Every bite of blueberry French toast casserole is full of texture and flavor… from the cinnamon-spiced bread and juicy blueberries to the crisp brown sugar streusel on top. This make-ahead breakfast casserole benefits from an overnight rest in the refrigerator, so all you need to do in the morning is pop it in the oven. The smell of it baking will certainly lure your family out of bed and straight to the breakfast table!
I always thought nothing could beat the smell of homemade cinnamon rolls coming from the kitchen. Until I made a pan of this blueberry French toast casserole.
It’s one of my most frequently made breakfast recipes—whether I’m hosting a holiday brunch or just want to treat my family to a little something special. Not only because of the fantastic cinnamon-spiced aromas, but because everyone always appreciates a big serving of this brown sugary blueberry French toast casserole. And good news for me (and you!!): it could not be easier to throw together.
This make-ahead recipe is best made a day in advance. Do all your slicing, whisking, and combining the day before. Then top with a crumb streusel before baking it the next morning. Much more appealing than standing over your griddle making individual slices of French toast!
Tell Me About This Blueberry French Toast Casserole
- Taste: What’s not to love about the combined flavors of blueberries, brown sugar streusel, and a cinnamon-spiced egg custard? And with hints of vanilla throughout, this recipe is the perfect opportunity to use your homemade vanilla extract.
- Texture: If you crave a variety of texture in your baked goods, blueberry French toast casserole should definitely be on your menu. Chewy bread, creamy egg custard, crisp streusel topping, and juicy blueberries shine equally in each bite. The type of bread you choose here is important, so be sure to read through “FAQ: What Kind of Bread Should I Use?” before getting started.
- Ease: Besides the taste and texture, the beauty of this breakfast bread pudding (because that’s essentially what this is!) is how easy it is. It’s equally as impressive as a blueberry cream cheese pastry braid or this giant cinnamon roll cake, but takes a fraction of the prepwork. It’s wonderful for bridal or baby showers, Christmas morning, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Easter brunch, or really any morning that could use an extra dose of this comfort food.
What Kind of Bread Should I Use for Blueberry French Toast Casserole?
For absolute best taste and texture, make sure you’re using bread that is thick and hearty—not flimsy sliced sandwich bread. The bulk of the casserole is your bread, so you don’t want to cut corners here. I find challah bread makes for wonderful French toast, whether as slices or as a casserole. It’s my top choice when making apple cider French toast also. You could also use sourdough bread or French bread as I do for mini French toast. If you want to make your own bread, try my artisan bread, honey oat bread, or even croissant bread.
Whatever type of bread you choose, make sure it’s slightly staled and crusty. Simply slice it into cubes and let it sit for about a day before using. Bread that’s a little stale will lose some of its moisture and absorb more of the egg custard… just what you want!
Here’s a shortcut for creating “stale” crusty bread for French toast casserole. Spread the bread chunks on a lined baking sheet and toast in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes. Your bread is now slightly dried out and ready to soak up all that egg custard. (P.S. This trick works for my sausage & herb stuffing, too.)
Yes. In place of the blueberries, try strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Or try a medley of berries as I do for berries & cream French toast casserole. In the fall, try it with cranberries or thinly sliced apples or pears.
You don’t need to prepare the casserole in advance, but I highly recommend you do. It will need to rest for at least 3 hours, but overnight is best. This allows the bread to really soak up that cinnamon-spiced egg custard. Both you and your blueberry French toast casserole can go ahead and get a good night’s rest… it’ll see you in the morning. 😉
A Note on the Streusel Topping
Prepare the streusel topping and add to the casserole right before baking. It’s pretty easy, and similar to how I make the crumb topping for coffee cake. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut the cold butter into the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon, and then sprinkle on top of the casserole. This is the same topping I use for baked cream cheese French toast casserole. You’ll love the slight crunchy/crisp texture it adds.
What to Serve With Blueberry French Toast Casserole
Serve your blueberry French toast casserole with maple syrup, more fresh berries, homemade blueberry sauce topping, or a generous dusting of confectioners’ sugar. If you’re serving this at brunch, don’t forget a little something savory, too! Here are some other crowd-pleasing favorites:
- Easy Breakfast Casserole (another make-ahead recipe)
- Ham & Cheese Scones
- Ham & Potato Casserole
- Breakfast Strata
- Frittata or Breakfast Egg Muffins (individual-sized frittatas!)
More of a pancake person? Try my whole wheat blueberry pancakes instead.
There’s not one word more perfect than “unbelievable” to describe this overnight blueberry French toast casserole. The casserole benefits from sitting in the refrigerator overnight before baking, so this is an excellent make-ahead brunch recipe!
- 1 (12–14-ounce/340–400g) loaf French bread, sourdough bread, or challah*
- 1 cup (140g) fresh or frozen blueberries*
- 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) pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (69g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (41g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- optional: extra blueberries, maple syrup, and/or confectioners’ sugar for topping
- Grease a 9×13-inch pan with butter or 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.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and refrigerate for 3–24 hours. Overnight is best.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
- 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.
- Bake for 45–55 minutes or until golden-brown on top. I usually bake it for 45 minutes because I like it softer.
- Serve warm. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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 for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 35 minutes or until warm in the center.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 9×13-Inch Baking Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk
- Half Batch: This recipe can easily be halved in an 8-inch baking pan or 9-inch baking pan. The bake time will be slightly less, around 30–35 minutes.
- Bread: Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for French toast casseroles so it can soak up the egg custard. 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. Here’s a shortcut for creating “stale” crusty bread: Spread the bread chunks on a lined baking sheet and toast in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
- Fruit: Instead of blueberries, try strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. In the fall, try cranberries or thinly sliced apples or pears. So many options!
Keywords: blueberry french toast casserole