This apple French toast bake is made with crusty bread, spiced apples, and bourbon, and can be prepared the night before for an easy overnight breakfast bake!
My friend Lynn makes amazing breakfast casseroles.
Lynn lives in Pennsylvania, and each time we’ve visited, I wake up to the decadent scent of baked breakfast goods wafting through the bedroom door.
At first, I thought she’d woken up hours before me, and I was amazed.
Later, I realized that she was even more clever than I realized– she’d prepared everything the night before!
Lynn is a breakfast genius.
And while we didn’t make it to Pennsylvania this year, I’ve still been thinking about a tasty French toast bake that she made for us.
This apple French toast bake reminds me of our friends up north, and is a delicious, decadent breakfast bake that’s easy to prepare ahead of time.
And I added a little splash of bourbon, because why not!
Why Make Baked French Toast?
Because you can prepare it ahead of time!
You can’t really do that with traditional French toast.
But also, baked French toast is portable, so you can make it at home, put it in your car, and drive it to a brunch party.
I still adore other kinds of French toast– like this coconut French toast or this strawberry stuffed French toast— but baked French toast has definitely won a place in my kitchen.
What Kind of Bread Should I Use?
I used an Italian loaf for this apple French toast, but if you prefer a French baguette, brioche, or another bread that can be cut into thick slices, that should work too.
Stale bread works best for French toast, but if your bread is soft and fresh, the recipe walks you through how to dry it out in the oven.
What Kind of Apples Should I Use?
I like making this with Fuji apples, because they’re easy to find, crisp, juicy, and also because that’s what I most often have on hand.
That said, use your favorite apples!
This apple French toast bake would be perfect with Granny Smith apples, Honeycrisps, and basically any apple other than the not-so-delicious Red Delicious.
How To Make an Apple French Toast Bake
Start by slicing an Italian loaf into thick slices.
Mix together eggs, milk, a little bourbon, and some sugar. Dip each slice of bread into the mixture, and layer them in a baking dish.
Next, heat butter in a skillet, and add apple slices, spices, brown sugar, and bourbon.
Cook the apples until they’re tender.
Take out about a fourth of the apples, and set them aside for later.
Scoop the remaining apples and syrup over the bread slices, making sure to tuck some apples between the bread.
Overnight French Toast Bake
If you’re making this apple French toast bake the day before you serve it, cover the dish in foil and refrigerate it overnight.
Make sure to refrigerate the reserved apples too.
Baking French Toast
When you’re ready to bake (either immediately after assembling or the next morning), bake until the bread is golden.
Serve this tasty apple bake warm along with some of the reserved apples. I like to drizzle honey over my French toast, but it’s also delicious with maple syrup.
Want to impress your guests?
Pull this apple French toast bake out of the oven just as your guests are waking up for the day, and wow them with your breakfast-making skills!
Want more make-ahead breakfast ideas? Try this smoked salmon croissant strata from Imagelicious!
Apple French Toast Bake
- 1 Italian loaf, cut into 1" thick slices Stale, dried-out bread works best
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 apples, cored + thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
Prepare French Toast:
- If bread is soft and fresh, place on a single layer on two baking sheets, and bake at 350°F for 5 minutes. If bread is stale, skip this step.
- Whisk the remaining French toast ingredients together. Dip each slice of bread in the custard, and then layer bread in a large casserole dish. (A 9"x13" dish or a 10"x10" dish work well.)
- Pour remaining custard over the bread.
Cook Spiced Apples:
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.Add the apples, brown sugar bourbon, cinnamon, and five-spice. Cook until apples are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Scoop out about ¼ of the apples, and set aside. Ladle the remaining apples and syrup over the French toast. As you spoon the apples onto the bread, make sure to push some apples down between the bread slices. Cover and store the unbaked French toast for at least one hour, or in the fridge overnight.
Bake the French Toast:
- Preheat oven to 350º F.Cover the French toast with aluminum foil, and bake covered for 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until the bread is golden. (Total baking time 45-50 minutes.)
- Serve warm with reserved apples. Top with maple syrup or honey if desired.Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days in the fridge.
Baking french toast is the only way to go! I love the idea of adding apples- it’s so perfect for fall!!
Thanks! It sure does make the whole house smell amazing!
This recipe sounds delicious (all of your recipes do!) I can’t imagine there being any leftovers. This would be a good breakfast when you have guests for the holidays. Probably some of the prep work could be done the night before so it is quick to come together in the morning.
Aw thanks Amanda! And yes- do all that prep work the day before!!
I love breakfast, in particular French toast and this looks delicious! I love that you used five spice with the apples, so yummy!
YUM and also this would for sure make the cook’s job easier. I’m with you on the French toast but when you’re stuck at the oven because you can’t cook all the slices at once, it can be a little sad. This is great for entertaining.
Right!? Nothing will ever replace the classic for me, but next time I have company I’m doing this!
I absolutely love the sound of this, and my eldest son brought home Bramley apples the other day – I know what I’m going to make with them!
Bourbon! I love this recipe it sounds divine! I will be putting bourbon in everything now 😀
I made this yesterday so it’d be ready for breakfast this morning. Since I didn’t have bourbon, I substituted vanilla extract (per Google’s suggestion) & made my own 5 spice as I didn’t have that either. It was really tasty! Thank you for the recipe, Sarah!
Yay!! I’m glad you loved it! 💕💕
I made this for Thanksgiving morning and its definitely a keeper! I used a cinnamon swirled brioche loaf, and as suggested, I used the oven to “stale” it up a bit. I also spread and layered the apple mixture between the brioche, ending with the bread. I wanted to bake it immediately and was pleasantly surprised that the custard mixture absorbed completely. I served with maple syrup, bacon, and a fruit salad. Delicious! Thank you for this recipe.
Yay!! I’m so glad you loved it. I’ll have to try it with cinnamon brioche next time- yum!
Really good and easy. I made some changes. I didn’t have any bourbon or Chinese 5 spice, so I added vanilla, ginger, cloves, and all spice. I think next time I need to add more vanilla and spices if I don’t use bourbon. But it was still really good.
Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed and thanks for letting me know!