Christmas Morning Wife Saver (Breakfast Casserole)
This Christmas Morning Wife Saver has been a staple of my families Christmas mornings for over 35 years. Make this delicious casserole the night before, and then on Christmas morning all you have to do is pop it in the oven to bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. It’s packed with layers of cheese, ham, bread all soaked in egg and it’s absolutely delicious.
Christmas Morning Wife Saver is a dish that I have eaten every single Christmas morning since I was born. My Mom had the recipe written out by hand on the back of a scrap piece of paper, and after she passed away 15 years ago, that piece of paper became one of my most treasured possessions and the dish is something I have continued to make in her honor every Christmas since. It was only upon further research into the recipe that I learned 1) that apparently Christmas morning wifesaver is a Canadian tradition, and 2) that the recipe originated in a Best of Bridge cookbook (a Canadian cookbook that everyone owned in the 90s). My Mom’s version was loosely based off of the Best of Bridge recipe, with a few added ingredients for extra flavour. Although this isn’t like the usual recipes that I post on this site, because it’s packed with bread, cheese and butter, it’s something that I wanted to share because it’s part of my family tradition.
Why You Will Love This Christmas Morning Wife Saver
- This is the perfect breakfast to make on Christmas Eve, leave in the fridge overnight and the next morning quickly bake it in the oven while everyone is opening gifts. It’s a fuss free make-ahead casserole that will allow you to enjoy the holiday morning rather than spending it making breakfast for everyone.
- Although we traditionally make this for Christmas breakfast, it’s also a breakfast dish I often make if we are having friends over for breakfast, or I have guests spending the night.
- This delicious breakfast is packed with layers of bread, cheese, ham, mushrooms and onions that are all soaked in an egg mixture and then baked until tender.
- A lot of overnight breakfast casseroles are quite eggy (which I’m personally not a big fan of). This breakfast casserole has a lot more substance than just egg and is incredibly rich and delicious.
Ingredients For This Wife Saver
Bread: we usually use sliced white bread which has the best texture when soaked in egg. In the past we have also used gluten free bread which becomes quite mushy but is still delicious.
Onion: one yellow onion finely diced and sauteed until tender
Mushrooms: I use thinly sliced white/button mushrooms
Cheese: I prefer using shredded sharp cheddar cheese. The original recipe from the cookbook calls for slices of cheese which would also work.
Ham: Thin black forest ham slices are used in place of slices of back bacon which the original recipe uses. I find that bacon can become slightly chewy when baked in a casserole, so the thin slices of ham are a great substitute.
Dijon Mustard: I like using dijon mustard but have also used yellow mustard or dry mustard when in a pinch.
Hot Sauce: Either hot sauce or tabasco add a nice kick of flavour to the egg mixture
Milk: You can use any type of milk you have on hand. We usually use skim or 1% milk but whole milk or even almond milk, soy milk or oat milk would also work.
Butter: Melted butter makes the edges of the casserole crispy and so delicious.
Corn Flakes: Corn flakes might seem like an odd addition to this breakfast casserole, but they add a delicious crunchiness to contrast the soft texture of the casserole. In the past we have also used special K cereal, and one year we forgot to buy the cereal and instead broke up corn tortilla chips to sprinkle overtop which ended up being delicious. When looking for a cereal to add to the top, be sure to find one that isn’t sweet. I like to crunch the corn flakes between my hands so that they break up into smaller pieces before sprinkling them overtop.
How To Make This Christmas Morning Wife Saver
- Start by sauteing the mushrooms and onion until tender
- Start the layering! Grease a casserole dish and then at the bottom of the dish place slices of bread so that they snuggly fit. Next top with cheese, ham, the mushrooms and onions and then repeat with more pieces of bread, cheese, ham, mushrooms and onions and then finally the rest of the bread.
- In a bowl beat eggs with milk, mustard, hot sauce, chopped chives or green onions, salt and black pepper.
- Pour the egg mixture over the casserole ensuring all of the bread is saturated with the eggs. Cover the entire dish with aluminum foil and transfer to the fridge.
- The next day, all you have to do is melt butter and pour it all over the top of the casserole and finally add the layer of corn flakes.
- Transfer the baking dish to the oven to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I Make This Christmas Morning Wife Saver Vegetarian?
Absolutely! Skip the ham and you can add extra mushrooms, or alternatively add 1 chopped bell pepper in with the onion and mushroom to give it more substance.
Can I Make This Breakfast Casserole Gluten Free?
You can! I have made a gluten free version of this breakfast casserole many times and it was delicious. I recommend using thicker cut gluten free bread as I have found that the thinner cut bread can become quite mushy when soaked in the egg overnight. In place of the corn flakes, look for a gluten free variety (or worst case scenario if you can’t find any then use gluten free corn tortilla chips).
What To Serve With This Christmas Morning Wife Saver
To make Christmas morning as fuss free as possible, we usually serve this casserole with a plate of fresh fruit and ketchup and HP sauce (my Dad’s favourite) to drizzle over the casserole.
What About Leftovers
Leftovers will last for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. I usually reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes until warmed through.
Here are a few more breakfast recipes that you might enjoy!
- Mexican Breakfast Hash
- Greek Frittata
- Ratatouille Baked Eggs
- Salmon Eggs Benedict with Lemon Hollandaise and Crispy Capers
- Kale, Spinach & Mushrooms Baked Eggs
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
Christmas Morning Wife-Saver Recipe
- 1 tbsp butter
- 9 oz white mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup finely chopped chives
- ½ tsp hot sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 7 oz black forest ham
- 1 cup cornflakes
- ½ cup butter
- 16 slices white bread crusts removed
- Melt the butter in a skillet, add in the mushrooms and yellow onion and saute for 6-8 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the onion is soft and translucent
- Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking dish place. Place 5 to 6 slices of bread in the baking dish so that they fit in snugly and cover the base of the dish.
- Top the bread with half of the slices of ham, laying them out evenly over the bread. Next add ½ of the mushroom and onion mixture and finally generously sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheddar cheese over top. Place 5 to 6 slices of bread overtop, ensuring they all fit in snugly and then repeat with a layer of ham, mushroom and onion, cheese and finally one more layer of bread.
- In a bowl whisk together the egg, milk, mustard, chives, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture overtop of the casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and transfer to the fridge to rest overnight.
- In the morning preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour it evenly over the casserole.
- Crush the corn flakes into smaller pieces with your hands before sprinkling them all overtop of the casserole. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Leave the casserole to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.