Perfect French Toast is easy to make, and a crowd-favorite breakfast and brunch option! Soft and custardy in the center, and caramelized on the outside, this easy recipe will guarantee perfect results.
Delicious French toast is versatile and simple to make. Follow all of my tips to make Perfect French Toast!
This is a childhood favorite for me, as I’m sure it is for many others as well. Every family has their own way of making French toast. So did mine. So the recipe I’m sharing today is highly adaptable, but also guarantees amazingly delicious and PERFECT French toast!
French toast vs eggy bread vs bread pudding
What is French toast? How does it differ from these other similar-ish dishes? Here’s how I define them;
Eggy bread – This is all egg, with little to no milk/cream or water. The bread is dipped in whisked eggs and pan fried. I grew up calling this eggy bread.
French toast – A more balanced ratio of egg and milk. Usually 1/4 – 1/3 cup of milk or cream per 1 egg. Bread is soaked in the egg mixture and pan fried to get a caramelized crust, and a soft, custard-like center. For some, eggy bread and French toast are indistinguishable.
Bread pudding – I use the same egg to milk ratio as French toast here, but the soaked bread is baked as a casserole, rather than individually pan fried.
What type of bread is perfect for French toast?
Pretty much any type of bread. Any bread that you like to eat is great for making this dish! I grew up eating this with regular bakery bread.
You could also use regular sandwich bread from the supermarket, but these slices are so thin, the bread will simply disintegrate if soaked in the egg-milk mixture for too long.
The best bread for perfect French toast (in my opinion at least) is a thick slice of brioche or challah. But I also love using stale, sliced croissants, or even thick sliced sourdough bread or crusty French bread.
Thicker slices of bread are more suited for French toast, since you can soak them for a little longer to create that soft custard-like center.
Basically, any type of bread can be used to make this, as long as you adjust the soaking time. However, the bread that will give you the best results is,
- A flavorful and/or rich bread such as brioche, challah, or even croissants.
- Preferably the bread should be 1 – 2 days old (stale), so that it soaks up the egg mixture better.
- Thick cut – at least 3/4 of an inch thick will produce a lovely custard-like center, along with a caramelized surface.
What toppings to pair with this?
Here’s a fun anecdote – sweet French toast was unheard of in my family. Savory French toast used to be our jam, and I didn’t eat the sweet version until my late teens. But I quickly grew to love classic, sweet French toast, so here are some of my favorite sweet toppings and ideas to pair with this dish.
Sweet topping ideas,
- Maple syrup
- Pancake syrup
- Golden syrup
- Caramel sauce
- Chocolate sauce
- Ripe fruits like berries and banana
- Cooked fruit compotes or coulis like apple, peach, and berry coulis
- Any fruit jam (such as strawberry jam, plum jam, fig jam etc.)
- Whipped cream
- Sweetened ricotta
Savory topping ideas,
- Bacon (which is also delicious along with maple syrup, whipped cream, and fruits)
- Breakfast sausages
- Curries (so this might be controversial, but it’s a delicious choice if you’re so inclined, and I personally love it)
- Fried chicken
How to make Perfect French Toast
All you need to do to make perfect French toast is to cut slices of stale bread, make the egg-milk mixture, dip, and pan fry.
Prepare the bread slices
I like to use thick cut bread to make my perfect French toast (or brioche French toast). I find that sandwich bread soaks up the egg mixture too fast, and you end up with limp, sad French toast. Not good. So, I try to use unsliced bread which I slice myself. Preferably an enriched bread loaf (but crusty sourdough is also very good!).
Every time I make my popular brioche bread, I inevitably end up making French toast! I slice up one loaf and let it get stale for a few days, before using the slices to make the most perfect brioche French toast. I cut up slices that are about 1 inch thick, or at least 3/4 of an inch thick.
Make the egg mixture
Whisk the milk with a little cornstarch. This step is optional, but it helps to create a nice custard-like texture. Add the eggs, sugar, and salt, and whisk until well combined.
Because of the egg whites, the egg mixture may seem “gloopy”. This isn’t really a bad thing, but to make the egg mixture easier to absorb, whisk the mixture until you don’t have that gloopy texture. You will either need to whisk the custard base really well with a balloon mix, or use an immersion blender for a few seconds to achieve this. The resulting egg mixture will be very watery.
You can also add some flavoring to the egg mixture. My favorite is vanilla. You could also add lemon, orange, or almond extract. I also love adding some instant coffee for a lovely flavor twist.
Preheat the pan
I use a large non-stick pan to make French toast (or brioche French toast). This way the bread slices will not stick to the pan. You can use any type of fat in the pan to fry your French toast.
Vegetable oil, olive oil, ghee, butter are all great choices. I like to use a combination of butter and vegetable oil. The butter adds a lot of flavor to the French toast as well. The temperature setting will differ depending on the stove and the pan you use.
Dipping the bread in the egg-milk mixture
The more stale the bread, the quicker it will absorb the egg mixture. I usually count to 5 or 6 (mississippi-lessly), for each side. This will vary depending on how thick or thin your slices are, and how stale the bread is. You want the bread to absorb some of the egg, but not get so soggy that the bread disintegrates when lifted from the egg mix.
Pan fry the bread slices
The temperature of the pan should not be too hot. If it’s too hot, the toast will brown and burn too fast. I usually prefer to cook the bread about 2 – 3 minutes per side for thicker slices of bread. If it browns too fast, I reduce the heat.
You want the surface of the slices to be a caramelized brown color, but the middle to still be soft. If the bread is cooked too quickly, the middle might be too raw. Place the pan fried toast on a wire rack until you’re ready to serve. Perfect French toast will have a golden brown crust, with a soft and slightly custard-like center. You can keep the French toast in a warm oven (200 F / 93 C), so that they stay nice and warm until you’re ready to serve.
Serve with confectioner’s sugar, or a combination of your favorite toppings.
What you need to know about making French toast, if you’re a beginner
French toast can be made with any type of bread, with perfect results. If you only have sandwich bread, that’s A-OK! If all you have is the $1 Italian bread loaf from Walmart, you can just as easily use that to make fantastic French toast. However, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on brioche or challah, or make your own, that’d be even better! Brioche French toast is deeee-licious.
For best results, always adjust the recipe to the type of bread that you’re using. Thinner bread needs less soaking time in the egg mixture.
The egg mixture itself is super flexible. If you added too much milk, don’t worry. As a rule of thumb, I use 1/4 – 1/3 cup of milk per 1 large egg, plus 1/4 tsp cornstarch. So adjust the ingredients to get that ratio.
Adjust the cook time depending on the bread as well. Thicker bread slices will obviously cook slower than thinner slices. Plus, the more egg mixture that is absorbed by the bread, the cook time will also be longer, compared to slices that were just superficially coated with the egg mixture. On my stove, I use the medium heat setting, but it could be different on your stove.
Use the first slice to gauge how long to soak the bread. But if you do soak the bread slices for too long and they break apart, you could try baking them into a bread pudding!
Why I love this recipe
I love eggs and egg recipes. So this brioche French toast is another flavorful way to incorporate eggs in my breakfast/brunch.
This is also such a versatile recipe. It’s also one of the first things I learned to make, mostly because it’s so easy and hard to mess up.
I can make French toast with cheap breads for a quick treat if I’m in the mood (think French toast roll ups), or use a rich bread to make super comforting French toast as well.
Plus, it makes for the best breakfast, brunch, or even dinner! 🙂
Classic French Toast Recipe
- 4 large eggs see recipe notes
- 1 – 1 ⅓ cup milk see recipe notes
- ⅓ – ½ cup sugar
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon optional
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg optional
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 thick slices of stale brioche bread about ¾ – 1 inch thick (see recipe notes for choice of bread)
- Butter and/or oil for frying
- Maple syrup
- Whipped cream or yogurt
- In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and spices (if using). Whisk until the eggs have no “gloopy” texture. You could also place the ingredients in a jug and use an immersion blender for a few seconds to mix the eggs well.
- Slice a stale loaf of brioche bread into 1 inch thick slices. If you’re using my brioche recipe, note that I can slice one loaf into 6 – 7 slices (not including the edges).
- Preheat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat (or medium high if your stove doesn't run too hot).
- When the pan is hot, soak one slice of bread in the egg-milk mixture. Dip one side in the mixture and keep it immersed for about 3 – 5 seconds (depends on how stale and/or thick the slices are).
- Flip over the bread slice, and immerse the other side for the same length of time.
- Remove the slice from the egg mix, and allow excess egg mixture to drip back into the dish.
- Place some butter and/or oil in the skillet. I like to add about 1 tbsp of butter for 2 slices of bread.
- Once the butter is melted, and the pan is hot, place the bread slices in the pan. Make sure the pan isn’t over-crowded, so that the bread slices achieve proper caramelization.
- Cook the bread slices for about 3 – 4 minutes on the first side. Flip over, and cook the other side for another 3 – 4 minutes, with a little more butter.
- Once both sides of your French toast have caramelized and cooked properly, place the toast on a wire rack (until you have cooked all of your French toast). Repeat this process with the remaining slices of bread.
- Serve the French toast warm with whipped cream, fruits, and maple syrup.
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