This blueberry brioche French toast casserole is made by soaking brioche or challah overnight in a sweet, creamy egg custard, then baking it the next morning. It’s an easy make-ahead breakfast that’s perfect for feeding a crowd.
Here’s the thing about baked French toast (in addition to the simplicity of the ingredients), it is one of those dreamy baked goods that you make ahead of time!! (Usually I am wary of exclamation points, but this calls for two).
The night before, you slice the bread, layer it (attractively) in your pan, combine all the remaining ingredients, whisk, pour over the bread, and sprinkle on (kind of a lot) of blueberries. Place the pan in the fridge for the night so the bread can soak up the custard, and in the morning, you do nothing but pop it in the oven and feed it to your folks.
And to say there’ll be no arguing — even among the teens in your life — is an understatement. Enjoy.–Jessie Sheehan
Blueberry Brioche French Toast Casserole FAQs
What can I do with leftover egg whites?
So many things! Save those whites for meringue, frostings, angel food cake, mousse, pancakes, or omelets! Make egg white cups for easy mornings. Egg whites will keep in the fridge for up to two days, but you can also freeze them for up to three months.
What is brioche?
Brioche is a lightly sweetened French bread that’s enriched with eggs, milk, and butter. The addition of butter and eggs make it very rich and tender.
What should I serve with French toast casserole?
Since the casserole is assembled the night before, you have lots of options for side dishes – not that you’ll need many with this filling French toast. We love the juxtaposition of salty meats and sweet berries, so we recommend slices of thick, crisp bacon or homemade breakfast sausage. Then, some real butter and syrup, a cup of good coffee, and maybe an egg or two – and you’ve got a perfect weekend breakfast for a crowd.
Can I halve this recipe?
Yes. Divide the ingredients in half and follow the directions using a square 8- by 8-inch baking dish.
What’s the best way to reheat French toast casserole?
Our testers had great success with freezing the leftover casserole in individual portions. Thaw or warm unfrozen portions in the microwave, then place under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp them up.
Blueberry Brioche French Toast Casserole
- Cooking spray or softened butter for the pan
- 1 pound loaf of brioche challah, or other enriched bread (you may not need all of it)
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups (8 oz) blueberries fresh or frozen
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)
- Slick a 9-by-13-by-2-inch (23-by-33-by-5-cm) baking dish with cooking spray or softened butter.
- Cut the brioche or challah into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices and cut those slices in half. Arrange attractively in your prepared baking dish, layering the bread in three rows.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, yolks, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the sugars and whisk again.
- Add the milk, cream, and butter (which may make the custard curdle a little) and whisk a final time. (There will be A LOT of custard. Don't be alarmed: the bread will eventually soak it all up (either in the fridge or in the oven) and the extra custard makes for the dreamiest of baked French toasts.)
- Pour the custard over the bread, pressing the bread down with your fingers, if necessary, to make sure all of pieces are submerged.
- Sprinkle the blueberries over the bread, and, using your fingers, gently push some of the blueberries between the slices of bread.
- Sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Remove the baking dish from the fridge and bake until the bread is golden brown and the custard is fully absorbed and cooked, 50 to 60 minutes. If you like a looser, softer custard, bake for closer to 50 minutes. And if you like a crispier French toast, bake for longer. I'm somewhere in between.
- Serve immediately with confectioner’s sugar lightly dusted on top, if desired.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
After putting this overnight French toast casserole recipe together on Saturday evening, I dreamed about the breakfast that would be waiting for me on Sunday morning. And I was not disappointed. This French toast was rich and delicious. It was the kind of breakfast that you want to linger over with a fresh cup of coffee. It smelled wonderful as it cooked. And it tasted even better.
The silky custard that nicely soaked into the brioche was wonderful. I used those little Maine blueberries that I had tucked into my freezer from the summer before – delicious. And it took only a quick half hour to pull together the night before.
I froze individual servings. And it froze well. A few days later, I popped a serving on a plate in the microwave to defrost, then put it under the broiler to give it a little crisp. Serve this dish as a special treat for your family or make it the centerpiece for brunch!
I found this to be very sweet, and I like sweet. I would skip the turbinado sugar sprinkled on top. I don’t think it needed it. And I might cut the sugar to 1/2 cup. I put confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup on the table but we did not use either.
Typically, when confronted with any kind of survey that calls for ratings, I NEVER chose the highest rating. This is because I really find ‘perfection’ to be a goal to strive for that is hardly ever achieved. It is the journey towards it that matters and everything has room for improvement. Well – stop the presses! After being a tester for 8 months, I have actually selected a “10” for this recipe.
I was hosting Mother’s Day Brunch again this year and the fact that this recipe not only can, but actually SHOULD be prepared the night before, drew me to it. (I’m a mother too so I wanted to minimize my Mother’s Day work!) So, I added this to my menu thinking “…if it doesn’t really work out, I have a few other dishes that my guests can enjoy.”
Fast forward to Mother’s Day when I pulled the deliciously scented dish out of the oven — my guests swarmed around the island ready to taste it. Everyone’s initial “taste” turned into second helpings and I was left with an empty pan within minutes.
This dish is creamy and delicious (even with replacing the whole milk with 2% since we’re watching our fats). I used fresh blueberries that softened beautifully in the heat of the oven and added a not-too-sweet fruity freshness. I baked it for 50 minutes and the texture was like a delightful, custardy bread pudding, but still held the challah bread shape.
This recipe has taken a spot in my “Favorites” binder. Yes, it’s labeled as “French Toast”, but I fully intend to serve it as a dessert as well — “Blueberry Challah Bread Pudding”– and serve it with a bourbon crème anglaise sauce to drizzle over it. Dessert anyone?
I did not sprinkle with powdered sugar when it came out of the oven as suggested. I think the sugar already in the batter and the sprinkled turbinado sugar before refrigerating made it sweet enough. Plus, it already looked fabulous with the blueberries strewn throughout when it came out of the oven.
Oh my! What a beauty. This blueberry brioche French toast casserole is a crowd-pleasing brunch recipe that should be taped inside your cupboard for easy reference. Or better yet, memorize it and unveil it for your guests in your summer rental.
I am always looking for that recipe that allows me to feed a crowd with little effort in a foreign kitchen with limited tools and provisions. This is it! Requiring only 10 minutes of prep the night before, this oven baked French toast almost makes itself in your refrigerator, soaking up the liquidy custard while it rests. I love how the proportions are standard and ingredients straightforward. No fancy or odd-sized pans.
Here blueberries are featured but any seasonal fruit can be substituted. Strawberries in the height of the season or perhaps a medley of ripe stone fruits, like peaches and plums. Did I mention how rich and buttery the custard is? The texture is addictive and sweet.
While a dusting of powdered sugar does look lovely in a photo, I skipped it. Trust me – the beauty and natural sweetness of the fruit are enough.
This overnight challah French toast casserole was easy to throw together but impressive looking coming out of the oven!
This dish came together pretty quickly the night before (even quicker if your challah is pre-sliced) and is ready to bake when you wake up. The flavor is lovely; not too sweet with pops of tart blueberry. I baked it for a full hour so the top got crusty but the inside was ultra-tender and soft.
This does make a ton of custard and I wish it was a bit less liquidy because the final dish is a little too soft and everything but the top crusty bits is mushy. If I made this again I’d use 1/2 to 3/4 cup less liquid.
Overall the flavor was nice! I liked the crispy bits that still had some turbinado sugar present. I think I would sprinkle the turbinado on in the morning in the hopes of more crunchy pops of sugar. The dish was a bit too soft but I liked that it wasn’t overly sweet like most French toast.
This blueberry French toast casserole recipe attracted me as my mum has an overnight blueberry French toast recipe which she makes sometimes for a crowd at family gatherings. It is delicious but contains cream cheese and since I’m not a fan of cream cheese, I wanted to try this one to see if it improved without the addition of that.
This recipe definitely turned out to be a huge step up from the cream cheese one with the creamiest smoothest vanilla custard and the crispiest crust which was enhanced by the addition of turbinado and confectioner’s sugars. So delicious, we ate the first bowl just by itself. Some people may need more blueberries but for me it was just perfect.
A big reason I chose this speedy brioche French toast casserole recipe is that I had every ingredient on hand, I bet most people have these ingredients too.
I cooked for 40 min. The crust was a lovely golden brown. My family was split on the custard texture. Half loved it, half wished it was cooked longer. Either way it was a hit. A simple make-ahead preparation that I will be riffing on in the months to come.
I served this with some freshly whipped cream and maple syrup and scrambled eggs.
To me, there is nothing better than a delicious dish that is made ahead and ready to pop in the oven – especially at breakfast time. This oven baked French toast casserole definitely fit the bill. Quick preparation the night before and ready to go in less than an hour in the morning.
There are a couple of minor changes I would make. The whole loaf of brioche bread is quite a bit too much, so I would suggest not slicing it all. It is a bit difficult to push the berries down around the bread with the custard on it. I will put some berries between the slices before I pour the custard onto the bread the next time. I might even put some berries under the bread.
The finished dish is quite creamy and delicious. It is not too sweet or too rich. I will probably bake it a bit longer the next time, as we prefer a little more solid French toast. This would be great with other types of berries as well. I served this with crispy bacon.
If you don’t have a go-to brunch recipe, this should be it. The recipe has all the makings of greatness: minimum effort and maximum results. It is the love child of French toast and bread pudding. Make this and your guests will think you are a culinary genius who toiled away in the kitchen for their benefit. Warm from the oven, it melts on the fork as all good comfort food should. It is perfect for an elegant brunch or just a quiet Sunday morning. It goes well with a side of bacon.
I liked this so much, I made it twice. First, as directed, then a half recipe to determine if it could be successfully reduced. There are only two of us at home, so the larger version is just too much. The original version will serve six to eight and the half recipe will serve two to four. Both the original and the reduced version turned out well. The leftovers reheat beautifully.
The recipe was relatively easy to reduce. The eggs and egg yolks presented the only real challenge as three eggs and yolks were required. I weighed each egg at 50 grams. I lightly beat the third egg and added 25 grams of the egg to the mix. I used the same approach for the egg yolks. I used two 26-gram yolks, whisked the third yolk and added thirteen grams of the final yolk to the mixture.
While perfect as written, I am tempted to add a smidgen of almond extract and orange zest the next time I make it. I am curious to see if the blueberries could be swapped out for other berries or apples.
Originally published June 22, 2022