This mixed berries & cream cheese French toast casserole combines juicy berries, silky cream cheese, and challah bread all soaked with a rich brown-sugared egg custard. This impressive breakfast or brunch dish is altogether creamy, soft, crisp, and comforting, and the best part is that prep work is EASY!
Less Work, More Reward
What I love most about French toast casseroles, and why I bake them so often, is the low maintenance factor. You’re not standing over the stove and cooking French toast for the whole family. Instead, you’re layering bread and egg in a pan and baking it. And, most notably, you can do most of the prep (which is minimal to begin with!) the night before.
This means more time with guests/family/your coffee and less time working in the kitchen. Soon enough, breakfast will be ready. And BONUS: your kitchen will smell like you were baking all morning. How sneaky of you!
I published this recipe in 2018 using only strawberries—and it’s fabulous prepared that way—however, it’s usually a bigger hit when I use a medley of berries and I want to show you how I do it. (You can successfully use frozen berries now too, see Notes.) This dish is what everyone loves about blueberry French toast casserole and cream cheese French toast casserole combined in 1 dish: lots of berries, lots of texture, and lots of cream cheese.
Note: Both of those French toast casseroles have a streusel topping and I usually skip it here, but feel free to add it!
This Berries & Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole Is:
- Lovely for spring and summer gatherings, including Mother’s Day & Father’s Day
- Custard-y on the bottom
- Crisp on top
- Filled with pockets of creaminess and berries
- Not soggy. I repeat: not soggy!
Above all else, it’s easy, impressive, and enjoyable… all the things that brunch should be.
3 Major Success Tips
- START WITH GOOD BREAD. Texture is the goal and using good bread will help you get there. By “good,” I mean a bread with substance, flavor, and texture such as challah, sourdough, or a fancy brioche loaf. Flimsy sliced bread won’t do you any favors and the casserole usually ends up tasting flat and soggy. Your efforts will be wasted. (Bonus… try this with artisan homemade bread or croissant bread. YUM!)
- MAKE SURE THE BREAD IS A BIT STALE. No matter which type of bread you use, make sure it’s a little crusty and stale. Slice and cut the bread into chunks and then let it sit out, uncovered, so it loses a little moisture and can hold onto the egg custard. The more egg custard the bread can absorb, the less soggy the French toast casserole will taste. If you don’t have time for this, I have a tip for you coming up.
- A LITTLE SUGAR IN THE CREAM CHEESE MIXTURE. The cream cheese mixture is 3 ingredients: cream cheese, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar. The reason I mix a little sugar and vanilla with the cream cheese is because without it, we’ll have random savory non-melted chunks of cream cheese in the dish. I explained this in my regular cream cheese French toast casserole recipe. It was good, but not very pleasant!
What if I Don’t Have Time to Let the Bread Get Stale?
Neither do I. Or I simply forget and then it’s time to prep the dish and I have very moist, soft bread that won’t absorb any of the egg custard mixture. To fix this, spread the chunks of bread on a lined baking sheet and toast in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes. This is exactly what I do when making sausage & herb stuffing and breakfast strata.
Here’s the basic process: To assemble, layer chunks of bread, dollops of the cream cheese mixture, and mixed berries together. Pour an egg custard all over the top and then cover and refrigerate for at least 2–3 hours or overnight:
Bake it all the next morning and serve it warm.
The best pan to use for this berries & cream French toast casserole is a 9×13-inch or 3–4-quart oven-safe dish. I usually use (affiliate links) this glass pan or the pictured red ruffled baking dish, which comes in a set with other sizes—definitely a splurge, but I’ve found the quality to be excellent and they’re absolutely gorgeous.
Serving Your Berry French Toast Feast!
A sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar and/or a light drizzle of maple syrup finishes the berries & cream cheese French toast casserole. This is a creamy and lush berry breakfast masterpiece, and it pairs nicely with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and/or a fresh fruit salad.
And for more berry goodness, you can serve the French toast with this strawberry sauce topping. 🙂
Additional Favorite Brunch Recipes:
- Cinnamon Rolls (only 1 rise)
- Chocolate Muffins (always a big hit)
- Breakfast Pastries (using a shortcut homemade dough)
Berries & Cream French Toast Casserole
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 9 hours, 25 minutes
- Yield: serves 12 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
This recipe yields a creamy, fresh, and deliciously textured berries & cream French toast casserole. Prep it ahead so you have a quick and warm breakfast in the morning.
- 1 (12–14-ounce) loaf French bread, sourdough bread, or challah*
- 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
- 2 cups (280–300g) fresh mixed berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups (480ml) whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- optional for serving: confectioners’ sugar, strawberry topping sauce, and/or maple syrup
- Slice and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. You should have around 12 cups of cubed bread—a little more or less is fine. For best results, let the bread cubes sit uncovered at room temperature for a few hours (or up to 1 day) to dry out. If you don’t have the time for that, spread the chunks of bread on a lined baking sheet and toast in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes. (Great shortcut!)
- Grease a 9×13-inch or any 3–4-quart oven-safe dish with nonstick spray. Spread half of the bread cubes into the prepared baking pan.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the room-temperature cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until combined. Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of the bread. Top with most of the berries (reserve a few berries for the top, for looks) and then the remaining bread cubes. Place any reserved berries on top. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla extract together until combined. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3–4 hours and up to 24 hours. Overnight is best.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.
- Bake uncovered for 45–55 minutes or until golden brown on top. I usually bake it for 45 minutes because I like it softer. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, top with strawberry topping, and/or drizzle with maple syrup. Serve warm.
- Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prep the dish through step 4 up to 24 hours in advance. (See step 4.) To freeze, prepare the recipe through step 4 and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then continue with step 5. You can also freeze the leftover baked and cooled casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, and then reheat to your liking in the microwave or cover with foil and bake in a 300°F (149°C) until warm throughout, at least 20 minutes.
- Half Recipe: This recipe can easily be halved in an 8- or 9-inch baking pan. The bake time will be slightly shorter, around 30–35 minutes.
- Bread: Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for French toast casseroles. Slice and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and let it sit out uncovered all day as instructed in step 1.
- Fresh Berries: Fresh berries are ideal because frozen will leak their juices prior to baking the casserole. If necessary, you can use frozen berries, but thaw them first and then pat dry. I usually use blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries. You can use one or all of those, and/or add raspberries too. Keep the total amount to 2 cups/280–300g.
- Cream Cheese: Since the cream cheese is only mixed with a little sugar and vanilla, make sure you are using quality cream cheese that tastes good. I use and love full-fat Philadelphia brand brick-style cream cheese for this dish.
- Can I add a crumb/streusel topping? Yes, absolutely. You can use the same topping from this plain cream cheese French toast casserole.
Keywords: berry French toast casserole
Reader Questions and Reviews
Looks sooooo good! My husband loves peaches and cream French toast. Do you think I could use fresh peaches and make an even swap with the strawberries? Peaches have a lot of liquid so I don’t want to make it soggy.
Hi Andrea! That sounds REALLY good. I would use chopped fresh peaches, but blot them a good bit with paper towels before adding to the casserole.
This one is a winner! My guests devoured it. No leftovers for me! Tastes wonderful warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Hi Sally! This looks amazing and I am so excited to give it a try! I was just browsing your various french toast casserole recipes to decide which one I was going to try and was wondering what your thoughts were on adding the streusel topping to this one? Would there be too much going on with the addition of a streusel topping? Thanks for the incredible recipes!
Hey Alanna! There is never too much going on when it comes to French toast casserole 🙂 Go ahead and add it!
Made this for brunch and wow, was it a hit! I was able to make it the day before and it was so wonderful (and easy) to just stick it in the oven the morning of. Didn’t make the compote but just added lots of sliced strawberries on top. Thanks for a great recipe – will definitely be making it again.
Another perfect recipe from our baking genius Sally…..Made this casserole yesterday. I followed recipe exactly & came out perfect. So good. So decadent. A little effort the night before = easy breakfast the next day. Thanks again Sally!
I made this for a potluck and received so many compliments that it was so delicious! THIS *IS* SO DELICIOUS! I had some leftovers (it does make a lot) so I ate it everyday for breakfast until it was gone. My 17 month old son who is as picky as it gets loved this. I cannot wait to make it again.
I made this for Father’s Day brunch, and it was a huge hit! It was only for 3 adults, I halved the recipe and there was a perfect amount for brunch + dessert for my husband that evening . The challah and the compote are SO wonderful with the full dish, I would definitely always include them, if possible. Our strawberries were really sweet, so I just added a little squeeze of honey instead of sugar. Thanks, Sally, this was great!
Thanks so much for your reply. I was scanning through the replies to see if I could substitute the sugar in the cream cheese for either honey or maple syrup. Sounds like the honey worked for you!
What happens if i use just regular wheat or white bread? Should i soak it for less time/cook it for less time?
We just have a surplus of that bread here!
Hi Jessica! Regular wheat bread is just fine– the french toast casserole just won’t have as much texture to it.
Made this one, as well as the blueberry french toast casserole for my department at work today. Both were a hit and very simple to make. Thanks for another great recipe!
I thought just French Toast was great but you take it to the next level. Your pictures make it look so amazing as well! I have just a standard french toast recipe and you have it x100!
I’m planning on making this tomorrow for brunch. Hoping you can answer this question: I’m also planning to make your breakfast casserole. Do you think I could bake them both together?? I know the egg casserole bakes at 375F – could this one be cooked at that temp as well? Or cook both at 350F? Or bake them consecutively – if so, how would you reheat/keep warm the one that’s baked first?
Hi Kelly! You can bake both at 350F. The egg casserole will take a few minutes longer than the recipe states.
This is so good! I used frozen berries, layered strawberry jam (about 1/2-3/4 cup) and Texas toast bread slices (half a loaf). I let it set in the fridge overnight and wow! I will be serving this for brunch for sure!
Just tried this recipe and followed your instructions for half the recipe. Baked it as follows and the top seemed perfect but the bottom was still runny and soggy even after more time in the oven. Any suggestions on what might have gone wrong?
Hi Krista, Make sure that your bread is a little crusty. Let it sit out on the counter for a day or 2 so it loses a little moisture and can hold onto the egg custard. The more egg custard the bread absorbs, the less soggy the french toast casserole will taste. You can also tent the top of the dish with foil if you notice the top browning before the bottom is baked through.
I would like to make this without cream cheese? Would you just omit the cream cheese? Would I need to alter the sugar and/or vanilla extract amounts?
No need to change anything, simply leave out the cream cheese mixture. Enjoy!
Sally – this recipe was SOOOO GOOD! I just made it for Easter brunch over the weekend (as well as your pineapple carrot cake, which was to die for) for my family and it was a hit. The strawberry sauce was also so good – I could eat it by itself! Thanks for another great recipe 🙂
This turned out delicious! I did add an extra tablespoon of powdered sugar to the cream cheese to make it a hint sweeter though. Next time I want add extra strawberries! It was delicious!
I loved this! Made it to take to my Mom’s for Easter, and I also made the strawberry sauce to go with it. Lots of comments from family members saying how good it tasted.
I’m a HUGE fan of every recipe I’ve made on this site (and I’ve made many!). I’m planning on making this soon and would like to use your artisan bread, as suggested. Do you think I’d need both of those loaves to get the 12 cups of bread for this recipe?
Hi Amanda! You’ll likely need a little more than one loaf, yes, but not the full two loaves.
Just made this dish this morning and YUM! I’ve never done a French toast bake, so I can’t really compare it to other recipes, but this was easy and so delicious! Yesterday morning I made Sally’s artisan bread (I used 1.5 of the loaves—thank you, Trina, for your quick response to my previous question!), then in the evening I prepared the French toast bake. Woke up this morning and baked it. Delicious! Was a hit with my husband and my toddler. I’ll make this again for a spring or summer treat!
Do you think canned peaches would work in this recipe?
Hi Jeanne! If possible, fresh peaches would be better. Either way, be sure to blot a good bit of moisture out before adding to the casserole. Let us know how it goes!
This is a keeper!!! I added extra fruit than called for just because I could. Used parchment paper
instead of buttering the pan. Not terribly sweat so I do think the maple syrup is a great addition.
Many thanks for this recipe !!!!!
Do you have any recommendations to substitute for cream cheese? This looks so yummy, but I am lactose intolerant.
Hi MaryEllen, No need to change anything, simply leave out the cream cheese mixture. Enjoy!
Made this ahead of time, froze it, and took it to a friend’s house that we stayed with. Hardly anything left! Great recipe!
This was absolutely amazing! I made it for Mother’s Day brunch for my family and parents, and everyone – including my extremely food-picky father – positively RAVED about it! I made it with strawberries and raspberries because that’s what I had on hand. Delicious! This is going into my favorite recipe rotation for sure! I served it with Sally’s strawberry sauce and it made it even better.
I’m planning on making this during our beach trip with a house full of 17. I was think of making 2-3 pans. Would it be ok to bake them all together? Should I just add more time for it to bake?
Hi Brittany, if all of the pans will fit on the same rack in the oven, you should be fine to bake them at the same time. If baking on separate racks, they will bake unevenly. If you can’t fit them all at once, we recommend baking them in separate batches. Hope they’re a hit!
Keep your significant other OUT of the kitchen or you may end up running to the store for more Brioche!
Ha! Hope this French toast casserole is a hit, Sandy 🙂