Overnight French Toast with Cranberries and Pecans

This stunning overnight French toast is the move for an effortless make-ahead brunch. After you've assembled it and let it chill overnight, all you have to do in the morning is top it with pecans, bake it, and finish it with powdered sugar. Allowing the challah slices to sit overnight in the egg mixture results in evenly soaked bread that remains irresistibly custardy as it bakes, while the top crisps up. Orange zest and tart, juicy cranberries add brightness to the dish, while chopped pecans lend it a nutty crunch. When you serve it, be sure to scoop up the buttery maple syrup sauce on the bottom; it gives this a rich finish. If you'd like, add a touch of bourbon to the egg mixture.


  • Cooking spray

  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar 

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) salted butter 

  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup 

  • 1 (16-ounce) challah bread loaf, cut into 1/2-inch slices 

  • 8 large eggs 

  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half 

  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional) 

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (from 1 orange) 

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (about 3 1/2 ounces) or unthawed frozen cranberries (from 1 [5-ounce] package) 

  • ½ cup chopped pecans 

  • Powdered sugar


  1. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Bring brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Carefully pour mixture into prepared dish; arrange bread slices over mixture, overlapping slices. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, bourbon (if using), vanilla, orange zest, and cinnamon in a large bowl until combined. Pour over and between bread slices; sprinkle cranberries evenly on top. Cover with aluminum foil, and chill for 12 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove foil from baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with pecans; cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

  3. Remove baking dish from oven. Remove foil; return baking dish to oven, and bake at 375°F until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over top, and serve.

Make Ahead

French Toast will keep, wrapped in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave.

Older Post Newer Post