French toast is a simple enough recipe, but to make AMAZING French toast takes paying attention to a few key components.
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 and waffles to this day.
He always said his secret to a great classic French toast recipe was using copious amounts of vanilla. I don’t disagree!
This easy French toast recipe yields the most delicious breakfast you’ll possibly ever eat – right at home in your own kitchen.
I hope you give this recipe a try for your weekend breakfast, next time you’re hosting brunch, or to treat mom to a special breakfast on Mother’s Day!
How to Make French Toast
Here are all the tips you need to make the best French toast recipe that your family will be begging you for every Sunday morning brunch.
Ingredients for the BEST French Toast Recipe:
- Bread – I share my favorite breads for making French toast below.
- Eggs and egg yolks – Large eggs (about 56 grams in shell) provide moisture and richness.
- Whole milk – I highly recommend using whole milk. You could experiment with alternatives like almond milk or oat milk if you need to make it dairy-free.
- Grated orange zest – Optional, but provides amazing flavor.
- Vanilla extract – Adds a beautiful flavor to the French toast.
- Brown sugar – Helps to caramelize the outside and bring a beautiful texture, as well as sweetness.
- Fine sea salt – Just a pinch, to balance out the sweetness.
- Unsalted butter and vegetable oil – For frying.
- Maple syrup – It’s not French toast without real maple syrup!
What is The Best Type of Bread for French Toast?
Using the best bread 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. Thick slices of bread are the key to incredible French toast.
- 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 are a bunch of weird additives and food-like substances, it probably won’t do your French toast many favors.
- If you can’t find Challah, use Brioche. It’s even richer than Challah, which can be too much for some people in the morning.
- Alternatively, use 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 this French toast recipe calls for 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks. The egg whites are what contain those distinct sulfur compounds that make things taste “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.
How to Make French Toast in 5 Easy Steps:
- Dry out the bread.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture and allow to soak through on each side.
- Heat the butter in a skillet.
- Cook the soaked bread on each side. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!
How to Soak Your French Toast Before Cooking
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 Avoid SOGGY French Toast
The story goes that French toast, or Pain Perdu, was invented to use up day-old bread. 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.
How to Dry Bread for French Toast
For this French toast recipe, I took a tip from Cooks Illustrated and slightly “dry out” the bread on a baking sheet in the oven at a very low heat 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 and Golden Brown French Toast
When I say crispy, I mean caramelized and golden brown at the edges while still light and fluffy inside. I find this comes down to frying technique:
- Use a combination of butter and oil to fry: 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: This helps to create those caramelized lacey exteriors.
- Medium heat when frying: Too low, and you won’t get any caramelization and you’ll end up with limp sad slices of French toast. Too high, and you’ll get toast that’s burnt on the outside and soggy on the inside.
How to 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 ground cinnamon or other spices, to suit your personal preferences.
- 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.
Topping Ideas for French Toast Recipe
- Maple syrup, of course!
- Whipped cream
- Fresh berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.
- Powdered sugar
- Peanut butter
- Bacon or sausage (if you’re into salty-sweet combinations!)
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 French toast recipe like this Lemon Blueberry Overnight French Toast Casserole.
Products I Love for This Recipe: