Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake
This make-ahead sausage and egg breakfast bake is made the night before so you can pop it in the oven for a stress-free, hearty breakfast!
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).
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
- 1 (14-inch) loaf Italian bread, ends trimmed
- 1 ½ 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country
95 Comments on “Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake”
Hello Mel! I plan to make this for Easter morning. Can I substitute half egg whites in this breakfast casserole? If so what measurement? BTW, I love your curry shrimp recipe. I plan to try your other meals.
Hi Annette, I haven’t tried that, but I think that should work just fine. If you omit 6 eggs, I’d sub in 12 egg whites.
Oh, no! My bread was soggy 🙁 What could I have done wrong? Help!
What kind of bread did you use, Sara? How thick was it and what was the texture like?
Great Recipe! Hate soggy bread. Having not read the recipe instructions completely, think there was some bourbon involved, i cubed the bread instead of slicing. BUT, followed the rest of the recipe. OMG, this was fab! Everyone enjoyed it immensely. Plans to make it again. Thanks!
Has anyone tried a non dairy milk yet?
My family absolutely loves this recipe! I make it for Christmas morning every year (I prep it on Christmas Eve night) and I will never use a different recipe again! It’s perfection!! And it pairs so well with homemade cinnamon rolls 🙂
Would it be okay to make the whole thing the night before and warm it up in the oven in the morning? I’m not going to have an hour to cook it in the morning, but I don’t want it to end up being soggy.
Yes, I think that would work!
Delicious! I let it sit overnight. Cooked it, put it in a cooler with hot towels, and 3 hours later piping hot and I think even better than straight out of the oven! Thank you! Great recipe!
This was delicious and I wasn’t expecting too much because I am NOT a breakfast casserole lover. Soggy bread is so gross. But this was not soggy and was so tasty! We wrapped individual squares and then put them in a freezer bag to take out for a quick, microwaveable breakfast on busy school mornings. Haven’t tried them from the freezer yet, but I think they’ll be just as delicious.
Hi Mel – I came across your recipe & am thinking of making it for a weekend in the mountains to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday. It looks absolutely delicious & would be a great breakfast/brunch for a crowd of 11 people.
My question is: If I plan to serve it Saturday morning, should I assemble it Thursday night, bake it Friday morning & transport it COOKED to the mountains for reheating on Saturday OR assemble it Friday morning, transport it UNCOOKED to the mountians & bake it there on Friday or Saturday morning? My apologies for the questions & various scenarios –
I just don’t want to poison people!
Thanks so much!
This was the best breakfast casserole I’ve had (moist but not soggy and crisp on top!). Even my husband, who thinks sacrificing a loaf of Italian bread to be soaked in eggs is a crime against humanity, agreed that it was “pretty good.” Ha! Plus my kids loved that it got so puffy! Delicious 🙂
I love seeing your comments pop up on these oldie-but-goodie recipes, Chelsea! So fun!
Hi Mel – I’m wanting to make this a bit healthier and use whole wheat sandwich bread. Thoughts on that? Do you think it will affect the texture a lot?
I think you could definitely try! Sandwich bread will be a bit softer so the texture may be different…but I haven’t tried it so I don’t know for sure.
Do you trim the sides of the bread too? In other words, do you remove all the crust? Do you think regular white loaf bread would work?
If the crust is really hard, I trim it off, but if it’s soft, I don’t. I think a sturdy white loaf of bread would work, but a really soft, fall-apart kind of bread may not work so well.
I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed this recipe! Made it Christmas Eve to eat on Christmas Day. It was wonderful and not a scrap of soggy bread in sight! Thank you for this and all of your wonderful recipes. I’m sure grateful for the work you do (and share)!
Do you really use 12 eggs?
What hot sauce do you use?
Usually sriracha or tapatio.
Could I make this without the sausage? If so, what would I need to add/subtract?
You could certainly experiment…I’d just leave it out and see how that goes.
Hi Mel, I am cooking for a church Christmas event this Saturday and am planning on feeding some 65 people. I have 2 huge pans I will cook this in (guessing about 4-13×9 pans each huge pan). That being said, I couldn’t find the right bread at Costco business center for my order so I went with Ciabatta rolls thinking I could slice them up and it would be a sturdy bread for this endeavor. What do you think? Too hearty? does it need to be slices to do the layering or can I just cube it up – you mentioned one layer worked fine too. I’m going to add broccoli to one casserole and then make the second one with bacon and caramelized onion. One thing I’m a little worried about…you said it took an hour in a regular 9×13 pan…would it be tons longer in 3-4x that size pan?
I think cubed bread is a great idea for a large crowd! I love the idea of broccoli and onion, too. I definitely think you’ll want to cook it longer – not 3X the time, but probably more like an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes.
I’m not sure why anyone would ever think this would be soggy bread. When you make French toast, it’s not “soggy bread” and that’s exactly what this is to a certain extent. The bread soaks up the egg and when it all cooks it congeals and isn’t soggy. Also, we never toasted the bread prior to placing it in the pan and putting the egg in we just tore bread into crouton sized pieces (or larger) and then poured the egg in.
Soggy bread – yuck! I’m going to try this tomorrow for my coworkers. I also hate anything described as “runny”. Even water, described as runny could make me gag 🙂 Thanks for posting the recipe and highlighting that it is NOT soggy!
Hi Mel! I am in charge of making breakfast for 40 people next week (including lots of kids) – do you have a favorite go-to breakfast when feeding a crowd? I thought of doing this one, but am worried I won’t have enough time to make these within that 24-hour window prior to the breakfast (busy day before!) Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can offer! You are THE best!! 🙂
I haven’t had to do breakfast for a crowd for a long time. The last time we did, we opted for pancakes (I got up a little earlier than everyone to flip the pancakes and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven).
I would like to make this for a brunch but would have to assemble about 40 hours in advance. Would that work? Or is it too long for it to sit in fridge?
The bread will definitely be on the softer side by then; I’m worried the texture might be a bit “off” – but having said that, I haven’t tried it that far in advance so there’s a chance it might be just fine. Do you have time to do a trial run?
I made this yesterday for a ward party. It was wonderful! Thank you! My pan wouldn’t sit inside the other 9×13 so I laid the cans on top of the plastic wrap covering the casserole and proceeded as directed. Deeelicious!
As with almost all recipes that call for sausage, I will be trying this with Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage. It is the perfect level of heat and flavor. Then I probably won’t put in the hot sauce. Thanks Mel, going to a brunch potluck and I’m going to trust you without doing a trial run with my family, first.
I gag on soggy bread, so I trusted you on this recipe and followed your directions exactly… and you delivered again! This is really delicious. I love the flavor the bread soaked up. And there was no gagging. Thanks again for putting out quality recipes!
We use frozen hashbrowns instead of bread. We also add a bit of cooked bacon. So. Much. Better! Give it a try and see what you think.
This recipe is fantastic! I’ve used several types of breads, challah is by far my favorite. You can use any type of meat and any chese combination. I’ve cut out the cheddar and used sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella and made the recipe just as; yummy any way! I cut this dish into 12 servings and freeze them individually for my husaband to warm them for breakfasts to take and eat at work. This recipe is so forgiving you almost can’t ruin it by changing up the ingredients!
It turned ot great,taste delicious.next time I am gonna add some chopped ham and hashbrowns to it.
I have the casserole prepared and in fridge,can hardly wait for time to be up so I can put in oven.I will let you know what I think when it gets done.
Thanks for the recipe. I live in NM and we love our chile here so I will add 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped green chile. Looking forward to making this for my son when he visits.
I am anxious to try this recipe, Mel, sounds really good. My family’s favorite breakfast casserole is quick and easy. It has crushed saltine crackers, crispy bacon pieces, eggs, milk and cheese. I can whip it up in just a couple of minutes and pop it right in the oven for about 25 minutes. My son found this recipe in our local newspaper about 30 years ago and I always make it when the family comes back home for holidays.
This recipe rocks! My family eats egg bake on Christmas morning every year and I hosted last year and made this and it was ahhhmazing!! I have made it since and it’s always a hit! Can’t wait to make it again on Christmas morning this year! Thanks for the yummy recipe!
I am planning on making this for Thanksgiving breakfast, and I just have one question. Is it important to use only 1% milk? We drink whole milk so that is what I have on hand. Would it be okay to use whole milk in this recipe or should I get 1%? Thanks so much, love your website!! : )
Nope, whole milk would work just fine. We used to drink 1% (more like 2% or whole now) so that’s why it says that in the recipe. Any milk besides skim should work great.
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?
Delicious! It turned out perfect! Thanks.
I don’t worry about soggy bread. I substitute frozen hash browns. Yumm!
(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
hope i get an answer soon
Betty – yes, that’s why this is a make-ahead recipe – you can refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.
I added tomato and broccoli. Can’t wait to eat it in the a.m.!
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
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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!!
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 🙂
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.
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!
Jess D- possibly but I haven’t tried it. It’s worth a try, though. Good luck!
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!
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!
Tonya – I’m sure it would. This recipe is pretty adaptable that way.
Will bacon work instead of sausage?
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!
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.
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.
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
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!!
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.
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!!
I adore breakfast casseroles and personally think you can never have too many recipes. Yours looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.
Made this dish this morning, for a Sunday School breakfast…it was soooo delish! Another winner from Mel! 🙂
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.
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!
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!
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!
this is like a super eggy savory bread pudding, and i like that notion a lot! SO much sausage and cheese–brilliant creation, mel. 🙂
PrettyCharlie – this could probably serve about 6 adults (and maybe more like 8 depending on what else is being served).
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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!
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?
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. 🙂
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!
I have problems with breakfast casseroles too because I don’t like cheese. I’ve never had one with bread in it, though.
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.
I always replace the bread with quinoa. Works great!
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂