Ever since I met this sweet slow-cooker breakfast casserole, I’ve been hosting weekend brunch as often as possible. It’s a treat to be sure, loaded with tender cubes of custard-soaked brioche tinged with the warm scent of pumpkin spice and topped with a nutty brown sugar streusel. You’ll want to keep this one in rotation all year long.

French toast casseroles are my easy go-to solution for serving this breakfast favorite to a crowd. There are oven-baked options that call for well under an hour of cook time, but more often than not I find the slow cooker to be a better choice. For starters, leaning on the slow cooker frees up the oven for other important tasks, like cooking up a big batch of crispy bacon. More important, it’s the ideal option when hosting guests for the weekend since it stays warm all morning and can therefore please early risers and late sleepers alike.

The best thing you can do for your slow-cooker French toast is to toast the cubes of bread. It makes a big difference in the way breakfast cooks up, and it prevents the casserole from getting too soggy. It’s absolutely worth the extra step, and it can be done well in advance so you don’t need additional time that morning. Do the toasting the day before, or even several days before and store in an airtight container.