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This vegan french toast casserole is prepped the night before, then baked in a rich “eggy” custard until perfectly soft and creamy. All you need is 7 simple ingredients and a loaf of sourdough bread. Soy-free, Gluten-free option, Nut-free option, Oil-free option.
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This Overnight Vegan French Toast Casserole is just as hearty and delicious as its egg and dairy counterparts, but is made from whole food plant-based ingredients! It’s the coziest, vegan holiday breakfast – and the perfect vessel for enjoying lots of maple syrup and buttery pecans. 😉
A Fuss-Free Take on the Breakfast Classic
In adulthood, I’ve become a real french toast lover. In addition to enjoying stovetop vegan french toast as an occasional weekend treat, I’ve also got the most decadent Salted Caramel French Toast Casserole in my cookbook, Simply Delicious Vegan – 100 Healthy Plant-Based Recipes.
It makes the best make-ahead brunch food, reminds me of Christmas morning and when you bake it in a casserole dish, it’s as fuss-free as breakfast for a crowd can get! Take just 15 minutes to prep the night before, then enjoy the best custard-rich french toast without the stress or dishes in the morning.
What You Need to Make French Toast Casserole without Eggs
After a few rounds of testing, I’ve perfected the perfect vegan french toast egg custard, made using healthy, wholesome ingredients. Hint – there’s no tofu involved! Instead, you’ll need a combination of:
- Arrowroot powder: Sometimes called arrowroot flour, this ingredient acts as a thickener and is key to achieving the perfect texture.
- Chickpea flour: My favorite soy-free egg substitute! Chickpea or garbanzo bean flour is a great source of plant-based protein and unlike silken tofu, helps to thicken our custard without being too overpowering or thick. Give it a try in some of my other “eggy” recipes like this Overnight Vegan Breakfast Strata and this Vegan Quiche!
- Cashews: Not only does this neutral nut add a lovely creaminess to this french toast custard, but it’s fiber helps to thicken the custard when it bakes in the oven, similarly to eggs!
Plus, don’t forget you’ll need a loaf of your favorite sturdy bread to soak up the goodness! In my opinion, the absolute best bread to use in vegan french toast casserole is sourdough.
How to Make Vegan French Toast Casserole
- Spread the bread cubes evenly along the base of your casserole dish.
- Blend the non-dairy milk, cashews, chickpea flour, arrowroot powder, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until smooth and bubbly.
- Slowly pour milk mixture evenly over the bread, coating each piece. Cover and refrigerate overnight, 8 to 12 hours.
- The next morning, preheat the oven and allow the casserole to warm to room temperature.
- Sprinkle the french toast casserole with pecans and vegan butter, then bake until the bread puffs up and is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- Serve warm, topped with desired toppings such as fresh berries, maple syrup, powdered sugar, or chocolate chips.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Use stale, day old bread. French toast was traditionally invented as a resourceful way to use up stale bread and prevent food waste. Stale bread absorbs the custard without becoming overly soft and falling apart. If your bread is fresh or not dry enough, spread the cubed bread on a baking sheet and bake at 215F for 10-15 minutes, or until dry and stale.
- Press the bread cubes into the custard. If it appears some sections of bread are still dry after pouring the vegan egg custard over, use a spatula to lightly press the bread into the custard to encourage even soaking and absorption.
French toast pairs well with both sweet and savory sides, such as Mung Bean Scramble or Tofu Scramble, Oil-Free Breakfast Potatoes, fresh fruit and a final drizzle of Pumpkin Spice Maple Syrup or Cranberry Sauce for a festive twist.
If you’re looking for more sweet holiday breakfast recipes, you’ll also love this Whole Wheat Vegan Monkey Bread , these Gingerbread Pancakes, these Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, and this Holiday Spiced Granola!
How to Store Leftover Casserole
Leftover vegan french toast casserole will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I have not tested freezing this french toast casserole, but my guess is it would work well.
If you’d like to test it, I’d recommend freezing this casserole before baking. Freezing after baking could cause the casserole to dry out. Follow recipe steps through step 4, then after soaking, tightly cover your freezer-safe casserole dish with a first layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the casserole in the refrigerator then bake as usual.
Reheat any leftovers in the toaster oven, microwave, or covered in the oven until warmed through.
Substitutions and Variations
- Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free sourdough bread. Gluten-free bread can be more tender, so a slightly longer bake time may be required to prevent sogginess.
- Nut-free option: Use a nut-free milk (soy or oat) and skip the pecans, or replace them with pumpkin seeds!
- Oil-free option: Skip the butter baked on top.
- Bread options: My personal favorite is sliced sourdough, but cubed French bread or vegan-friendly brioche (find this at Trader Joe’s!) will work as well. Ezekiel or whole wheat sandwich bread may work too, but I have not tried it. Softer, fluffier sandwich bread such as white bread is too soft and will become soggy and fall apart.
- Chickpea flour substitution: Although chickpea flour is used to emulate an “eggy” custard without eggs, readers have shared success substituting the chickpea flour with regular ol’ all-purpose flour. You could also try substituting 1 cup of Just Egg, though I haven’t personally tested it!
- Arrowroot powder substitution: Replace the arrowroot 1:1 with cornstarch.
- Maple syrup substitution: Any liquid sweetener will work. You could also try a dry sugar, such as brown sugar, but for the best texture, make sure it dissolves completely in the custard mixture.
The best way to prevent your french toast casserole from getting soggy is to use the right bread. This includes making sure the bread is stale or dried out enough before assembling. Revisit my tip on drying out bread quickly if needed!
Both! The best french toast casseroles are crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside.
Your casserole should be soft in the center, but not wet. If your casserole is wet in the middle, it likely needs a longer bake time or it’s possible you did not use enough bread to soak up the custard.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Overnight Vegan French Toast Casserole
- 16 ounce loaf of sourdough bread, cubed*
- 3 cups non-dairy milk*
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked*
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup grade A maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans optional
- 1 tablespoon cold vegan butter finely chopped (optional)
- Serving suggestions optional: fresh berries, powdered sugar, maple syrup, chocolate chips*, etc.
- Prep: Bring out a 9×13” non-stick casserole dish. If your casserole is not nonstick, grease it with vegan butter or cooking spray. Spread the bread cubes evenly along the base of the pan.
- Milk Mixture: add the non-dairy milk, cashews, chickpea flour, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 60 seconds, until a smooth and bubbly mixture forms.
- Soak: Pour the mixture evenly over the bread in the dish, trying to coat every surface to allow for even absorption. Cover the baking dish with foil and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, 8 to 12 hours.
- Bake: Remove the casserole dish from the refrigerator and uncover. Let the dish come to room temperature for about 30 minutes – in the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 350F. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the pecans and vegan butter (if using), then place the casserole dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. The french toast cubes should puff up and be slightly browned on top. If the casserole starts to get too dark before it is done, tent the baking dish with aluminum foil for the remainder of the bake time.
- Serve: Top as desired, then serve warm; leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Bread: I used a sliced sourdough loaf for this recipe, but french bread will work as well. Softer, fluffy breads like white sandwich bread will get too soggy and fall apart. I believe this recipe could work with Ezekiel or whole wheat bread, but haven’t tried it myself. Bread not dry? Place the cubes on a baking sheet and bake at 215F for 10-15 minutes, until dry.
- Milk: I used a creamy oat milk for this recipe, but soy or cashew milk would also work well. Make sure your milk is nice and creamy, so the final recipe is richer! I would not use store-bought almond milk.
- Cashews: If you forget to soak your cashews ahead of time overnight, you can (1) cover them in boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes, or (2) cover them with water and microwave for 3 minutes, then let sit for 3-5 minutes before draining.
- Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free sandwich loaf instead. Gluten-free bread tends to be a little more tender, so you may need to bake your casserole for an extra 5 to 10 minutes so it is not soggy.
- Nut-Free: use a nut-free milk (soy or oat) and skip the pecans, or replace them with pumpkin seeds
- Other Substitutions: Maple syrup can be replaced with another liquid or granulated sweetener. If your sweetener is dry (ex: brown sugar), make sure it dissolves completely during blending in step 2. Arrowroot powder can be replaced with cornstarch. I have not tested this recipe with a substitute for the chickpea flour, but I imagine 1 cup of Just Egg would work as well – try at your own risk though 😉