Sausage and Herb Breakfast Casserole
All of the work for this make ahead breakfast casserole is done the day before, so all you need to do in the morning is pop it in the oven! This bake is filled with flavor from the tangy sourdough, salty sausage, creamy cheese sauce, and more!Jump to Recipe
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I grew up with many food traditions in my family around the holidays. One of my favorites was on Christmas morning, my mom always made Egg Strata. The night before she’d prepare the dish, so in the morning it would bake while we were seeing what goodies were in our stockings. Our family’s recipe featured ham and cheese, and is still one of my favorite food traditions. Over the years I have built on the method to create a variety of breakfast casseroles.
I love being able to do the work the day before so that in the morning all I have to do is bake and serve. It’s great for busy entertaining mornings like Christmas or Mother’s Day; but also fantastic to have prepared after a night of drinking for a perfect at home hangover brunch. (Did someone say bottomless mimosas in pj’s?!)
How Do I Make Overnight Breakfast Casserole?
With just a little bit of work the night before, you can have an amazing breakfast waiting for you in the morning! For this recipe I use sourdough bread. Any bread will work, but I love the strong flavor of the sourdough.
Start by greasing a 2 quart casserole dish. My favorite method for this, especially considering it will be in the refrigerator overnight, is with softened butter. I use a paper towel to spread the butter all over the inside of the dish. This way, it will stay in place overnight. Non-stick cooking spray should work as well but I’ve found that butter is more reliable, plus it just tastes better!
Cut your bread into small cubes, about 1/2 to 1 inch is a good size. I use 5 slices from a large round loaf of sourdough. If you’re using a smaller loaf 6 slices should do it. I measured both with my food scale and in measuring cups. 5 large slices of sourdough end up being 10 ounces, or 6 cups loosely packed. Basically, you want enough to fill the dish you’re using without overflowing.
Place your bread in the buttered dish, making sure it’s spread out evenly, and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt one tablespoon of butter and begin to cook your breakfast sausage over medium-low heat. The first time I used sausage links and just cut them up. It worked and tasted delicious of course; but I’ve found that using ground breakfast sausage is much easier and makes for a larger meat to bite ratio.
Once your meat begins to brown, sprinkle your flour and herbs over the top and stir to coat the meat.
Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. This essentially creates a roux, which thickens sauce by cooking flour and fat together before adding liquid.
Now pour in your milk and mix well. Continue to cook over medium to low heat stirring occasionally. Do not allow the milk to boil, once it begins to steam it’s time to add the cheese.
Sprinkle in your cheese about a 1/4 cup at a time and stir until all of the cheese is melted before adding more. I used Fontina because it has such an amazing buttery flavor, and melts like a dream. If you can’t find Fontina, Gouda, Gruyère, or provolone would work as well.
Once all of your cheese is melted into the sauce, remove from heat and let the sauce cool. While it’s cooling, beat 5 eggs together in a separate bowl. Once the sauce is cool enough to touch, stir in your eggs.
**If you stir in your eggs when your sauce is too hot it could cook the eggs resulting in chunks of scrambled eggs.
Pour your sausage and cheese sauce all over the bread in your casserole dish. I use a knife or spatula to push some of the meat down into the lower layers, otherwise it will just sit on top. This also helps to make sure the bread on the bottom will soak up the sauce as well.
Cover your casserole with foil or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, take it out about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake so it can start to return to room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is hot, place the uncovered casserole on the middle rack and bake for 45 minutes. The casserole should be sizzling, and the top should be beginning to brown.
You can confirm the casserole is done by using a food thermometer to make sure the center of the casserole is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer you can check by inserting a knife into the center to see if it comes out clean.
Carefully remove the dish from the oven and place it on your stove or a trivet. Let the breakfast casserole cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Can I Freeze The Leftovers?
Yes! Your cooked breakfast casserole can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. If you’re not going to enjoy it all in that time frame you can store it longer in the freezer. It will keep in an airtight container, or covered tightly with plastic wrap in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat your frozen breakfast bake, defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes or until it’s heated all the way through.
Sausage and Herb Breakfast Casserole
- 16 ounces Ground Breakfast Sausage (diced links work too)
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Dried Sage
- 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Flour
- 2 Cups Milk
- 5 Slices Sourdough Bread, cubed (Approx. 10 ounces or 6 cups)
- 2 Cups Shredded Fontina Cheese (Approx. 6 ounces)
- 5 Eggs, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- Use one tablespoon of softened butter to grease a 2 quart glass casserole dish.
- Place cubed sourdough bread in the buttered dish and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat, add ground sausage.
- When the sausage begins to brown, sprinkle the rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and flour over the meat. Mix in the herbs and flour while breaking up the meat with a spatula.
- Let the meat, herbs, and flour cook on medium to low heat for two minutes.
- Add the milk and mix well. Continue to cook on medium to low heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk begins to steam. (Do not allow the milk to boil)
- Once the milk is steaming, add the shredded cheese 1/4 cup at a time, making sure all of the cheese is melted before adding more.
- After all the cheese is incorporated, remove from heat and let the sauce cool until it's no longer hot to the touch.
- Whisk in the beaten eggs until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the mixture over the top of the bread.
- Use a spatula or knife to lift some of the bread so the liquid can reach the bottom, while pushing some of the sausage to the lower layers.
- Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you're ready to put it in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake the breakfast casserole uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the dish cool for about 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.