Lemon Blueberry French Toast Casserole with cream cheese and a dreamy warm blueberry sauce is the perfect brunch dish. It's got it all! Zingy lemon and blueberry, sharp cream cheese, and soft ooey-gooey bread. A sweet breakfast for a sweet morning!
Why you will love this recipe
I know you love delicious brunch dishes! This is so comforting, with a crisp crumb topping, ooey-gooey center, and a warm blueberry sauce. However, in addition to this, it is easy to prepare the day before. In the morning, just pop it in the oven, relax, and enjoy the slow morning.
That's definitely my favorite kind of morning. I love to be up way before I need to, simply to sit down with a cup of tea, look out the window and just take a breather. I also love to be out for a morning walk before everyone wakes up.
And since this lemon blueberry French toast casserole needs some time in the oven, you'd get a chance too! Surprise your family with a super easy, yet immensely delicious and indulgent breakfast treat (and you've got your appetite going with a stroll!).
So what ingredients do we need to make this French toast casserole?
- White bread: Preferably stale to soak up all the creaminess. You can use sourdough, brioche, regular white bread - whatever you want! However, I think whole grain would ruin the texture of the dish, making it a little too heavy.
- Cream cheese: Ooo, that tangy cream cheese cuts through the sweetness of the dish so well!
- Powdered sugar and vanilla extract: To flavor the cream cheese.
- Eggs, milk, and heavy cream: For a delicious custard sauce to soak the bread in.
- Brown sugar and warming spices: To sweeten and flavor the custard sauce.
- Lemon zest: That tangy zest is perfect with the sweet blueberries.
- Blueberries: Again, those sweet blueberries are amazing with lemon!
- Crumb topping of flour, cold butter, and sugar for that deliciously crisp topping.
- Blueberry sauce to make this dish even more berrylicious. I love the warm sauce over the French toast casserole! Use cornstarch to thicken it to make it just pourable enough.
This recipe is adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction, but I wanted it more fresh and zingy and added the awesome combination of lemon and blueberry. I use half a loaf because come on, it sure is enough. This is more of a leftover treat to me, I don't buy loaves to use it all for a French toast casserole.
I don't have enough people in my family to justify that. BUT, if you do - just double the recipe! It's so, so delicious and I ate French toast casserole every day for at least three days. A bonus dessert!
How to do it
Take a day-old (or several days old, don't worry) loaf, and cut the bread into thick slices and each slice into around 12 cubes. Just roughly chop it up. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with non-stick or butter, and add in half of the cubed loaf (3).
In the photos, I used an 8-inch pie pan, and that was the absolute minimum size that could work. A little bigger is also fine.
Beat softened cream cheese with a handheld mixer on medium-high, until soft, and add in the powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese over the bread (4-5). Place a few blueberries (or blackberries) evenly over the bread (6), and layer the remaining bread cubes on top (7). Set aside.
Whisk milk, eggs, cinnamon, brown sugar, and the remaining vanilla together, until no more brown sugar lumps (1-2). Pour over the bread (8), and add in the zest of one lemon, more cream cheese, and blueberries (9). Cover the pan with a plastic wrap and chill for 3+ hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350℉ (175℃).
Make the topping:
Whisk brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add in small cubes of cold butter (11), and cut it with a pastry cutter or two forks until the butter is mostly pea-sized (12). Remove the pan from the refrigerator and sprinkle the mixture on top of the soaked bread (13).
Bake uncovered for around 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown. The longer you bake it, the crispier the top will get. I found 60 just enough crispy, but the rest is super soft.
Meanwhile this is baking, make the blueberry sauce. Bring sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to a boil, add in the blueberries and/or blackberries and continue to boil. Stir often, until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
Serve the warm French toast casserole with warm blueberry sauce. Enjoy!
You can store leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days, I had mine for three days and it tasted just as good the third day!
I love to re-heat it in the oven to crisp up the topping. Heat the oven to about 300℉ (150℃) and re-heat until warm on the inside and crisp at the top, about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm the blueberry sauce! The blueberry sauce lasts for about a week when covered and stored in the fridge. The sauce is also delicious on these French crêpes, chia yogurt bowl for breakfast, or fill these Norwegian krumkake with it. So many choices!
Why is my French toast casserole soggy?
There are mainly two reasons for this: 1) you have too much egg mixture compared to the amount of bread, so the bread can't soak everything up as it should, and 2) your bread is too fresh, again so it doesn't soak up the eggs.
This recipe shouldn't turn out soggy if you follow the recipe instruction, and to be extra sure, follow the scale as opposed to the cups measurements.
What should I serve with the casserole?
For this lemon blueberry French toast casserole, you won't need anything else than the warm blueberry sauce. However, you could also use this blackberry syrup and fresh fruits, crème anglaise, or just simply whipped cream.
Can you put French toast in the oven?
Yes! Then it turns into French toast casserole, as in this recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card to see exactly how!
And if you love the lemon-blueberry combination as much as I do, I can highly recommend this 6-inch lemon blueberry cake!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.
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This recipe was originally published on March 23rd, 2018, but updated on June 6th, 2022 for better photos and content.