Blueberry French Toast Casserole
July 23, 2020
It’s that time of year where I pretty much only eat fruit. Whether it’s fresh, blended into smoothies, or baked into breakfast — fruit is everywhere, and it’s all just so good. Blueberries are one of my favorites that I really haven’t featured here much. My knees go weak for a good blueberry muffin, but I wanted something with a bit more substance for a full breakfast. And that’s what this blueberry french toast casserole is.
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This baked french toast starts with a fluffy loaf of blueberry muffin bread. It’s diced and covered in a rich egg-filled custard, dotted with even more blueberries, and then dusted with a sweet streusel topping. There’s no complicated flavors or techniques here, just a delicious and filling breakfast with blueberries center stage.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for this blueberry french toast casserole at your grocery store. If you want to use curbside pick-up or home delivery, check out Instacart to shop online from your favorite local grocery store.
- Fridge: Unsalted butter, Eggs, Sour cream, Milk, Heavy Cream
- Pantry: Brown sugar, Granulated sugar, Flour, Baking soda
- Spice Cabinet: Vanilla extract, Salt
- Produce: Blueberries
- Optional: Whipped cream
- Required Equipment: Stand mixer or hand mixer, Mixing bowls, Whisk, 9×5″ Loaf pan, 9×13″ Baking pan
Let’s Make Blueberry Muffin Bread
The type of bread you use in a French toast casserole can make a big difference in flavor, texture, and sweetness. With this recipe, I really wanted to lean into that blueberry muffin feel, and that starts with making a quick bread reminiscent of those tasty treats.
The fun part is that the bread is really good on its own or as part of this casserole. Feel free to eat the bread by itself, add the streusel on tops of that and skip the casserole, or use only a portion of the bread in a smaller casserole.
To get started, preheat your oven to 350F. Begin with creaming together the butter and sugars. The butter gives the bread that denser muffin texture, as opposed to a lighter bread crumb. The two sugars provide a depth of flavor, with the brown richer and the granulated sweeter.
You can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer with beaters and a large, deep mixing bowl. Allow them to mix together until creamy and smoothly combined.
Next, add in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Eggs provide a structure, acting as a binder for the other ingredients. Sour cream and vanilla are both for flavor, with sour cream also acting as an acid to react with the baking soda, and making the bread rise. Mix those until combined as well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. I’m using all-purpose flour here, but I have made similar breads swapping out some for white whole wheat. It will make the bread a little denser, but still delicious.
Add the flour mixture into the bowl, along with the milk. This will help the bread be a little bit lighter and fluffier. Adding it now also helps your kitchen from getting covered in flour when you turn the mixer back on! Mix until the batter is just combined, and there are no big flour pockets left, but don’t over mix.
In a small bowl, toss the fresh blueberries with a little bit of flour. I suggest making this when blueberries are in season, and you can pick them right off the bush. However, fresh berries from the store will work as well. I don’t recommended using frozen blueberries.
Add the coated berries to the bowl, and use a silicone spatula to carefully fold them into the batter. The flour will help them stick, so you get a good distribution instead of the berries all sinking to the bottom. The folding motion will help the batter from getting over mixed.
Transfer all of the batter into a 9×5-inch loaf pan that is greased with butter, oil, or nonstick spray. Give the pan a shake to settle it a little bit, and then use your spatula to smooth out the top. You can dot the top with a few more berries if it looks empty, but it’s not necessary.
Bake the bread for 35-45 minutes. When it’s done, the edges will be golden, and starting to brown. The top will be lighter, but if you gently touch it, it should bounce back to its shape. Also use a toothpick, stuck into the center. You can also check the internal temperature, which should be at 190F.
Leave the bread in the pan to cool for about 20 minutes. Then transfer it to a cooling rack to cool completely. The easiest way to assure it’s cool before cutting is to make the bread a day in advance. You can wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature.
How to Make French Toast Casserole
Preheat your oven to 350F again, or you can leave it on if you’re making this all in one day. However, if it’s for breakfast, I recommend making at least the bread in advance.
To get started on the actual casserole, take that gorgeous loaf of blueberry muffin bread and dice it up into 1-inch cubes. It doesn’t need to be perfect. I found the easiest way to do this was to first cut the bread into thick slices, and then cut each slice into 8 cubes.
Add all of the bread cubes into a 9×13-inch baking pan. Just dump them all in there and then arrange then into a single layer. You might need to squish and squeeze a few pieces to get them all to fit, but it’ll be fine. You just don’t want any pieces on top of others. If you have to eat a cube, it’s ok.
Then in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla extract. This is your custard. It will soak into the spaces between the bread and within the cubes, and bind it all together.
The eggs make up the main structure, which is why there are so many. Milk and cream provide a richness and vanilla is, of course, for flavor. Once it’s all combined and smooth, pour the custard evenly over the bread cubes.
Because we used a soft muffin-like bread here, there’s no need to let it soak for too long. Instead, you can just let it sit for a few minutes, while you prepare the streusel. That’s plenty of time for the fine crumb of the bread to soak in some custard.
To make the streusel, add the dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, and salt, together in a small bowl and whisk until they are thoroughly combined. Meanwhile, melt the butter and then let it cool slightly.
Add the cooled butter into the bowl and use yours hands to combine it all together. You can start with a spoon if that’s easier, but you’ll want to switch to your hands to really get it to crumble.
The texture should be similar to wet sand, with the butter completely incorporated, and no dry, floury portions. Use your fingers to crumble the streusel as you sprinkle it over the bread and custard. Dot with the blueberries as well.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the custard has mostly solidified, and there’s no jiggle when you shake the pan. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes to cool and firm up even more. If you go to scoop it and there’s still liquid, you can put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes, and it will be fine.
You can serve this immediately, or save it for later. Store the whole pan, or individual portions covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat individual pieces, place them in microwave-safe dishes and cook for about 30-40 seconds, until warm throughout.
Need an idea for breakfast this weekend? This Blueberry French Toast Casserole will definitely hit the spot.
How to Serve
This blueberry baked french toast is a pretty complete breakfast on its own. I suggest serving individual portions with a dollop of whipped cream and a drink. Something warm and cozy like a chai white hot chocolate would work well. Or for a cooler beverage, try pairing this with an amaretto old fashioned.
If you do want to expand breakfast into multiple dishes or courses, this will pair well with lentil-pecan breakfast sausage or a savory cheesecake with caramelized onions. For more of a breakfast-themed dessert, try topping it with a scoop of coffee ice cream.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Add a dollop of sour cream on top of some vegetarian nachos.
- Heavy cream can be used in plenty of dishes. Try strawberry ice cream or caramel apple no-bake cheesecake.
- Use up extra brown sugar to make some cookies, like these cherry chocolate chip ones!
- Mix up a batch of vanilla simple syrup, and make some cinnamon pear rum cocktails.
Blueberry French Toast Casserole
Blueberry Muffin Bread
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter room temperature
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour plus 1 tbsp
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
French Toast Casserole
- 1 Loaf Blueberry Muffin Bread
- 6 Eggs
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 Cup Blueberries
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Butter
Blueberry Muffin Bread
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle, and grease or spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until combined. Add in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract, and continue mixing until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, salt, and baking soda. Add into the mixer with the wet ingredients and the milk. Mix on low until just combined, and there are no flour pockets. Don't over mix.
- Toss the blueberries with the additional flour, and then fold them into the batter. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick in the top center comes out clean, and the top bounces back when you gently press it.
- Let cool about 20 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Note: You can bake the bread 2-3 days in advance. Store tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature as a whole loaf.
Blueberry French Toast Casserole
- Leave the oven on, or if you pre-made the bread, preheat to 350°F, with a rack in the middle.
- Dice the blueberry muffin bread into 1-inch cubes, and arrange in a single layer in a 9x13 casserole dish with at least 2-inch sides. If they don't all quite fit, squish them in so they are in a single layer.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla until smooth. Then evenly pour over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the top.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and salt until combined. Add the melted butter, and use your hands to combined into a crumbly streusel, with the texture of wet sand. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 35-45 min, until solid throughout, and not soggy, and the tops of the bread should be slightly browned. The streusel will not darken much. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes.
- Scoop portions into individual dishes to serve immediately. Or cover and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat individual pieces in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
- Make it Simpler: You can use pre-made or store bought blueberries muffins instead of making the bread, and still dice them into 1-inch pieces.
- Variations: If you'd like, you can try using different types of bread, but I suggest sticking with a soft quick bread, or if using a hard french bread or sourdough, allow it soak in the custard for at least 30 minutes before baking.