Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake

Let me emphasize a major point here: I detest soggy bread. I mean, really detest it. Which is why I have always been turned off by those breakfast casseroles that start with a layer of bread and move up to soggying the bread with loads of eggs and milk. Major ick. And it is also why you don’t see a lot of recipes on here that require the production of mushy bread of any sort. I’m kind of gagging just thinking about it. Even French toast is a stretch for me. I know. Seriously. Who am I?

Anyhow, a few months ago, I was asked to bring a breakfast casserole to a brunch and I just didn’t know if I could do it. Ethically, I’ve always been against breakfast casseroles for the soggy bread factor. But I sucked it up (kind of) and went searching for a recipe I knew I could trust.

I really am not exaggerating when I say I was sufficiently humbled when I made this recipe and actually got the guts up to try it (I didn’t want to hurl in a public gathering of friends if I started gagging on soggy bread…issues, people, I have issues). This is one truly amazing breakfast bake! I don’t know if it is the weights, the overnight soak or what, but this recipe, and this recipe alone, has taken my hatred of breakfast casseroles and turned it upside down. Abhorrence has become love. And that’s big, my friends, big. The bread after being baked is tender and soft but not soggy. And don’t even get me started on the other simple but stellar flavors going on: hearty pork sausage, creamy sharp cheddar and just a pop of flavor with a bit of hot sauce. I never thought I’d see the day when I would be adding a breakfast casserole to my Best Recipe repertoire.

Just to show you that I really have overcome my prejudices, I’ve since made this three other times and enjoyed it just as much. I’ll never get over my detestation of soggy bread but thankfully, I don’t have to worry about that with this divine breakfast bake and you have no idea how happy that makes me (plus I love that this is made the night before so you can pop it in the oven for a stress-free, hearty breakfast).

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake

One Year Ago: Chicken Pillows with Creamy Parmesan Sauce
Two Years Ago: Southwestern Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Three Years Ago: Cookie Dough Topped Brownies

Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake

Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-inch) loaf Italian bread, ends trimmed
  • 1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups 1% milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce

Directions

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice bread in half lengthwise then slice each half into ½ inch-thick slices. Spread the bread in single layers on two rimmed baking sheets and bake until golden, 10-15 minutes, flipping bread and switching and rotating sheets halfway through (or bake one sheet pan at a time). Take care not to let the bread burn - it should be golden brown and toasted. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage and onion until the pork is no longer pink, breaking the meat into bite-sized pieces as it cooks.
  3. Lightly coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Shingle half of the bread in the prepared pan so that the edges overlap slightly (a couple of times when I've made this, my slices weren't long enough to shingle so I just placed the bread in a single layer and it worked fine). Top with half of the sausage mixture and 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, remaining sausage mixture, and remaining cheese.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and hot sauce together. Pour evenly over the assembled casserole. Place the casserole on a rimmed baking sheet and wrap the casserole with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap lightly on the top of the casserole. Fill another 9X13-inch dish with cans of food (beans, fruit, whatever) and nest the weighted dish on top of the assembled casserole. You'll be glad you placed the assembled casserole on a rimmed baking sheet at this point as there may be a bit of spillage over the sides as the casserole compacts. This will help the bread soak up the egg mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  5. When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Let casserole stand at room temperature while the oven is heating. Remove weights, unwrap casserole, and bake until the edges and center have puffed and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/make-ahead-sausage-and-egg-breakfast-bake/
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country

51 Responses to Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake

  1. Rebekah says:

    I don’t like soggy bread either…..bread pudding = major yuck factor to me.
    I usually make breakfast casseroles with hashbrowns in them instead of bread for that very reason.
    This, however, sounds really delicious and I’m sure my family would love it. I DO actually make an overnight French bread casserole that we all like too, especially the crispy parts on top with brown sugar and cinnamon. :)

  2. Why do you think you have to put bread in it? I have been married and cooking for 34 years and have never put bread in my breakfast casserole. It is extra calories and I can’t imagine it would taste as good with bread in it.

  3. Megan says:

    Im with you on the soggy bread-gag factor!!! Soggy bread and even soft breads bother me. Thanks for the recipe, thats a good trick to toast the bread first.

  4. Kim says:

    Sounds delish! I am also turned off to breakfast casseroles because of the texture of mushy bread. Gross! But this sounds well worth the extra effort.

  5. Wanda says:

    I always replace the bread with quinoa. Works great!

  6. Larissa says:

    Soggy bread is disgusting…I caught a news segment on the hot dog eating contest yesterday and the eaters were dipping hot dogs in buns into cups of water so they could eat them faster. I just nearly gagged typing that. Ewwwwwwwwww.
    I have made a breakfast casserole without bread. Also, have had them with hashbrowns or other potatoes in them. YUM! No soggy bread. It should be banned everywhere. Don’t even get me started on bread pudding. ick.

  7. Brinestone says:

    I have problems with breakfast casseroles too because I don’t like cheese. I’ve never had one with bread in it, though.

  8. Kim in MD says:

    Were we seperated at birth? ;-) I have the same issues with bread casseroles! This looks delicious, Mel, and since it’s a CC recipe I know it will be amazing!

  9. Vickie says:

    I’m going to be the odd one out today and admit that bread pudding and french toast are two of my favorite foods. I have never had a breakfast casserole that I was particularly fond of though. I also think that you may have rescued the bread in this one by applying pressure. I’m pretty sure that is more likely to keep the liquid out rather than force it in. :)

  10. PrettyCharlie says:

    Thanks for the post. ‘Food’ for thought. (winks)

    This recipe sounds delicious, and I was trying to figure out a rough per serving cost. Given that it is chock-a-block with proteins & fat, it would be quite filling, so do you have an estimate of how many servings you would get out of one recipe?

    Thanks!

  11. Teresa R. says:

    I love bread pudding and french toast, but I haven’t found THE breakfast casserole yet. I can’t wait to try this. I’ve been searching for a good breakfast casserole for Christmas morning and this may be it! Thanks!

  12. Joelle says:

    My family and I make something similar to this only we use 1-30 oz. package of frozen shredded hash browns instead of bread. We love it! :) Btw- I am new to your site and have LOVED the new recipes I’ve found here. Thanks a bunch!

  13. Jill says:

    I feel the same was about bread pudding? First off, wet bread is not dessert. Ever. And left over bread with raisins is gross. But your cassarole sounds heavenly. Everything else I have found on your blog had been so far.

  14. Tracee says:

    Hey, I’m right there with you. Problem is, I love bread. I’m addicted to bread. My problem with your recipe is eggs. I can’t eat the eggs…the eggs will make the bread soggy no matter how long I cook it. I can hardly bring myself to eat an egg unless it is cooked beyond recognition! In the rare event in go out for breakfast, I give specific instructions to the waitress…tell the cook…over HARD. VERY VERY HARD. THEN COOK IT SOME MORE.

    I think it’s because my mother cooks her scrambled eggs so runny I felt growing up I was eating raw eggs and I would heave and gag at the table and she would literally force feed me those awful things. Ugh.

    She also ruined peanut butter and bananas for me too by mashing the bananas in the pb and putting it on bread. I STILL can’t eat either and I’m 47 years old!!

  15. Tracee says:

    How’s your sweet babe? I keep checking in to see some new pictures…but I guess you’ve got your hands really full. You’ve done a great job keeping us occupied with great recipes and ideas and I, for one, really appreciate the effort you’ve made!!

    I just wonder how that baby girl how rocked your world and how different your home is to finally have another girl in it!!!

    I understand if you are backing off of posting too much personal stuff. I’ll still come back for your food. In fact, you are on my short list of blogs I visit every day or so.

    Thanks again!

    Tracee

  16. Mel says:

    PrettyCharlie – this could probably serve about 6 adults (and maybe more like 8 depending on what else is being served).

  17. grace says:

    this is like a super eggy savory bread pudding, and i like that notion a lot! SO much sausage and cheese–brilliant creation, mel. :)

  18. Stacie D. says:

    I’m not a fan of soggy bread casseroles either, so I am excited to try this! Like someone else mentioned, I often make a recipe that has hashbrowns as the base, and we love that. Try it!

  19. Chris says:

    I really enjoy french toast, but I don’t enjoy the long process of making enough for the whole family (usually plus an overnight guest or two) and timing it so it will be ready when everyone gets up (you know how those teen sleepovers are – you never know WHEN they will FINALLY get up). I have been meaning to try a recipe like this and really wished I had read this post sooner – it would have come in handy that past weekend. It sounds perfect and I will definitely try it soon!

  20. Kelley says:

    So excited to try this. I can still remember the look on everyone’s face when I brought a soggy bread casserole to Christmas one morning-YUCK! I bet this would be yummy with onion and bacon (instead of sausage.) Thanks Mel!

  21. Cindy says:

    Mel, you and I are soulmates! My friends and family have had many a laugh at my “wet bread” issues. Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone. I will be making this recipe ASAP and celebrating our shared good taste.

  22. Terri says:

    Made this dish this morning, for a Sunday School breakfast…it was soooo delish! Another winner from Mel! :)

  23. I adore breakfast casseroles and personally think you can never have too many recipes. Yours looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  24. kelli says:

    Having company come for the weekend and I wanted to try this out–this is probably a dumb question, but what is “Italian bread?” Thanks in advance! BTW, I LOVE your site. My “go to” recipe blog!!

  25. Mel says:

    Kelli – Italian bread is like French bread but usually it’s a bit sturdier in texture (not like the really light, fluffy loaves of French bread you find in the grocery store). I can usually find it by Artisan breads or other free formed loaves of French bread.

  26. Alyssa says:

    Hello Mel!
    I was curious…do we have to use sharp cheddar cheese or will mild work? What is the difference in using one over the other?

    Thanks a bunch!!

  27. Mel says:

    Alyssa – I highly recommend using sharp cheddar. The flavor difference in mild cheddar to sharp cheddar is remarkable (so much more flavor). If you don’t like the sharpness of well, sharp cheddar – try medium. But I would stay away from mild only because the cheesy flavor won’t be as pronounced. Hope that helps1

  28. Staci says:

    I was so glad to read this post and the comments. I TOO am a soggy bread hater. To this day, I cannot eat Thanksgiving stuffing because of the soggy-bread factor. I never knew a breakfast casserole to have anything but potatoes, ham, cheese and eggs until we had a potluck Easter breakfast at church and I accidentally tried some. blech.

  29. I don’t like breakfast casseroles. I have tried like, hundreds and none of them taste good to me. Even the ones that claim not to be soggy, I feel still have a spongy texture to them. I think I am doomed to never like a breakfast casserole.

  30. Sarah says:

    A friend of mine always uses big (store-bought) seasoned croutons for her egg bakes – I have been wanting to try it myself…but I can only assume it would help with the soggy factor!

  31. tonya says:

    Will bacon work instead of sausage?

  32. Mel says:

    Tonya – I’m sure it would. This recipe is pretty adaptable that way.

  33. Jana H. says:

    BEST BREAKFAST CASSEROLE EVER! I am not saying that lightly. Here’s my post about it: http://www.hobbiesmakemehappy.com/2012/10/make-ahead-sausage-and-egg-breakfast.html

    Thanks for finding the best recipes and making it easy for me. My husband thanks you, too!

  34. Jess D says:

    Do you think it would be ok to freeze this after cooking? I’m looking for something that i can make for my kiddos and freeze in portions to pull out at breakfast. This looks so yummy! Thanks!

  35. Mel says:

    Jess D- possibly but I haven’t tried it. It’s worth a try, though. Good luck!

  36. Sarah says:

    Hi Mel! I work in the evenings and like to leave casseroles in the oven for my husband to take out and feed the peeps. I searched the comments for info about halving the recipe, which I want to do, and didn’t see anything. Any thoughts about making it in an 8×8? Check for done-ness after how long? Thanks!

  37. Mel says:

    Sarah – yes, I think you could definitely halve this. I’d take about 5 minutes off the baking time and check after that. Chances are because it’s thick, it will need to bake about the same amount of time.

  38. Sarah says:

    Thanks for getting back to me, Mel! Everything went perfectly with halving the recipe. I wasn’t here for the big reveal when it came out of the oven, but it was reported to me that it was cooked just fine and tasted great. It was a hit for sure with my husband and kids! Thank you so much for your prompt reply :)

  39. Andrea says:

    Fantastic!! I made this casserole for my daughter’s 16th bday sleepover breakfast. 18 kids both boys and girls. They devoured it along with fruit and yogurt and OJ. They had been up until 5am apparently and they all woke up around 9:30 to the wonderful smell of breakfast. They were so excited to even see breakfast like that. The small kick of the hot sauce really makes it. Thanks Mel!!

  40. mary anna says:

    Having brunch for 40-50 morning after wedding and need something I can prepare ahead of time (at least 2 days) and need a vegetarian alternative. Any ideas about
    freezing this and something for our veg guests? Planning to serve spiral ham and fruit — are potatoes and/or pastries needed with this recipe or too much?

    • Mel says:

      Mary Anna – I’ve never frozen this dish so I don’t know if that would work but you could at least make it the night before. I think you could serve whatever you wanted with this dish (pastries, ham, etc.) and it would work great. It’s very versatile. Good luck!

  41. KathyS says:

    Toasting the bread before you make French toast works well also. I just stick a few pieces in the toaster or on cookie sheets in the oven if I’m making big batches. Use egg yolks and a little melted butter in the milk mixture instead of an entire, beaten egg. Your french toast won’t come out soggy.

  42. Tiffiny says:

    Hi Mel! I guess it will come as no surprise that I, too, hate soggy bread. As do most of the commenters! So when you promised me no soggy bread, I decided to give it a try. I made this for a women’s church breakfast over the weekend and it was a huge hit. And I’m glad I did since it was one of only two or three savory dishes. I had a tiny bit of leftovers, which I brought home to my husband. He has already declared that he wants this for breakfast Christmas morning this year.
    One more thing…as I was making this and layering the bread, I thought for sure there was no way it was all going to fit in my casserole dish! It was piled up pretty high by the time I was done layering. But as soon as I poured on the egg mixture, it started to soften up, and I easily put the second 9×13 pan on top. So have no fear if it looks like a lot! It will fit!

  43. Mary says:

    Mel,
    I need to bring something for a mid morning snack. Would this work if I took it out of the oven and put it in one of those insulated carriers for a couple hours? Also, once it cools, is it still good to munch on? Thanks, mary

    • Mel says:

      Mary – I’ve never used one of those insulated carriers so I don’t know how warm it will keep the casserole but it’s worth a try. I think it’s still delicious at room temperature.

  44. Stacy says:

    I added tomato and broccoli. Can’t wait to eat it in the a.m.!

  45. betty says:

    (do-ahead sausage breakfast bake) can you mix, put it in the ice box over night then bake the next day. will it be ok to do that ? .. like mix xmas eve then bake xmas day
    thanks
    hope i get an answer soon
    betty

  46. Pat says:

    I don’t worry about soggy bread. I substitute frozen hash browns. Yumm!

  47. Kassie says:

    Delicious! It turned out perfect! Thanks.

  48. Rose says:

    For those who made it with frozen hash browns, I’d like to know whether it was “soggy potatoes.” I made a casserole last year, and the family told me they thought the potatoes were soggy, so I’m not sure if it will happen w/this recipe or not. If it is, does anyone know how to still make it with potatoes but not soggy? As in what’s the trick? AND for those who question adding the bread, do you make this exactly as is except w/o the bread/potatoes? It would be eggs, sausage, cheese and made the same way?

    Thanks!

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