Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole.

There’s not one word more perfect than “unbelievable” to describe this overnight blueberry french toast casserole. Perfect make-ahead recipe for busy mornings!

Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole! This is the perfect crowd-pleasing make ahead recipe for busy mornings. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Now THIS is french toast! Made with chunks of crusty bread, sweet blueberries, lots of brown sugar, a sweet egg-y custard, assembled in a baking pan, and topped with brown sugar cinnamon streusel.

There’s enough goodness to make your entire family happy. And then some.

Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole! This is the perfect crowd-pleasing make ahead recipe for busy mornings. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This casserole is the definition of comfort food. I made it for my friends Kristin and Chris who just welcomed baby girl Keira Elizabeth to the world. Guess I should’ve used strawberries, huh? Oh well. I prepped the french toast the night before and brought the dish to them the next morning after baking it for about 45 minutes. That’s the beauty of this breakfast… it’s designed to be made ahead of time.

It’s designed to MAKE LIFE EASIER!

I typically use challah bread when I make french toast– either in traditional form or as a casserole. You can use sourdough bread or french bread too. Homemade or store-bought, whichever is easiest. Even homemade honey-oat bread would be fantastic. No matter what type of bread you use– make sure it’s crusty. Day-old and a little stale. Bread that’s been sitting out a day or two (and therefore has lost some moisture) will absorb much more of the egg custard.

Speaking of the egg custard. What you’ll make is a thick mixture of eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon will go into the custard AND in the streusel on top. The cinnamon soaking into the bread is phenomenal!

For that creamy custard taste, I use 8 eggs total and a little over 2 cups of whole milk. Whole milk is key; I don’t suggest a lower fat milk. Even half-and-half would do. You want a luxurious, thick custard. As always, I use Eggland’s Best eggs here. Not only am I an official brand ambassador of this well respected company, I’m also a huge fan of the quality and taste of their eggs. Always have been!

Sally's Baking Addiction | Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole

You’ll cut the bread up into cubes, pour the custard overtop, and stick the whole pan in the refrigerator. During this time, the crusty bread soaks up the cinnamon spiced egg custard, imparting flavor and moisture into the dish as a whole. You can leave it in the refrigerator anywhere from overnight down to 3-4 hours. I find the longer the bread soaks, the tastier the casserole. So, put the refrigerator to work!

Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole! This is the perfect crowd-pleasing make ahead recipe for busy mornings. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

During the last few minutes of fridge-time, prepare a brown sugar streusel topping. This is like icing on the cake. The streusel topping is made from equal parts brown sugar and flour, a dose of cinnamon, and cold butter. Emphasis on the cold! The butter is cut into the other 3 ingredients using a pastry blender. Alternatively, you can use two forks or even your fingers.

Sprinkle it over the soaked bread and bake until golden brown. This is the kind of breakfast you make on the weekend not only to gobble up with friends and family, but to smell it as it bakes. I always thought baking banana bread was the best aroma from the oven but this… oh man. It’s even better.

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole-- make ahead breakfast brunch recipe found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

There’s so much texture and flavor, but I think the best part of this overnight french toast is the juicy blueberries. They pop and burst, leaving sweet blueberry juice in between all the cracks and crevices of the casserole.

Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole! This is the perfect crowd-pleasing make ahead recipe for busy mornings. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Fill your plate and top it all with maple syrup, butter, fresh fruit, or a shower of confectioners’ sugar. There’s no wrong way to eat this unbelievable goodness! Just as long as you go back for seconds.

Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread, sourdough bread, or challah1
  • 1 cup (180g) fresh or frozen blueberries2
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (540ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup (69g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (42g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • Optional: extra blueberries, fresh fruit, maple syrup, and/or confectioners' sugar for topping

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. Slice then cut the bread into cubes, about 1 inch in size. Spread cubes into the prepared baking pan and top evenly with blueberries. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator for 3 hours - overnight. Overnight is best.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
  4. Prepare the topping: Whisk the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cubed butter with a pastry blender or two forks. Sprinkle the topping over the soaked bread.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top. I usually bake it for 45 minutes because I like it softer. Serve immediately. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Make ahead tip: Prepare the topping in advance, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator. Sprinkle over the soaked bread before baking. For freezing, prepare the recipe through step 4 (without preheating the oven) and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake as directed. Baked casserole can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up in a 350°F (177°C) for 35 minutes or until warm in the center.

Recipe Notes:

This recipe can easily be halved in an 8 or 9-inch baking pan. The bake time will be slightly less, around 30-35 minutes.

  1. Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for french toast casseroles. I typically use a loaf of challah bread that I slice and let sit out overnight. You'll wind up with about 12 cups of cubed bread. A little more or less is OK.
  2. Instead of blueberries, try strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. In the fall, try cranberries or thinly sliced apples or pears. So many options!

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Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole! This is the perfect crowd-pleasing make ahead recipe for busy mornings. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

220 Comments

Comments

  1. Maya on June 13, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Hi Sally,

    This looks AMAZING. I want to make it as a treat for my team for a morning meeting at work, but it’s going to be a small group so I’d like to halve it. I saw your instructions about that- would it work in a 9-inch pie pan as opposed to a square one?

    Thanks!!

    • Sally on June 14, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Yep, any 9-inch pan will do. A round one is just fine.

  2. Shannon on June 14, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Love this. Made it with leftover bread, nothing special. Came out wonderful. So delicious. Ate 3 servings… yum!

  3. Amy on July 7, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I’m making this for a beach trip this weekend for a Saturday morning breakfast.  I’ll be traveling all day tomorrow.  Think I could make it today (Thursday)?  So, two overnights?  Thanks!

    • Sally on July 7, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      Yes, 2 nights would be fine! You may not have as much texture in the bread after baking. Will still be delicious.

  4. Rachel on July 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Hi there!  I am making this Wednesday morning for my coworkers.  Do you have any suggestions for preparing it at high altitude? I am in NM.  🙂

    • Sally on July 20, 2016 at 9:32 am

      There should be no changes at high altitude. 🙂 Enjoy!

      • Rachel on July 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

        I’m seeing that it looks somewhat soupy before it bakes. Is this normal?  



      • Sally on July 20, 2016 at 11:05 am

        Yep!



  5. Cristina M on July 22, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I made this for an office breakfast club and this was a huge hit! People were asking me for the recipe. I did not have enough time to get my bread “stale” so I cubed it and put it in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes and that worked out well. I also felt like I needed to use up more of my blueberries so I increased to 1 1/2 cups. Otherwise followed the direction as is and it was delicious. Thanks for making me a hero at the office!

  6. Erica Praga on August 2, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I made this the other morning and it is fantastic! I hope you don’t mind, but I wrote a post about it (scheduled to run later this month).
    Thanks so much for the awesome recipes!

    • Sally on August 3, 2016 at 11:46 am

      Not at all! I can’t wait to see it.

  7. Joan on September 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    How would this be without the streusel topping? I make a similar French toast with apples and no streusel, and it’s delicious, but yours is more “custard-y”–which should be fabulous. I’m thinking I don’t need to *guild the lily* – your advice?

  8. Mandy on October 19, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Can I use frozen blueberries or should I thaw them first?

    • Sally on October 19, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Frozen is just fine, no need to thaw.

  9. Carri on November 2, 2016 at 1:55 am

    I am making this now. I’ve made the strussel topping but it’s NOT crumbly.I added more flour but still not crumbly. Not sure what to do. I’m used to apple crisp kind of crumble. I hope it works for me in the morning.

    • Carri on November 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Well it’s the next day and I baked it and eaten it. Not all that crazy about the recipe. I’ve seen other very similar ones on the internet that add cream cheese. I will probably give those a try. The strussel topping never crumbled and just baked in clumps. Not what I would expect for a true crumb topping.

  10. Mary on November 17, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Hi Sally. I’m going to try this, will it work with no fruit?

  11. Jean on November 23, 2016 at 11:32 am

    A big hit! I wanted to make a french toast bake with no cream cheese and I could almost taste the streusel just looking at the picture.  I am probably not a “proper” french toast fan as the idea of a “custardy” is kind of gag-worthy to me.  “Cardboard-y” would better describe my likes (that explains the no cream cheese preference a lot!).  So, I dried the heck out of my kings Hawaiian loaf to the point of cardboard-like consistency before pouring the egg/milk mixture on top.  Still, as it baked it got very soggy (as I’m sure it’s supposed to).  At about 55-60 minutes, I cut into it and saw what I’m sure is perfect custard-ness, but sogginess to me, and put it back in for about another 20 minutes.  The center raised up as a baked good does, the bread on top got very dark (but I was too lazy to add some tin foil, but I will next time) and the bread baked much more to my and my families liking.  As someone else said, it needed no syrup, although it did in the mind of a 13 year old boy.   
    Used frozen strawberries, too.  Mmmm, mmmm good!
    So, long story short, will make this again, will cover with foil for part of baking so that I can keep it going until about 1 hour 20 minute mark.   I’m stuffed…..

  12. Sue H. on December 27, 2016 at 12:07 am

    Thanks Sally! Made this for my in laws for Christmas morning. I was nervous trying a new dish for the first time on the special day but I felt confident because your recipe was so thorough. It did smell amazing and taste delicious! I also thought it looked beautiful. Thank you so much!

  13. Sandra Smith on December 31, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I have lots of rolls and croissants left over from Christmas, can those be used?

    • Sally on January 2, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Absolutely!

  14. Felicia on January 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Hi. Would raisin bread work well with this ?

    • Sally on January 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Yes, definitely!

  15. Joyce C on January 10, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Sooooo good! I’ve made several other blueberry French toast recipes but none compare to this 🙂 Not too sweet either with just the right hint of cinnamon and sugar. That streusel topping is key!!!!! Love, love, love this recipe 🙂 Thanks Sally!!!!

  16. Sarah on February 13, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Hi Sally, I’ve made this recipe before and loved it, so this weekend I served it at a baby shower and it was a huge hit! It was a Woodland Creatures-themed shower, so I used mixed berries and called it “Woodland Berry French Toast Casserole.” I even halved the crumb topping and it was still sweet and fabulous. I’ve linked back to you on my post about the shower: http://alovelettertofood.com/2017/02/woodland-creatures-baby-shower/
    Thanks so much!

    • Sally on February 15, 2017 at 6:39 am

      Hi Sarah! Just checked out all the photos from the shower– it’s ADORABLE. And what a precious theme for a shower. You did a great job– and I love the cake too! Thank you so much for sharing with me.

  17. Denise on March 12, 2017 at 1:54 am

     Can I freeze it after it’s been cooked?  

    • Sally on March 13, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Yep! See my make ahead tip.

  18. Marji on March 21, 2017 at 2:20 am

    My daughters graduating grad school and we are celebrating. Having a big brunch and trying to make it easier with as much make ahead and freeze dishes as I can. Which way will it be better? Cook and freeze or prepare and freeze?  I can do both. Thanks

    • Sally on March 22, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Honestly I’ve done both ways, but prefer cooking THEN freezing.

  19. Pauline on March 23, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    How do I get the strusel to stay “crumbly” after baking ? I followed your recipe and directions and I’m in love with the dish I’ve made it a dozen times but I can never master the strusel, after baking it, it melts into blobs on top of the French toast casserole, is there something I’m not doing right ?

    • Sally on March 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Are you sure the butter is extremely cold? It sounds like it’s simply melting down. You can even use cube the butter then freeze the cubes. This helps.

  20. Krystal on March 24, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    I am making this for a baby shower brunch… question. When should you add the blueberries? I don’t see that specified?

    I am using frozen blueberries.

  21. Melissa on April 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    I’m going to make this for Easter brunch but I’m thinking of adding a little citrus too. Maybe some lemon or orange zest !

  22. Robyn Ponzani on April 19, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Made this for Easter Brunch. Everyone loved it. So delicious. I will definitely make this again and again.

    • Sally on April 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      It’s perfect for Easter brunch! So happy you loved it!

  23. Michelle on May 13, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Thank you for sharing this gem! It is so simple and delicious! 

  24. Katherine on May 13, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    I made this for Mother’s Day 2015, and am making it right now for tomorrow! Everyone adored this dish and it was so simple to prepare. I had at least three servings! 
    I use challah from a local bakery, which, coupled with this delicious custard,  makes it to die for!
    So grateful for a make-a-head, scrumptious dish like this so I can spend less time in my kitchen and more time with my mom! Thanks Sally!!

    • Sally on May 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Yay! Glad this one was worth coming back to! Hope you had a fantastic Mother’s Day!

  25. Roberta on May 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Can I do without the crumble?

    • Sally on May 20, 2017 at 8:48 am

      definitely!

  26. Kalyn on June 22, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Could I make this without the sugar?

  27. Penny on June 25, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    This was delicious! Made this for family that stayed overnight. All I had to do is put it in the oven in the morning. I did add walnuts to the topping. May add some orange or lemon zest to egg mixture next time just for a bit more flavor but really this was perfect the way it was. Company loved it and went back for seconds. Thanks again for a wonderful recipe.

    • Sally on June 26, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      You’re welcome, Penny! I love things I can make the night before when I have company. And it would be great to try to lemon or orange zest!

  28. JJ on July 10, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    I had almost a pound of leftover, slightly freezer-burned bread taking up precious freezer space, but I felt bad wasting it, so I tried this recipe out. Sooooo good, as always! I used frozen mixed berries and 2c nonfat milk + 0.25c half and half since I didn’t have anything else. The outside came out chewy and caramellized while the inside stayed creamy and custardy. Definitely will make again!!!

    • Sally on July 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      The BEST use of left over bread! 🙂

  29. Kathleen on August 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I’ve made this at least three times already and it is always unbelievable. I do use dark brown sugar since it’s my weakness, but besides that everything is the same. Thanks so much!

    • Sally on August 19, 2017 at 9:44 am

      SO glad you enjoy it! Thanks Kathleen.

  30. Cindy on October 15, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    My daughter can’t have dairy. Would this recipe work with almond milk 

    • Sally on October 16, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Yep, should be fine.

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