It’s hard not to go “Mmmmm.” when you bite into this crispy, fluffy, custardy, cinnamon and vanilla-scented French toast. And that’s why I love this French toast recipe so much! With a few easy tricks and just a handful of ingredients, you are just minutes away from the best weekend breakfast or brunch you’ve ever had!
What is French Toast?
French toast is the perfect way to turn your leftover (and slightly stale) bread into an absolutely decadent weekend breakfast. It’s made by briefly soaking thick bread in a mixture of eggs, sugar, milk, and cinnamon, then cooked to perfection in a skillet. It’s golden brown and crispy on the outside, soft and custardy on the inside, lightly flavored with cinnamon, and has just the right amount of sweetness.
Ingredients for French Toast
Here’s what you’ll need to make the most unforgettably easy and scrumptious French toast ever!
- Bread– The best bread for French toast is a thick slice of stale bread with a dense crumb, like Texas Toast, Challah, Brioche, Milk Bread, a Baguette, or a Croissant.
- Eggs – Eggs help thicken the custard and create structure. You can substitute eggs with cornstarch. This technique is explained in the recipe card below.
- Whole Milk – Milk softens the bread, creates richness, and helps with browning. You can also use full-fat dairy-free milk, like coconut and almond. You’ll need fat to create the texture, so steer clear of low-fat options.
- Cinnamon – A dash of cinnamon gives the French toast a warm flavor. You can also use pumpkin or apple pie spice, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom, or cloves.
- Vanilla – Vanilla gives the French toast a rich, warm flavor. You can also flavor the French toast with orange zest, instant coffee, almond extract, bourbon, and rum (What? I’m Puerto Rican.)
- Salt – Balances the sweetness of the sugars in the milk.
- Butter – Delivers a flavorful, crispy, golden brown outer layer of French toast.
- Cooking Oil – Raises the smoke point of butter and prevents it from burning.
- Sugar – Helps brown and caramelize the outer layer of French toast.
How Long to Cook French Toast
The cooking time for French toast varies depending on the thickness of your bread and how much batter it’s soaked up. So instead of relying on a timer, press the center of the toast lightly with your finger. The bread will feel firm and will spring back. If your finger leaves an indentation, keep cooking.
Tips for Perfect French Toast
No one wants soggy French toast that’s burnt on the outside. Follow these tips for French toast perfection:
- The Bread: Choose thicker slices of stale bread without holes in the crumb. If you’re using fresh bread, try toasting it in the oven for a few minutes to dry it.
- The Batter: Make sure the batter is well combined. Whisk the batter until it runs through the tines of a fork without breaking.
- The Soak: Fresh or thinly sliced bread only needs a brief dip in the batter. Thicker, sturdier slices can soak in the batter for a minute. Give thick slices of stale bread a few minutes to soak up the batter and rehydrate.
- The Fry: Use a heavy-bottomed pan, butter, and oil (which helps keep your butter from burning). Keep your temperature at a steady medium-low, so the outside doesn’t char before the inside cooks.
What to Serve with French Toast
French toast is often served with a pat of butter melted over top and drizzled with maple syrup, but it’s good with so many other toppings! Try homemade blueberry sauce, strawberry syrup, an easy caramel sauce, whipped cream, lemon curd, peanut butter, or a dollop of fresh whipped cream! And don’t forget some fresh berries (if you have them) or a sprinkle of chopped nuts.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until they run in an uninterrupted line through the tines of a fork.
- Warm a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and a 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Heat until the butter foams.
- Dip the slices of bread in the batter, covering both sides, allowing them to soak briefly. The slice should feel heavy, like a wet sponge, but shouldn't drip like a soaking wet sponge.
- Place the slices in the pan and sprinkle the tops with a pinch of sugar. Cook the French toast until they've browned on the bottom. Flip and sprinkle the browned tops with a second pinch of sugar.
- When you press your finger in the slice's center and it springs back, turn it over again and cook briefly to caramelize the last sprinkle of sugar. Repeat for all slices, adding more oil and butter as needed. Slice and serve warm.
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How to Make French Toast
Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until they run easily through the tines of a fork.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and a 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Heat until the butter foams.
Dip the slices of bread in the batter, ensuring both sides are covered. The amount of time the bread should be left in the batter depends on the type of bread used and the staleness of the bread. The slice should feel like a wet sponge but not a soaking wet sponge.
Place 2 slices in the pan and sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the top. Cook until the slice has browned on the bottom. Flip and sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the browned top.
When you press your finger in the slice’s center, and it springs back, turn it over again and cook briefly to caramelize the sugar. Repeat for all slices, adding more oil and butter as needed.
If you’re making a big batch, keep the slices warm in a 200°F oven. Serve and get ready for all of the high-fives from the fam! This one’s going on repeat!