread soak up all the rich custard and bake it in the morning. However, you don't have to wait that long. A couple of hours to soak is all you'll need.
- Makes a large batch. It serves 8 hungry people.
- No mess: No messy dipping and frying slice by slice with this recipe!
- No "eggy" taste: You'll combine the eggs, milk and cream thoroughly so there are no bits of overcooked egg in this French toast casserole.
- It's full of apple chunks in every bite and it's topped with the most delicious maple-walnut streusel topping!
- It's an easy recipe to adapt: This recipe is written as both gluten-free and dairy-free. However, you can certainly substitute wheat bread and whole milk for gluten-free bread and plant-based milk if you'd like.
French Toast is one of my favourite breakfasts. While my Chocolate Almond Smoothie with Hemp Hearts fuels me on workout mornings, lazy mornings call for something different like pancakes or French toast. Air Fryer French Toast Sticks are quick to make and Slow Cooker Blueberry French Toast is a great make-ahead breakfast.
🛒 Simple ingredients and substitutions
You'll find a complete list of ingredients with amounts in the recipe card below. But before we get to the full recipe, here are a few notes about the ingredients.
For Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake
- bread: the best gluten-free bread for French Toast that I've found is a gluten-free brioche loaf. It's fairly dense and sturdy and it holds its shape without becoming mushy. You could also use a firm gluten-free sourdough loaf. Soft white bread will not work well in this recipe. Choose a loaf with a firm texture.
- eggs: you'll need 8 large eggs.
- milk: to keep this recipe dairy-free, use plant-based milk. Oat milk has a slightly thicker texture than almond milk, so it works well in this recipe.
- cream: coconut cream replaces the heavy cream used in a traditional recipe for French Toast. You won't taste the coconut flavour, honest!
- apples: you'll need 2 large apples, any sweet variety like Gala, Fuji or Honeycrisp.
- sugar: a combination of both granulated sugar and coconut sugar (or brown sugar) works well in this French Toast recipe. You can substitute 0-calorie Monkfruit sweetener for the granulated sugar.
- flavourings: ground cinnamon and nutmeg and pure vanilla extract.
For Maple Walnut Streusel Topping
- almond flour: or gluten-free flour blend
- sugar: brown sugar or coconut sugar
- cinnamon: for those warm cozy fall flavours!
- maple syrup: binds the ingredients together (instead of using butter)
- walnuts: coarsely chopped
🔪 How to make the best apple cinnamon French Toast casserole
Here's what you'll do to make this recipe perfectly!
Lightly mist or spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with oil to prevent sticking.
Cut the loaf of bread into cubes about ¾ - 1 inch thick. Let them air dry while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, or you can even let them dry for 24 hours if you'd like.
In a bowl or blender, combine the plant-based milk, cream, sugars, pure vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg to make the custard filling.
Layer half the bread and half the diced apples in the baking pan.
Cover with half the milk and egg mixture.
Repeat the layers and pour the remaining milk mixture evenly over the bread cubes and diced apples. Cover with a lid or with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate.
Combine the streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the casserole and bake for 45 - 60 minutes.
🔁 Possible Variations
Make this a nut-free French Toast recipe. Simply omit the walnuts from the streusel and replace the almond flour with a gluten-free flour blend, or with quick oats.
If you don't need this to be gluten-free, use a loaf of your favourite French bread, Challah bread or brioche. And if you don't need it to be dairy-free, you can use whole milk instead of plant-based milk and heavy cream (or "half and half") in place of the coconut cream.
👍🏼 Helpful Tips
If you discover before baking that the top layer of bread has not soaked up the custard, use a spatula to gently press down on the bread to help it absorb the liquid.
Soggy French Toast usually just needs a little more baking time. However, a lot depends on the type of bread you're using and the ratio of custard ingredients to bread. Use a dense, sturdy bread with body, like a brioche or a chewy French bread. Limp white bread will not make good French toast.
If you find there is a lot of liquid in the bottom of the baking dish when you're ready to bake the casserole, drain most of it off. The bread should have soaked up most of the liquid as it sat in the fridge.
Yes! In the recipe card below, click on the number of servings. A little slider will pop up. Slide it to 4 servings. You can bake half the recipe in an 8-inch square pan.
No! The coconut flavour is not noticeable at all.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This easy apple French Toast casserole is delicious with a drizzle of pure maple syrup or this Cinnamon Simple Syrup. You could also sprinkle it lightly with powdered sugar or powdered Monkfruit sweetener. Try honey or agave syrup instead if you'd like.
This recipe makes an ideal make-ahead breakfast casserole. It's great for special occasions during the holiday season like Christmas morning, Thanksgiving breakfast, or for Mother's Day or Father's Day.
It's so much easier (and so much faster) than making classic French toast slices and it's an ideal choice when you have overnight guests.
⏰ Storage Instructions
Store it: Let cool completely, then store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.
Reheat it: While French Toast is best enjoyed warm from the oven, you can certainly reheat it the following day.
Freeze it: You can freeze this French Toast casserole either unbaked or baked. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then follow the recipe directions to bake it. If it's baked, you can reheat it in the oven at 350°F. until it is warmed through.
🗒 More gluten-free breakfast recipes
When you make this apple cinnamon French Toast bake, please leave a comment and a rating below. I love hearing from you! Thanks in advance. Subscribe to my newsletter and receive new recipes delivered straight to your inbox.
Gluten-free Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake
- 1 16 oz. loaf gluten-free brioche bread
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups plant-based milk, like oat milk
- ½ cup coconut cream,
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Maple Walnut Streusel
- ½ cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Grease or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- Slice a loaf of dense gluten-free bread into cubes about ¾ to 1-inch thick.
- In a bowl or blender, combine the plant-based milk, cream, sugars, vanilla and cinnamon to make the custard filling.
- Layer half the bread and half the diced apples in the baking pan. Cover with half the milk and egg mixture (the custard.)
- Repeat the layers and pour the remaining custard mixture evenly over the bread. Cover the baking pan with a lid or with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
- In a small bowl, combine the streusel ingredients.
- When you're ready to bake, remove the pan from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The casserole should be bubbling and firm.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice into squares and serve. It is very sweet, so it doesn't need much syrup!