Everything about fluffy french toast makes me incredibly happy.
I have this daydream where I open up a little french toast cafe that serves up sweet and savory french toasts with coffee and tea. I not-so-secretely have the whole menu planned out. French toast is the ultimate breakfast or anytime meal. It can be classic and super simple, or fancy and seasonal. It’s fast, easy, and it tastes so freaking good.
Crispy golden brown edges with a creamy custard-y center just begging for a drizzle of syrup of a dusting of powdered sugar snow. Gosh, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
But as any good day dreamer does, let’s get into the deliciously syrup-ed nooks and crannies of the french toast world.
What is french toast?
French toast is a dish made from sliced bread dipped in eggs and pan fried. It can be both sweet and savory and is one of the oldest ways of reviving old dry bread. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, french toast is not actually from France. It originated in the Roman Empire in the 4th or 5th century. Who knew!? French toast is popular all over the world – there are infinite french toast variations.
How to make french toast
- Make the custard. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, and a bit of sugar, making sure the eggs are completely incorporated.
- Soak the bread. Take your bread and soak it in the custard mix, flipping once.
- Pan-fry. Add the soaked bread to a hot pan and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and crispy.
- Top and enjoy. Finish it off with butter, syrup, powdered sugar, and fruit and enjoy immediately!
French toast ingredients
- Bread. This is the start of your french toast, so use a bread you love! Some people say you need to use stale bread for french toast, but you can use fresh, just don’t soak it as long.
- Eggs. This is the next most important ingredient for french toast. If you don’t have eggs you can’t make french toast. The most important thing about the eggs is making sure they’re completely whisked up so there are no bits of egg whites or yolks in the custard.
- Cream and milk. We’re going to use a mix of heavy cream and milk to give our french toast base a lusciously rich custard texture.
- Sugar. Just a touch of sugar to add sweetness and help caramelize the outsides so your french toast is crisp and not soggy.
The best bread for french toast
The absolute best bread for french toast is Japanese milk bread or shokupan. It’s so incredibly fluffy and thick and it soaks up the french toast batter and becomes incredibly creamy and custard-y inside. You can make your own milk bread or buy it from an Asian grocery store.
The next best bread for french toast is thick cut texas toast or brioche.
The secret to really good french toast
The secret to the best french toast is letting it soak longer than you think. You want the bread to be saturated with the french toast custard so that the inside of the bread is creamy and not dry.
The second secret is cooking french toast over medium to medium low heat then finishing on medium high. Starting on medium or medium low ensures that the custard-y insides cook all the way through and finishing on medium high gives it a golden brown and crisp caramelized crust.
How long you should soak bread
This depends on how old your bread is, but soaking longer than you think is what will give you a creamy custard middle. Dry french toast is the worst!
- If your bread is fresh: 30 seconds to 1 minute per side
- If your bread is old and dry: 2-5 minutes per side
Tips and tricks
- Mix well. Make sure you mix the custard extra well so you don’t have stray pieces of unincorporated egg whites or yolks on your french toast.
- Use butter and oil to fry. Using a combination of butter and oil means you get the best of both worlds: flavor and no burning!
- Preheat the pan. Make sure your pan is heated to medium hot before you put your first slice in, it should sizzle slightly.
- Start on medium heat. You want to start on medium heat then move to medium high to finish. If you cook your french toast on high, you’ll end up cooking the outside of the bread, but the inside will still be soggy and raw.
- Take your time with it on medium to medium low heat and aim for a golden brown crust with a creamy, custard-y cooked inside.
Brioche french toast
Use brioche instead of Texas toast. Soak brioche slices in the custard mix, flipping once. Cook in a mix of butter and oil in a non stick pan over medium heat until golden and crisp, flipping once. Top with icing sugar and serve with butter and syrup.
Baguette french toast
Slice up a baguette thickly on a diagonal. Soak the the custard mix for 4-5 minutes, flipping – baguette crusts are more hearty and can take the extra long soak. Cook the baguette slices in a mix of butter and oil in a non stick pan over medium heat until golden and crisp, flipping once. Finish with fruit and whipped cream.
Challah french toast
Cut thick slices of challah and soak in the custard for 1-2 minutes per side. Cook in a mix of butter and oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat, flipping when golden and brown. Serve with syrup, fruit, and butter.
Stuffed french toast
Mix together 1/2 cup of room temp cream cheese with 1/4 cup icing sugar. Spread a thick layer of the sweetened cream cheese onto one slice of Texas toast. Top with another slice of Texas toast. Soak in the custard mix, flipping once and cook in a non stick pan over medium heat, until golden and crisp, flipping once. Top with sliced strawberries, syrup, and whipped cream.
Cinnamon sugar french toast
In a small bowl, mix together 3 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon the pour out on to a plate and set aside. Make the french toast as directed below and immediately after the french toast comes out of the pan, add it to the plate with the cinnamon sugar. Flip to coat both sides. Enjoy with chocolate drizzle.
Jelly donut french toast
Spread strawberry or raspberry jam on half the slices of Texas toast then top with the remaining slices. Dip the jelly sandwiches in the custard, flipping to coat. Cook according to the recipe below and immensely after dust with powdered sugar and enjoy.
S’mores french toast
Spread marshmallow fluff on half the slices of Texas toast then top with chopped chocolate. Top with the remaining slices. Dip the sandwiches into the custard, flipping to coat. Cook the sandwiches according to the recipe below the serve topped with extra marshmallow fluff, shaved chocolate and crushed up graham crackers.
Nutella french toast
Spread nutella on half the slices of Texas toast then top with the remaining slices. Dip the nutella sandwiches in the custard, flipping to coat. Cook according to the recipe below and immensely after dust with powdered sugar and enjoy. Pro-tip, top with sliced bananas or strawberries!
Pumpkin french toast
Whisk 1/2 cup of pumpkin as well as 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice into the custard mix. Dip the slices of bread and cook as directed below. Serves with maple syrup and whipped cream.
French Toast Recipe
The Best Classic French Toast Recipe
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 slices bread thick slices preferred (3/4 – 1 inch)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp tral oil
In a shallow bowl (that will fit the bread flat), whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar, making sure the eggs are completely incorporated.
Take a piece of bread and put it in the custard mixture and let soak, flipping once.
Heat up a cast iron or non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a bit of oil and butter and when the oil and butter is hot, add the custard soaked bread (let the excess drip back into the shallow bowl) and cook until golden and crisp on the bottom side. Gently flip and continue to cook until the other side is golden and crisp. Turn the heat up to medium high if needed to brown.
Serve immediately with butter, syrup, berries, and powdered sugar, if desired.
French Toast Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 202 Calories from Fat 132
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6.1g38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.