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Best French Toast Recipe – A Couple Cooks


Here’s how to make the best best French toast recipe! It’s caramelized on the outside with a sweet custardy interior.

French Toast

It’s cinnamon-scented, crispy on the outside and custardy on the inside: try our best French toast recipe! It’s basic, but it can taste like a luxurious morning of hotel room service if it’s done right. Here we’ve cracked the code to the very best way to make this classic breakfast recipe: and it’s all in the ingredients. Here’s what to know!

Ingredients in a French toast recipe

Classic French toast is sliced bread soaked in a mixture of egg, milk and sugar, then fried until golden crisp on a griddle. This genius way to reinvent stale bread has been around for hundreds of years. In fact, the earliest French toast recipe is in a collection of Roman recipes from the 1st century AD (“The Art of Cooking” by Apicius). How’s that for history?

The early version was even simpler than today’s. But the genius of French toast is that it uses basic ingredients to make a hearty meal. Here’s what you need for a basic French toast recipe:

  • Eggs
  • Milk: whole milk gives the richest flavor, or use 2% or non-dairy milk
  • Sugar: just a hint is all you need
  • Vanilla extract: this recipe uses a hefty amount of vanilla for a bold flavor
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg: adding nutmeg to the mix gives just the right complexity
  • Salt: salt accentuates the flavors; don’t omit it!
  • Bread: an Italian or French loaf, artisan bread, or sourdough bread are our preference, but you can also use challah or brioche for lighter texture
  • Butter: for cooking
French Toast Recipe

Best bread for French toast

The type of bread can make or break a French toast recipe. A slice of flimsy store-bought sandwich bread loaf just doesn’t hold a candle to a more artisan-style bread. Here are a few of the best breads for French toast:

  • Sourdough bread: Sourdough bread has a naturally firm texture and a slight tang to the flavor. It’s our top choice for French toast!
  • Italian or French loaf: Each grocery store uses a different name for this type of bread, but look for an artisan loaf with a firm crust and sturdy texture. You can also use a French baguette.
  • Artisan bread: Look for any style of artisan bread in the bakery section of your grocery store. We recommend avoiding very seedy whole-grain breads for this recipe.
  • Challah or brioche: Egg-based breads like challah and brioche make a fluffy, custardy texture to the French toast. (It’s not our preference, but it’s a specific style!)

Bread to avoid for French toast? We don’t love purchased white or whole wheat sandwich bread. Sure, it’s classic: but the texture can come out mushy and bland. Of course, you can use it if it’s all you have. But for the best French toast recipe, stick to the types above.

How to make French toast

French toast is arguably one of the simplest breakfasts you can make: it’s even easier than pancakes or waffles. Why? All you’ve got to do is mix up the custard, dip the bread, and fry. Here are a few tips for the process:

  • Whisk: In a wide shallow bowl or container, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and kosher salt.
  • Dip: Preheat a griddle over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Soak each side of 4 slices of bread in the egg mixture for 10 to 15 seconds. Try not to oversoak the bread or it will become mushy. However, if you’re using a bread with more structure like sourdough, you can soak slightly longer. 
  • Fry: Place the bread on the hot skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned.
  • Repeat: Repeat with the remaining butter and 4 slices bread. Serve immediately with maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.
French Toast

Avoiding mushy bread

The best way to have full-textured French toast is to use great bread. As noted above, purchased sandwich bread has a flimsy structure and can become mushy. Here’s what to know:

  • Use a bread with texture like a sourdough or Italian or French artisan loaf.
  • Consider using stale bread or bread that is a few days old, which soaks up the egg mixture more. (This isn’t necessary with sturdier breads like sourdough.)
  • If you’re using a purchased sandwich bread with a flimsy texture, consider lightly toasting it in the oven or toaster it before soaking.

Decadent variation: heavy cream

Want to amp up this French toast recipe? Replace half the milk amount with heavy cream! Adding this silky, creamy dairy to the mix makes French toast richer, more buttery and over the top luxurious. Try this when you want an extra special meal, like birthdays, Mother’s Day or holidays.

French toast toppings

For this best French toast recipe, we like to keep toppings simple. A pat of butter, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a drizzle of maple syrup are all you need! But if you want to get a little fancier, here are some gourmet topping ideas:

Breakfast recipes

Diet variations

Do you have a special diet? Here are a few ways to modify this French toast recipe:

  • Dairy-free: This recipe works with non-dairy milk; we recommend oat milk.
  • Gluten-free: Use any type of gluten-free bread.
  • Vegan: Try Vegan French Toast with Caramelized Bananas! Using banana makes a flavorful soaking mixture.

More classic breakfast recipes

Love a great classic breakfast or brunch? Try these breakfast recipe ideas:

This French toast recipe is…

Vegetarian.

Print

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Description

Here’s how to make the best best French toast recipe! It’s caramelized on the outside with a sweet custardy interior.


  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup milk (whole or 2%*)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 slices bread from Italian or French loaf, sourdough, challah, or brioche loaf (cut 3/4” thick)**
  • 2 tablespoons butter, for cooking


  1. In a wide shallow bowl or container, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and kosher salt.
  2. Preheat a griddle over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Soak each side of 4 slices of bread in the egg mixture until it becomes saturated (about 10 to 15 seconds per side for an artisan or sourdough bread**). Place the bread on the hot skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned.
  3. Repeat with the remaining butter and 4 slices bread. Serve immediately with maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Notes

*Use whole milk for the best rich flavor. For a decadent twist, use half milk and half heavy cream.

**If you’re using a bread with more structure like sourdough, you can soak it in the egg mixture slightly longer if you like. If you’re using a sandwich bread with a flimsier structure, you may want to toast it first before soaking, otherwise it can become very mushy. 

  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: French toast, how to make french toast, best french toast recipe, easy french toast recipe

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