An easy, delicious make ahead breakfast casserole everyone will love!
This recipes is so delicious, easy and versatile, that it’s one of my go-to’s when we have people over for brunch. It’s also a favorite for when I’m visiting others overnight. I can take the frozen ingredient bag, tuck it in a cooler and hit the road. Bringing good food when you’re a guest is always a good thing!
Not only is it tasty, it’s super easy to prepare the night before or several weeks before serving day. That’s right, this is a freezer friendly recipe, so you can make it well in advance and ensure you get to enjoy breakfast just as much as everyone else around the table.
Ten Tips for the Best Breakfast Casseroles
I love that there are lots of options and very few rules for making breakfast casseroles. With just a few tips and general guidelines, you can make the best breakfast casseroles ever. No runny, undercooked mush for you! Watch the video or read on for all the details.
Use whatever leftover, dry, old bread scraps you have. From white sandwich bread to dense pumpernickel and everything in between like croissants, bagels, hamburger buns or artisan sourdough – if it’s somewhat dry it’ll work.
The only thing that is not great is fresh bread, it won’t soak up the liquid as well and you risk having a soggy casserole. If all you have is fresh bread, dry it out a bit. Place it on a baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes at 250°F.
2. The Cheese
Use your favorite grated or crumbled cheese. Use a blend for maximum flavor, texture and color.
3. Eggs & Milk
The glue that holds everything together. Aim for roughly equal parts milk and egg. It’s not an exact science, so don’t worry too much. I assume 4 eggs=1 cup. So if you use 1 cup of milk, add 4 eggs.
Using more eggs or full fat milk or cream will lead to a thicker more custard like finish. Skim milk and fewer eggs will result in a lighter texture. Either way is great – do what you like best.
Use or don’t use meat – totally your choice. If you do choose to add meat be sure it is fully cooked. Pan fry uncooked sausages, bacon or ham, drain excess oil and cool before adding to the egg mix. Also consider leftover meat like shredded roast pork, beef or poultry.
Add whatever is in your fridge or pick the veggies you love best. I like adding pre-cooked, chopped dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, beet greens or swiss chard for their great color and nutrients. Other veggies to consider are asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, shredded carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, red onions, rapini, etc.
6. Herbs & Seasoning
If you add pre-seasoned or cured meat like bacon, ham or sausage you’ll already get some flavor and salt in your dish. But don’t let that stop you from adding extra herbs and seasoning – just go easy on the salt. Try aromatic herbs like sage, thyme or rosemary or do a combination like oregano, basil and garlic powder. Add some mustard powder, Dijon, cayenne pepper or hot sauce for a little zing. Oh and nutmeg with eggs and spinach is AMAZING!
7. Soaking & Resting
The bread needs a chance to soak up all the liquid, so soaking before baking is key for best results. Cover the dish and let sit in the fridge as long as possible, preferably overnight.
After the casserole has finished baking, let it rest on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes to let the eggs set.
8. Baking & How to Tell When It’s Done
Grease or butter your baking dish on the bottom and on the sides. Grease it well!
Cover the dish in the last 10 minutes or so if browning too much on top.
Your breakfast casserole is done when:
- the outer edges are a lovely golden brown
- there is no liquid pooling anywhere
- the center doesn’t jiggle when you gently shuffle the pan from side to side
- a knife inserted in the center comes out clean
- the internal temperature of the casserole is 165°F
Once baked and cooled, store the finished casserole in the fridge for 3-4 days. It’s equally delicious the next day – so enjoy.
If you can’t finish it, freeze in individual portions or freeze the entire dish (see below). Wrap well and label with reheating instructions.
Reheat in the microwave for 1-3 minutes. Start with 1 minute, rotate then add 30 seconds at a time until it’s as hot as you like.
Reheat in the oven at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Cover dish with foil while reheating in oven.
By the way – once it’s fully baked, you can eat pieces cold too – so good!
How to Freeze A Breakfast Casserole
You have several options for freezing this make ahead breakfast casserole.
Freeze Raw Ingredients in Baking Pan
If you don’t need your baking pan and you have plenty of freezer space, this is the easiest method. Follow the recipe until the baking step. Cover the top of the dish with plastic wrap and seal as best as you can. Wrap entire pan with foil or place in a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Carefully place pan in the freezer keeping it as flat as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months. To make, thaw for 24 hours in the fridge and bake as directed.
Freeze Raw Ingredients in Freezer Bag
Ideal when you need the baking pan for other recipes. Simply combine all ingredients (except garnishes) in a large freezer bag (or two). Freeze for up to 3 months. To make, place frozen bags in a dish in the fridge for 24 hours, empty contents of bags into well greased baking dish and bake as directed in recipe.
Freeze Baked Dish
For quicker baking time the morning of, pre-bake the casserole as directed in the recipe then freeze it. In order to prevent ice crystals, it’s critical to let the casserole cool completely before packaging. Let it cool on the counter for an hour and then in the fridge until it is completely cooled. Once cooled, you can freeze it in the baking pan or remove it and freeze in a freezer bag or container for up to 2 months.
To reheat, thaw for 24 hours in the fridge, cover top with foil and bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes until heated through.
Pro Tip:Use a sharpie and write the recipe name, date and baking directions on the bag.
Recipe for Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole
Three Cheese, Veggie and Sausage Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole
- 454 g Italian sausage, casings removed (1 lb)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 10 eggs
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder (or 1 Tbsp Dijon)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less as you like)
- 8 cups stale bread cubes (1")
- 1/2 cup well drained, chopped frozen spinach (4 nuggets)
- 1 cup diced sweet peppers
- 1 cup grated old cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley or green onions for garnishing
- Grease a 9×13" (23×33 cm) baking dish.
- In fry pan, saute sausage and onion. Drain any excess oil and discard. Set sausage mix aside.
- In very large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, thyme, black pepper, mustard powder, salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
- Mix in bread cubes, spinach, peppers, cheddar, Feta and sausage mix. Stir well.
- Pour into prepared pan. Top with Parmesan and sprinkle with paprika.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight. If making same day, let sit for at least 2 hours to allow egg and milk to soak into bread.
- Remove from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Uncover and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cover with foil in last few minutes if top is becoming too brown.
- Remove from oven, place pan on wire rack and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh parsley or green onions.
Other Breakfast Ideas
Rhubarb Bread Pudding – perfect for a sweet breakfast brunch
Shakshuka – eggs poached in tomato sauce
What are some other freezer friendly make ahead dishes that you enjoy? I’m always looking for more ideas to add to my repertoire.
Let me know what you think of this breakfast casserole and if you ate it right away or chose a freezer option. And of course, if you’re on social media – tag me with any photos so I can see them and like them! I’m on instagram @getgettys and Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.