This make-ahead breakfast casserole has been a Christmas morning tradition for the last several years at our house. Another tradition I don't want to see go is the boozy cappuccino with Bailey's and Kahlúa that Jim and I treat ourselves to.
I have made this savory bread pudding casserole for overnight guests, baby showers, office breakfast parties, and family brunches - it never disappoints.
The beauty of this breakfast bread pudding is that it can be assembled a full 24 hours ahead of time, stored in the fridge, and then placed in the oven for an hour, straight from the refrigerator. This means you get to enjoy the magic of Christmas morning AND serve a warm, homemade breakfast.
The recipe starts with a bag of onion rolls from the deli, torn into small pieces to fill a buttered 9x13 baking dish. The onion rolls provide a savory flavor throughout, while the eggs, milk and seasoning help unify the entire casserole.
If your family likes meat, add a pound of cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage, diced ham or bacon. When I make this on Christmas morning, I leave out the chives so my kids won't make funny faces when I serve them. You can completely customize this recipe to your audience.
This is all you need to know:
Use onion rolls for the bread, they are delicious!
For a 9x13 baking pan, use 10 eggs, 2 cups of milk, and 1 stick of butter.
Customize everything else to your liking.
One package of deli onion rolls, about 6
1 to 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick of butter
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon of chopped chives (or another herb, or dried Italian seasoning)
1 teaspoon dry mustard (this is not pungent, I would not skip)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper (this is not enough to make it spicy, I would not omit as it adds a mild smokey flavor)
Generously butter a 9x13 baking pan. Tear the onion rolls into small chunks and place a layer of them in the baking dish. I like to sprinkle a handful of cheddar cheese before adding more onion rolls so that every bite is a little cheesy.
This is also when you would add crumbled and cooked breakfast sausage, cubed ham or bacon.
Finish filling the baking pan with all the onion rolls. Pinch off dime size pieces of cream cheese and scatter over the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the casserole.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs and milk. Add the herbs, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne.
Pour the egg mixture over the top of the bread and cheese. You will fill the bottom half of the baking pan. When this sits overnight, the onion rolls will soak up all the liquid.
Slice the stick of butter and dot the top of the casserole last. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick spray and place that side down on top of the baking pan, smoothing over the sides to cover and secure. Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, preheat the oven to 325 and then move the casserole straight from the refrigerator to the oven and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
Allow the casserole to sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing into generous squares and serving.