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!

serving of blueberry french toast casserole on a white plate

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.

overhead image of blueberry french toast casserole in glass baking dish after baking

This casserole is the definition of comfort food. I made it for my friends who just welcomed their daughter into the world. 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.

2 images of sliced bread and egg mixture in a pink bowl with a whisk

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!

zoomed in image of bread and blueberries

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.

2 images of streusel topping in a glass bowl and streusel topping on french toast casserole

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.

overhead image of blueberry french toast casserole in glass baking dish after baking

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.

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blueberry french toast casserole in glass baking dish after baking

Unbelievable Blueberry French Toast Casserole

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

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread, sourdough bread, or challah*
  • 1 cup (180g) 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

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup (69g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (41g) 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

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9×13 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.

Notes

  1. 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 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.
  2. Half Batch: 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.
  3. Bread: 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.
  4. Fruit: Instead of blueberries, try strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. In the fall, try cranberries or thinly sliced apples or pears. So many options!

Keywords: overnight french toast casserole, blueberry french toast casserole

blueberry french toast casserole in a glass baking dish with a serving spoon

134 Comments

  1. What about adding mascarpone or cream cheese on top before baking?

    1. Hi Paula, I love layering cream cheese in! I explain how I do it (it’s best to mix it with some vanilla and confectioners sugar) in my recipe for Strawberry French Toast Casserole.

  2. Love this recipe, I have made it many times now. I use broche bread and leave it overnight. I like mine more done, I usually cook it for closer to 1.5 hours at 350 to get it done in a 9×13 dish. It is good with or without the blueberries.

  3. Used brioche bread and it was delicious. Can you freeze leftovers ?

    1. Yes, you can! Just wrap it tightly and you can freeze it up to 3 months.

  4. Lauren Margolin says:

    Hi, I’d like to make this for a very belated Chanukah party. I’ve never made an overnight french toast for fear it would be soggy. I’ve read tons of your reviews and although almost all of them were incredible, some had issues with that very problem of wet/soggy. Any tips to be certain I have the right ratio of bread to mixture? I’d like to use challah. Thanks a ton!

    1. Hi Lauren, If you follow the recipe as written it is the right ratio of bread to mixture! If the top is getting too brown before the center/bottom fully bakes you can cover the top with aluminum foil and bake a bit longer. Enjoy!

  5. Oh my word…I had to come back and comment on this fabulous breakfast treat. I made this for Christmas morning and it is so yummy! Cut the recipe in half, baked in an 8×8 pan and it was superb. Sally, you never let me down!

  6. Sharon Grisnich says:

    Hi Sally, I won’t have time to dry the bread out before assembling this recipe. Is there a way to fast track the bread-drying process, like toasting the cubes in the oven?

    1. Absolutely! Feel free to toast the cubes/pieces in a 300F or 350F oven for about 10 minutes.

  7. Christine Bending says:

    This has become a family favorite since I first made it for a baby shower!!! I just recently doubled the recipe and used 3 8×8 pans to cook it. Perfect, once again!
    One question: Could you provide a nutritional chart?

  8. Not often I make something everyone raves about but I hit it out of the park with this!!! I’ve made this now 5 times and each time it’s a huge hit. The only changes I make are I use half and half instead of milk and I double the blueberries. I also use challah bread thanks for the great recipe!!!

  9. I LOVE THIS RECIPE SO MUCH! Due to the quarantine and only wanting to make limited runs to the grocery store, I only have a bag of frozen mixed fruit at home. Would frozen fruit work instead of fresh blueberries, or would it make it too liquidy? Thank you ahead of time!

    1. Hi Andrea! So glad you enjoy this french toast casserole. You can use frozen mixed fruit. Do not thaw them. The bake time will be a little longer.

  10. So yummy! Made this and froze to take to the beach. Great make-ahead recipe that everyone loved. It didn’t thaw all the way before I baked it, so it did take closer to 2 hours to bake, but soooo worth the wait!

  11. We picked fresh blueberries last weekend and made the Blueberry French Toast Casserole for my grandkids. I had to add extra blueberries. Very good recipe. I loved the streusel on the top.

  12. My new favorite baked French toast recipe. Amazing flavor and texture. Just delicious.

  13. I’m making this for a girl’s trip this weekend. I am taking all the ingredients and making it there. I have a 16 oz bottle of milk, which is 2 cups, and the recipe calls for 2 1/4 c of milk. Do you think if I add one more egg the liquid amount would be the same or should I just get another bottle of milk?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Pam, I’m sorry I’m just now seeing this question. I assume it’s too late but if you run into this again you can try using an extra egg or even just using a bit less bread. How did it turn out?

  14. Teneill Russell says:

    I’ve made this for Christmas breakfast the last 2 years, and I’ll make it again this year. It’s delicious!! I double the amount of blueberries because we love them. YUM

  15. Could you substitute sliced strawberries or sliced blueberries for the whole blueberries? I would like to feed this to my toddler but worry about choking.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We don’t see why not! They may release more color and moisture into the casserole, but should taste delicious still.

  16. Shannon Morris says:

    Hey Natasha, made this for Christmas and it awesome. I want to make this or the strawberry french toast casserole for Easter at church. I will be baking it at home but breakfast won’t be until about an hour after I get it out of the oven. I will be using a warmer but need to know which may hold up better. Love your recipes! Thanks.

  17. Hi ,I want to make this without any fruit. Do I need to adjust any thing to make up for the moisture the fruit provides?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina, you can simply omit the blueberries with no other changes to the recipe. Enjoy!

  18. This was the best! Everyone loved it. I followed the recipe as written. Easy to make and loved that it can be made the night before. It’s a keeper. Thanks!

  19. I have made this recipe multiple times and it is always a hit with our family. A fun tip–use a loaf of ‘day old’ Jimmy John’s bread–reasonably priced and quite delicious.

  20. I made this for a birthday brunch yesterday, and… perfection!! Everyone LOVED it! Will be making this again and again! Thanks!!

  21. Love this , it is my go to recipe for brunch for special occasions. For something different, how do you think chocolate chips and pecans would work in place of fruit?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That sounds amazing, Marilyn! Let us know if you give that combo a try.

  22. Donna Ramsey says:

    Sally! Approximately how many cups of cubed bread is this? I have about half a loaf of sour dough, so I don’t want to end up with too little/too much.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Donna, you’ll wind up with about 12 cups of cubed bread. A little more or less is OK.

  23. Cathie Preston says:

    I am planning to freeze the casserole for a couple of days, but I’m confused. The original directions say to bake for 45 -55 minutes, but for the freezer method,it says to warm for 30 min till it’s warm in the center. Am is missing something?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cathie! There’s two options for the freezer method – prepare the recipe through step 4 (without preheating the oven) and freeze for up to 2 months (unbaked), then proceed with thawing and baking the full bake time (45-55 minutes). The second option is to freeze the already baked casserole. Then thawing and warming the already baked casserole in the oven which will take less time. Hope this helps clear up the make ahead instructions!

  24. Still confusing. Do you freeze with the topping on it, or add topping after thawing and before baking?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rose, you can freeze the entire casserole with the topping on it.

  25. LakeErieSam says:

    I have tried every overnight french toast cassserole I could find with no luck. I will tell you that this is the most delicious breakfast casserole I have ever made. I will make it again and again. Thank you so much!!

  26. Do you have any advice for baking this directly from frozen? Time and temperature recommended?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jean! We don’t recommend baking this casserole from frozen – it’s best to thaw overnight before baking, see details in recipe notes!

  27. Made this for my birthday breakfast today. Wonderful. I did add another 1/2 cup blueberries to the mix and about a third less flour in the topping. Next time I’ll try some lemon zest and maybe walnuts in the topping and call it dessert. I used big crusty chunks of sourdough french bread and it wasn’t at all soggy. Perfect. I call this bread pudding! Thank you.

  28. Absolutely delicious! Made this for my husband’s birthday breakfast and it was so good. Very easy to make and so nice to make most of it the night before! Loved the blueberries but will try strawberries the next time I make this – or maybe a mix! Yum!

  29. This was very delicious, especially the streusel topping. My family and I really enjoyed it.

  30. Literally don’t change a thing. It’s absolutely perfect! The top was crispy and delicious and the bottom was soft and yummy!

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