Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Cinnamon Roll Casserole is the ultimate easy breakfast bake that tastes like sweet, rich cinnamon rolls without all the work!

This Cinnamon Roll Casserole combines the shortcut of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with the simplicity of a casserole to create a breakfast everyone will be jumping out of bed for.  It’s the ideal breakfast or brunch for every special occasion or holiday because it’s easy to make, divinely delicious, can be prepped in minutes or prepped ahead and baked the next morning.  Just grab your tubes of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, a few pantry staples and a few minutes and you’ll be sinking your teeth into soft, gooey, sweet, rich Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole complete with icing and optional crunchy brown sugar pecan topping – SO good! P.S. Your house will smell heavenly.  

We love make ahead breakfast bakes at our house just like this Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole!  They’re perfect for stress-free mornings whether for birthdays, holidays or just a special Sunday breakfast with the fam.  Other breakfast bake favorites include: croissant berry breakfast casserole, sausage breakfast casserole, pecan praline French toast bake, dulce de leche French toast casserole, eggs Benedict casserole and crème brûlée French toast.

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how to make cinnamon roll casserole

up close of Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole with a piece missing

cinnamon roll french toast CASSEROLE

Cinnamon Rolls + French Toast = Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole!

I’m so excited to bring you this special occasion breakfast bake just in time for Valentine’s Day!   This recipe has it all from simplicity to a quick baking time, to jaw dropping deliciousness.  Here’s why you’ll love it:

Quick to make.  This Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole tastes like decadent cinnamon rolls, but without all the time and effort!    While nothing beats homemade cinnamon rolls, they are a bit labor intensive and time consuming, a recipe you have to prepare for.  Instead, this Cinnamon Roll Bake can be made on the fly (assembled in 20 minutes and baked in 30) thanks to shortcut refrigerated Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.  You can even use the frosting that comes in the can for a quick icing!

Simple to make.  It doesn’t get much easier than this Cinnamon Roll Casserole – just slice, whisk and bake! The rolls are cut into sections, lined in a baking dish and covered in a cinnamon/egg/half and half custard that soaks into the crevices, creating a cohesive French toast casserole. Finish it off with a drizzle of icing and the brown sugar pecan crumble and you might never make cinnamon rolls from scratch again!  

Feeds a crowd.  Nothing is smarter than this easy breakfast casserole for feeding a crowd in a flash.   Kids and adults alike love cinnamon rolls, and they will positively love this Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake that makes 12 hearty servings so it’s ideal for large families, special occasions and holiday celebrations. 

Delicious.  This breakfast bake is positively scrumptious and will have all your family and friends asking for the simple recipe.  The soft cinnamon rolls benefit from being drenched in the egg custard spiked with plenty of cinnamon and vanilla that drips into the crevices and becomes part of every fluffy bite.  As for the topping, you can either drizzle the cinnamon rolls with maple syrup followed by icing, or the divine brown sugar pecan crumble.  In my opinion, the sweet, crunchy nuttiness makes the casserole.

Make ahead.  Eliminate any extra morning or entertaining stress with a make ahead breakfast casserole! You will love that this Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole can immediately be popped in the oven or refrigerated overnight then popped in the oven the next morning.  

top view of cinnamon roll french toast bake drizzled with icing

INGREDIENTS FOR cinnamon roll french toast BAKE

The ingredients for this recipe are easy to find and easy to keep on hand so you can make it a moment’s notice!  You will need:

The cinnamon roll bake:

  • Refrigerated cinnamon rolls:  Use two 12.4 oz Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls.  I honestly haven’t experimented with other brands, but I’m sure they would work too, you just may need to adjust the baking time. 
  • Butter:  Softened butter is used instead of cooking spray to grease the casserole dish.  This infuses the Cinnamon Roll Casserole with undeniable buttery goodness. Use unsalted butter so your dish isn’t too salty or omit the salt in the egg mixture.
  • Eggs: Four large eggs will do the trick. I experimented with more eggs but found it made the casserole taste too egg-y.  Four is just right.
  • Half and half:  Half and half is preferred over milk for a richer, creamier casserole and eliminates the risk of a runny casserole.  You may use half heavy cream and half milk to make your own half and half.
  • Vanilla extract:  Makes the classic cinnamon roll flavors really sing.  Use quality extract for the best flavor. 
  • Cinnamon:  We will use two whole teaspoons to really bring the flavor, but don’t worry, it’s not too much, it’s just right.
  • Nutmeg:  Is optional if you don’t keep it on hand, otherwise, you’ll love the complex, warm slightly nutty kiss it adds.
  • Icing:  Use the icing that comes with the Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls or you’re welcome to make your own.  

Can I use milk instead of heavy cream?

Yes, you may use whole milk but reduce the amount to ½ cup because the milk is thinner. It won’t taste as rich and creamy, but still tasty.

The topping:

The topping is optional but is one of the best parts of the Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bake in my opinion!  You get the soft cinnamon rolls juxtaposed with the crunchy brown sugar pecans to create the most swoon worthy bite.  

  • Pecans:  Their tantalizing nuttiness makes the topping extra crunchy!  Don’t chop the pecans too small or else they can burn, go for about ¼-inch pieces or larger.
  • Brown sugar: Adds sweetness and a hint of molasses as well as moisture to the topping. If you want a sweeter Cinnamon Roll Bake, use 2/3 cup sugar, for less sweet, go with ½ cup sugar.  Use light brown sugar for best results so the molasses flavor isn’t overpowering.
  • Flour: Helps bind the topping ingredients together and gives it a crumbly texture. I use all-purpose flour but any flour will work great, including gluten free flour.
  • Butter: Helps bind the ingredients together and gives it the crumbly texture. The butter is melted, so you don’t have to worry about cutting it in! Again, use unsalted butter so your breakfast casserole isn’t too salty.
  • Cinnamon: Because even the topping needs to be sensationally seasoned.
a slice of cinnamon roll French toast drizzled with icing showing how fluffy it is

HOW TO MAKE cinnamon roll BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

You are going to love how easy this Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bake is to make! Let’s take a closer look (full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Step 1:  Make the topping.  This pecan streusel is wonderfully quick to make because it uses melted butter instead of cutting the butter into the flour.  Simply whisk together the pecans, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a spatula to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 
a collage showing how to make cinnamon roll casserole by adding flour, pecans and sugar to a bowl to make a streusel topping

Step 2:  Add the cinnamon rolls. Cut each cinnamon roll into 4 pieces then line in an even layer on the bottom of a buttered baking dish.  You shouldn’t need to overlap any pieces, just squish them together.  

showing how to make cinnamon roll casserole recipe by adding sliced Pillsbury cinnamon rolls to a 9x13 dish

Step 3:  Make the custard.  In a large liquid measuring glass or mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the egg mixture over the cinnamon rolls.

a collage showing how to make cinnamon roll casserole by adding eggs, cinnamon and half to a bowls to make egg custard then pour over cinnamon rolls

Step 4:  Bake.  Bake the casserole for 10 minutes.  This will give the casserole just enough time for the cinnamon rolls to puff up above the custard so the topping won’t immediealty sink.  Remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle with the topping and bake an additional 15 minutes or so.

a collage showing how to make cinnamon roll casserole recipe by baking for 10 minutes then adding the streusel
showing how to make cinnamon roll French toast casserole by baking until the top is golden ddin

Step 5:  Add icing.  Remove the covers from icing that comes with the Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and microwave for a few seconds then drizzle all over the casserole. Dig!

showing how to make Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole by drizzling icing over the casserole

Cooking Tips for the best cinnamon roll French toast casserole

This Cinnamon Roll Casserole recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are some tips and tricks to make it a foolproof success:

  • The size of your cinnamon roll packages matter.  This recipe uses two 12.4-ounce standard size packages of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, so pay attention when you’re picking them up from the store.  If you choose larger or smaller cans, you will need to keep an eye on the baking time and the texture might be altered.
  • Use Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls for consistent results.  I have not tested this recipe with other brands like thawed Rhodes, so again, keep an eye on the baking time if using a different brand. 
  • Cut the cinnamon rolls with a sharp knife, kitchen shears or a pizza cutter.  If you have a sharp knife, then you can quickly stack about 4 cinnamon rolls together and slice them altogether.
  • Don’t forget to grease your baking dish.  Buttering your dish is important not only so your breakfast bake doesn’t stick, but to infuse the casserole with buttery bliss.
  • Spread the cinnamon rolls in an even layer.  It’s important to stick with a 9×13 baking dish because it perfectly fits all of the cinnamon rolls in an even layer so they can bake up evenly.  You shouldn’t have to overlap the pieces, just squish them together if need be.
  • Thoroughly mix the custard.  Make sure the mixture is completely combined, otherwise you’ll be able to see some egg whites when it bakes.  I like to combine the ingredients in a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.
  • Don’t skip the brown sugar pecan crumble.  The topping is optional, but I wouldn’t skip it unless there is nut allergy in the family. It’s reminiscent of the cinnamon brown sugar filling of cinnamon rolls with a tantalizing crunch.  It’s just SO GOOD and belongs in every bite.
  • Use melted butter in the crumble topping. If you cut cold butter into the flour and sugars, the dry, powdery topping can easily wash away when baked. For a crispier topping, this recipe boasts a streusel with melted butter incorporated directly into the flour, sugar and nuts to bind all the ingredients together so it bakes as a separate entity that melts into a crunchy blanket when baked.   Bonus, this method is super quick and easy!
  • Make the topping first and refrigerate. If you wonder why your crumble toppings, whether for breakfast bakes, pies, crisps, crumbles, etc. haven’t been as crunchy as you’d like, it’s likely your topping was not chilled sufficiently. For the crispiest topping, the butter should be very cold before going into the oven so always make your topping FIRST and refrigerate. The colder the topping, the crunchier the topping.  
  • Break up the topping.  The topping will chill together to form some larger clumps.  Break these clumps up with your fingers as you add them to the cinnamon rolls.  Whatever size you leave them, is the size they will bake into.
  • The baking time may vary.  Baking variables such as whether you used glass, ceramic, actual oven temperature, custard temperature, etc. all affect the overall baking time, so pay attention and be flexible.  
  • Don’t overbake.  It is important not to overbake the Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake, otherwise it will be tough and dry.  Keep an eye on the casserole and test it right at 25 minutes.  Bake just until the center is set and puffed up, it’s okay if it’s not quite as puffy as the outside edges.  
side view of cinnamon roll french toast casserole with icing and pecan topping

cinnamon roll bake VARIATIONS

Just like there are countless variations of cinnamon rolls, there are SO many ways to mix up this Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Casserole recipe.  Here are just a few ideas for both the casserole and the topping:

The casserole

  • Swap the half and half:  Use eggnog or any flavor coffee creamer such as caramel, sweet cream, original, cinnamon or vanilla.
  • Add citrus:  Add lemon zest or orange zest to the egg custard.
  • Add chocolate chips: Sprinkle ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips over the cinnamon rolls before adding the custard.  You can also experiment with different types of chips.
  • Add fruit: Add a pint of blueberries, raspberries or blackberries or ½ cup chopped dried apricots for raisins.
  • Add bacon: Sprinkle ¾ cup crispy chopped thick-cut bacon over the cinnamon rolls before adding the custard.
  • Add sausage:  Add a layer of cooked and crumbled maple sausage for a sweet and savory combo.
  • Add sprinkles:  Add any color sprinkles for a festive occasion such as birthdays, Christmas, etc.
  • Add nuts: Instead of adding the nut topping, you can add chopped pecans almonds or walnuts in with the cinnamon rolls.
  • Gluten free:  Use gluten free cinnamon rolls like Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Rolls and gluten free flour like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. You may need to adjust the baking time.

Topping Variations

  • Make the streusel less sweet:  Decrease the brown sugar to ½ cup. 
  • Make a simpler nut topping: Toss chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts with ⅓ cup brown sugar and sprinkle on the casserole before baking.  You won’t get the same crunch of the streusel but you will get the crunch of the pecans.  You don’t need to bake the casserole for 10 minutes before adding like in the recipe because the brown sugar will seep in to the casserole either way.
  • Add maple instead of the streusel:  Instead of the pecan crumble, drizzle ¼ cup of pure maple syrup over the cinnamon rolls after adding the custard.
  • Amp up the cream cheese icing:  Mix the pre-packaged cinnamon roll icing with 2 ounces softened cream cheese and about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, or more to taste.
  • Make your own icing:  Mix 4 ounces cream cheese, ¾ cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and milk as needed.
  • Add peanut butter to the icing:  Mix a couple tablespoons into the icing and thin with milk as needed.
  • Add a sauce. Skip the topping and drizzle the Cinnamon Roll Bake with caramel sauce, ganache, strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, berry syrup or apple syrup.
  • Add fruit topping:  Top the breakfast bake with fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, etc.
cinnamon roll French toast bake with a slice cut out

what to serve with cinnamon roll french toast BAKE?

This sweet breakfast casserole is ideal to serve alongside some savory favorites for a complete feast:

can I make this cinnamon roll bake AHEAD of time?

Yes!  Assemble the casserole (don’t add the pecan topping), cover and refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate the pecan topping separately.  The following morning, let the casserole sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes so it bakes more evenly (keep the topping refrigerated until ready to use).  Bake the casserole for 15 minutes initially (instead of 10) before adding the topping.  If you feel like the topping is browning too quickly, cover with foil.

how to store

Freshly baked is always preferred as leftovers are delicious, but not quite as moist. Here’s how to store:

  • IN THE FRIDGE:  Tightly cover leftover Cinnamon Roll Casserole or transfer to an airtight container; store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or reheat covered in the oven at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
  • IN THE FREEZER:   Allow the breakfast casserole to cool completely. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap a couple times followed by foil.  Freeze for up to 2 months.  When ready to enjoy, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight.  Reheat per above directions.

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side view of cinnamon roll french toast casserole with icing and pecan topping

Cinnamon Roll Bake

This Cinnamon Roll Casserole combines the shortcut of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with the simplicity of a casserole to create a breakfast everyone will be jumping out of bed for.  It’s the ideal breakfast or brunch for every special occasion or holiday because it's easy to make, divinely delicious, can be prepped in minutes or prepped ahead and baked the next morning.  Just grab your tubes of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, a few pantry staples and a few minutes and you’ll be sinking your teeth into soft, gooey, sweet, rich Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole complete with icing and optional crunchy brown sugar pecan topping – SO good! P.S. Your house will smell heavenly.  
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

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Ingredients

CASSEROLE

  • 1-2 tablespoons butter, softened for buttering the dish
  • 2 12.4 oz. tubes refrigerated cinnamon rolls, (16 cinnamon rolls) cut into 4 pieces per roll (I always use Pillsbury brand)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • icing from the cinnamon roll tubes

BROWN SUGAR PECAN TOPPING (SEE VARIATIONS)

  • 1 ½ cups pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (½ cup for less sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Topping

  • Whisk together the pecans, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a spatula to combine, breaking up any large pieces. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator while you prepare the casserole.

Casserole

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Evenly butter a 9×13 baking dish. Line the cut cinnamon rolls in a single layer over the bottom of the dish so they are not overlapping; set aside.
  • In a large liquid measuring glass or mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until completely combined. Pour egg mixture over the cinnamon rolls. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the casserole overnight or proceed to bake:
  • Bake the casserole for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove the dish from the oven and evenly cover with the topping, breaking up any large pieces as you go (the cinnamon rolls will be "floating" in the custard at this point). Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until the top of the casserole is evenly puffed and the center is baked through (a total baking time of 25-30 minutes). Don't overbake or it won't be as tender/moist.
  • Cool the casserole for 10 minutes then remove the covers from the icing and microwave on at 50% power (Level 5 out of 10) for 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle with desired amount of icing and dig in!

Video

Notes

casserole variations

Make this breakfast casserole your own!  
  • Swap the half and half:  Use eggnog or any flavor coffee creamer such as caramel, sweet cream, original, cinnamon or vanilla.  You can also use whole milk, but decrease the amount to ½ cup. It won’t taste as rich and creamy, but still tasty. 
  • Add citrus:  Add lemon zest or orange zest to the egg custard.
  • Add chocolate chips: Sprinkle ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips over the cinnamon rolls before adding the custard.  You can also experiment with different types of chips.
  • Add fruit: Add a pint of blueberries, raspberries or blackberries or ½ cup chopped dried apricots for raisins.
  • Add bacon: Sprinkle ¾ cup crispy chopped thick-cut bacon over the cinnamon rolls before adding the custard.
  • Add sausage:  Add a layer of cooked and crumbled maple sausage for a sweet and savory combo.
  • Add sprinkles:  Add any color sprinkles for a festive occasion such as birthdays, Christmas, etc.
  • Add nuts: Instead of adding the nut topping, you can add chopped pecans almonds or walnuts in with the cinnamon rolls.
  • Gluten free:  Use gluten free cinnamon rolls like Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Rolls and gluten free flour like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. You may need to adjust the baking time.

Topping Variations

I LOVE the Pecan Crumble Topping – it’s reminiscent of the cinnamon brown sugar filling of cinnamon rolls with a tantalizing crunch.  It’s just SO GOOD and belongs in every bite.  If you have a nut allergy, here are some options as well as icing variations: 
  • Make the streusel less sweet:  Decrease the brown sugar to ½ cup. 
  • Add maple instead of the streusel:  Instead of the pecan crumble, drizzle ¼ cup of pure maple syrup over the cinnamon rolls after adding the custard.
  • Amp up the cream cheese icing:  Mix the pre-packaged cinnamon roll icing with 2 ounces softened cream cheese and about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, or more to taste.
  • Make your own icing:  Mix 4 ounces cream cheese, ¾ cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and milk as needed.
  • Add peanut butter to the icing:  Mix a couple tablespoons into the icing and thin with milk as needed.
  • Add a sauce. Skip the topping and drizzle the Cinnamon Roll Bake with caramel sauce, ganache, strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, berry syrup or apple syrup.
  • Add fruit topping:  Top the breakfast bake with fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, etc.

Make ahead and storage

  • Make Ahead: Assemble the casserole (don’t add the pecan topping), cover and refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate the pecan topping separately.  The following morning, let the casserole sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes so it bakes more evenly (keep the topping refrigerated until ready to use).  Bake the casserole for 15 minutes initially (instead of 10) before adding the topping.  If you feel like the topping is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
  • Storage: Tightly cover leftover Cinnamon Roll Casserole or transfer to an airtight container; store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or reheat covered in the oven at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
  • To freeze: Allow the breakfast casserole to cool completely. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap a couple times followed by foil.  Freeze for up to 2 months.  When ready to enjoy, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight.  Reheat per above directions.

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6 Comments

  1. Jenna says

    Can this recipe be cut in half and
    baked in a 9×9 baking dish?

    • Jen says

      Yes! I’m not sure the exact baking time, but it should be similar.

  2. Stephanie says

    I like surprising my kids with warm batch of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls before school from time to time. Imagine their delight when I pulled this amazing casserole out of the oven yesterday for breakfast! They loved this and the crunchy topping is what really makes it awesome, it’s right up there with your croissant berry casserole as a favorite. I love making a big breakfast casserole, making leftovers throughout the week that we can reheat for a quick breakfast before school on crazy mornings.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for being the first to review this recipe Stephanie! I love hearing this recipe is a new favorite – the topping is my favorite too 😉 You really are the best mom, you kids are so lucky!

  3. Tamara says

    This was fantastic! I didn’t have pecans on hand, so I substituted the topping for your “crumb topping” that you use in your German apple pancakes recipe! It was soo good!! My whole family ate the entire dish! Thanks again for a wonderful recipe!! I can always trust yours!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Tamara, I’m so pleased it was a huge hit and bravo for being inventive and using the crumb topping!

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