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serving of mixed berry cream cheese French toast bake on green plate

Berries & Cream French Toast Casserole

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 9 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This recipe yields a creamy, fresh, and deliciously textured berries & cream French toast casserole. Prep it ahead so you have a quick and warm breakfast in the morning.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 (12–14-ounce) loaf French breadsourdough bread, or challah*
  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups (280–300g) fresh mixed berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups (480ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • optional for serving: confectioners’ sugar, strawberry topping, and/or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Slice and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. You should have around 12 cups of cubed bread—a little more or less is fine. For best results, let the bread cubes sit uncovered at room temperature for a few hours (or up to 1 day) to dry out. If you don’t have the time for that, spread the chunks of bread on a lined baking sheet and toast in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes. (Great shortcut!)
  2. Grease a 9×13-inch or any 3–4-quart oven-safe dish with nonstick spray. Spread half of the bread cubes into the prepared baking pan.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the room-temperature cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until combined. Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of the bread. Top with most of the berries (reserve a few berries for the top, for looks) and then the remaining bread cubes. Place any reserved berries on top. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla extract together until combined. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3–4 hours and up to 24 hours. Overnight is best.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
  6. Bake uncovered for 45–55 minutes or until golden brown on top. I usually bake it for 45 minutes because I like it softer. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, top with strawberry topping, and/or drizzle with maple syrup. Serve warm.
  7. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prep the dish through step 4 up to 24 hours in advance. (See step 4.) To freeze, prepare the recipe through step 4 and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then continue with step 5. You can also freeze the leftover baked and cooled casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, and then reheat to your liking in the microwave or cover with foil and bake in a 300°F (149°C) until warm throughout, at least 20 minutes.
  2. Half Recipe: This recipe can easily be halved in an 8- or 9-inch baking pan. The bake time will be slightly shorter, around 30–35 minutes.
  3. Bread: Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for French toast casseroles. Slice and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and let it sit out uncovered all day as instructed in step 1.
  4. Fresh Berries: Fresh berries are ideal because frozen will leak their juices prior to baking the casserole. If necessary, you can use frozen berries, but thaw them first and then pat dry. I usually use blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries. You can use one or all of those, and/or add raspberries too. Keep the total amount to 2 cups/280–300g.
  5. Cream Cheese: Since the cream cheese is only mixed with a little sugar and vanilla, make sure you are using quality cream cheese that tastes good. I use and love full-fat Philadelphia brand brick-style cream cheese for this dish.
  6. Can I add a crumb/streusel topping? Yes, absolutely. You can use the same topping from this plain cream cheese French toast casserole.

Keywords: berry French toast casserole