Simple & Satisfying: Overnight Blueberry French Toast Without Cream Cheese

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Without Cream Cheese

Simple & Satisfying: Overnight Blueberry French Toast Without Cream Cheese

Imagine waking up to the aromas of cinnamon-spiced bread and juicy blueberries mingling in the air, a scent so enticing it lures your family out of bed and straight to the breakfast table.

This is the magic of overnight blueberry French toast without cream cheese, a make-ahead breakfast casserole that transforms your morning into something special.

Unlike the traditional version, this dish skips the cream cheese, focusing instead on the natural flavors and textures of its ingredients.

The bite of crisp brown sugar streusel on top complements the soft bread, all infused with a fantastic mixture of eggs and spices for that custard-like middle we all crave.

The beauty of this breakfast recipe is its simplicity and the overnight rest in the refrigerator, which allows the bread to soak up all the goodness before it hits the oven in the morning.

And when it does, the baking process fills the kitchen with a scent that rivals homemade cinnamon rolls, making it a frequently made choice for hosting holiday brunches or just treating your family to a special treat.

Plus, it’s so easy to throw together the night before, giving you more time to enjoy with your loved ones.

Whether it’s a lazy Sunday morning or a festive holiday gathering, this easy blueberry French toast casserole promises a big serving of comfort without the fuss, making every breakfast an occasion to remember.

Why You Will Love This Healthy Blueberry French Toast Casserole?

  • The Essence Of Taste And Texture: Dive into the combined flavors of blueberries and cinnamon-spiced egg custard, with each bite offering a crave-worthy variety of textures—from chewy to creamy, and crisp to juicy. The brown sugar streusel topping adds a crunchy contrast, making this overnight blueberry French toast casserole without cream cheese a comfort food
  • Ease And Elegance Combined: This casserole is as easy to prepare as it is impressive, requiring just a fraction of the prepwork compared to a blueberry cream cheese pastry braid or a giant cinnamon roll cake. It’s the perfect addition to your menu for bridal or baby showers, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Easter brunch.
  • A Symphony Of Flavors: The hints of vanilla—best expressed through homemade vanilla extract—elevate the dish, blending seamlessly with the blueberries and cinnamon-spiced custard. This breakfast pudding is a beauty to behold and a joy to eat, solidifying its place as a staple in the realm of baked goods.

healthy blueberry french toast casserole

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Without Cream Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf (12–14 oz or 340–400g) of either French, sourdough, or challah bread
  • 1 cup (140g) of either fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups (540ml) of whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (150g) of light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) of pure vanilla extract

For The Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup (69g) of either light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (41g) of all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp (85g) of cold, cubed, unsalted butter
  • Optional for garnish: additional blueberries, maple syrup, and/or powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. With butter or a non-stick cooking spray, lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and lay them out in the dish. Evenly scatter the blueberries over the bread.
  2. In a mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla, ensuring the sugar is fully dissolved. Evenly distribute this mixture over the bread in the dish. Seal the dish tightly with cling film and refrigerate for anywhere between 3 to 24 hours to allow the bread to fully soak, with overnight being the ideal duration.
  3. When ready to bake, set your oven to preheat at 350°F (177°C) and take the dish out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature.
  4. For the streusel topping, mix the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, work the cubed butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Evenly sprinkle this mixture over the moist bread.
  5. Place in the oven to bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the top is a rich golden brown and the dish sets nicely. For a softer texture, aim for the shorter baking time of 45 minutes.
  6. Serve the baked blueberry french toast casserole not overnight warm from the oven. Any leftovers should be covered well and can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Notes

  • Make-Ahead Magic: To savor every moment of your morning, prepare your casserole in advance. Sprinkle the soaked bread with your chosen topping, then cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. When ready, bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (177°C) until the center is warm. This make-ahead strategy ensures a stress-free and delicious start to any day.

Special Tools

  • Essential for this recipe are a 9×13-inch baking pan, glass mixing bowls, and a whisk. These tools help ensure your casserole cooks evenly and integrates all flavors perfectly.

Half Batch

  • If you’re catering to a smaller crowd, a half batch of this delightful casserole is easily made in either an 8-inch or 9-inch baking pan. Adjust the bake time accordingly, usually a few minutes less.

Bread

  • The choice of bread is crucial. Opt for day-old, crusty bread like challah or artisan loaves that can fully soak up the egg custard without becoming soggy. For a quicker option, toast cubed bread on a lined baking sheet at 300°F (149°C) to create the perfect stale texture.

Fruit

  • While blueberries are the star, don’t hesitate to mix in other fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or cranberries. In the fall, thinly sliced apples or pears offer a seasonal twist, broadening your flavor options.

What Kind Of Bread Should I Use For Blueberry French Toast Casserole Not Overnight?

For the best taste and texture in your blueberry French toast casserole, choose bread that’s thick and hearty.

Avoid flimsy sliced sandwich bread as it lacks the bulk to support the rich, custardy filling.

Challah bread is a top choice, offering just the right texture and heaviness. Alternatives like sourdough bread, French bread, and even artisan or honey oat bread can also excel.

For something different, croissant bread makes for a delightful twist, adding layers of buttery flavor that mini French toast lovers will recognize and appreciate.

A Note On The Streusel Topping

The streusel topping is what sets this casserole apart, adding a crunchy, crisp texture that contrasts beautifully with the soft, custardy bread below.

Preparing this topping is easy and akin to making a crumb topping for coffee cake.

Simply use a pastry blender or forks to cut cold butter into a mix of brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon, then sprinkle it over the casserole before baking.

This method, reminiscent of the topping used in baked cream cheese French toast casserole, introduces a delightful crunch that everyone will love.

What To Serve With Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole Without Cream Cheese?

Pairing the blueberry French toast casserole with maple syrup and fresh berries elevates its flavor, while a drizzle of homemade blueberry sauce or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar adds a touch of sweetness.

To round out a brunch menu, include savory items like easy breakfast casserole, ham & cheese scones, ham & potato casserole, breakfast strata, quiche, frittata, or breakfast muffins for a diverse and satisfying meal experience.

How To Bake, Freeze, and Reheat Easy Blueberry French Toast Casserole?

Baking the French toast casserole until fully cooked is crucial for achieving the right texture. To preserve leftovers, wrap them in plastic wrap and foil, then freeze.

For reheating, defrost in the refrigerator or use the microwave, ensuring the casserole is warmed through. This method maintains the casserole’s delightful taste, whether it’s freshly baked or enjoyed after freezing.

Why Is My French Toast Casserole Soggy?

A common mistake leading to a soggy casserole is using fresh bread. Opt for day-old bread to avoid this issue, as it’s drier and absorbs the custard more effectively without falling apart.

If you’re in a pinch, you can create “stale” bread by arranging bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet, then baking at 350 degrees F. Placing racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven ensures even drying.

Remember to toss the bread once during baking to ensure it dries out evenly, resulting in a perfect texture for your casserole.

easy blueberry french toast casserole

How To Store Blueberry French Toast Casserole With Cream Cheese?

  • Storing Your Casserole: After enjoying your overnight blueberry French toast without cream cheese, store any leftovers in an airtight storage container and refrigerate. This method keeps the casserole fresh for a few days, ready to be reheated and enjoyed again.
  • Reheating Made Easy: When you’re ready for another serving, simply rewarm your casserole in the oven using a baking dish. This process helps maintain the delightful texture and flavor of your breakfast treat.
  • Long-term Freezing: If you need to keep the casserole for longer, freeze it tightly covered in plastic wrap and foil. It can be stored for a few months. To enjoy, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed to bring back its original warmth and coziness.
  • Meal Prep Tip: For those busy mornings, prepare the casserole through step 2 and then freeze unbaked. When you’re ready, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed. This meal prep tip saves time and ensures a delicious breakfast is always within reach.

What If I Don’t Have Time To Let The Bread Get Stale For French Toast Casserole?

No time for stale bread? Simply spread bread chunks on a lined baking sheet and toast at 300°F (149°C) for a few minutes until dried out.

This quick method ensures the bread can properly soak up the egg custard, creating the perfect base for your French toast casserole.

FAQs About Overnight Blueberry French Toast Without Cream Cheese

1. Can I Use Other Berries?

Absolutely! While blueberries are a classic choice, feel free to use a medley of berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or even cranberries and thinly sliced apples or pears in the fall. Each brings its unique taste to the berries & cream French toast casserole.

2. Do I Have To Prep French Toast Casserole Ahead Of Time?

Prepping your French toast casserole in advance is highly recommended. Allowing it to rest overnight ensures the cinnamon-spiced egg custard thoroughly soaks into the bread, offering a good night’s rest for both you and your casserole. Wake up in the morning to a ready-to-bake dish that’s full of flavor.

3. Can You Leave French Toast Out Overnight?

As a rule of thumb, never leave French toast out on the counter for more than two hours due to the eggs in the recipe. When in doubt, it’s better to throw it out to ensure food safety.

4. Does French Toast Need To Be Soaked?

Yes, your French toast benefits greatly from being soaked. Allow the bread to bathe in the French toast batter overnight, or at a minimum, for 30 minutes to an hour. This step is crucial for achieving that custard-like middle we all love, especially with thick slices of bread.

5. How Long Is Homemade French Toast Good For?

Leftover French toast should cool before being stored in an airtight container, such as a zip-top bag or reusable storage container, in the fridge for a few days.

6. How Long Does It Take To Dry French Toast?

To dry out the bread for French toast, place it on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 285°F for about 20 minutes, ensuring it’s in a single layer.

7. What Kind Of Bread Do You Use For French Toast?

For the best French toast, use older bread that’s drier and won’t fall apart in the egg mixture. Croissants, cinnamon-raisin bread, French bread, or sliced white bread are excellent choices.

8. What Level Of Heat For French Toast?

Cook French toast on medium-low heat to ensure the inside cooks thoroughly without burning the outside, achieving a golden-brown, caramelized finish.

9. Can You Make French Toast From Stale Bread?

Yes, stale bread or day-old bread is ideal for French toast as it’s dry enough to soak up the creamy custard without falling apart.

10. Why Does My French Toast Taste Bland?

To enhance your French toast, season the custard base aggressively with cinnamon, vanilla extract, and a hint of sugar for a distinctive flavor.

11. What’s The Difference Between Toast And French Toast?

While toast or pain grillé involves simply using a toaster, French toast (pain perdu) is made by dipping bread in milk and eggs, then grilling it on a pan with butter for a rich flavor.

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