Berry French Toast Casserole
This berry french toast casserole is perfect for special occasions or weekend brunch! Not too sweet, loaded with ALL the textures, and perfectly flavored with hints of cinnamon and almond. It can be prepped ahead and baked in the morning.
*I’m partnering with Nielsen-Massey to bring you today’s recipe. All opinions are my own. Thank you for helping me work with companies I love!
Yummy Berry French Toast Bake
I love this overnight berry french toast casserole! I love that we can have a yummy breakfast in the morning, but all the dishes were cleaned up the night before. It leaves me with time to enjoy breakfast with my family and not spend all my time prepping and cleaning up.
Because our kids love fruit, we always have berries on hand. While we love to snack on them during the day, with meals and on the go, we often find ourselves wondering what to do with the few that get left behind.
This lovely layered french toast casserole with cream cheese was the perfect solution.
My kids loved eating this for breakfast because they said it was like a treasure hunt. Behind each chunk of challah was a hidden pocket of fruit and cream cheese. A surprise in each bite.
It all starts with a good loaf of bread. For this particular recipe, I’d suggest grabbing challah, brioche or french bread. Something sweet and buttery. Let it sit on the counter for a few days to get stale. The drier it gets the better it will absorb the custard base.
How to Make Berry French Toast Casserole
Begin by cutting your bread it into 1-inch cubes and placing half of it into a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Next add 1 1/2 cups of mixed berries along with half of an 8 oz. block of cream cheese cut into cubes. Add the remaining bread over top along with the remaining berries and cream cheese.
To make the base, in a large mixing bowl whisk together milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract. I used a good teaspoon each of my favorite extracts to really bump up the flavor. P.S. Nielsen-Massey just came out with an organic line of pure extracts and they are divine!
Pour over the top of the casserole, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Be patient! The longer it sits the more the bread will absorb and the less likely it is to have a custardy bottom.
In the morning preheat the oven and make the topping. It’s a simple mixture of flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Sprinkle it over top, then add a few sliced almonds for added crunch. They’ll get nice and toasty while the casserole bakes.
Because this is a deep casserole, it will take at least 1 hour to bake. I pulled mine at the 75 minute mark (I prefer it to be on the drier side). The top should be nice and golden brown and it should have risen slightly as it baked. Note: the casserole will fall slightly as it cools, this is normal.
Give the casserole 15 minutes to cool, then cut and serve. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup or my favorite buttermilk syrup!!
Storing, Freezing, Reheating + MORE
French toast casserole should last about 3-5 days in the fridge. Any longer and you risk the egg mixture going bad.
To reheat individual slices you can put it in the microwave for one minute. If you are reheating more than one slice I recommend covering the dish with foil and then baking it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
You can also make it ahead of time and freeze. To cook French Toast Casserole from frozen, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Berry French Toast FAQ
Can you make this with frozen berries? There are a lot of recipes that use frozen berries. The danger with that is the amount of extra liquid that you would be adding to the recipe. If you decide to use frozen berries make sure that you don’t add as much milk, or maybe even bake it longer to further evaporate some of that extra liquid.
How to dry out the bread quicker? If your bread is not stale enough I would suggest taking it out of the bag and laying it out on the counter, on top of some paper towels for an hour or two. Or if you’re in a time crunch you might be able to lightly toast them. Just make sure that when you toast them you don’t let get too much color, its simply to dry the bread .
What happens if you leave it in the fridge for 2 nights instead of 1? If you prepped for one day and your awesome breakfast got pushed off it should be fine. Just make sure that your prepped dish remains covered and in the fridge until you are ready to bake, do not let it sit a room temperature, because you don’t want to risk the eggs going bad.
Does this need to be covered when baking? Nope after you take it out of the fridge and put the topping on it, it no longer needs to be covered with foil but should be allowed to brown and dry the bread during baking.
This berry french toast casserole has it all! Not too sweet, loaded with ALL the textures, and perfectly flavored with hints of cinnamon and almond. It’s the kind of dish you make for special occasions and weekend brunch. A beautiful breakfast that everyone will absolutely love!
Other French Toast Casseroles:
- Chocolate Banana Stuffed French Toast
- French Toast Muffin Cups
- Pumpkin French Toast Sticks
- Sausage Stuffed Frech Toast Roll-ups
Berry French Toast Casserole
This berry french toast casserole is perfect for special occasions or weekend brunch! It can be prepped ahead and baked in the morning. Easy, delicious and a total crowd pleaser!
- 1 loaf challah, brioche or french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 cups mixed berries*
- 1 (8 oz.) block original cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
For the base:
- 1 1/2 c. whole milk
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 2/3 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
- 8 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
For the topping:
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into tablespoons
- 1/4 c. sliced almonds
- Lightly butter the bottom of a tall 9×13-inch baking dish. Add half of the cubed bread into the pan. Top with half of the mixed berries and cubed cream cheese. Add remaining bread over top along with remaining berries and cream cheese.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the milk, cream, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the bread, coating it evenly. Cover dish with a sheet of foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Meanwhile, make the topping in a medium mixing bowl. Combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter in until pea size clumps form. Stir in the almonds. Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle topping on.
- Place in the oven and bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The top should be golden brown in color and the middle should spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
* I used one cup of each: blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.