Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast Casserole
A quick overnight blueberry cheesecake french toast casserole recipe that can be assembled ahead of time and baked for breakfast or brunch! Loaded with yummy cheesecake bites and topped with tons of cinnamon-scented streusel, this is sure to become your go-to breakfast french toast casserole recipe!
Cheesecake + French Toast? Someone pinch me, am I in heaven?
I’m excited to tell you all about my new favorite cheesecake french toast casserole today. We’re so close to the weekend and my hope is that you’ll grab all of these ingredients when you hit the store next and then prep this on either Friday or Saturday and share it with family or friends for brunch.
It’s a lazy sort of casserole and I have no shame in saying that those are the best kind. Frozen berries, a brick of cream cheese, a loaf of slightly stale bread, and few other simple ingredients. And would you believe that all of this blueberry french toast casserole disappeared in less than 48 hours? Granted I boxed up most of it to get it out of the house. After the first few bites, I knew there was a very real possibility that Anees would walk in on me holding the entire baking dish full of casserole just going to town with a spoon. It’s dangerous I tell you!
But it’s my favorite kind of thing to serve for brunch. You know, when there are enough people around to where you’d only think of doing such things, but the opportunity will never present itself because your friends/family will help you eat the entire pan clean. But what also works in our favor is that you can make it ahead of time and bake it off fresh in the morning. The best part is it takes about 10 minutes of prep work and what you’re left with is a blueberry french toast casserole laced with bits of ‘cheesecake,’ juicy berries, and the most outrageous cinnamon-scented streusel.
Good lord, my mouth won’t stop salivating!
I don’t know about you, but personally, I wake up on the weekends craving a little something sweet for breakfast. That’s a lie. I wake up almost every single day craving something sweet for breakfast. Much more accurate. My husband can’t wrap his head around that; he’s entirely the opposite. Give him everything savory in the A.M.
But if you’re anything like me or a right balance of the two of us, you’ll love the crispy edges to the sweet centers of this luxurious blueberry cheesecake french toast casserole. The tart blueberries play so well with the delicious cheesecake bites.
I use the term ‘cheesecake’ very loosely here. The truth is, there aren’t any actual cheesecake bites in my blueberry french toast casserole. But hold the phone, because that’s a good thing. a.) you don’t have to make a cheesecake to make my french toast casserole and b.) you don’t have to buy one either. The custard that we use for our french toast will aid in flavoring all the cubes of cream cheese, and by the time you bake this, and it comes out of the oven, every inch of that cream cheese magically turns into cheesecake chunks. Seriously.
This still blows my mind.
When it comes to french toast, we all have a different idea of how much sugar we like. When I was little, my mom always sweetened our french toast custard, so there was no need for maple syrup or anything else on top. I love that concept. I find adding maple syrup at the end takes away from the actual flavors and leaves you with just one obnoxiously sweet note. But that’s probably just me! So keep that in mind when you’re making this. For us, the casserole was sweet enough as is.
I didn’t need even a drop of syrup.
What do you need to make blueberry cheesecake french toast casserole?
- cream cheese
- extract and spices
- maple syrup
What kind of bread should I use?
For the bread, I suggest using something that’s good quality and sturdy. I used challah bread because I love the flavor the way it pronounces that eggy flavor in french toast. Buy the loaf a couple of days in advance for our french toast casserole and just let it sit out so that it has a chance to get a little stale. Whether you’re making a french toast bake or traditional french toast, always remember, it’s best to use stale bread as it will soak up more of that custard. It works out nice and handy because we almost always have bread around. Which means a lot of my weekend plans involve homemade french toast.
The hazards of working with food I guess!
Will frozen blueberries work for this?
No need to purchase fresh berries for this. I used frozen wild blueberries I bought on sale from my favorite grocery store that were mostly defrosted when I threw them in. You can use fresh berries too though if you’d like.
What can I use in place of regular milk?
A note I’d like to add regarding the milk. You can replace the cow’s milk with almond, soy, cashew, or even coconut milk. You can also use full-fat coconut cream in place of the heavy cream to give it a touch of luxury if you’d like!
Can I freeze leftover cheesecake french toast casserole?
I always get asked about freezing the leftovers, so I want to mention, I went ahead and froze a large chunk of it, and it held up fine. I suggest defrosting it in the refrigerator overnight and reheating it in a warm oven to bring it back to its full glory. You can also warm it up in the microwave if you don’t mind the streusel losing some of the crunch.
Speckles of juicy, bursting blueberries, chunks of tangy sweet cheesecake and all the things we love about french toast but in a casserole form. Who wouldn’t like that?
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blueberry cheesecake french toast casserole:
- 1 (14-ounce) loaf french bread (or brioche or challah), cubed
- 1 ¼ cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries
- 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, cut into cubes (not low fat)
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup EACH: heavy cream AND light brown sugar
- 8 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt, almond extract, AND ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup maple syrup or golden syrup
- ⅓ cup EACH: all-purpose flour AND light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, cold and cubed
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Prep: Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Place ½ the diced bread in the pan and layer on ½ the blueberries and ½ the cubed cream cheese, repeat the layers starting with bread and ending with cream cheese; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the remaining casserole ingredients. Pour the prepared custard over the bread. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and ideally, overnight.
- Streusel: combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, mix together until the butter breaks down into smaller pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and ideally, overnight.
- Bake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the prepared streusel mixture over the casserole evenly. Bake the casserole for 48-55 minutes or until the casserole is no longer jiggly. You may need to tent the casserole with a piece of foil if it starts browning too quickly around the 30-40 minute mark, I didn't. Let cool for several minutes before slicing and serving! Fresh fruit and whipped cream would go great with this!
- if you have unsalted butter, just add a small pinch of salt to the streusel topping mixture.
- You can make this gluten-free by using gluten-free bread/flour. To make it dairy-free you can replace the milk/cream with almond, soy, cashew, or coconut milk. To give it a little richness, you can swap the heavy cream amount for equal parts coconut cream.
- I made this with English Golden Syrup (affiliate link) that I had on hand for another recipe and it was perfect. Golden syrup is made from cane sugar and is similar to corn syrup.