Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole

You’re going to love this crazy delicious overnight Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole. Prep it the night before and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy!

Did you ever notice that sometimes life’s sweetest memories evolve from difficult circumstances? Back in early March, our lives were turned upside down, without warning, and Scott and I felt like we landed in the middle of a whirlwind! We had just arrived in London, excited about a visit with our daughter and her family. Within 24 hours of our arrival, we received a call that Scott’s dad had been rushed to the hospital with severe respiratory distress. A few days later, his mom (Nanny) passed away, very unexpectedly. In less than a week, we had returned from London, planned a funeral, packed up Nanny and Pop’s apartment, located a different care facility and set up a new home for Pops. Whew, like I said it was a whirlwind; and it’s taken a while to pick up all the pieces.

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole - crazy delicious overnight casserole. Prep it at night and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy! thecafesucrefarine.com

It’s been almost two months and we’re beginning to feel like we can take a deep breath and spend a bit of time reflecting. You know what comes to mind above all else when I think about those days/weeks? Not the craziness, jet lag, stress, fatigue, grief, sleeplessness.  No, none of that. It’s the wonderful family and friends who enveloped us with a warm cloak of care, concern and comfort during those difficult days. There were calls, cards, emails, flowers, plants, and incredibly selfless acts of love.

One of the kindnesses extended to us really sticks out in my mind. The day of Nanny’s memorial service, sweet friends planned and implemented a lovely meal and gathering time for family and friends. They put it all together from beginning to end with every detail carefully and lovingly orchestrated. Food came in from all over the place and was arranged in a beautiful buffet. There was Honey Baked Ham, homemade pimento cheese, baked Brie, potato casseroles, green bean casseroles, salads and good old Hawaiian rolls. For dessert there was pie and (I’m quite certain), the best cheesecake on the face of the earth.

I don’t think I had eaten much earlier that day so that dinner tasted like the “finest of fine” to me. I’m sure it was the love and care poured into the meal that made it so delicious. I had to laugh; my two nieces from New York City couldn’t seem to get enough. They went crazy over what they called “Southern food”.

There were lots of leftovers, which was wonderful, as we had family staying with us from out of town. After everyone left that evening, I was  thinking about what to serve for breakfast the next day (Yup, a perpetual foodie!). I spied an unused package of Hawaiian rolls and decided to put together a French toast casserole that I could just pop in the oven in the morning. I cut up the sweet dinner rolls and poured a mixture of milk, eggs and sugar over the top.

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole - crazy delicious overnight casserole. Prep it at night and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy! thecafesucrefarine.com

In the morning, I added a crumbly topping and it wasn’t long before a wonderful aroma filled the house to draw the sleepy heads out of bed. Everyone loved this easy breakfast casserole.

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole - crazy delicious overnight casserole. Prep it at night and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy! thecafesucrefarine.com

I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit over the last few weeks, adding diced apples and cinnamon and adjusting the ingredient ratios and baking time. I served the French toast  casserole again for an Easter brunch and it was super well received with lots of second helpings.

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole - crazy delicious overnight casserole. Prep it at night and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy! thecafesucrefarine.com

With all the brunch-y, breakfast-y occasions coming up, i.e., Mother’s Day, graduations, showers, etc. I thought this make-ahead Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole might come in handy for you too. Just throw it all together the night before and all that’s left to do is to bake it in the morning.

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole - crazy delicious overnight casserole. Prep it at night and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy! thecafesucrefarine.com

I like to serve this dish with slices of smokey, glazed ham, but bacon or sausage would also be wonderful. A pretty dish of fresh fruit completes the easy, but elegant meal. You can serve the French toast with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar or indulge with a drizzle of pure maple syrup – or both!. No matter which way you decide, you’ll be sure to receive rave reviews!

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole - crazy delicious overnight casserole. Prep it at night and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy! thecafesucrefarine.com

Thanks again sweet friends, for loving on us through a trying time. And whoever brought those Hawaiian rolls, thanks for the inspiration for this Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole!

What I used to make and serve this Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole:

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Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole

5 from 6 reviews

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole – a crazy delicious overnight casserole. Prep it at night and in the morning, breakfast is easy peasy!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12
  • Category: Breakfast

Ingredients

  • soft butter, for greasing pan
  • I 14-ounce package Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • 1 large golden delicious apple , peeled, cored, and diced
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the crumble:
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Generously grease a 2-quart casserole dish* with soft butter. Place cubed Hawaiian rolls in pan.
  2. Combine diced apples with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss to coat apples with sugar mixture. Sprinkle apples on top of bread.
  3. Combine eggs and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk together to combine, then add half and half and vanilla. Pour mixture evenly over bread. Cover with plastic wrap. If bread extends slightly over the top of the pan, don’t try to squish it down. Just covered it loosely and then seal at the edges. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or as long as 12.
  4. To make the crumble, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium size bowl. Stir well. Add the softened butter and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. If mixture is too moist to form crumbs, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition, until crumbs form. (You shouldn’t need more than 2 tablespoons of flour.) Cover crumbs with plastic wrap and refrigerate until just before baking French toast.
  5. In the morning (or at least 6 hours later), remove casserole and crumble mixture from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  6. Place casserole on a sheet pan** and sprinkle crumble mixture evening over the top. Bake (on sheet pan**) for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with foil and bake another 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with maple syrup – or both!

Notes

*You can also use a 9×13-inch baking pan.

**Baking it on a  sheet pan will prevent the bottom of the French toast from getting too brown.



24 thoughts on “Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole”

  • In my imaginary world where calories and fat grams don’t count, I would eat this every day! Hats off to those friends that cared for you and your family.

  • You certainly have been on a wild ride, Chris! How sweet and thoughtful of your friends to put together a wonderful dinner like that and how smart of you to turn those Hawaiian rolls into a scrumptious brunch dish like this! I honestly haven’t seen Hawaiian rolls here in my part of the Midwest but maybe I’ve just never looked for them. I’d love to know what they taste like 🙂

  • There’s nothing like the love of friends and family during the challenging times of life – so glad you have an amazing support network to lean on! And this French toast casserole looks incredible, what a wonderful treat to wake up to!

  • So sorry to read about your recent loss and upheaval, Chris. I love your posts, and every one of your recipes I’ve tried has been spot-on. Your photos are delicious, too. Please be comforted in your sorrow and encouraged to keep going with your lovely and tasty recipes. I often pass them along to my daughter and daughter-in-law.

  • This sounds wonderful Chris, the use of Hawaiian rolls is brilliant! I am sorry about the recent turmoil in your life and am happy to know you and your family were well taken care of, not easy times…Southerners love to share food, I wonder if this is where the term comfort food comes from…

  • I’m so glad you were enveloped by love from family and friends during this difficult time. For a last minute recipe, this French toast is phenomenal! Glad you’re getting back to semi-normal. The loss of a parent is tough to process. xoxo

  • I could tell you were taking a step back..life has a way of happening and I am so sorry for everything you went through..I often think it will be our turn one day to be the ones that are the older ones..I am not surprised that you were cradled in comfort by friends and family.♥
    Not one tiny bit.
    This looks great and maybe Christmas morn:)!!Thank you.

    • PS in reply to Antoinette’s question re HRs..the only place that MAY carry them is a Walmart?
      I have not seen them here either..in the US,everywhere..

    • Hi Antoinette,
      Hawaiian rolls are a sweeter type of bread roll that are sold everywhere here in the US. You could substitute brioche bread or another type of dinner roll. Just use about 14 ounces and cut it into cubes.

  • I can almost smell it through the screen! So delicious looking, and I do love the Hawaiian rolls.I am so very sorry about what you have both been through. Truly, words just cannot say. I think back to when my mom and Phil’s mom both died within a few months. It is so hard. Take care my friend. Give Scott my best regards, and let me know whenever he has that blog up, I think I am already a follower.

  • This looks delicious however I’m a little confused. Looking at the photos the bottom layer of the casserole doesn’t appear to be cubed rolls but Hawaiian rolls opened up, am I missing something? Thanks in advance Chris…

    • Hi Sharon, it is cubed rolls. After the casserole is refrigerated overnight, the cubes are sort of “melted” into the egg mixture so it looks like one big piece of bread.

  • This looks delicious with the apples and cinnamon. Love those flavors.

    It is so nice to have good friends at a time like you all went through. GOD BLESS!!

  • I always struggle to find a breakfast when entertaining, but no anymore after setting my eyes on this wonderful casserole, looks eggy and full of flavor. Perfection!

    So sorry for your loss and the struggles you and your family are going through……Cheri

  • Love this recipe thank you for sharing with us, sorry for your loss stay strong and I’m sure the support of family’ and friends will help you al xx

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