Filed Under: Bread | Breakfast

How to Make French Toast

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
August 6th, 2019
5 from 1 vote
5 from 1 vote

How to Make French Toast that's slightly crisp at the edges, fluffy in the center, and buttery throughout. Tons of tips for the BEST french toast you'll ever have!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Like the best french toast you’ve ever had!
Texture: Slightly crisp at the edges, fluffy in the center, and rich and buttery throughout.
Ease: As easy as any other French toast recipe.
Appearance: Who could pass up a plate of this French toast for breakfast (or brinner)?
Pros: My go-to recipe for French toast.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Yes. French toast is my favorite breakfast carb!

French toast is a simple enough recipe. But to make it AMAZING takes paying attention to a few key components.

Bite of fluffy French toast made with Challah bread on a plate with syrup and fruit

How to Make PERFECT French Toast

Here’s all the tips you need to make French toast your family will be begging you for every Sunday morning.

Soaking Challah bread in custard mixture for French toast

What’s the best bread to use for French toast?

This is the most important part of any amazing French toast! Whatever bread you use, make sure it’s sliced about 3/4-inch thick to achieve that pillowy interior but caramelized exterior.

Personally, my absolute go-to is good quality Challah bread. Not all grocery store Challah bread is created equally, so take a look at the ingredient label to see if the ingredients are simple. If there’s a bunch of weird additives and food like substances, it probably won’t do your French toast many favors.

My second favorite type of bread would be Brioche. It’s even richer than Challah which can be too much for some people in the morning.

My third favorite would be thick cut Texas toast bread. It’s sturdy enough to hold up to the custard batter coating and frying.

Why use egg yolks and whole eggs for French toast?

You’ll see in this recipe I call for 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks. The egg whites are what contain those distinct sulfur compounds that make things tasty “eggy.” So by reducing the whole eggs and bumping up the egg yolks we’re getting enough moisture and richness but not creating French toast that basically tastes like scrambled eggs.

Be sure to soak your French toast for enough time!

Let the slices of bread relax in the custard mixture for at least a few minutes. If you like French toast that has more of a texture of bread pudding, let it soak for even longer, up to 15 minutes.

How to prevent soggy French toast?

The story goes that French toast, or Pain Perdu, was invented to use up day-old bread. Well we now live in a modern society where most bread is manufactured in a way to prevent staling so day-old bread is a different kind of concept.

However, that nearly stale bread is what makes for the best French toast that remains light and fluffy instead of becoming soggy from the richness of the egg-and-milk mixture.

So I took a tip from Cooks Illustrated and slightly “dry out” the bread in a very low oven while preparing the remaining ingredients. This allows the bread to soak in just the right amount of custard to be rich and fluffy without getting weighed down.

So if you use the right kind of bread, dry it out slightly, and then follow the tips in the next heading below you’ll be sure to have perfect French toast!

How to make crispy French toast?

When I say crispy, I mean caramelized and golden at the edges while still light and fluffy inside. I find this comes down to frying technique.

I like to use a combination of butter and oil to fry my French toast in. The butter provides flavor and the milk solids help to create caramelization. However, oftentimes using only butter can lead the French toast to getting burnt on the exterior and undercooked on the interior. That’s because those milk solids can brown very quickly. So the combination of butter + oil is the perfect solution.

A small amount of brown sugar in the batter also helps to create those caramelized lacey exteriors.

You’ll want to make sure to stay around medium heat when frying French toast for the exact same reason. Too low and you won’t get any caramelization and you’ll end up with limp sad slices. Too high and you’ll get toast that’s burnt on the outside and soggy on the inside.

How do I make flavorful French toast?

I love to use a hint of orange zest and vanilla to round out the flavors of my French toast. Feel free to omit the orange zest if you prefer or add a splash of Grand Marnier instead. You can also use a sprinkle of cinnamon!

The other key ingredient is high quality vanilla extract. You’ll also want to use quality milk and eggs. I usually go for pasture-raised.

Lastly, be sure to use real maple syrup for serving! It makes such a difference.

Can French toast be made ahead of time?

You can keep slices of cooked French toast warm in a low oven for up to 1 hour. I find French toast is best served soon after it’s made. If you need to make it ahead of time you might be better off with a casserole style recipe like this Lemon Blueberry Overnight French Toast.

Easy French Toast frying in a cast iron skillet

I remember my dad used to make us French toast on weekend mornings every once in a while. Those days were such a treat! They might be the reason why I prefer French toast over pancakes to this day.

He always said his secret to great French toast was using copious amounts of vanilla. I don’t disagree!

French toast on a cooling rack so it doesn't get soggy

More French Toast Recipes:

Two slices of French toast on a plate with maple syrup and berries

More Amazing Breakfast Recipes:

 

5 from 1 vote

How to make
French Toast

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
How to Make French Toast that's slightly crisp at the edges, fluffy in the center, and buttery throughout. Tons of tips for the BEST french toast you'll ever have!

Ingredients

  • 8 slices challah or brioche bread, sliced 3/4-inch thick
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Fresh fruit, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°. Place the slices of bread on a sheet pan inside the oven to dry out slightly while you prepare the other ingredients, no more than 15 minutes.
  2. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, milk, orange zest, vanilla, sugar, and salt. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a very large saute pan or griddle over medium heat.
  4. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until well browned. Place the cooked French toast back on the sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven until ready to serve.
  5. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it's all cooked.
  6. Serve hot with maple syrup, fresh fruit, and extra butter, if desired.
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American

This post was originally published in 2013 and recently updated with new photos and recipe tips.

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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  1. #
    Diane @ Vintage Zest — February 18, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I literally covered the screen when I saw Downton Abbey followed by the word spoilers! Thanks for the heads up, which many people should do as well. My DVR and I both thank you!

    I know this sounds silly, but I’ve never soaked my French Toast for even close to 5 minutes in the egg mixture. Totally an “aha” moment just now! This looks and sounds awesome, and I love the additions of honey and zest as well. My Sunday recipe has now changed. 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — February 18, 2013 at 9:33 am

      Soaking for longer is perfect for thick slices of challah bread – especially when it’s a little stale! Oh man you’ll have to let me know what you think of the episode after you watch it.

  2. #
    Peggy — February 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Agreed – French Toast is WAY better than pancakes. These look amazing and perfect for any meal of the day!

  3. #
    Gourmantine — February 25, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Ok, I’m risking going terribly wrong here, but I actually don’t fancy that much French toast with maple syrup… (please don’t judge), instead prefer it with cinnamon ice cream. A divine combination!

  4. #
    Michelle Scribner — May 26, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Love all your posts!! Any thoughts on doing weekend baking classes??

    • #
      Tessa — May 26, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Maybe one day! Though it’d be hard to reach all my readers… everyone is so spread out across the US, even the globe!

  5. #
    Olga — August 9, 2019 at 11:53 am

    I’m still getting used to the maple syrup world, but my husband and both kiddos love it, so I decided to make your french toast for breakfast this morning. It was soo good, I even kept pouring the maple syrup for myself 😀 Love easy recipes like these!

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