Gluten Free French Toast Casserole

French toast casserole, a beloved breakfast and brunch dish, is renowned for its simplicity and appeal. Typically combining the flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and a hint of salt, this casserole is a crowd-pleaser, especially when served with a variety of toppings and mix-ins​​. What elevates this dish further is its gluten-free variant, catering to those with dietary restrictions without compromising on taste or texture. This gluten-free French toast casserole not only offers a delectable start to the day but also ensures inclusivity at the dining table.

Why Gluten-Free?

In recent years, the importance of gluten-free options in cooking has become increasingly evident. With a rise in gluten and dairy intolerance, offering gluten-free alternatives like a gluten-free French toast casserole has become essential. Such options not only alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders like IBS and IBD but also promote a healthier gut microbiome, leading to improved overall well-being​​. Moreover, a gluten-free diet can lead to reduced inflammation in the gut, better digestion, nutrient absorption, and enhanced immune function, making dishes like gluten-free French toast vital for those with sensitivities.

How to Make Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole

Equipment

To create the perfect gluten-free French toast casserole, you will need a few essential kitchen tools. These include:

  • A 9×13-inch baking dish for assembling and baking the casserole.
  • Measuring cups for accurate ingredient measurements.
  • A mixing bowl, preferably one with a spout for easy pouring of the custard mixture.
  • A whisk for combining the ingredients smoothly.
  • A spatula to ensure all the mixture is used and evenly spread.

Ingredients for Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole

For the Casserole:
  1. Gluten-Free White Bread (1 pound), cut into 1″ cubes. Recommended brands include Canyon Bakehouse, Trader Joe’s, or Three Bakers​​​​.
  2. Large Eggs (6).
  3. Milk (2 cups). You can use regular milk or any milk alternative like almond milk or cashew milk​​​​.
  4. Pure Vanilla Extract (2 tsp).
  5. Ground Cinnamon (2 tsp).
  6. Brown Sugar or Coconut Palm Sugar (⅓ cup).
  7. Melted Butter (¼ cup). For a dairy-free option, you can use vegan butter​​​​.
  8. Orange Zest (1 tablespoon).
  9. Sea Salt (¼ tsp).
Toppings:
  1. Frozen Blueberries (½ cup).
  2. Chopped Strawberries (½ cup).
  3. Ground Cinnamon (1 tbsp) and Powdered Sugar (2 tbsp) for dusting.
  4. Chopped Honey Butter Roasted Pecans (½ cup).

For Serving: Powdered sugar and/or pure maple syrup​​.

Substitutes

  1. Bread: It’s crucial to use dry or slightly stale bread to prevent the casserole from becoming soggy. You can leave your bread out overnight or dry it in a 200 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. The bread should dry out but not color or get toasted​​.
  2. Milk: Substitute dairy milk with any plant-based milk like almond, cashew, or coconut milk.
  3. Butter: Use coconut oil or other plant-based butter substitutes for a dairy-free version.
  4. Sweeteners: Instead of brown sugar, you can use coconut palm sugar or other natural sweeteners.
  5. Toppings: The casserole is highly customizable. If you don’t have strawberries or blueberries, you can use other fruits or jams. You can also get creative with nuts like cashews or almonds, or even chunky peanut butter​

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

  • Oven Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease your baking dish with butter.
  • Bread Preparation: Chop the gluten-free bread into 1″ cubes and bake in the prepared dish for 5-7 minutes, or just before they turn golden brown. This step is crucial to prevent a soggy casserole.
  • Custard Mixture: In your mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, brown sugar, melted butter, orange zest, and sea salt. Whisk until everything is well combined.
  • Assembly: Pour the liquid mixture evenly over the toasted bread pieces in the baking dish. Add frozen blueberries and strawberries, then gently mix.
  • Baking the Casserole: Bake the casserole uncovered for 60 minutes. This allows for a fluffy custard center with slightly caramelized edges.
  • Final Touches: After removing the casserole from the oven, allow it to cool slightly. Then sprinkle with additional cinnamon and powdered sugar.
  • Serving: Add roasted nuts and fresh fruit just before serving to maintain texture and freshness.
  • Enjoy: Your gluten-free French toast casserole is now ready to be enjoyed!

Cooking and Preparing time

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Nutritional Information (Per Serving, with 12 servings in total):

  • Calories: 336
  • Total Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 124mg
  • Sodium: 372mg
  • Carbohydrates: 43g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 25g
  • Protein: 8g​​.

Special Note

When preparing gluten-free French toast casserole, consider the variety of fruits and nuts you can use. If strawberries or blueberries aren’t available, almost any fruit or jam can be substituted. Similarly, if you don’t have toasted pecans, get creative with cashews, almonds, or chunky peanut butter. Toppings like pure maple syrup, caramel syrup, and yogurt also add a delightful touch​​.

Summary

This gluten-free French toast casserole is a versatile and delicious option for those with gluten sensitivities or anyone looking for a tasty breakfast or brunch dish. With a fluffy, light inside and a crunchy top, this dish is both appealing and accommodating.

Tips to Make this Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole Delicious

  • Toasting the bread cubes is recommended for a better texture as it helps the bread soak up the egg mixture more effectively.
  • You can skip the berries for a cinnamon raisin French toast casserole, adding raisins and cinnamon to the mixture before baking if desired.
  • For a moister casserole, soak the bread cubes for at least an hour or overnight​​.

Serving and Pairing Ideas

  • Top the casserole with fresh berries or add a few slices of banana to an individual slice.
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the casserole before serving.
  • A good drizzle of real maple syrup is a must for the perfect finishing touch​​.

Conclusion

The gluten-free French toast casserole is a testament to the versatility and delicious possibilities within dietary restrictions. Whether for a family breakfast or a special brunch, this dish is sure to delight with its perfect balance of flavors and textures, offering a comforting and inclusive meal option.

Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole

Gluten-Free French Toast Casserole

This gluten-free French toast casserole is a versatile and delicious option for those with gluten sensitivities or anyone looking for a tasty breakfast or brunch dish. With a fluffy, light inside and a crunchy top, this dish is both appealing and accommodating.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 336 kcal

Equipment

  • A 9×13-inch baking dish for assembling and baking the casserole.
  • Measuring cups for accurate ingredient measurements.
  • A mixing bowl, preferably one with a spout for easy pouring of the custard mixture.
  • A whisk for combining the ingredients smoothly.
  • A spatula to ensure all the mixture is used and evenly spread.

Ingredients
  

For the Casserole:

  • Gluten-Free White Bread 1 pound, cut into 1″ cubes. Recommended brands include Canyon Bakehouse, Trader Joe’s, or Three Bakers.
  • Large Eggs 6.
  • Milk 2 cups. You can use regular milk or any milk alternative like almond milk or cashew milk.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract 2 tsp.
  • Ground Cinnamon 2 tsp.
  • Brown Sugar or Coconut Palm Sugar ⅓ cup.
  • Melted Butter ¼ cup. For a dairy-free option, you can use vegan butter.
  • Orange Zest 1 tablespoon.
  • Sea Salt ¼ tsp.

Toppings:

  • Frozen Blueberries ½ cup.
  • Chopped Strawberries ½ cup.
  • Ground Cinnamon 1 tbsp and Powdered Sugar (2 tbsp) for dusting.
  • Chopped Honey Butter Roasted Pecans ½ cup.
  • For Serving: Powdered sugar and/or pure maple syrup.

Substitutes

  • Bread: It’s crucial to use dry or slightly stale bread to prevent the casserole from becoming soggy. You can leave your bread out overnight or dry it in a 200 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. The bread should dry out but not color or get toasted.
  • Milk: Substitute dairy milk with any plant-based milk like almond cashew, or coconut milk.
  • Butter: Use coconut oil or other plant-based butter substitutes for a dairy-free version.
  • Sweeteners: Instead of brown sugar you can use coconut palm sugar or other natural sweeteners.
  • Toppings: The casserole is highly customizable. If you don’t have strawberries or blueberries you can use other fruits or jams. You can also get creative with nuts like cashews or almonds, or even chunky peanut butter

Instructions
 

  • Oven Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease your baking dish with butter.
  • Bread Preparation: Chop the gluten-free bread into 1″ cubes and bake in the prepared dish for 5-7 minutes, or just before they turn golden brown. This step is crucial to prevent a soggy casserole.
  • Custard Mixture: In your mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, brown sugar, melted butter, orange zest, and sea salt. Whisk until everything is well combined.
  • Assembly: Pour the liquid mixture evenly over the toasted bread pieces in the baking dish. Add frozen blueberries and strawberries, then gently mix.
  • Baking the Casserole: Bake the casserole uncovered for 60 minutes. This allows for a fluffy custard center with slightly caramelized edges.
  • Final Touches: After removing the casserole from the oven, allow it to cool slightly. Then sprinkle with additional cinnamon and powdered sugar.
  • Serving: Add roasted nuts and fresh fruit just before serving to maintain texture and freshness.
  • Enjoy: Your gluten-free French toast casserole is now ready to be enjoyed!

Notes

When preparing gluten-free French toast casserole, consider the variety of fruits and nuts you can use. If strawberries or blueberries aren’t available, almost any fruit or jam can be substituted. Similarly, if you don’t have toasted pecans, get creative with cashews, almonds, or chunky peanut butter. Toppings like pure maple syrup, caramel syrup, and yogurt also add a delightful touch.

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcalCarbohydrates: 124gProtein: 8gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 372mgFiber: 2gSugar: 25g
Keyword Gluten Free French Toast Casserole
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