Challah French Toast Casserole

An overnight French toast casserole recipe made with challah bread and free range eggs. | An overnight French toast casserole recipe made with challah bread and free range eggs. |
prep time 15 minutes
cook time 45-60 minutes
yield 8-10 servings


For recipe author Lola Dweck, leftover challah - a semi-sweet egg and leavened yeast bread often enjoyed on Jewish holidays - makes for an outstanding French toast casserole fit for special occasions, hosting guests, and everything in between. In fact, this dish has become a beloved tradition in Lola's home:

On Friday evenings at sundown, my family and I celebrate Shabbat and welcome the Jewish day of rest. Typical Shabbat foods include challah (a braided egg bread) and wine, which are both blessed before the meal begins. It’s become our tradition to make French toast the following morning with our leftover challah and the kids absolutely love it.

BY:Lola's Cocina


For the French toast casserole

  • 1 pound challah bread, torn into 4" x 4" pieces (see notes)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Nellie’s Free Range Unsalted Butter, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 6 large Nellie’s Free Range Eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup ground piloncillo or brown sugar (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped, optional

For the toppings

  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Maple or agave syrup
  • Fresh berries


To make the French toast casserole:

  • Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with butter.
  • Add torn challah to the prepared dish, arranging the pieces evenly and leaving no gaps in between the bread.
  • Nestle the sliced butter and raisins in between the bread.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, ground piloncillo, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
  • Using a ladle, pour the egg mixture into the baking dish to cover the bread pieces evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Once you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Remove the cover from your casserole and sprinkle the pecans evenly over the top.
  • Bake at 350F until golden and puffed, about 45 to 60 minutes (see notes). Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

To serve:

  • Using a sifter, dust your casserole with confectioners' sugar before slicing into squares. Serve with maple or agave syrup, fresh berries, and enjoy!

Nellie's Notes:

For best results, arrange your torn challah pieces on a baking sheet to dry out overnight or at least 1-3 hours before using. Short on time? Just lay out your bread pieces on a baking sheet to dry in a warm oven while preparing your other ingredients.

Similar to molasses or brown sugar in taste, piloncillo is a raw form of pure cane sugar used in Mexican dishes. You can find piloncillo at Mexican or Latin American grocers, online, or substitute for brown sugar in this recipe.

Baking times can vary depending on the dryness of your bread, so we suggest checking this casserole after 30 minutes to make sure it's not browning too quickly. If needed, tent your baking dish with foil or lower oven heat to 325F for the remaining cook time.

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