Classic French Toast made easy and in just 20 minutes with a slightly sweetened vanilla custard with cinnamon and nutmeg.
We love great Breakfast Recipes that can serve a crowd as we head into the holidays including the sweet and Easy Cinnamon Rolls, the filling Loaded Breakfast Potato Pancakes, and Easy French Toast Bake!
This classic French Toast recipe served with real maple syrup is the perfect breakfast for a family weekend. Many families love to get their kids involved in baking breakfast and this is the perfect recipe to bring them in to help out.
When cooking the recipe with the basic ingredients, you’ll have to decide how much butter you feel comfortable using. We use a moderate amount to make a golden brown exterior and crispy edges, and with 8 slices of French Toast in the directions, it’s less than 25 calories of butter per slice.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to French Toast recipes. The first is how much milk you use. This recipe uses a full cup when many people use half that amount. The second is how many eggs you’re using.
The custard in the recipe is the most essential part. This recipe has a very slightly sweetened mixture of milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lots of vanilla. The combination of the strong flavors of vanilla and cinnamon is what gives French Toast most of the classic flavor people have loved for decades. Serve French Toast with a side of Home Fried Potatoes and Air Fryer Bacon for a delicious breakfast!
How to Make French Toast
- Prep: You can make the custard in a medium bowl the night before since it’s the only part of the recipe that requires preparation.
- Soak: Once the custard is well mixed add the bread slices to the mixture and allow the milk to soak in before adding it to a buttered skillet or griddle. When dunking the bread make sure to not let the bread soak indefinitely in the milk. If you were going to soak it all the way through it should be baked as part of a French Toast casserole instead of on the griddle.
- Cook: Add the bread to the hot skillet and let it cook until the custard has completely set and the bread is crisp before flipping.
- Serve: Quick and easy garnish people love, use a bit of powdered sugar sifted over the slices of bread and add a couple of pats of butter to the top of the slices before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best bread for making French Toast is typically a sturdy, dense bread such as brioche, challah, or thick-cut French bread or thick-cut white bread. These types of bread can soak up the egg mixture without falling apart. If you have stale bread, this is the best way to give it new life!
Sure! You can substitute the traditional milk in French Toast with non-dairy options like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk. The key is to ensure you use an unsweetened variety to maintain a balanced flavor. Not that the flavor and possibly the texture will be completely different from the kind used with dairy milk.
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Key Ingredients in French Toast
- Milk: The milk adds moisture to the French Toast and helps to effectively flavor the insides of the bread. In place of whole milk, you can also use half and half or heavy cream. If you use fat-free milk or 1% milk the custard will not be as flavorful and the egg will be a much more pronounced flavor. We are using one cup milk.
- Butter: Butter not only adds a fat component to cooking the recipe, but it also adds flavor. If you want to make a swap to the fat you’re using be aware that the mixture of vanilla and sugar and butter is meant to create a delicious, rich, flavor in the bread. If you prefer to use less, or none in favor of a spray, just know it will change the texture of your recipe.
- Eggs: Some people use up to an egg per slice of bread. The egg is meant to be a part of the mixture that just aids the setting of the custard, it isn’t meant to take the place of most of the mixture as the custard becomes too thick. Using more eggs also creates a tougher exterior to the French Toast that isn’t necessary, the eggs solidify making a more rubbery exterior.
- Bread: Use bread that’s thicker than most sliced bread. Use slightly sweeter bread like challah, brioche, cinnamon raisin bread, or Texas toast instead of more savory bread like wheat bread.
- Vanilla Extract: The secret ingredient to making this taste amazing is found in the vanilla extract. Make sure you are using actual vanilla extract, not the imitation kind for the best flavor.
- Spices: The nutmeg and cinnamon are critical to making the French Toast amazing! Bonus points if you’re able to grind the spices fresh – but it’s not required.
Baked French Toast
- Step One: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
- Step Two: Prepare the egg mixture in a shallow bowl per the instructions and coat the bread.
- Step Three: Arrange the slices of coated bread in the shallow baking dish in a single layer, slightly overlapping if necessary.
- Step Four: Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Step Five: Allow the French Toast to cool slightly, then dust with powdered sugar and serve warm with maple syrup. Enjoy your oven-baked French Toast!
French Toast Sticks
To make French Toast sticks slice the bread into 1 1/2-inch thick batons. With the extra surface area of the bread make about 1 ½ times the milk mixture. Dip and cook the pieces of bread as you would the slices but use extra butter as you’ll want the batons to be a bit sturdier for dunking.
Crispy French Toast
- Step One: Use much more butter in the pan and soak the bread for about half as long as normal so the milk doesn’t soak all the way through the bread.
- Step Two: Cook the bread on medium heat allowing the butter to fry the exterior of the bread making it extra crispy.
- Step Three: The butter will soak into the bread edges more creating a firmer piece of french toast that will have a crispy texture instead of a softer texture.
Can I Prepare French Toast in Advance?
Yes, you can whisk together your French Toast batter the night before and store it in the refrigerator. This makes morning prep much quicker. However, do not soak the bread until you’re ready to cook.
You can also make the French Toast and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Simply reheat on the skillet with a touch of butter and enjoy!
Milk Substitutions in French Bread
You can use any kind of milk you’d like, but we tested the recipe with whole milk. When testing with half and half or heavy cream, there was a slight increase in richness, but nothing substantial enough to warrant the extra fat content.
- Low-Fat Milk: When testing with low-fat milk options the flavor of the egg was more prominent and the custard was thinner and less flavorful.
- Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk could also be a shelf-stable option to consider, we have tested the recipe well with evaporated milk.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: Sweetened Condensed milk should not be used as a milk substitute in this recipe, but you could use it for creating a syrup to serve with it.
Troubleshooting French Toast
- Soggy French Toast: If you’ve let the bread soak in milk for too long and there is too much custard in the bread it will have a hard time setting up. The bread will be too soft even when cooked through.
- Egg Showing on Bread: Whisk the custard fully until it is one mixture without streaks of egg throughout. If you don’t the streaks will cook as any regular eggs would.
- Center is still liquid-y/Outside Overcooked: The heat is on too high so the bread isn’t able to cook all the way through before the exterior is browned and crispy. If your pan is cooking them too fast remove it from the heat, wipe out the butter, and let it cool. Reheat the pan on medium heat instead of medium-high heat and add more butter to the pan before cooking the next piece of bread.
- Dry French Toast: The egg and milk mixture just wasn’t enough. You need more and you need the milk to soak almost all the way through the bread (don’t soak it all the way through). A good rule of thumb is to dip on one side and soak for 2-3 seconds then flip and soak for 1-2 more seconds. Let the milk drip off before adding it to the pan.
How To Store French Toast
- Serve: Don’t leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: Store in an airtight container to keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Freeze: You can also freeze for up to 3 months. Re-heat in a toaster oven or in a skillet with a bit of butter.
- Whisk together the egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl.
- Dip the bread in the custard, both sides and let milk soak for 15 seconds then remove and let drip for 5 seconds before adding to pan.
- Add the butter to a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat before adding the bread in and cooking until browned on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.