Whole grain bread, tender-crisp apples, crunchy pecans, and juicy plump raisins all wrapped up in warm spices and drizzled with a healthy sweet cream. This is a breakfast worth waking up for!
I could throw one heck of a stuffing extravaganza with all the rejected bread ends I have hanging out in my freezer. Those poor ends, cut off and shunned from every loaf of homemade bread like they're garbage.
While I do my best to convince my children that the ends are the prize of every loaf, I myself am not interested in eating them. So what do I do? I cut or tear them into bite-size pieces and throw them in the freezer with the intention of doing something remarkable with them.
Truth be told, I found these bags of bread leftovers as I was cleaning out the freezer, AKA avoiding other more important responsibilities. Isn't that the only reason the freezer ever gets cleaned?
One bag of bread was freezer burnt and went in the garbage, the other bags turned into this scrumptious, healthy, whole grain cozy breakfast, Instant Pot Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole.
Coincidently, the add-ins for this recipe came about because of some bruised apples and Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cream that needed to be eaten. Doesn't it just feel so good to use up the rejects in such a delicious way!
In our TIDBITS cookbook, Master the Electric Pressure Cooker, I created an Almond Butter Cherry Bread Pudding version that my kids absolutely loved (well they liked it when I subbed the almond butter with peanut butter and the cherries for bananas, but whatevs).
Now it's time for another bread pudding/french toast casserole to grace our breakfast table!
Side note: I did some research and I'm still not 100% sure if this should technically be called a french toast casserole or a bread pudding. I'm thinking bread pudding is typically more of a dessert? Anyways, if you have THE answer, let me know!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS EASY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE WITH APPLES, PECANS, AND RAISINS
- Warm, comforting spices soaked into every soft, chewy bite of bread. You just can't get this texture from standard french toast!
- Speaking of texture, this has it all! Al dente apples, plump raisins, crunchy pecans, soft bread cubes, and if you go with my suggestion of sprinkling turbinado sugar on top and placing it under the broiler, you've got those hot item crystalized crouton bites on top too!
- Soooo easy to throw together. You'll be wondering why you've spent so many precious moments of your life slaving over a griddle of endless french toast
- Healthy, whole grain, low sugar start to the day. Can't get that from a box of cereal
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE IN AN INSTANT POT
- Toss together the bread, apples, pecans and raisins
- Mix together the spices and wet ingredients
- Pour wet ingredients over the bread, toss to coat
- Pour into a pan
- Use a tinfoil sling to lower the pan onto a trivet, cook
- Voila! Easy Peasy bread pudding ready for turbinado, creamy drizzle, or both!
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
- Use sturdy bread, none of that thin, almost see through stuff. It will dissolve in the eggy mixture and turn into mush. Gross. Whole wheat bread is perfect. Challah, brioche, and french bread are also great options, although not whole grain.
- I don't add sweetener to the egg mixture, I prefer to enjoy mine with a drizzle of Kerrygold butter (the best!) and let the kids dress theirs with syrup. If you want a sweeter casserole, swap 1/4 cup of the milk for 1/4 cup maple syrup or add 1/4 cup brown sugar (and leave the amount of milk called for the same)
- Most bread puddings and french toast casseroles require a long soak in the milk mixture. With this Instant Pot version you can mix it up and cook it right away, no planning ahead needed.
MAKE AHEAD FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
Sometimes you want/need a ready to go breakfast when you wake up. Fortunately, this casserole works both ways! Add the bread and milk/egg mixture to your baking pan, cover it with plastic wrap and let it soak through the night.
If you're doing this overnight method, you'll want to use a dense, sturdy bread. This also works really well for dried out bread.
In the morning just plop it in the pressure cooker and by the time everyone is up and ready, you'll have a fancy, comforting breakfast to sit down and enjoy.
There's just something about this healthy, homey breakfast. If my kids hear they're having French Toast Casserole and a cup of “Bru” they instantly become happy, helpful, and kind. It's magic I tell ya.
Enjoy this one soon my friends! Never throw away another bread end!
VARIATIONS OF FRENCH BREAD CASSEROLE
The sky is the limit! Just about anything goes here. Here are a couple more ideas to get your imagination going.
- Swap mashed bananas for the applesauce, diced bananas for the apples, and walnuts for the pecans. Banana Bread French Toast Casserole!
- Omit spices and nuts and fill with mixed berries. Top with a big dollop of whipped vanilla cream.
- Substitute applesauce with pumpkin puree and add a handful of mini chocolate chips – BOOM! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip French Toast Casserole!
MORE INSTANT POT HIGH PROTEIN, WHOLE GRAIN BREAKFASTS TO ENJOY
- Blackberry Almond Breakfast Cake
- Strawberry Poppyseed Breakfast Cake
- Oatmeal Muffins/AKA Beebo Bites
- Maple Cinnamon Oats
- Stuffed Blueberry French Toast
TOOLS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT APPLE CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
- 7 inch springform pan or
- 7 x 3 Fat Daddio's Baking Pan
Instant Pot Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole
Whole grain bread, tender-crisp apples, crunchy pecans, and juicy plump raisins all wrapped up in warm spices and drizzled with a healthy sweet cream
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 5 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 4 cups bite-sized cubed whole grain bread
- 1 cup chopped apple (about 1 small apple, with or without the skin)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup milk (any kind, I like Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
- 1/4 cup applesauce (this Instant Pot Applesauce is amazing!)
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Topping options: maple syrup, turbinado sugar, Vanilla or Cinnamon Cashew Cream , melted butter, etc
- Lightly grease a 7 inch springform or baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a separate large bowl toss to combine bread cubes, apples, and raisins.
- In a small bowl, whisk eggs, milk, applesauce, apple pie spice, and salt.
- Pour mixture over the bread cubes and stir to coat well.
- Pour mixture into greased springform pan.
- Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot and place a trivet inside. Place prepared springform pan on the trivet.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a quick release.
- Serve warm, with a light drizzle of cashew cream or maple syrup
- Optional: Sprinkle the top of the bread with turbinado sugar and place under the oven broiler for a couple of minutes until the bread browns and the turbinado melts.
- Use a sturdy bread that won't disintegrate into the milk/egg mixture
- For a sweeter casserole, add 1/4 cup brown sugar or decrease milk to 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup of maple syrup
- Can be prepared the night before
- Leftovers warm up perfectly soft and moist in the microwave
Keywords: healthy breakfast, instant pot breakfast, french toast casserole