The Best French Toast Recipe
This easy French toast recipe produces the absolute BEST French toast – super fluffy and perfect for drizzling with tons of maple syrup! Whether you whip it up for Saturday breakfast, Sunday brunch, or breakfast-for-dinner during the week, you will never need another recipe for French toast again!
Say hello to honest-to-goodness, custard-drenched, authentic French toast.
My mom used to make French toast as an occasional breakfast treat while we were growing up, and I always loved and devoured it. Who could resist bread dipped in an egg mixture and browned up in a buttered skillet? Throw on some more butter and syrup, or a sprinkling or powdered sugar, some bacon or sausage, and could there be a better start to a Saturday morning? I would argue not.
This particular French toast recipe, however, is so incredibly decadent, has such a rich flavor, and is perfectly sweet that I would argue the maple syrup COULD (maybe… for some people…) be optional. Crazy, right?!
Watch How to Make the Best French Toast!
How Do You Make French Toast?
French toast is an incredibly simple recipe that lends itself to all sorts of variations. At its core, however, are three simple steps:
- Choose a good, sturdy bread; my bread of choice is always challah since it is already a nice, rich bread that has some oomph. A second choice would be brioche or a standard white bread, like a traditional Italian or country boule.
- Next, mix up a custard using eggs (or yolks only, as we do here), milk and vanilla. You can also add some sugar to this mixture, as well as other flavors, like cinnamon, other spices, almond extract, etc. The bread gets dipped into the custard to coat both sides and allow it to seep into the bread.
- Finally, you pan-fry the bread in butter (like a grilled cheese sandwich!) so that it’s cooked through and browned nicely on both sides.
Should French Toast be Soggy?
No! No, no, no… definitely not soggy. The perfect French toast will come out with a creamy interior thanks to all of that custard seeping through, but the exterior should be browned and slightly crisp. It should not be soggy at all!
What Should I Serve with French Toast?
There are so many options! Some of the most popular accompaniments are listed below:
- Butter and maple syrup (my favorite)
- Sprinkling of powdered sugar
- Fresh fruit
- Fruit compote or syrup
Tips for Making the Best French Toast
A few tips for ensuring that you have the absolute best French toast experience of your life…
- Take the time to stale the bread overnight – this helps it hold up to soaking in the custard mixture without falling apart. Without it being stale it wouldn’t be able to soak up as much custard, thus losing a lot of the flavor. If you forget to set the bread out the night before, dry it out in the oven (300 degrees F for about 15 minutes, turning the bread over once halfway through baking).
- Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat on these. I admit I was skeptical about making French toast over medium-low heat, and although it takes a little longer, it allows the custard to cook the whole way through the bread while evenly browning the outside. At a higher temperature the bread would brown much too quickly and not allow the interior to set up.
- Finally, I beg of you – do not try to make this healthy or low fat. You could try to swap out low fat milk, whole eggs instead of yolks, etc… but you’ll end up with some texture issues and, more importantly, will lose so much flavor! This is not an every day meal, but is definitely one you want to enjoy to its fullest when you do make it!
So there you have it… the absolute holy grail of French toast recipes. It takes a little bit of pre-planning, but it will take your weekend mornings to another dimension.
Once I’m back on my feet after totally recovering from the c-section, I’d love to start a Saturday morning breakfast tradition with the boys and make something extra-special… this French toast is going to be first on my list!
The Best French Toast Recipe
This easy French toast recipe produces the absolute BEST French toast – super fluffy and perfect for drizzling with tons of maple syrup!
- 8 slices firm bread (preferably white or challah), sliced ½-inch thick
- 1½ cups (360 ml) whole milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (for cooking)
- Stale the bread by setting it out on a cooling rack uncovered overnight.
- Whisk milk, egg yolks, sugar, melted butter, salt, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Transfer milk mixture to 13×9-inch baking pan.
- Working with 3 slices of bread at a time, dip into custard for 20 seconds. Using a spatula turn bread over and soak for another 20 seconds. (Bread should be saturated but not falling apart.) Transfer soaked bread to baking sheet or tray and continue until all bread is soaked.
- Heat ½ tablespoon of butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. When foaming subsides, use slotted spatula to transfer 2 slices soaked bread to skillet until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Repeat cooking remaining bread, 2 pieces at a time, adding ½ tablespoon of butter for each batch. The French toast should be served immediately, but can be kept warm in a 200-degree oven until served.
This recipe was originally published on October 18, 2008.
[photos by Whitney Wright]