Apple Pie French Toast Bake for Holiday Travel Made Easy

A recipe for an apple pie spiced French toast casserole, baked in the oven. This is an easy do-ahead breakfast that makes it a wonderful choice for Christmas morning or any busy day during the holiday season, and a fun Thermos Food Jar giveaway.
Apple Pie French Toast Bake #Recipe via

Christmas morning.

Dawn arrives, its first rays of light glinting through the cracks in the blinds, peeking through from the living room where the tree sits, lights left on for the whole of the night, twinkling as the blackness of light gives way to the grey of morning.

From the hallway that leads to the bedrooms the sound of feet hitting the wood floors can be heard as bodies that were just laying flat have jolted upward, covers shoved aside, throwing skinny legs down to the floor. Small creaks break the silence as these barefooted children dare to move towards the door and down the hall to where a mound of brightly-wrapped packages lays undisturbed, the paper smooth and shiny, with tags determining to whom they belong.

The squeals of the first carry until they are all awake, staring wide-eyed at the gift they’ve been given until they can’t contain themselves any longer and pad down the hallway again to see if their parents might be convinced to join them so the real fun can begin.
Apple Pie French Toast Bake #recipe via

Somewhere between the presents and the cleaning up ripped paper torn between small, eager fingers those tiny mouths that are squealing must be fed, and for us that means that we need to find food that can come with us, for next stop is grandma’s, and then it’s straight on to the other grandma and the Christmas program that the children will sing in.

In between all the driving and it being Christmas, there aren’t many places to stop and grab a bite on the road, and so this breakfast that gets in their bodies first needs to be hearty and filling. If it’s portable, even better, for getting them to sit still after their presents have been opened is akin to an act of torture to a young child.

All the goodness of apple pie is baked into this French toast casserole. It can be put together the night before and baked off while the family opens presents, cleans up paper, and gets ready to head out the door. It makes a wonderful breakfast for dinner, brunch offering, or relaxing Saturday morning breakfast.

6 cups dry bread, cubed
2 medium apples, cored and sliced
5 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Lightly grease an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. In a large bowl add the bread cubes and apples. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cardamom. Pour over the bread and apples and stir. Let it rest a minute to allow the milk and eggs to soak into the bread. Pour into the prepared pan.

For the topping, mix together the butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt until thick and crumbly. Add in the pecans. Spread the topping over the bread and apples in the pan.

This can be baked immediately or stored in the refrigerator and baked the next morning. To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap or foil and place in the refrigerator, removing when it’s time to bake.

To bake, preheat oven to 350º F. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, until topping starts to brown and the center of the bake is puffed. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm.

Makes 4-6 servings.
Copyright © Food for My Family.

Apple Pie French Toast Bake #recipe via
The Thermos Food Jars make it easy to bring this breakfast on the road with you. Environmentally and budget friendly, we have a grand total of seven food jars in our home that make frequent trips to school with the kids. They keep your food warm, so when you crack it open in the car it’s still hot and comforting as you make your way to grandma’s house in the snow.

A Giveaway

I’m giving away THREE (3) Thermos 10-Ounce Stainless Steel Food Jars to three readers:

  • Thermos® double wall vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention
  • BPA-Free, unbreakable stainless steel interior and exterior
  • Cool to the touch with hot foods, sweat-proof with cold
  • Compact design is lightweight for easy portability
  • Wide mouth is easy to fill, eat from, and clean

To Enter

Leave me a comment below. What do your Christmas mornings look like? Do you have holiday traditions that take you away from home? Have you finished your holiday shopping yet?

For Extra Entries

  1. Share the link to the post on Facebook and let me know that you did.
  2. Tweet this giveaway and leave a comment letting me know that you did: Enter to win a @ThermosBrand Food Jar from @FoodforMyFamily #giveaway

The Rules

This giveaway is provided by Thermos and will run until Friday, December 7, 2012 at 11:59 pm CST and is open to all U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Three winners will be chosen at random using from all eligible entries. Chosen winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!


  1. Angela S. says:

    We try to sleep as late as possible Christmas morning, I prepare a special breakfast brunch and then we exchange gifts, I like to hand the gifts out one by one and take turns watching each person open each item. Often we then rush to a relatives home or they come to ours for more eating and exchanging of gifts. My goal is for it to be relaxing family time, but that doesn’t always happen.

  2. We always go to Disney world…

  3. Wake up WAY WAY WAY to early. We have rhubarb cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The presents opening take all day. We open present or two and then let the kids play with the new item for a while, and then start the process all over again. all day in pj’s the whole family. Awesome.

    • This sounds like the perfect day. We always rush around, clearly, and our Christmas morning actually starts on Christmas Eve, with us running between three or four separate events, and trying to fit in a family Christmas with just us and the kids.

  4. Christmas morning has gotten very quiet the past couple of years as I have only one child left at home! My husband is outside for hours doing morning chores by the time we wake-up. Santa still comes on Christmas eve so present opening takes place as soon as we are all together (3 of us!) We have stayed home and I have prepared Christmas dinner for the past 17 years – since we built our new home. My older 2 older children will come with their spouses. My parents will be there also. By noon we have a grand feast – this year it’s Italian. Game playing and gift exchanging will happen after dinner…..and that reminds me. I’ve a few gifts to shop for yet!

  5. My family of 5 spends Christmas day together, enjoying M&M pancakes for breakfast and preparing a small feast for dinner. We have an exciting morning and spend the rest of the day the exploring the spoils and relaxing. We also pack our bags for a visit to each grandparent’s house over the following days. By the time we return home we have had a week of Christmas cheer.

  6. I work retail and have not even STARTED my holiday shopping yet!! 🙂

  7. Haven’t even started my shopping yet.

  8. About 1/2 way done with my shopping. Christmas morning is a lot slower now that our kids are older (17 and 21). We don’t go anywhere on Christmas Day, so it is so relaxing!

  9. Some holiday shopping is done, partly because some things broke right around Thanksgiving and needed replacing. (Happy Early Christmas!) Our tradition involves traveling about 2.5-3 hours away so a healthy breakfast like this is always on the menu.

  10. Tweeted!

  11. I am almost done with my Christmas shopping!

  12. Finished? I haven’t started!!!

  13. We haven’t finished our shopping, but we are SO MUCH CLOSER than we were this time last year! SO EXCITED! 🙂

    No traditions – I just went through a pretty messy breakup and I’m estranged from my family, so I’ll probably be creating some new traditions for my kiddos this year!

  14. I`m almost done with christmas shopping!

  15. We have a family brunch and this would be the perfect dish to add!

  16. Marnely Rodriguez-Murray says:

    We love to get up and open presents, while having a simple breakfast of hot chocolate and toast 😛

  17. Our Christmas mornings are usually relaxed, by design. It’s the days before and after that are nuts!
    I would love these jars.So cool!

  18. This Christmas, we will create new traditions. We lost my Mom (who lived with us), so it will be very different without her here.

  19. My Christmas traditions have everyone at my house on Christmas morning. We start with Breakfast Enchiladas, homemade cinnamon rolls, and fresh fruit. My ‘shopping’ is done, but I do have two more gifts to knit. I generally get all of my gifts done by December 15th and the ones that need to be mailed are off to their destinations that same day.

  20. Christmas mornings here are simple, Hubby and I decided that Christmas day was a stay at home with our family day. So we have little ones jump in our bed where we have the stockings at the foot of our bed so that we can wake up enough to get up. Then we head to the tree and take turns opening gifts, then we have a similar french toast bake for breakfast and a lazy day of watching the kids play with their toys. I am excited to try out this one and think it might become a new Christmas morning traditon for us! Thank you for the recipe!

  21. Also shared on facebook, hope to make people jealous and want to come to my house when they know that I am making this for breakfast Christmas morning.

  22. All the kids and grandkids spend the night christmas eve, we have a huge dinner, laugh, play games and at 10:00 p.m., the grandkids get ready for bed, put out the cookies and milk for santa. After all the adults go to bed, my husband and I line the mantel with all the stockings stuffed to the hilt, put out Santa’s presents and around 7:00 a.m., my husband will go out to the back yard and ring sleigh bells very lightly and ho! ho! ho! we run back in the house and jump in bed like we are asleep, and the grandkids run down stairs saying did you hear him???? then we get the coffee and hot chocolate started and open gifts – have a large breakfast and chill out the rest of the day!

  23. Just had my sons birthday party so that mean Christmas everything can start now. We normally have a french meat pie for our traditional Christmas breakfast.

  24. We’re up early but a few years ago, we asked Santa to start wrapping his presents too. This way the kiddos are allowed to go through their stocking while we prepare breakfast. Then we eat and open presents from Santa. Afterwards, (in a good year) we will leave the presents from each other until later in the day while the grown ups prepare the Christmas meal. Then, we will open presents from each other. We live fairly far away from grandparents and don’t get to be in their homes for Christmas often. By doing this (when we can keep the kids reigned in), we keep the anticipation of Christmas alive a bit longer throughout the day. I imagine if we had to pack up & go to grandmas’ it would also prolong that feeling of excited anticipation but with grandmas on opposite sides of the country & us in the middle, it’s just not feasible.

  25. We stay home Christmas morning usually in staying in pajamas until noon. We then have a nice Christmas dinner. I have not even started my shopping. I usually have most of it done by this time!

  26. sally ebeling says:

    I am enjoying reading all the responses…have recently moved and am sort of all by myself so am not sure what will be going on Christmas this year. Peace and Joy to all….

  27. We always bake cookies on Christmas eve and leave milk and cookies for Santa. The next morning, we unwrap presents first thing and then have a relaxed brunch. Then we pack up the gifts for uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents and go to my sister’s for dinner and the big gift exchange.

  28. All of us pitch in and cook Christmas dinner at Mom’s house. I’m halfway done shopping. Happy Holidays to all.

  29. This French Toast is crazy good looking…wow…look at this!!

  30. I can sleep in…no commitments!

  31. I’m an email subscriber.

  32. The kids are allowed to open their stockings without mom and dad being up; once the grown-ups are up, we eat a special breakfast and then sit around opening gifts and listening to beautiful music. I think I will make this apple French toast this year!

  33. YUM! I am almost done with shopping. My mornings are filled with the pitter pat of small feet that wander up the stairs too early!

  34. I shared this on Facebook!


  36. Can’t wait to try this recipe (and hopefully the thermos, too)!

  37. I’m not sure I ever ate breakfast on Christmas morning as a kid – I was up at 5 am annoying everybody, and food was the furthest thing from my mind. Funny how things change.

  38. We always have a special breakfast–this recipe might be it this year! 🙂

  39. At my mom and dad’s it’s always chaos on Christmas morning. To help reign that in, the rules are that the adults can sleep in until 7 if they want. The kids can open their stockings before that. We read the Christmas story from the Bible and then take turns opening gifts, one at a time, youngest to oldest. Adults are last.

  40. I think this may be the ultimate comfort food. I feel all warm and cozy just from the pictures!

  41. I always make a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning…this looks like it’s going to be the one this year!

  42. This is so perfect for Christmas morning. I love the flavors!

  43. I love this it just looks perfect for Christmas morning! I usually try to have cinnamon rolls and usually bacon on Christmas morning. My boys are up way too early and always starving!

  44. Christmas mornings are always at my in-laws, with lots of presents, panetone, and Christmas bread!

  45. I love the idea of making something the night before – makes Christmas morning special and so much less rushed.

  46. this looks wonderful, beautiful photos. I wish I could reach out and grab one!

  47. comfort, right here. love this!

  48. Kristen M. says:

    I like to make cinnamon rolls for a Christmas breakfast treat. We open one gift each on Christmas Eve and save the rest for Christmas morning.

  49. Shopping, haven’t even started yet! I do try to make a simple, yet filling breakfast of some sort. I will try this French toast recipe for sure this year, yum! We open presents at my parents house but this year will be at mine. Enjoy our family time together and go visit family after we eat our Christmas lunch together.

  50. Shared on fb:)

  51. This looks so beautiful! What a perfect weekend breakfast!

  52. We love baked french toast and this looks amazing!

  53. The best part of the holiday’s (for me) is gifting and (for me) the best gifts are always handmade (especially this year when I’m stuck in-between jobs). At the moment I’m diligently looking for ideas for crafty ideas that are sure to put a smile on the recipients face (while fitting within my tiny budget). This recipe sounds amazing — since I usually drive to my relatives on Xmas day, I’m planning to mix this up ahead of time and bake it up at their house as a “sweet” surprise!

  54. We were spending our early Christmases away from our home but started making sure we were waking up in our house a couple of years ago. I love Christmas morning! It starts with coffee getting turned on then into the living room for unwrapping madness!
    I always flop on breakfast 🙂 I have been wanting to plan ahead and make a breakfast casserole that could be cooking up while we are playing in wrapping paper 🙂

  55. Our Christmas morning looks different from year to year, it depends on if we go to Grandma and Grandpa’s or not. We do love to make fun and yummy breakfasts and this will be added to the list. I am 80% done with my shopping, but have the difficult people left and most of my sewing for left.

  56. We usually are away at Christmas, since family is back in the Dakotas. If we’re waking up at Mom & Dad’s, there are sure to be Mom’s tender caramel rolls waiting for us.

  57. Kate Edenborg says:

    Christmas morning is just my husband and daughter and I at home. We stay in pjs as long as we can : )

  58. Billie Jean says:

    Shared on Facebook!

  59. Billie Jean says:


  60. I miss having French Toast bake with you.

  61. Celebrating my birthday w/ Jesus! Just finished my shopping for my 3 kiddos…phew!

  62. We use food thermos jars fairly often too. I use them for oatmeal so that I can transport my brunch to the office without having to meddle with too much. Also, that french toast is so yummy-looking.

  63. Shaina, what a stunner!

    ….Sadly I have not even started my holiday shopping. :S

  64. I neeeed to get my ramekins back from my friend so I can make these! So cute and delicious!

  65. Love the look of this breakfast. I always try to make a breakfast casserole on Christmas eve so I can enjoy the morning with my family. This looks like the apple pie french toast bake will be the casserole this year. Thank you.

  66. Mmm…I bet that smells heavenly coming out of the oven. We are on the road too Christmas morning to the in-laws for the day.

  67. Wow that looks fantastic! Also looks simple enough that eve I couldn’t turn it into a kitchen disaster. Time to impress the family with a tasty Xmas breakfast.

    Holiday shopping is best left to a mad dash on 12/23. It’s traditional 🙂

  68. Christmas at the Klank household starts early. Before the rest of the neighborhood is awake, we take a family walk with our three dogs and enjoy the quiet while it lasts. My husband and I open our gifts for each other on Christmas eve, so we usually go to one of four houses for lunch and another house for dinner. If we host, we invite everyone to bring their fuzzy slippers to eat at the dinner table. We love the idea of everyone being comfortable and it makes for some funny stories.

    My Christmas shopping is over almost before it begins since we are cutting back this year. Being together is our greatest gift.

    Leave me a comment below. What do your Christmas mornings look like? Do you have holiday traditions that take you away from home? Have you finished your holiday shopping yet?

  69. Oh, I am still in procrastination mode! Christmas mornings are laid back with cooking and baking to do.

  70. Yum! We always try to make something special on Christmas morning — homemade waffles, popovers, etc.

  71. Perfect recipe. Will try this weekend! Thanks so much!

  72. We always make raspberry streusel coffee cake on Christmas morning.

  73. I am so excited to be sharing this a one of “my Fave Pins” tomorrow, Dec 21st on my blog! I hope you will come by for a visit! Love your blog!! Thanks for sharing your talent!!

  74. This would be great on mornings when you want to perk up the rest of the day. Will it still be good even if you let go of the cardamom?


  1. […] This Apple Pie French Toast Bake is also perfect for travelling.  Shaina is a talented cook and baker.  You will definitely want this warm yumminess Christmas or New Years morning!! […]

  2. […] recipe is adapted from Food for My Family. Filed Under: apples, Breakfast Tagged With: french […]

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