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Make-ahead breakfast casserole is loaded with sausage, cheese and eggs. Assemble it the night before for a simple, delicious breakfast in no time!

Close up of a slice of make-ahead breakfast casserole next to a halved strawberry on a white plate.

Everyone should have those go-recipes in their recipe box that are tried and true and can be depended on time and time again.

This make-ahead breakfast casserole is just that.

It’s perfect for Christmas morning, Sunday brunch, or a pot-luck. Every time I make it, people ask for the recipe (or ask me to make it again at a future event!).

If you’re the type of person who needs a gallon of coffee to get the day started, this is absolutely the recipe for you. Assemble it the night before and then throw it in the oven the next morning.

There’s really nothing better.

Overhead view of two white plates, each holding a halved fresh strawberry and a slice of make-ahead breakfast casserole.

The Best Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole for a Crowd

I first stumbled upon this recipe from Jimmy Dean years ago and clipped it from a magazine for my recipe binder. (That sentence makes me feel old.)

10-plus years later, it’s still one of my favorite breakfasts to share with a crowd.

When I was teaching, we often had early morning, potluck-style breakfast meetings on teacher work days.

We’d all bring a dish to share and this casserole was my go-to because it’s so easy, but it was always one of the first things to disappear.

Okay, the bacon was always the first thing to disappear, but this casserole was a close second.

Even though there are a number of potato-based breakfast casserole recipes out there (including my hash brown breakfast casserole), this make-ahead breakfast casserole is made with bread as the base along with the eggs. 

The bread soaks up the eggs overnight and it almost ends up like a savory French toast casserole. 

Factor in the cheese and the sausage and this is one winner of a recipe.

Fork about to take a bite from a slice of make-ahead breakfast casserole on a white plate.

How to Make my Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Making this make-ahead breakfast casserole is so easy, you can practically do it in your sleep.

Ingredients you’ll need

This recipe is super customizable (we’ll talk about that in a minute), but the ingredients you’ll need to make my favorite version are:

  • 1 pound of pork sausage
  • 10 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups cubed bread
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper (optional)
  • sliced green onion for garnish (optional)
Ingredients for make-ahead breakfast casserole arranged on a gray countertop.

I usually grab mild pork breakfast sausage, but any pork sausage will work. Mild is best when you’re making this for a crowd, but you can always use hot pork sausage if you know everyone likes things spicy!

Any bread works for this casserole. I’ve used everything from sandwich bread to a rustic sourdough, and it’s all delicious. So use what you have on hand or what your family likes! 

When using sandwich bread, I like to toast it before adding it to the casserole. But that step is completely optional.

Making this recipe

The only cooking you need to do before assembling this make-ahead casserole is to brown the sausage. 

Ground pork sausage cooked in a black skillet.

I usually cook the sausage and then let it cool while I cube the bread and prep the rest of the ingredients. If you want to toast the bread, do this while the sausage is cooking.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper.

Eggs and milk whisked in a large mixing bowl.

In a greased 13×9-inch baking dish, layer in half of the cubed bread, followed by half of the cheese, half of the bell pepper, and half of the cooked sausage. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients.

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the casserole. 

Cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator overnight. 

The next morning, preheat the oven to 325°F. I like to let the casserole sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, just to take the chill off the pan.

Assembled make-ahead breakfast casserole ready to go in the oven.

Bake the breakfast casserole, uncovered, until the center is set. This will take a little while, usually anywhere from 60-75 minutes. 

If the top starts to get too brown before the casserole is done baking, simply cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. This will allow the casserole to continue baking without browning any more.

If you’d like, sprinkle the top of the casserole with some sliced green onions before serving and, voila! Enjoy the compliments as they roll in.

White casserole dish filled with baked make-ahead breakfast casserole.

How to Customize This Recipe

My go-to version of my make-ahead breakfast casserole is loaded up with sausage, cheddar cheese, and red bell peppers.

But there are tons of ways you can customize this recipe to make it your own based on what your family loves.

Try adding in other vegetables, such as mushrooms, onions, jalapeños, or tomatoes.

If your family doesn’t like sausage? No problem! Cook a pound of bacon and crumble it into the casserole instead.

I love the sharpness of cheddar cheese in this recipe, but there are tons of other cheeses you could use instead, such as:

  • Monterey jack
  • Pepper jack
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Havarti

And if your family likes spicy food, use hot pork sausage and add several dashes of your favorite hot sauce to the egg mixture.

White plate holding a slice of make-ahead breakfast casserole. A second plate of casserole is visible in the backround.

FAQs

Do you have to make this the night before? Can you bake it right away?

The best thing about this make-ahead breakfast casserole is that you can prep it the night before and bake it in the morning. But you don’t have to wait overnight!

If you’d like, you can definitely bake the casserole right after assembling it. I do recommend letting it rest for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour if possible before baking it to let the egg mixture soak into the bread.

Can you make a vegetarian version of this make-ahead breakfast casserole?

Absolutely. Simply leave out the sausage and replace it with more of your favorite vegetables! Some mushrooms and onions would be especially delicious, similar to my croissant breakfast casserole.

What type of bread works best in this recipe?

I’ve used all kinds of bread to make this breakfast casserole over the years. Any savory bread works well, from sandwich bread to crusty sourdough. 

If you are using a more rustic or crusty bread, such as sourdough, I definitely recommend letting the casserole rest in the refrigerator overnight. This will give the heartier bread more time to soak up the egg mixture before baking.

These days, I usually grab a sourdough sandwich bread. It gives a nice happy-medium of flavor while soaking up the eggs easily.

More Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

If you’re looking for more delicious make-ahead breakfast ideas, I’ve got ya covered.

Be sure to check out my make-ahead banana coffee cake, overnight french toast casserole, and any of my muffin recipes and scone recipes.

You can also try making cinnamon rolls ahead! Overnight cinnamon rolls and cinnamon rolls with heavy cream are both big favorites around here.

Some other favorites include blueberry baked oatmeal, pumpkin baked oatmeal, and strawberry french toast

And if you’re planning a big brunch, don’t forget the drinks! Whip up some bloody mary mix ahead of time for an easy prep the day of.

Serve any of these recipes with my make-ahead breakfast casserole and spend the morning enjoying a feast, instead of cooking away in the kitchen.

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

By: Jamie
4.43 from 1031 ratings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Resting time: 8 hours
Total: 9 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 10
Make-ahead breakfast casserole is loaded with sausage, cheese and eggs. Assemble it the night before for a simple, delicious breakfast in no time!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 10 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups cubed bread
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup diced red pepper optional
  • sliced green onion optional

Instructions 

  • Grease a 9x13x2-inch casserole dish.
  • In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink.
  • In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and salt until thoroughly combined.
  • Evenly distribute half the bread into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with half the cheese, half the black pepper, half the red pepper, and half the sausage. Repeat layers.
  • Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight, or bake immediately.
  • When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 325°F. Bake uncovered for 60-75 minutes, or until eggs are set. If the top begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover the casserole dish with foil.
  • If desired, sprinkle the casserole with sliced green onions. Serve warm.

Video

Notes

I typically use mild pork breakfast sausage in this recipe, but feel free to use any pork sausage you like. Try using a hot/spicy pork sausage for a spicy twist!
You can use any bread you like in this casserole, although a sourdough sandwich loaf is my personal favorite. I like to toast my bread before incorporating it into the casserole, but this step is optional.

Nutrition

Calories: 728kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 228mg, Sodium: 1431mg, Potassium: 518mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 853IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 457mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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112 Comments

  1. Kay says:

    Can this be put together three days ahead of baking it?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Kay! I typically recommend the day or night before.

  2. Jillian Clegg says:

    Why does cooking time not change when doubling the recipe?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Jillian-
      When doubling the recipe, it is assumed you will use 2 pans as most people do not have a pan that will accommodate the ingredients for a double 9×13 recipe.
      -Jamie

  3. Wende says:

    We’re planning a road trip with friends next month and I’ve been looking for a make-ahead recipe for breakfast for 4. I need something I can prep the day before and pop into the oven while we get dressed and ready to go. This looks like just the thing! I’m going to halve the recipe since there are only 4 of us and I don’t want leftovers. I’ll serve it with some fruit on the side. Hope this turns out well, because it really sounds delicious!

    1. Jamie says:

      I hope you enjoy! Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy baking!
      Jamie

  4. Julie says:

    I’d like to make it for dinner tonight. Do you think that would work and would you change anything?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Julie – Yes, as noted in the recipe card, you can bake it immediately in lieu of refrigerating it overnight. Happy baking!
      Jamie

  5. Crysy says:

    My grandma always made this when I was little. It always has been one of my favorite recipes. Thank you so much for sharing! Also, I make it with keto bread— toasted, and fairlife milk. It is equally as good if you are looking for a lower carb option.

    1. Jamie says:

      Great to hear that this works well with keto bread! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback!
      -Jamie

  6. Lauren Ruppert says:

    This was delicious and super easy to make. Perfect for appetizers

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the casserole, Lauren! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback.
      -Jamie

  7. Kendra says:

    I made this today for my in laws that are visiting. I prepped everything last night, popped it in the oven this morning, and it was delicious! Super simple and delicious! I will definitely be making this again. Thank you for the delicious recipe!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Kendra! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback.
      -Jamie