Creme Brulee French Toast

Total Time:
8 hr 55 min
15 min
8 hr
40 min

8 to 10 servings

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 (8 to 9) inch round loaf Challah bread
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Cut 6 (1-inch) thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. In a bowl whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bring bread mixture to room temperature. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

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    78 Reviews
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    This stuff is amazing, but it might kill you with calories. Even with my lower-calorie modifications, I can only have a few bites or I go into a sugar coma. I use fat free half and half, egg whites only, and I reduce the amount of sugar and butter. Don't have Grand Marnier, so I use Kirsch which is just great. Serve it with a sprinkle of cinnamon, some fresh berries and a swirl of whipped cream. Then take a nap.
    I did not have Grand Marnier but added vanilla bean paste for a more classic Creme Brulee but it was not needed. I used 1" thick Brioche loaf slices. Once you put the bread on the brown sugar syrup, you can't move it. The egg mix ran off faster than was soaking in so I ended up spooning the rest on the bread. Adjust process depending on what bread you use. Next time, I will soak both sides in a separate pan THEN lay those over the brown sugar syrup. When baking, the top was a little crisp but probably because I used a slightly bigger pan. Flip the bread when serving so the sugar is on the top side and the rest don?t get stuck in the pan. For me, it?s not creme brulee unless you have a layer of bruleed sugar so I used turbinado sugar and bruleed it. All agreed that the extra step of bruleed sugar was far better and truly made it Creme Brulee French Toast. Otherwise, it?s just sweet, vanilla French toast. Reduce brown sugar if you want.
    I've been making this recipe for every family holiday or birthday brunch for years. It's so simple but it's so yummy. I've never enjoyed Grand Mariner so I have always left it out. And I always use regular salted better (I used to buy unsalted specifically for this recipe but honestly I don't taste the difference. Also, I spinkle the top with cinnamon before I put in the refrigerator. Every now and then I slice the challah bread thinner and add a layer of apple pie filling, cream cheese and cinnamon suger between layers of bread before I pour the egg mixture. I made it yesterday morning and it only sat in the fridge for 5 hours before I baked it and it was still perfect.
    This was really tasty. Made it last night for todays New Year's breakfast. I followed the recipe but added a bit more Grand Marnier and used maple syrup instead of the corn syrup. Also ended up with about 9 slices of bread instead of the 6 it asks for. It puffed up beautifully at 45 mins. I also topped the french toast with fresh raspberries. YUMMY
    I found this recipe a few years ago. My family & friends absolutely love it. I substitute almond extract for Grand Marnier & use half the sugar.
    It's very rich and very decadent but once a year on Easter we have this. Wonderful breakfast but go walk ten miles afterward to burn off those calories. Also--- add more Grand Marnier!
    I have had this same recipe for about 15 years and serve it every Christmas and Easter morning as well as throughout the year as a special treat for my kids. I even make extras in disposable foil pans and put them in the freezer to cook later (just thaw overnight. I have also made it with brioche rolls, but my family prefers Challah. I also usually slice off the bottom edge of the Challah. It is always served on the first day of school at our house.
    My family and friends all loved this recipe as is. Then I tried it with pomegranate molasses instead of Karo and Chambord instead of Grand Marnier and topped it with whipped cream and fresh berries. Even bigger hit!
    When I made it last time I did not have challah bread, so I used some other bread (I think it was baghatte). It has been sitting in the fridge and was very crusty (I cut it larger than 1 inch and left the crust on). It came out perfect and it was not too sweet. I am planning on making it again for Mother's day this weekend.
    This is great for the holidays with eggnog instead of half and half.
    I have to agree with some of the reviews - my family thought this was a little too heavy on the sweet side. Even my three-year-old daughter thought it was too sweet! Next time, I'm going to cut the brown sugar in half and see how it tastes. Super easy to make, though!
    I first made this a number of years ago and followed the recipe. It was so sweet that it made me sick to my stomach. It tasted great, but too much sugar for me so this time I made it and cut the sugar in half and all my guests said it was plenty sweet enough for them too. So I would say if you don't like extremely sweet things, cut the sugar in half.
    I tried this recipe years ago just to do something different for Christmas morning and it has become a Christmas morning tradition since. I love that I can prepare it the night before and simply pop it in the oven the morning of. My family LOVES IT! Every time we do Christmas breakfast at a family member they always ask me to bring this dish, I actually have to make extra it goes VERY fast. If you like French toast try this version you will love it too.
    This recipe has just earned status in our Christmas Day Brunch! Enjoyed by kids-adults alike!
    I did not have challah just substituted with wheat bread and cut off the crusts! Delicious!
    My friend shared this recipe with me and I'm glad she did... so easy to make since you prepare it the night before, and it's a hit with a large crowd. She made it for easter and I made it when my parents came to visit. They were impressed. Just make sure the bread is completely immersed in the egg mixture!
    I made this for New Years Day breakfast and I think it will now be on permanent rotation!! I substituted fat free french vanilla creamer for the half and half to add a little more flavor. Came out excellent! I wish the bottom would come out a little more bruleed because it came out more like flan then creme brulee. Still amazing though!
    I make this every New Year's Day morning. It is very simple because of the fact that I can make it the night before and then pop it in the oven in the morning. My friends have come to love it and they miss it when they are not able to come to visit. I changed up the recipe a bit and used only 4 eggs so it would be a little less "eggy". I also added a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to the egg batter. I also dipped the bread in the egg batter then added it to the pan with the sugar. The remaining egg mixture was then poured over the top. My friends said that this year was the best year for the french toast. It's a great recipe and will continue to be a staple on my New Year's Day mornings!
    This is not your typical french toast. It tastes like Flan - and if I make it again, I would probably put it in two smaller 8 inch pans, then flip them over onto a platter for presentation. Serve immediately, because the caramel layer will start to solidify if you wait.

    Nuts sprinkled on the caramel layer (pecans) would have won over my husband, who is not a huge 'egg' person. However, the butter caramel topping is rich enough for me without the nuts.

    I didn't have Challah, so I used two slices of potato bread stacked on top of each other, which worked out just fine. I added 2 teaspoons of Grand Marnier instead of one, and I still could not taste it. Orange zest might be a welcome addition instead...

    The flavor is good, but it needs something along with it - I didn't have bacon in the house,(I served it with fruit on the side) but a nice hickory or applewood smoky thick cut bacon slice would help cut the sweetness of this dish, and provide an interesting contrast.
    The easiest brunch dish I have ever made! Over the holidays it was a perfect addition to the menus and everyone loved it! Oooo the sauce is so yummy!

    I am this recipe for a brunch a few years ago and now it is a staple at all brunches and holiday breakfasts.
    This has become a tradition in our house for Christmas morning breakfast. I once missed a year making it and everyone was disappointed. It is definitely something that everyone looks forward to!
    Comes out perfect every time and is so simple to make. The one variation that I have made to this recipe is to use agave nectar in place of the corn syrup and no one knows the difference. I also forgot to add the agave the last time and just did the butter with the brown sugar and it made no difference. I think eliminating it altogether will resolve the issue some folks are having with it being too sweet. I also make sure to use the entire loaf of challah perhaps that might help with it being too sweet.
    Super easy and WAY yummy. A total brunch crowd-pleaser! Be prepared to hand out the recipe!
    My family loved this!!! The only thing I'm unsure about is wether the bottom layer is supposed to be crunchy? Mine wasn't but it was still sooooo good!
    The first time I made this, I didn't care for it. I tried it again and I love it. Bringing it to room temp. is important and I also feel that it taste better when using pure vanilla. I also added a sleeve of cinnamon graham crackers(crushed) on top before baking.I am sure you could add blueberries or some other fruit if you would like.
    I have made this many times. First time I fixed it was for Christmas breakfast. Everyone loved it. I did not have the Grand Marnier so didn't use it & never have & the recipe is still great. It is even better the next day as a left over. I also usually don't use the Challah bread & it works fine.
    I have made this dish many times and it is perfect! It is on the sweet side but what the heck! :) I use Kings Hawaiian Bread instead of the bread that it calls for. I also add peacans or walnuts. The Grand Mariner is wonderful but if you choose not to use it I'm sure it will be great! I usually let it sit for 24 hours and I do take it out quite early to let it set at room temp. I never get it quite entirely at room temperature but it still turns out awsome! I also sprinkle powder sugar all over it when it cools a bit. Leftovers are even better!
    I make this every Easter, along with several other dishes that vary, and this is the one recipe that is requested over and over. This is so simple to make (the night before) and then just bake off in the morning. I love the idea one reviewer had of adding the nuts to the bottom of the pan! Will try that next year!
    I made this for Christmas brunch for my family and they loved it. So, I decided to make it for the Inauguration brunch for extended family and a few friends, and I've had to print out 5 copies of this recipe today!!

    I made a few substitutions, like Portuguese Sweet Bread for Challah, and pure maple syrup for corn syrup. I even used Chambord in place of Gran Marnier for a bit of a rasberry flavor and it all works. Many thanks!
    I made this for brunch and it was a big hit. I did alter the recipe slightly by adding more bread than called for and I think this kept the recipe from coming out soggy.
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