Damn Delicious

Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast

Amazingly sweet and scrumptious make-ahead french toast using a secret ingredient – sweet and fluffy Hawaiian bread!

Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast - Amazingly sweet and scrumptious make-ahead french toast using King's Hawaiian bread!

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and for those of you in need of an easy brunch recipe that you can make the night before, well, look no further because I have the perfect make-ahead brunch item that mom is just going to love!

Now what makes this dish so special? Well, it takes the classic french toast and transforms it into a completely baked version, which lets you prep everything the night before! Easy peasy, right?

But the real secret to this baked french toast is the special touch of sweetness using King’s Hawaiian sweet and fluffy slider buns.Yes, we’re completely swapping out that boring old plain bread and using King’s Hawaiian instead.

I know, I’m a genius, but I can’t take the credit for inventing this one. I was completely inspired by a very good friend of mine over at Averie Cooks, where she created the most epic Hawaiian Bread and Maple Banana Baked French Toast. Amazing, right?

So after seeing Averie’s version, I just had to make my very own french toast, chockfull of plump blueberries and fresh lemon zest for that sweet, refreshing touch. And once you sprinkle on that powdered sugar on top of that sweet crumb topping, it is absolute perfection as each bite just melts in your mouth.

It has the perfect amount of sweetness, and you can simply eat this right out of the baking dish. I promise – I won’t judge you if you do and neither will mom!

Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast

Amazingly sweet and scrumptious make-ahead french toast using King’s Hawaiian bread!

2 hours 15 minutes45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-count) package KING’S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls, cubed
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or more, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the crumb topping

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Place a layer of bread cubes evenly into the baking dish. Top with blueberries in an even layer, repeating 2 more times and ending with a layer of bread.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, maple syrup, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour mixture evenly over the bread cubes. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. To make the crumb topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add cold butter and toss to coat, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the bread cubes.
  5. Place into oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Serve immediately, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. All opinions expressed are my own.

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122 comments

  1. Any possible way to make the crumble without butter? Just realized we don’t have any left and it’s Christmas Eve : (

  2. Hello, if I were to double this recipe and cook two 9×13 dishes at the same time, should I adjust the temperature and lengthen the amount of time in the oven? Thanks in advance

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi! Any idea on how this recipe would do cooked in a crockpot?

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made this for Father’s Day breakfast. I doubled the recipe and was a little worried, because I’ve never made a bread pudding consistency dish, but it was a hit! Even my picky eater and anti blueberry daughter was asking for more! Whoo hoo!

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is my go to for holidays or fancy bunches.
    I’ve made it about 15 times. I have halved it and quartered the recipe if I need smaller amounts to accommodate different guest sizes. My only additions to the full recipe are to add 1.5 teaspoons of lemon extract. That really ups the lemon flavor. I also add about half a cup of cream cheese and put tiny pads of it scattered over each layer. I always make it the night before I need it. I prepare the topping the night before and pop it in the fridge and add the topping right before I bake it. This dish reheats very well if there are leftovers. I wouldn’t recommend freezing. It doesn’t do well. If you can’t find Hawaiian dinner rolls. Any brioche style of bread works well. The brioche style of bread which is “the Hawaiian” brand in the recipe, gives it an extra layer of sweetness. I typically buy the Hawaiian brioche hamburger buns from Costco. They are the exact same taste as the dinner rolls. 12 burger buns are normally $6. The hamburger buns are larger than the dinner rolls and I have no problem getting a perfect three layers and I always have one bun left over. I’ve made it with “freshly opened” buns and the recipe comes out a bit more moist. If you buy the buns a couple days ahead of time just open up the bag and leave them on the counter so they dry out a bit more. Just rip the bread into pieces and toss them into the dish. They don’t have to be any specific size. Additional notes: use only pure vanilla and pure maple syrup not the artificial type. The results will differ greatly and you won’t get that gourmet taste. You could reheat it if you baked it the day before you need it but it’s better right out of the oven. I typically pop it in the oven right when my guests sit down to eat brunch. I find by the time everyone is done eating quiche, salad and bacon our breakfast dessert is ready in 35 to 45 minutes. People are typically wowed when I present this as a dessert with the powdered sugar and additional maple syrup drizzled on the dish. I find this recipe is extremely well balanced. It’s not overly sweet if recipe is  properly. 5 Stars all the way! Will be a family fave for years! 

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Oh my God this is so good. I’ve had lots of overnight French toast bakes I haven’t liked: either too dry or too mushy. This, however, was perfect. It will be on permanent rotation for my pot luck/retreat breakfasts. I’ve tried many recipes from Damn Delicious and have loved them all. Thanks!

  7. When refrigerated overnight, does the crumble topping get added the next morning being going into the oven? Or does it get added before refrigerating? 

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Can’t wait to try it, but have one question…can you use salted butter if you don’t have unsalted?

  9. Rated 4 out of 5

    This was delicious. One question however. You say to use a 9X13 pan with one package of rolls. Your instructions say 3 layers of bread but I barely got 2. I’ll use a smaller pan next time or double the rolls. Was a big hit with my fam though as is. 

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is fantastic!! Just a quick question- this is to be baked uncovered correct? 

  11. How long can this be made before being baked? Can it be made more than 24 hrs in advanced, and just frozen until ready?

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Although I wasn’t sure about using King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls in this French toast recipe, I made the recipe exactly as written. This French toast is delicious, especially with the crispy crust that forms on the top layer!  My whole family went back for seconds! Definitely a bed-and-breakfast worthy dish!

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    So good! Even my “don’t-like-french-toast” husband liked it!

  14. I have some regular 5 grain bread. I was thinking this can be more like a bread pudding. Would you happen to have any recipes for bread pudding?

  15. HI! ‘I want to make this for a new mom could i bake it than freeze?

    • You are so sweet to make this for a new mom, Kami!

      Freezing sounds like an amazing idea but unfortunately, I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried freezing this myself. Please use your best judgment for freezing and reheating.

  16. I made it this morning but I have a question. Is the texture supposed to be soft and mushy? I’m not sure how’s its supposed to turn out. It Was a little too wet for my taste. Am I doing it right?

  17. I will make this fresh for breakfast tomorrow.  Thank you!

  18. Is there a way to make this ahead and freeze it? Should I mix it altogether and freeze it, and then bake it in 2-3 days? Or do I bake it and then freeze it and reheat it up?

  19. I have a sensitivity to maple syrup. Is there something I could use as a substitute/ equivalent in this recipe. Every other item in this recipe works for me, and sounds absolutely yummy. Would love to be able to try and make it.

    • It’ll of course taste a little different but you could use honey or brown sugar instead. If you like other kinds of syrup those could work as well. As always use your best judgement with modifications and substitutions.

  20. Made this for Christmas brunch ….WOW ,! It was the first to go. Everyone loved it and it was super easy to make freeing time to spend with your family thank youmaria

  21. Hello, I have everyrhing prepped and in the refridgerator and can’t wait to bake this up in the morning! I was wondering if this should be cooked covered or uncovered? Thanks!

  22. Hi! This looks like delicious! How would you go about making this ahead of time, as in a couple days ahead? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

  23. Hello! Two questions. First, in your description before the actual recipe you mention Hawaiian sweet slider rolls, but in the actual recipe, just state Hawaiian buns. Which are the best? Also, they should be cubed, but I have no idea what size each cube should be.

    Thanks so much.

    • They are actually the same, but the official label you want to look for is KING’S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls. The cubes can be as small or as large as you’d like.

  24. I just got done cooking and tasting this amazing recipe!! It’s so good. Here’s how I made it: no eggs, just 3Tbs of flax seed powder as a substitute, I made the syrup and lemon juice from a lemon into a thick molasses by cooking it because I didn’t have brown sugar. It made the dish delightfully sour. I used only Buttermilk and plain crusty bread. Chinese 5 spice and vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract. Used 2 cups of frozen blueberries. It’s hard to mess this one up and you can change and out for other fruit and spices. So good!!! It was fun and easy to make. Kids could get it on helping easily! Super cool recipe. The bread still turned out custardy without eggs and stayed sticky add pudding-y so it’s super awesome!! The spices lemon and blueberry are very robust flavours and are perfect together. The crumble on top adds the needed sweetness to balance tart berries. (And for me the sour Buttermilk and lemon molasses). Thank you.

  25. This was amazing! I used raspberries instead of blueberries and the flavor was so good. I used just a bit less milk (tips from the other comments) and I think it came out perfect!

  26. I made this today and it is really good. One thing, my topping was kinda pasty, not crumbly and I did use cold butter chunks.. It was just a blob and not near enough to put on top. So, I doubled the topping and distributed it over the top. Doesn’t look like your photo, but it tastes good! And smelled wonderful while baking. Thanks.

  27. I’m really excited about trying this recipe; mine is in the fridge soaking as i type. The recipe calls for 12 count pack of kings Hawaiian rolls and a 9 x 13 dish. It is stated that the initial layer should be repeated 2x but i didn’t have enough bread and blueberries. Is this a typo? Should the dish be smaller? Thanks.

    • It really depends on how (the size) it’s been cubed. You can always use a smaller baking dish or use more rolls – it’s up to you!

  28. Made this for Christmas morning breakfast. The fresh blue berries were a real treat in the N.C. in December. This was a huge hit with requests to make it again soon.

  29. I just made this and put it in the fridge to cook in the morning. The bread soaked up all the milk/egg mixture. Is this supposed to happen? Hoping you’ll answer before the morning. Wonder if I have to mix up another liquid mixture.

  30. Hi – I can’t wait to try making this. Many other baked FT recipes say to let the bread get a bit stale – do you recommend the same with King’s Hawaiian? It’s already so much softer than other breads – so I would imagine so…..so it doesn’t end up MUSHY? Thanks! M

  31. Made this today for breakfast. Didn’t find Hawaiian bread, so I used Italian. Also, increased the amount of milk ( I like it a little soggy). The lemon zest is the special ingredient, my house smelled so good while it was in the oven. I’ll be making it again soon. Thanks for sharing!!!

  32. Most French toast recipes that you leave in the refrigerator overnight ask you to take it out and sit for 30 min at room temp. can it go from refrigerator to oven right away

    • You can leave it at room temperature or it can go straight in the oven with additional baking time – either way works!

  33. Made this for Easter breakfast and it was a hit! I added more blueberries than the recipe called for, and I substituted agave sweetener for the maple syrup since that’s what I had on hand. Delicious!

  34. I wonder if this heats up well. I’d like to have a to-go serving for the mornings.

  35. We just had this for breakfast and it was very good. I only had 4 sweet rolls left after making a bread pudding with caramel sauce and had just bought fresh blueberries on sale. Used 2 oval baking dishes and divided the mixture between the two. I made a third of the liquid mixture but used 2 eggs. It was kind of tricky but worked. Did use most of the whole lemon zest as we like lemon. It did take a little longer to bake. I started out at 15 minutes, then added 7, it was still a little runny, turned off the oven and left them in for a few more minutes and they got puffy and brown and perfect! Thanks.

  36. Hi, I`m drying to try this recipe but where I live right now, you wont be able to find hawaiin bread… what`s a good substitute?

  37. I am definitely going to make this since I finally found the King Hawaiian bread:) One question – do you have the nutritional breakdown?

    • Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, it is best that you use free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information.

    • Making this for our house and my sister’s for Sunday morning (quaratine) breakfast. Will it be ok to sit in the fridge for 18 hours before baking? I would need to make around lunch today and deliver to her since I won’t be able to tonight.

  38. Made this today for Mother’s Day and it was such a hit! The only thing two things I changed was the bread – I used Challah (16 oz loaf, day or two old) and the amount of milk which I reduced by 1/4 cup. After reading previous reviews saying it was too custardy I didn’t want it to be too soggy, which is why I reduced the milk, but next time I think I will just go for the full amount because the custardy party was half of the deliciousness. The crumble made it nice and crisp on top. Blueberries were juicy, lemon zest added a fresh twist. This recipe is a keeper and I’ve already shared the recipe. Thank you!

  39. So delicious! I made this for Mothers Day, not a spec was left over 🙂 That crumb topping is a total must <3 I also tucked in small cubes of cream cheese for extra oomph! I wasn't able to find hawaiian rolls, so I opted for french bread which was just as delicious (though I'll be on the look out for those rolls next time!) I will definitely be saving this recipe for future use! Thanks so much for sharing!

  40. Could you make this with Challah bread? Looks amazing?

  41. This is so delicious!! I am just putting mine in the fridge to sit overnight and I am so excited from breakfast tomorrow. I made this for a brunch last weekend and had to make it again for my family to enjoy! Thanks for sharing this great recipe. <3

  42. In other baked French toast recipes ive been looking at it calls for day old bread or to bake the bread for a few minutes to dry it out a bit….I prefer my baked French toast a little less custardy… would drying out the bread help with that? any other ways to make it less custard-y?

  43. This looks great! My 5-year-old *loves* blueberries and my hubby *loves* lemon so I think I might be making this for breakfast before Church on Easter. I know my 2.5 year-old-twins will eat anything that makes a mess and blueberries certainly qualify! Thanks for this!

  44. We had this today for brunch, so delicious!!!!!! The “yields 8 servings” makes me chuckle, my husband, three year old son, and I nearly polished the entire thing off ourselves!! 🙂 With no help from the picky five year old. 😉

  45. Thank you for this delicious recipe.. I made it this morning. It was very tasty, a little more custardee than I would like but the past comments helped out a lot and I can’t wait to try it again. Great tasting!

  46. Hello have you tried this recipe with a different type of fruit.

  47. Does the bread need to be a little dry? Should I leave the rolls out on counter for about an hour? Or just buy the rolls 2 or 3 days ahead? Thanks. Can’t wait to make this.

    • Yes, it is best if the bread is a little dried out – you can leave them out overnight or buy the rolls a couple of days in advance.

  48. This is an awesome and easy make ahead breakfast, thanks for sharing! I made on Christmas morning and today. I just can’t seem to get the crumble the right texture. It’s not crumbly for some reason. What am I doing wrong? Seems like too much butter maybe? Don’t know. It’s killing me because it’s great without but want to try it with a crumbly crumble.

    • Michelle, it is very important to be using cold butter to have a crumbly crumble. Also, it is best to use your fingers to work in the butter but a pastry cutter can also be very helpful.

      • thanks for taking the time to reply. i will definitely try the crumble again using your tips. this is a really awesome recipe! thanks again for sharing.

  49. Hey!
    Does it matter if I use frozen blueberries or fresh?

    Thanks!

  50. This was the perfect breakfast to have made ahead for some guests. Everyone loved about it and asked where I got it. Keep ’em coming, everything I’ve made from your site has been fantastic!

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  52. Just made it this morning. It was amazing. It works just fine with lactose free milk, my thw way. Any idea on calories per serving?

    • I am so glad you gave this a try! As for the calories – I am only providing caloric information for select recipes on my site at this time. Please use online resources to obtain nutritional information.

  53. I made this for Father’s Day brunch this morning with frozen blueberries we picked last summer. My house smelled amazing & the taste was awesome but I baked it almost twice as long as specified, after checking it a couple times, tenting foil over the top when it should have been done & it was still really pudding-y throughout….not just a little in the center. The flavor of the lemon & blueberries is one of my favorites. Any suggestions on how to bake it through? I want to make this recipe work!

    • A bit of custard is actually fine – that’s the beauty of a baked French toast dish!

    • Make sure you make it the night before and let the liquid absorb back into the bread before baking. Otherwise, the bread will be dry and mixture won’t set up all the way. I made this mistake once.

  54. Approximately how many cups of cubed bread would that be? I am in Canada and do not have access to Hawaiian Rolls.Looks so delicious!

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  56. What a beautiful brunch idea!! Love the blueberry and lemon combo… it’s such a classic flavor combination that always works so well!

  57. This looks soooooo yummy! I’ve never tried the King’s Hawaiian Rolls. Looking forward to trying the recipe.

  58. I’ve heard about a “French Toast Bake” going around, but I never had the pleasure of trying it, I wonder if I could do a “skinny” version? This is SOOOO utterly tempting! Fab photos to boot!

  59. Ours is tucked away in the fridge, I can’t wait to bake it in the morning!

  60. Delicious!!! Served for dinner on Thursday night and it was a hit!!! Definitely a keeper!!

  61. Oh my goodness. This looks dangerously delicious (not to mention beautiful!)!! I love that you can make it the night before – perfect for night owls 🙂

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  63. it looks delicious!

  64. This looks so, so yummy! However I’m in England, is there any alternative for the sweet rolls? I’ve never heard of anything like them. We have hot cross buns, but I think they’ll be a hot sticky mess!
    Thanks in advance for any help! xo

    • Cathy, if you do not have access to Hawaiian Bread, I recommend using plain bread, preferably 1-2 day old bread.

    • You could use challah bread or there are recipes for King’s Hawaiian style bread on the internet.

    • I frequent Mass and Shaw/Star markets carry the Hawaiian slider rolls. I imagine others do too. They are usually around the deli section

  65. I love baked french toast! This looks so heavenly!

  66. Wow! I’ve shared with friends and on Facebook a link back to this! I have not tried yet, but it is on my to do list! Great Job!

  67. Love all the juicy blueberries and lemon zest, this is perfect for mothers day!

  68. I love french toasts and with blueberry, I just can’t wait to make it!

  69. I can’t wait to try this weekend!

  70. Love that this has a crumb topping – so creative!

  71. I am a sucker for hawaiian bread, this looks amazing!

  72. YUM! This might be my special breakfast request for my first Mother’s Day/also my birthday! Looks delicious and easy enough that my hubby could make it 🙂

  73. we LOVE Kings Hawaiian bread and I can only imagine how sweet and delicious this french toast must be! I love the combination of blueberries and lemon…so perfect for spring. Can’t wait to try out the recipe!

  74. Gorgeous, a must-try for a blueberry lover like me!

  75. This looks so good! I know that my husband and son’s will love it. I have never made anything like it, so thanks for once again helping to broaden my culinary skills.

  76. I find myself leaning into the screen to get closer to these pics! I can practically taste this melting in my mouth. YUMMMMMM

  77. Beautiful! I will definitely save this recipe for a special occasion!

  78. I am totally obsessed with 1. Baked French toast because it feels fancy but it’s a cinch! And 2. the blueberry/lemon combo! Using Kings Hawaiian here is GENIUS! I can only imagine how soft and fluffy this is. My momma may be in a different country, but I’ll gladly eat her share! Pinned!

  79. I’ve never actually made bread puddings, or baked French toast, but these photos are telling me I should definitely change that! This looks magnificent and I am sure any mother would appreciate this as a treat 😀 It doesn’t look toooo sweet either, which is a big plus 😀 Thanks for sharing! x

  80. I love how simple yet elegant your recipe is! The blueberries really pop against the Hawaiian bread (it’s been my favorite since childhood… we always had it for communion at church, and us youngsters would beg for the leftovers after the service ended!), and those little curls of lemon zest are the prettiest finishing touch. You’re so talented at composing photographs!

  81. Yum! I can’t imagine how soft it would be when hawaiian bread is already so soft. Great photos!

    • I had substituted 
      Hawaiian bread with fluffy pancakes and it was delicious! I would with no hesitation make this recipe again. My picky son loved it and that is rare. I highly recommend this scrumptious dish. Thank you for sharing!