There’s something so magical about Christmas morning. Whether your family rushes downstairs to open presents before the sun rises or sleeps in and enjoys a slower morning of sipping coffee, there’s one thing that every Christmas morning needs: breakfast. Cinnamon rolls are a traditional choice, for good reason. There’s nothing like the sweet, cinnamony aroma filling your home as you spend time with the people you love most. Or maybe you do a full breakfast spread with pancakes, eggs, bacon, and all the fixings. You really can’t go wrong with breakfast.

If you’re looking for a new recipe to try for this year’s Christmas breakfast, look no further. This Baked Apple French Toast recipe might just become a new family tradition. It’s simple, easy to make ahead, and packed full of cinnamon apple goodness. It can stand alone or pair with your favorite breakfast foods.

Baked Apple French Toast

Recipe from Once Upon a Chef


For the French Toast

  • One 1-lb challah or raisin challah
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups half & half
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (replace with apple cider or half-&-half if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Apple Topping

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large Robinette Mutsu apples, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For Serving

  • Confectioners’ sugar and/or maple syrup


For the French Toast

  1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch or 3-quart baking dish. 
  2. Slice the bread into 3/4-inch-thick slices.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Dip each slice of bread into the custard mixture for about 5 seconds, then arrange in an overlapping pattern in the prepared baking dish. Be sure the entire bottom of the dish is covered with the bread. Pour any remaining custard over the bread. Set aside.

For the Apple Topping

  1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened and the sugar-syrup is thickened, about 8 minutes. Spoon the apples and sugar-syrup evenly over the bread, making sure not to leave any of the syrup behind. If not baking immediately, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Otherwise, proceed with the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  3. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and, using a fine sieve, dust with the confectioners’ sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Of course, you can always stop by our bakery before Christmas and pick up some of our fresh-baked goods for Christmas morning. All the homemade flavor without any of the work!