Apple French Toast Casserole with a Surprise Ingredient

by | Nov 27, 2011 | Breakfast/Brunch, Entertaining, Fruit Recipes

Apple French Toast Casserole with apple syrup spooned over the top

If you are like me and like to entertain, you are probably always looking for the perfect recipe to feed to guests. Last week I found the perfect breakfast/brunch recipe on the Tasty Kitchen Website (you should check out the Tasty Kitchen Website, there are a lot of great looking recipes there). The ingredients, description, and photo of this Apple French Toast casserole made the recipe sound and look fantastic, so I made two batches of it the Wednesday before Thanksgiving just to make sure it was as good as it looked. I took one batch to work and left the other for my kids and their friends to eat. I received rave reviews from both groups. We were leaving on Thanksgiving Day to stay at my cousin Becky’s house in Yuba City for a couple of days, so I made another batch before we left. I figured we could pop it into the oven when we got back from our early morning shopping escapade on Black Friday. 

The two batches that I made the day before Thanksgiving were made with pre-sliced Texas toast. The batch I prepped on Thanksgiving was made with sourdough bread. While the casserole was good with the Texas toast bread, it was exquisite with sourdough bread.

Now about the surprise ingredient . . . It’s Jack Daniels Whiskey. The original recipe called for bourbon, which I did not have, so I used the closest thing to bourbon that I had on hand. Just in case you’re thinking Jack Daniels is bourbon whiskey, it’s not. The Jack Daniels website set me straight: Jack Daniel’s is not a bourbon – it’s a Tennessee Whiskey.  Anyway, about the Jack Daniels in this recipe–it complements the butter and adds richness to the flavor. However, if you don’t have or can’t have whiskey or bourbon, I think the recipe would be fine without it.

Jack Daniels is the surprise ingredient in this decadent French toast casserole

This dish can be made the day before and refrigerated overnight or you can make it the day you plan to serve it. You do not need to serve it with syrup; the apples and brown sugar make a syrup that you can spoon over the top of each serving.

On Black Friday when we returned from shopping we did pop the casserole into the oven and it sure hit the spot for us hungry shoppers! By the way, I want to set the record straight about the shopping–Becky, Laina, and I were not some of the bad shoppers you might have seen in the news on Black Friday. We were on our best behavior and did not shoot, pepper spray, push or shove, or rip anything out of the hands of any of the other shoppers . . .

Apple French Toast Casserole

 – Serves 6 to 8


  • ½ cup butter (one stick)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • 4 to 6  baking apples (e.g., Granny Smith), cored, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 loaf sour dough or French bread, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of salt


If you are making this dish the day you are serving it, preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Melt the butter and sugar together over medium heat in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Cook until slightly thickened. Add the whiskey and whisk again. Continue to cook for about 1 minute.

Spray a 9″ x13″ pan with cooking spray. Pour the butter and whiskey mixture into the bottom of the pan. Arrange the sliced apples on top.

The butter, brown sugar, and whiskey mixture covering the bottom of the pan

Sliced apples arranged in the pan

In a medium or large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Dip each side of the bread into the egg mixture and arrange the bread on top of the apples. Pour the leftover egg mixture over the bread. 

Sour dough cut into 1-inch slices works best for this recipe

Dip both sides of the bread into the milk and egg mixture

If you plan to serve this dish the following day, cover the dish and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the uncovered casserole dish in the heated oven. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until apple slices have softened and bread is golden brown (one of my casseroles took about 70 minutes to cook). 

The casserole is cooked until the bread is browned and apples soft

To serve, use a large serving spoon or spatula to remove a slice of the bread and the apples below. Flip it over onto a plate and spoon some of the apple syrup from the casserole over the top.

I’m planning on serving this Christmas morning.


The last time I turned down a whisky, I didn’t understand the question.  ~Unknown