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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!
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frecnh toast in baking dish close up

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  1. I’m excited to make this for Thanksgiving breakfast! Do you think it would be possible to make just the cream cheese filling in advance? Or would it end up separating?

    1. Hi Clarissa,
      I think that would be just fine for you to do! Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xT

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for Easter and my mother requested it for Mother’s Day brunch too! And that’s HUGE a for my mom- she likes to do the same menu for each holiday, so thank you for making such yummy recipes I can share with all of my family, and seem like a rockstar baker (and I always give you credit!) keep up the awesome work!

    1. Hi Bridgid,
      Perfect!! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and thanks so much for making it! Happy Mother’s Day!💐

  3. Hi! Can I prepare this and leave it overnight to bake in the morning? Or will it make the challah/brioche too soggy?

    1. Hi Viva,
      It should be just fine for you to do that! Let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

  4. If I can’t find challah bread are there any other substitutions that would work? I’m going to make for Mother’s Day bunch next weekend!

    1. Hi Alyssa,
      Brioche would also be a great option!! Let me know if you have any other questions, I hope this turns out well for you! xT

  5. 5 stars
    So good! Made it for Easter and making it again for my family this weekend. Could I freeze it before baking?

    1. Hey Sophia,
      Happy Monday!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it! So sorry, I have never tried freezing this, I’m not sure it would be the best idea! xx

  6. Hi! I am planning on making this for a brunch, could I use my Le Creuset(it is the 7.25 qt)? And if I do, should I bake it with the lid on or off? Can’t wait to try this recipe! 🙂

    1. Hey Aimee,
      Sure, that should work well for you! Bake with the lid off:) Let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xx

  7. 5 stars
    I just made and brought this to a brunch with friends and it was delish! To top it off we were talking about different cooks/bakers we follow and my host brought out your cookbook! She had no idea that I followed you on IG and it was your recipe!

    1. Hey Karen,
      Happy Monday!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it! xx

    1. Hey Suzanne,
      Happy Wednesday!! 🌞 Love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! xT

  8. 3 stars
    I made this recipe for Easter brunch but I prepared it last night, and baked it this morning. I used my homemade challah bread. It came out pretty soggy and mushy, each piece of bread was totally falling apart. The addition of the cream cheese mixture was tasty though. The brown sugar/cinnamon/butter topping was good but there wasn’t nearly enough of it. Overall the flavors were good but the texture and amounts of ingredients were a bit off for me.

    1. Hi Mikayla,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback!! So sorry to hear it wasn’t your fave. I’m wondering if it had anything to do with the homemade challah bread, could it just have been too soft and fresh? Let me know if I can help at all! xT

  9. On step 2…after whipping the cream cheese for 1 minute, you say add the whipped cream and vanilla. Are you referring to the heavy cream when you say whipped cream? Or is it just whipped cream cheese and vanilla?

    1. Hi April,
      Yes, the heavy whipping cream:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

    1. Hi Casey,
      They can overlap:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

  10. Hi! I’m making this Saturday for an Easter brunch with my girlfriends. Can I use a cast iron skillet, 12 inch? Thanks!

    1. Hi Brianna,
      You are probably going to want to use something with high sides than what a skillet can offer. Please let me know if I can help in any other way! xT