Loaded with sausage and cheese, this Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole is prepared the night before and ready to pop in the oven the next morning. Your house will smell delicious while this is baking and might even get any morning stragglers out of bed.
If you love breakfast casseroles like we do at our house you’re going to love this Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole. It’s comforting, hearty and so, so delicious.
I’m all about easy so the fact that you can make this casserole the night before is one of the reasons I love it. We actually love this for dinner as much as we do for breakfast, so making it the night before and then tossing it into the oven makes dinnertime so smooth and easy.
Now if some of you only like breakfast casseroles made with hashbrowns because you detest soggy bread, you don’t have to worry about this one being soggy. Using slices rather than cubes of bread and toasting it beforehand, helps the bread not “drink up” too much of the custard mixture. It’s tender, but not soggy and I promise you’ll love this.
WHAT CAN I PUT IN BREAKFAST CASSEROLE?
While this recipe has just sausage and cheese, you could easily add sautéed peppers and/or onions, ham, bacon, different kinds of cheese, etc. Some breakfast casseroles call for hashbrowns, but this one uses bread which you toast in your oven before hand. It’s delicious!
A FEW OTHER VARIATIONS FOR THIS OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE:
- Use different cheeses. For instance, use Swiss cheese or provolone, or even pepper jack to give it some more kick.
- Add some different herbs or seasonings. You could throw in some cilantro, fresh parsley or even basil.
- Replace the pork sausage with chorizo sausage halved lengthwise and sliced thin along with pepper jack in place of the sharp cheddar. Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro to the chorizo after you’ve taken off the heat.
- Instead of Italian bread, use French bread or croissants torn in pieces.
- I have used hot breakfast sausage in this and then just left out the hot sauce and it’s delicious! If you love things with a lot of kick, then use hot sausage and still use the hot sauce.
- Top this with some sour cream and salsa or you can even drizzle a little maple syrup over it . . . YUM!
DOES THIS HAVE TO REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT?
The great thing about this casserole is it can be made ahead of time or can be made last minute if you need it, but it does need at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- 1 loaf (14-inches) Italian bread
- 1 pound pork breakfast sausage, crumbled
- 1/4 cup small onion, chopped fine
- 3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 12 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups whole milk (2% or 1% work just fine too)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon Hot sauce
Adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice bread in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Spread bread in single layers on two baking sheets (it might fit on one sheet) and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, flipping bread and switching and rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool 15 minutes.
Crumble sausage and cook in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.
Grease 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Lay half of bread in prepared pan so that the edges overlap slightly. Top with half of sausage mixture and 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, remaining sausage mixture and the remaining cheese. (If you don't have enough bread for two full layers, that's fine, just space the second layer as evenly as you can, or just make a single layer)
Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper and hot sauce in large bowl. Pour evenly over casserole.
Wrap casserole with plastic and place weights on top (See notes), this weight will help the toasted bread fully absorb the egg-milk mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Let casserole stand at room temperature while oven is heating. Remove weights, unwrap casserole, and bake until the edges and center have pulled and top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve.
Cover your casserole tightly with plastic wrap and then place another baking dish right on top of your casserole. Fill the empty baking dish with a few large cans of canned food. This will help the all the bread pieces soak up the egg mixture. NOTE: My 9x13 pans are all slightly different in size/shape/depth so some of them don't fit inside of each other. You want the pan filled with cans to be resting right on top of the casserole, so just make sure you use a dish/pan that will fit inside and rest right on top of the casserole.
Recipe Source: The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011