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I recently realized it had been far too long since I last prepared one of my family’s favorite comfort foods – breakfast for dinner! We all look forward to any excuse to enjoy fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon, towering waffles and other morning favorites once the sun goes down.
Breakfast-for-dinner always feels a little naughty in the best possible way. And the best part is how quick and easy throwing together most breakfast dishes can be.
So when I noticed some leftover berries from our recent Memorial Day celebrations that needed eating soon, my mind immediately went to ways I could sneak them into our next breakfast-for-dinner session. My favorite baked French toast recipe seemed like the perfect vehicle.
And let me tell you, the sweet juiciness of the berries baked right into eggy, cinnamon-y French toast absolutely takes this classic comforting dish over the top!
Why You’ll Love This Berried French Toast Recipe
- Fruit flavor explosion – Bake juicy berries right inside for fruity sweetness in every bite.
- Lighter than fried – Baking allows eggs to set soak into bread versus frying to crispy outside.
- Easy make-ahead – Assemble and refrigerate overnight for richer flavor infusion.
- Weekend wow factor – Impress overnight guests with this beautiful yet easy crowd-pleasing bake.
- Endless topping options – Dress it up with whipped cream, more fruit, maple syrup, chocolate and more!
- It transforms boring French toast into a showstopper – looks as gorgeous as it tastes
- You get crispy edges plus custardy middle – best of all textures
- Easy make-ahead convenience – assemble and rest overnight
- Kid-friendly and fun to customize – add-ins and toppings galore
- Works for breakfast, brunch OR dinner – ultimate comfort food
- Choose a crusty artisan-style loaf for the best texture to soak up custard.
- Press down on the soaked bread to help absorb maximum richness for extra decadence.
- Cook until puffed and set but not dried out. Check early to prevent over-browning edges.
- For best texture, allow French toast to rest at least 5 minutes after removing from the oven before cutting.
- Top individual servings with powdered sugar, maple syrup and fresh fruit right before eating.
The Main Ingredients
I prefer a crusty artisan loaf for ultimate texture, but any bread works. The key is cubing it first for max absorption.
Choose any combination of berries – I do equal parts raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and sliced strawberries. Frozen works too!
Eggs, Milk & Cream
Rich components like eggs, creamy milk and heavy cream lend decadence along with structure to set up.
Brown Sugar & Butter
These are mixed into a quick streusel topping that bakes into an incredible crispy, buttery crust.
Fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla infuse a cozy spice flavor. Customize to your taste!
How to Make Berried Baked French Toast
Prepare and Toss Bread
Cube bread into 1-inch pieces. Scatter in a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle mixed berries evenly over bread.
Whisk eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar and spices until smooth. Pour over bread and berries. Press down to soak.
Cover and refrigerate overnight, or let sit at room temp 20+ minutes.
Add Topping and Bake
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and melted butter, then drizzle over the top before baking.
Finish and Serve
Bake at 350°F until set in the center and crisp on top, about 45 minutes. Enjoy!
What to Serve with Berry Baked French Toast
- Maple syrup
- Honey butter
- Fresh whipped cream
- Yogurt or sour cream
- Warm fruit compote
- Chocolate sauce
- Caramel sauce
- Powdered sugar
- Cinnamon butter
- Non-dairy milk like almond or oat instead of dairy
- Various bread options: challah, brioche, croissants, etc.
- Add mix-ins: chocolate chips, nuts, toasted coconut
- Use any combination of fresh or frozen fruits
- Pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon/nutmeg
- Browned butter instead of plain melted butter
What bread works best for baked French toast?
I recommend a crusty artisan-style bread with plenty of nooks and crannies for soaking up the rich custard. Challah and brioche also excel here.
What if my French toast bakes up too dark on the edges?
Cover the baking dish loosely with foil after about 30 minutes to prevent over-browning edges while allowing the interior to finish setting up if your oven tends to run hot.
How long is overnight baked French toast good for?
Covered tightly at room temp, the baked casserole keeps a full day. Reheat portions as needed. Fridge preserves 2-3 days. Freeze for up to 2 months.
Can I prep this in a slow cooker instead?
Yes! Assemble in a greased slow cooker, cover and cook on low 4-6 hours until set. Quicker in an Instant Pot too.
Should I use fresh or frozen fruit?
Either works wonderfully! Thaw frozen fruit first and drain any excess liquid to prevent soggy bread.
What kind of milk works best?
I love whole milk or half and half for the richest flavor, but low-fat or non-dairy milks work fine too. Substitute equal parts.
Can I use frozen fruit instead of fresh berries?
Absolutely! Make sure frozen fruit is thawed first as the extra moisture released while baking can throw off the perfect texture but frozen fruit still bakes wonderfully.
Berry Baked French Toast
- Large baking dish
- Mixing bowls
- Whisk or electric mixer
- Cooling rack
- Parchment paper
- 1 loaf French bread cubed
- 2 cups mixed berries
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- In a well-buttered baking dish, toss the cubed French bread.
- Sprinkle the mixed berries evenly over the bread.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, heavy cream, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.
- Pour this mixture evenly over the bread and berries. Gently press down with a spatula to ensure the bread soaks up the egg mixture.
- Let the dish rest for about 20 minutes to absorb the flavors, or refrigerate overnight for a deeper infusion.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Mix brown sugar and melted butter. Drizzle this over the top for a crisp, caramelized finish.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the center is set.
- Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm, with a drizzle of maple syrup, a dollop of whipped cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.