This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details.

For a Tuesday treat or upcoming brunch, make this Baked Cinnamon Crunch French Toast. Made with a vanilla egg custard, each piece is stuffed with whipped cream cheese and finished with a cinnamon crunch topping. It’s that cinni “crunch” topping, that gets everyone, it really is delicious. Every piece of toast is soft, buttery, and custardy inside, yet caramelized around the edges…almost like a creme brûlée. Enjoy warm with just a little butter. Beyond delicious!

overhead photo of french toast in skillet with cream and flowers

I haven’t been that into baking lately. Ever since Christmas I’ve been baking a lot less. Which I guess makes sense since we did so much baking in December.

What I have been into, is baking more wholesome sweets. And while it’s a little tricky at times, I love the challenge it brings. It’s something new and fun for me!

All that said, we had lots of snow this past weekend. So just like that, I was left wanting to bake up something sweet for a nice breakfast/brunch. Cozy snow days are always best for baking.

And while I know Easter may not be until late in April, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared and planning ahead!

whipped cream cheese in mixing bowl

The idea

I’ve said this many times before, but I grew up eating the Panera bread cinnamon crunch bagels. They were always my favorite with a little butter smear on top. So freaking good, right?

I’ve created a few recipes with the cinnamon crunch topping in previous years, but never a french toast. So when the idea came to me, I knew it would be good. A custardy french toast with that delicious cinni-crunch topping might even be better than the bagels.

I had to make it.

cream cheese stuffed in the bread before cooking

The details

Start with the cream cheese. First, I should mention that if you’d prefer, you can skip the cream cheese altogether. But I do think it makes this french toast really delicious, so personally, I wouldn’t.

You’ll want to whip the cream cheese with some whipping cream until it’s light and airy. Then take your thick pieces of challah (or brioche) bread and use a knife to make a small pocket in the middle of each piece. Stick the cream cheese into the pockets.

prep photo of the bread in the egg custard batter

From here, everything is pretty straightforward. The custard is a simple mix of eggs, milk, and vanilla. Dip each piece of bread into the custard, then arrange in the baking dish. Sprinkle over some cinnamon sugar.

Once the french toast has been assembled, place it in the fridge for thirty minutes, or up to overnight. This is great if you want to have breakfast all prepped and ready for baking in the morning!

french toast in baking dish with piece missing

Before baking, make the cinnamon crunch topping. It’s just brown sugar, mixed with cinnamon, flour, and butter. It clumps up as it’s mixed, so you can easily sprinkle it over the french toast before baking.

As the french toast bakes, the custard sets, the cream cheese becomes warm and even creamier, and the topping begins to caramelize becoming crunchy.

french toast on plate

Everything together is delicious, so DELICIOUS you guys!

This is by far the sweetest treat I’ve baked up since the holidays, but wow, it’s good. And it’s really great for special mornings and holidays.

french toast on plate close up showing cream cheese in the middle

Obviously serve the french toast warm. It doesn’t need any toppings, but a little sliver of butter is always welcome. And if you have extra whipped cream cheese (you should), add a dollop of that. YUM.

But be sure to keep this recipe in mind to liven up your weekends ahead. Especially Easter weekend, this will be perfect!

french toast on plate

Looking for other easy breakfast dishes?? Here are my favorites: 

Cinnamon Knots with Coffee Icing

Easiest Cinnamon Crunch Knots

Berry and Cream Cheese Croissant French Toast Bake

Lastly, if you make this Baked Cinnamon Crunch French Toast, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Baked Cinnamon Crunch French Toast

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 357 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Grease a 9×13 inch-baking dish with butter. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over the bottom of the baking dish.
    2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese 1 minute. Add the whipped cream and vanilla and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
    3. Grab the bread and make a 1-inch slit at the top, move your knife to create space in the bread, being careful not to poke through to the other side. Spread the inside of the bread with cream cheese, press to enclose (see above photo). You will not need all the cream cheese, save the rest for serving.
    4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Submerge each piece of bread into the egg mix, allowing the bread to sit at least a minute to soak up the eggs. Arrange the bread in the baking dish. Pour the remaining egg mix over the bread slices. Then sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon sugar. Cover and place in the fridge 30 minutes or overnight.
    5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F. In a bowl, mix 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the flour, and butter. Arrange over the bread slices.
    6. Cover and bake 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the French toast is deeply golden.
    7. Serve the french toast warm, topped with any additional whipped cream. Enjoy!
View Recipe Comments
frecnh toast in baking dish close up

Add a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Can u use fresh challa or should u let it sit a day or so? I plan to prep this the night before so I am wondering if the bread needs to be a day or two old?

    1. Hi Erin,
      Fresh is just fine for you to use:) Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx

    1. Hi Nina,
      Wonderful! I am so glad to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it! Happy Easter! xT

  2. 3 stars
    I want to make this for Easter brunch, but I’m concerned it’s not easily separated. Do you find this sticks together?

    1. Hi Tal,
      I’ve never had issues with anything sticking together here:) Please let me know if I can help in any other way! xT

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for weekend brunch and it was fantastic and everyone loved. That said I might add more of the cinnamon topping because my bread was dense and because why wouldn’t more be better!

    1. Hey Chris,
      Fantastic! I appreciate you making this recipe and your comment, so glad to hear that it was enjoyed! Xx

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for this fantastic recipe!! My very picky 14 year old boy loved it too!! I will be making this many more times!! Keep your recipes coming, they are all enjoyed!! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Karoli,
      Totally, mascarpone would be a great option for you! I hope you love this recipe, let me know if you give it a try! xT