This baked cherry French toast casserole is the perfect recipe for the holidays since you can make it ahead of time and freeze it! Just pull it out of the freezer and pop it in the oven for your Christmas breakfast!
Last year I was determined to get the majority of my Christmas shopping and prep work done by the end of November. I was probably 90% finished by the time December 1st hit, and let me tell you that it was glorious!
Seriously! I’ve always enjoyed the holidays and December, but last year was extra special because I didn’t feel frazzled and hectic on top of it. I’m on the same mission this year and am including even more make-ahead, freezer meals in my holiday meals!
Christmas Breakfast Recipes
There are some Christmas breakfast recipes that aren’t the best for freezing ahead of time, but my family really looks forward to like Monkey Bread and a Loaded Fritatta. So when I can find something that does work to prep ahead of time, I’m all over it.
This Baked Cherry French Toast Casserole fits the bill perfectly. While you can use blueberry or even apple pie filling, I went with cherry since it looked the most festive.
How to Make Baked Cherry French Toast
This is the perfect recipe to find a loaf of French or Italian bread at your grocery store that is already marked down on the day-old shelf! Sometimes if I see these loaves marked down, I’ll buy it just to bring it home, cube it and then freeze it until I know what I want to make.
This recipe couldn’t be simpler and it’s a great one to have your kids help with as well. Just spread your prepared pan with half of the cubed bread, the cubed cream cheese, half of the pie filling and then the rest of the bread (you could use left over pie filling for my Christmas Cherry Pie, too!)
You’ll whip up some eggs, milk and maple syrup to pour over the entire pan. Finish it off with the rest of the pie filling and that’s it!
While you could cook it right away, this is the point where I freeze it until later in the season when I’m ready for it.
How to use the Foil and Plastic Wrap Method of Freezer Cooking
Any time I make a casserole like this for the freezer, I use the foil and plastic wrap method of freezer cooking. The benefit to this method is that you can use your pan while the item is in your freezer rather than having to keep the pan with the casserole until you bake it a month or so later.
To use this method, line your baking pan with foil. Then line the foil with plastic wrap.
Assemble your casserole on top of the plastic wrap and then cover with a top layer of plastic wrap when finished.
Place your entire pan of casserole in the freezer until it is completely frozen. This usually takes a few hours, but sometimes I just leave it in overnight to be sure it’s frozen solid.
Once it’s frozen, you can lift the entire casserole straight out of the pan with the foil being your bottom layer. This picture is kind of hard to interpret, but it’s me lifting the entire thing out so that I have access to my pan again.
Once you’ve removed the frozen casserole from the pan, you can slip it into a gallon freezer bag to store until you’re ready to bake it.
The day before you want to serve your casserole, remove it from the freezer bag. Peel away all the plastic wrap and foil and place the casserole directly in the original baking dish.
Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap and foil while it is still frozen, otherwise you’ll have a giant mess on your hands!
The next morning, after it is completely thawed, place in a preheated oven and bake! I baked it for about an hour and it was a bread pudding consistency and slightly custardy tasting. Delicious, but if you want it less custard-y, just bake for an extra 15 minutes.
You can serve it as is, drizzle with maple syrup or add a little whipped cream. It’s the holidays… indulge!
Baked Cherry French Toast Casserole
This recipe for Baked Cherry French Toast Casserole is perfect for the holidays because it can be made and frozen ahead of time! With a cream cheese filling and rich cherry topping, it’s the perfect indulgent brunch treat!
- 1/2 loaf Italian or French Bread (cubed)
- 8 oz Cream Cheese (cubed)
- 21 oz Cherry Pie Filling
- 6 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
- 1 cup Milk
- Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil. Then line the foil with plastic wrap.
- Place half the bread cubes in the baking dish. Dot the bread cubes with all of the cream cheese cubes. Cover the cream cheese with half of the cherry pie filling. Then spread remaining bread cubes over cherry pie filling.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup and milk. Whisk until well blended and then pour evenly over baking dish.
- Spread remaining cherry pie filling over the entire top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place baking dish in freezer until it is completely frozen. Once frozen, remove casserole from pan and place in gallon freezer bag.
- Cooking Instructions: The night before you want to serve the casserole, remove it from the freezer. Unwrap all of the plastic wrap and foil and place frozen casserole in an 8×8 pan. Cover and let thaw in refrigerator overnight.
Preheat over to 350. Remove thawed casserole from fridge and cover with foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 30 minutes uncovered. If like your casserole a little more done and less like bread pudding, bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
Can also use blueberry or apple pie filling in place of the cherry pie filling.
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