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. Hi Irene,
      Sure, that should be okay, I would just whip the cream cheese so that it’s soft! I hope you love this recipe! xx

  1. I’ve made this recipe recently and it was SO good! I have a dairy free friend so I’m wondering which type of milk substitute would you use for the egg mixture?

    1. Hi Miranda,
      Fantastic!! So glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! Almond milk or oat milk would work well! Have a great weekend:)

    1. I made this morning with brioche and it worked just fine! The slices were approximately 1/2in like yours, and I tried slicing the slits in the top and poked through some, so I just spread some of the whipped goodness on half of each slice, folded over in half, and positioned on angles in my 9×13 dish. Worked perfect!

      1. 5 stars
        Upon making this dish, the bread was super soggy on the bottom. I poured the egg batter over like it stated, but feel like it was too much and I had almost baked eggs in some of the crevices of the pan. I ended up taking each piece out and putting it on a baking pan to cook more. How do I get it to not be soggy? The flavor and crunch on top is amazing and I do want to make it again. Reminds me of the french toastbagel at panera!! Thanks!

        1. Hey Brenna,
          Thanks so much for making this recipe!! What kind of bread did you use? Is it possible the pan was too small making it difficult for the bread to soak up the egg mixture? Let me know how I can help! xx

      2. Hey Haley,
        Happy Sunday!! Love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! xT

    2. Hi Kelly,
      Sure, that should work well for you! I hope this recipe is delish, let me know if you give it a try! xx

  2. 5 stars
    I made this today for brunch, my guests loved it. I drizzled pecan syrup over the top after serving it…made it even more beautiful and tasty. And speaking of pecans next time I might put some toasted pecans on the top after adding the brown sugar crumble. Would love to send a picture, how do I do that?

    1. Hey Kathy,
      Happy Sunday!💐 I really appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it was a hit! So sorry, we don’t allow photos here:) xT

  3. You mention putting a bit of butter and/or leftover cream cheese mixture but it looks like you might be pouring syrup over it as well? Planning on making it tomorrow for lunch

  4. I’m making this for brunch tomorrow and my challah is very tall. It looks like you arrange your bread slices standing upright. Should I try that or can I place the slices lying down in the 9×13 pan? Thanks!

    1. Hi Julie,
      I kind of arrange them at a slant, I would try that! Let me know how this recipe turns out for you, I hope you love it! xx

  5. Hi! Step 2 is not clear to me- should I pre-whip my heavy whipping cream? Or add the heavy whipping cream to the cream cheese?

    1. Hi Lauren,
      You are going to whip the cream cheese for 1 minute, then add the cream and vanilla and continue to whip. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

    1. Hi Kristin,
      You’re going to need the heavy cream to ensure that it whips correctly:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

    2. I used half and half and wish I had used heavy cream. Result was a bit runny! Next time heavy cream.

    1. Hi Lee-Ann,
      Brioche is also a great option! Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

  6. I make this french toast for every occasion! It is ALWAYS a hit. It’s so simple to put together, looks amazing, and tastes phenomenal. It’s our favorite! I’m not a huge cream cheese fan but mixing it with the heavy cream lightens it and inside the bread just makes the whole thing rich – don’t skip that part!

    1. Love to hear this!! Thanks so much for making this recipe so often Angel! Hope you’re off to a great Monday! xT

  7. 5 stars
    Made this for Christmas morning and it was a big hit! Added a few frozen berries but otherwise followed the exact recipe – not bad reheated the next day either. Thanks Tieghan!

  8. 5 stars
    This was sooooo good! We left out the cream cheese though. The crunch & caramelization made this dish. I will definitely making this again.

    1. Hey Erika,
      Happy Wednesday!!🎇 I am delighted to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and appreciate you making it! xx

    1. Hey Amanda,
      Sorry, I don’t have a link for that pan, it’s vintage! Any oven safe baking dish will work with this recipe! Please let me know if you have any other questions! xT

    1. Hi Kelly,
      You are going to use the heavy cream in step 2:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT