Treat yourself to the ultimate breakfast indulgence with our mouthwatering Baked Banana French Toast with Caramel Sauce. This delectable breakfast casserole turns traditional French toast into a truly decadent delight by adding the appealing flavors of gooey caramel and sweet banana. And, it’s quick and easy to prepare in 10 minutes the night before serving! With years of development followed by rave reviews from both my trusted recipe testers and delighted guests, this dish promises a breakfast experience worth savoring.
Table of Contents
- Why this Banana French Toast Recipe Works
- Ingredients for Banana French Toast
- How to Bake French Toast
- Tips for Perfect Baked Banana French Toast
- Storing and Reheating
- Variations and Substitutions for this Banana French Toast Recipe
- Garnishes and Serving Suggestions for Baked Banana French Toast
- FAQs about Banana French Toast
- Other Delicious Recipes for Breakfast and Brunch
- Easy Baked Banana French Toast with Caramel Sauce
Why this Banana French Toast Recipe Works
Rich, decadent, and heavenly, this recipe is one of my favorite breakfast recipes. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I love caramel and have created several ways to include its sweet, buttery flavor in my recipes. After experimenting with different combinations of caramel, bananas, and various types of bread, I crafted a few different recipes that were thoroughly tested by the recipe reviewers for my second cookbook Fresh Tastes. And, this recipe was the clear favorite!
Here’s why you’re going to love this delicious French toast:
- Quick and easy to prepare. No need to dip bread slices into the egg mixture; simply place slices in a baking dish and pour the egg mixture over the top. Total prep time is 10 minutes, including making the caramel sauce!
- Make ahead. Assembling this baked French toast the night before minimizes morning stress and ensures a hassle-free breakfast.
- No special equipment or techniques needed. All you need to make this easy banana french toast is a saucepan, spoon, knife, whisk, mixing bowl, and baking dish.
- Inspired by New Orleans dessert Bananas Foster. The delightful flavors of buttery brown sugar caramel sauce, caramelized banana, and dark rum are the perfect complement to French toast.
- Flexible. Don’t like bananas? Leave them out. Or, substitute another fruit like sliced peaches or strawberries.
- Elegant enough for entertaining, easy enough for every day. While this recipe is a snap to put together, the finished product is rustically elegant and perfect for everything from a lazy Saturday morning to special occasions including Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Easter or Christmas morning.
Ingredients for Banana French Toast
To create this delightful breakfast treat, you’ll need the following ingredients (details are provided in the recipe card below):
- Butter – a key ingredient in the caramel base. Can use salted or unsalted.
- Light brown sugar – the second key ingredient in the caramel sauce.
- Light corn syrup – keeps the caramel sauce from crystallizing and becoming grainy. Chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz recommends substituting lemon juice or cream of tartar if you don’t want to use corn syrup.
- Dark rum, Kahlua or Crème de Cacao (can substitute espresso, coffee, or orange juice for a non-alcoholic version) – rum is the traditional ingredient in Bananas Foster. The other liqueur flavors also work well with banana.
- Large bananas – my basic recipe calls for 2 bananas, resulting in a milder banana flavor. For a stronger banana taste, add 1 more banana. Additionally, I recommend using ripe bananas for their sweeter flavor profile.
- Challah, brioche, or other egg bread – this type of bread adds depth of flavor, maintains its structure, and yields a soft interior in the finished dish.
- Large eggs – a key ingredient in the custard mixture.
- Half and half – also in the custard, it adds creaminess without the richness of heavy cream.
- Vanilla extract – adds sweetness and depth to the custard.
- Salt – amps up the custard flavor.
- Sliced almonds – decorate the top plus add a bit of earthy nuttiness and crunch.
- Powdered (confectioners) sugar, for serving – gives the baked French toast a nice finished look.
How to Bake French Toast
Here’s an overview of how to make this Easy Baked Banana French Toast:
- Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
- Make the caramel sauce; spread in baking dish.
In a medium saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and blends with the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in liqueur. Pour sauce into the prepared baking dish and using your spoon spread it evenly over the bottom of the dish.
- Add bananas.
Arrange banana slices over the top of the sauce.
- Add bread.
Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on top of the bananas. Depending on the size of your bread, you may need to overlap the slices slightly and cut up 1 to 2 pieces to fill in any gaps.
- Prepare and add custard mixture; refrigerate.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining liqueur, eggs, half and half, vanilla, and salt. Pour evenly over the bread slices, soaking the bread thoroughly with the milk mixture.
- Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Bring to room temperature, add almonds, and bake.
Around 1 hour before serving, remove the dish from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the top of the dish with the sliced almonds. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown, pulling away from the sides of the pan, and set. To test, gently push down on the top of the toast in the middle of the pan; if it feels fairly firm and springs back slightly, it’s done.
- Let sit, then garnish and serve.
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Dust lightly with powdered sugar, cut into pieces and serve, spooning any caramel sauce or bananas remaining in the pan onto the side of each slice.
Tips for Perfect Baked Banana French Toast
Here are my tips that will ensure your Baked Banana French Toast turns out flawlessly every time:
- Fully mix together the butter and brown sugar. Cook the caramel sauce long enough for the butter to be fully incorporated into the sugar. And, don’t skip the corn syrup. These two steps ensure your sauce will be smooth and not grainy.
- Choose the right bread. Egg bread like Challah or brioche works best for this recipe, as it has a soft, buttery texture that soaks up the custard mixture beautifully without becoming soggy.
- Ensure all the bread is soaked with sauce. Slowly pour the custard mixture over the top of the bread, moving across the pieces so that each one is well soaked. Any areas without sauce can become dry and crusty when baked.
- Don’t rush the soaking process. Allow the bread to soak in the custard mixture for at least 8 hours to ensure it absorbs the flavors fully.
- Don’t undercook. If not fully set, the French toast will be soggy. Make sure it’s set before removing from the oven. The top should feel firm and spring back slightly when gently poked in the middle. In addition, the edges should pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Let it rest before serving. After baking, let the French toast sit at room temperature for around 5 minutes to allow it to fully set and become easier to serve.
How to keep powdered sugar from melting
Heat and moisture will cause the powdered sugar to melt and disappear. To keep this from happening on top of the warm casserole, add cornstarch. Specifically, whisk together 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch until well combined.
Storing and Reheating
Baked French Toast can be assembled but not baked up to 24 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
It can also be baked, cooled, well-wrapped, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Any longer and the bottom can become soggy. The baked casserole can also be well-wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
To rewarm, cover baking dish with foil and place in a preheated 325-degree oven for around 20 minutes.
Variations and Substitutions for this Banana French Toast Recipe
While our recipe is already a delicious treat, feel free to get creative and make it your own. Here are a few variations and substitutions you can try:
- Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Substitute chopped toasted pecans or walnuts for the almonds.
- Substitute espresso, coffee, or orange juice for a non-alcoholic version. Note that rum extract still contains a small amount of alcohol.
- Use dark brown sugar, for a stronger caramel flavor.
- Omit the bananas, or substitute other fresh fruit like sliced peaches or strawberries.
- Spread the underside of the bread slices with peanut butter.
Garnishes and Serving Suggestions for Baked Banana French Toast
When it comes to serving this baked French toast dish, here are a few recommended garnishes and side dishes:
- As called for in the recipe, dust the top of the cooked French toast with powdered sugar, for a finished look
- Before the powdered sugar, add a mix of fresh berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, for a burst of color and added freshness.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream.
- Drizzle with melted chocolate or chocolate sauce.
- Cooked bacon slices or sausage links – Spicy Bacon Twists pair well.
- A bowl of mixed fresh berries or other fruit.
FAQs about Banana French Toast
Yes, you can assemble the French toast the night before, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Absolutely! Once baked, you can freeze any leftover French toast in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Reheating instructions are above.
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free brioche substitute.
While fully ripe bananas are ideal for their sweetness and soft texture, you can use slightly underripe bananas.
Yes, you can bake this recipe in individual ramekins for a more personalized presentation. Adjust the baking time accordingly as smaller portions will cook faster than a large casserole dish.
Other Delicious Recipes for Breakfast and Brunch
- Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast
- Green Chile Southwest Breakfast Casserole
- Hash Brown Sausage Casserole
- Healthy Vegetable Frittata
- Garden Vegetable Quiche
- Green Chile Sausage Breakfast Burritos
- Breakfast Sandwiches with Egg
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dark rum, Kahlua or Crème de Cacao (can substitute espresso, coffee or orange juice for a non-alcoholic version)
- 2 large bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices – see Note below
- 8 (3/4-inch) slices Challah, brioche, or other egg bread
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- Powdered (confectioners) sugar, for serving – see Tip in Notes
- Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and blends with the sugar. Stir in 1 tablespoon liqueur. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
- Arrange banana slices over the top of the sauce. Arrange the bread slices on top of the bananas. Depending on the size of your bread, you may need to overlap the slices slightly and cut up 1 to 2 pieces to fill in any gaps. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 teaspoon liqueur, eggs, half and half, vanilla, and salt. Pour evenly over the bread slices, soaking the bread thoroughly with the milk mixture. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Around 1 hour before serving, remove the dish from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sprinkle the top of the dish with the sliced almonds. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and the top is set.
- Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar, cut into pieces and serve, spooning any caramel sauce or bananas remaining in the pan onto the side of each slice.
Make ahead: Casserole can be assembled but not baked up to 24 hours ahead. Can also be baked, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Any longer and the bottom will become soggy. Baked casserole can also be well-wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Rewarm, covered, in a preheated 325 degree oven for around 20 minutes.
Note on bananas: The banana flavor in this dish is fairly mild. For more banana flavor, add 1 more sliced banana.
Tip on powdered (confectioners) sugar topping: To keep the powdered sugar from melting and disappearing on top of the warm casserole, whisk together 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch.
- Category: Breakfast and brunch
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American, French