Yes, we’re in the final countdown to Thanksgiving and yes, that means we have to talk about breakfast! On the morning of Thanksgiving, it’s so important to eat a hearty breakfast so that you can keep your energy up all day long. If you have lots of kitchen helpers, gotta make sure they’re well-fed, too.
That’s where this epic banana french toast bake comes in. It’s super easy to make, can be prepped the night before, and seriously tastes like bananas foster. I took my famous orange caramel pecan french toast bake and added a gooey caramel-banana twist for a brunch treat you’re going to absolutely love. It’s so good that I bet you could add a scoop of ice cream and literally eat it as a traditional bananas foster dessert. JUST SAYIN’.
Prep this beautiful pan overnight and wake up ready to crush the day. That goes for Thanksgiving morning, Christmas, and every holiday in-between. It makes the perfect brunch treat for any occasion and is freezer-friendly, too.
What is “bananas foster?”
Bananas foster is a rich dessert where bananas are cooked in a sauce made from butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Restaurants oftentimes then add dark rum and banana liquor to the mixture and light it on fire! This is served with ice cream for a truly decadent dessert.
We’re taking the same flavors (minus the booze) and turning it into an incredible, dairy free banana french toast casserole that has the same gooey, delicious caramel and banana flavors.
Ingredients in this banana french toast bake
This easy banana french toast casserole uses super simple ingredients and is a great way to use up day old bread you might have laying around. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:
- For the caramel: to get those delicious caramelized bananas you’ll need brown sugar or coconut sugar, salted butter, chopped pecans, bananas, and a little sea salt.
- For the french toast: you’ll need eggs, milk (I typically use vanilla unsweetened almond milk to keep it dairy free), more brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and day old French or Italian bread. More on the bread below!
- For the topping: I love, and highly recommend, extra brown sugar for sprinkling on top.
- For serving: this banana french toast bake is delicious as-is, but even better with berries, fresh banana slices, powdered sugar, or even a little drizzle of maple syrup on top. YUM.
Which bread is best for french toast?
Bread that is a day or two old is best for using in this french toast casserole because it’s slightly drier and will prevent the french toast from getting soggy. I prefer a French or Italian loaf because the texture holds up well.
How to make a gluten free french toast bake
You can easily make this bananas foster french toast bake gluten free by using a gluten free loaf. Be sure that it’s similar to Italian or French bread so that the texture holds up well.
Bananas foster french toast bake in 5 easy steps
- Prep your pan. Start by spraying a 13×9 inch baking dish or 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Make the caramel. Next, mix the melted butter and brown sugar in a bowl and pour it into your baking dish — spreading it out evenly on the bottom and sides.
- Layer the french toast. Sprinkle on the sliced bananas & pecans, and place the cubed bread evenly over the banana layer.
- Make the egg mixture. Whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla & cinnamon and pour it over the french toast bake. Make sure each piece of bread is coated well! Cover it up and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours so that the flavors all meld together.
- Bake & serve. Before baking, sprinkle on some more brown sugar for a delicious, sugary crust, then bake until it’s golden brown. To serve, flip each piece upside-down so that the caramel, bananas & pecans are on top, then add your fav toppings and enjoy!
Make it ahead of time
As I mentioned, you can prep this french toast bake the night before! Simply assemble it all and store it in the fridge until the next morning. This allows the flavors to really soak into the bread, and you can simply bake it up the next morning for the perfect holiday breakfast.
How to store & freeze this banana french toast casserole
- To store: store the entire french toast bake covered or slices of the bake in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat slices in the microwave at 30-second intervals.
- To freeze: first, wrap individual slices (or the whole thing) in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and then place the french toast bake in a zip-top freezer bag. When you’re ready to serve it, simply thaw the slices or full bake in the refrigerator overnight and then heat in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
More brunch recipes perfect for the holidays
I hope you love this upside-down bananas foster french toast bake! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Upside-Down Bananas Foster French Toast Bake
Prep Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 5 minutes
Amazing upside-down bananas foster french toast bake with an irresistible caramel layer. This easy banana french toast casserole has delicious hints of brown sugar and cinnamon in every bite. Make it the night before and enjoy a wonderful holiday brunch treat!
- For the caramel:
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1/3 cup salted butter, melted (unsalted is fine, too!)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 2-3 bananas, sliced
- For the french toast:
- 8 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound/loaf day old french or italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes*
- For the topping:
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (or coconut sugar), for sprinkling
- For serving:
- Fresh berries
- Extra banana slices
- Powdered Sugar
- Maple syrup
Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish or 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl, pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, be sure to spread out evenly towards the sides. Sprinkle with sliced bananas and chopped pecans so that they are set in the ‘caramel’ layer. Place cubed bread evenly over the pecan mixture.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour egg mixture over the bread, making sure to soak each cube. If there are some dry pieces, simply push them down a bit to soak up some of the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Once ready to bake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar on top of the bread. Bake for 50 minutes-1 hour or until the top of the french toast is nice and golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes then cut into 8 servings.
When you plate, flip each piece upside-down so the caramel and pecans are on top. Serve with fresh berries, yogurt, powdered sugar, or maple syrup, but honestly it’s delicious as is! Enjoy!
To make gluten free: use a gluten free loaf. It’s best if it’s similar to Italian or French bread.
Servings: 8 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 8)
Saturated fat: 6.7g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats